Watching the CLG v Cloud 9 match last night, a big thing talked about was the significance of Cloud 9’s aggression.
They were pushing turrets incredibly quickly, taking a turret by 3 minutes, 20 seconds. Although losing First Blood, their early aggression earned them a lot of praise. You see, CLG have become somewhat known for their late-game strategy; picking champions that scale well into the late game (like Nasus and Vayne in this game) and just attempting to protect their turrets and farm as hard as possible, so as to win mid-late game fights.
Something interesting happened at a certain point in the game; around 12 minutes or so: Cloud 9’s aggression just… stopped. Two champions (Ryze and Ezreal) had just purchased Tear of the Goddess, an item that increases mana based on spellcasts. This meant that the champions they were opposed against in lane had an incredible damage potential over them. This meant that their incredibly aggression early game gave them a lot of early gold to survive this period of weakness wherein they were forced to play somewhat passively.
This perfectly highlights the importance and significance of early-game pressure. That huge push at the start of the game gave them not just a gold advantage, but a morale superiority; they were ahead, the crowd is cheering for their play-making, and CLG are very aware that they’re behind. Although obviously CLG somewhat pulled it back (not going to spoil the ending) – these guys are pros after all – but the lesson is an incredible one in solo queue.
As my friends say, go HAM (hard as a motherfucker). In solo queue, instead take it as knowing when to apply pressure in your lane and then roam, so as to exert pressure elsewhere. In 5v5s, try to emulate Cloud 9 in their effective pushing and pressure strategy.
Obviously, please don’t try it when you have terrible early game potential – I have seen many a Nautilus trying to make plays at the enemy’s Inner Turret without having even levelled his Dredge Line… but if you can practise it, do it! The pressure certainly demoralizes your enemies at the very least.
Just something I’m going to endeavour to emulate in future games as well.