The first HGC matches during week 10 were bound to feature at least some Genji play, as this was the first week league rules allowed him to be drafted. However, in a surprising turn of events, Genji was picked in every single game. Both MVP Black and L5 won their respective matches against GG and MVP Miracle with a 3-1 lead, but the real story was each team's near unanimous embracing of Genji as a tier 1 pick.
MVP Black first chose Genji amidst a bizarre Butcher and Abathur team composition that was made even stranger as Merryday, the team's dedicated Lucio expert, was tasked with playing Genji. Needless to say, their strategy struggled against GG’s Cassia counter pick while simultaneously calling into question just how seriously MVP Black was taking this match. After all, their spot in the playoffs has already been decided, and they had no real incentive besides their record to play their hardest.
During game two, GG first picked Genji and was enjoying a strong early game against MVP Black. For a while, it appeared that MVP Black were going to lose another game as GG pushed with an early boss and a two level lead. However, Merryday on Illidan took full advantage of his rare opportunity to play Melee Assassin and lead a full man team wipe that started GG’s downfall. Despite this loss, Genji once again proved that he can help a team establish an early game lead.
GG proceeded to first pick Genji for the last two games, and it continued to be effective vs. MVP Black. During game four, GG took advantage of Genji’s strong laning phase and, once again, found an early level and objective lead. This grueling last game lasted a whopping 31 minutes, with Genji making full use of his mobility and map presence to keep MVP Black on their toes and make it difficult for them to end the game in a timely manner.
During the MVP Miracle and L5 match, MVP Miracle put full faith in Genji. While the hero seemed ineffective during the first game on Cursed Hollow (L5’s Falstad and Anub’arak locked-down Genji easily), Genji looked very strong during the second game on Tomb of the Spider Queen. Its small map size and multiple walls make Genji’s mobility a strong tool in stalling turn ins and surprising the enemy with blistering fast rotations.
It’s incredible that MVP Miracle even managed to take a game off of L5, and Genji seemed to play a big part in this. MVP Miracle drafted Genji two more times, and even though they ended up losing 1-3, the team showed promise utilizing the newest assassin in each of their games.
Which talents do the pro’s choose?
The Genji talent builds varied in each game, but certain talents were chosen every game. Here are the talents that, so far, seem core to his competitive viability:
Shuriken Mastery is a clear pick because it consistently adds to Genji’s main source of DPS. It is an easy quest to complete and helps Genji deal more damage more frequently. The second quest objective is also an important boost to Genji’s potential burst damage in combination with a later talent, Shingan.
Perfect Defense is the ideal defensive talent for Genji because it also nets him more damage across the duration of the game. With a lower cooldown on Deflect, Genji can liberally defend himself more often while simultaneously making it hard for the opponent to successfully predict when Deflect is off cooldown.
Dragon Blade is the go-to Heroic for Genji because of the team wipes it is capable of producing. While X-Strike helps Genji survive, a competitive draft should already have multiple ways of keeping Genji safe and in the middle of combat. Without Dragon Blade, Genji fails to make a significant impact during large scale team fights.
Shingan is almost always the correct choice for Genji as the other two talents don’t increase his burst damage potential. This talent also increases his damage against structures, boss mercenaries, and other large targets that routinely get hit by all three shurikens. A skilled Genji will throw Shurikens at point blank range and significantly increase his burst damage on fleeing enemy heroes.
Is Genji worthy of first picks?
Do you think teams are correct in placing such a high priority on Genji, or is it just an attempt for lesser teams to throw the champions off guard? L5, for example, have yet to pick Genji and still enjoy a perfect 14-0 record.
You can watch these matches your self on the full Twitch.tv past broadcast here.
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