Darshan on split pushing to victory at IEM Katowice: "It's about killing their Nexus"

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(Photo: Lolesports/Riot Games)

The rest of the IEM teams aren’t quite ready for Darshan “Darshan” Upadhyaya, or so he and the rest of Counter Logic Gaming believe.

North America’s premier top laner is on his way to Katowice, Poland, where he’ll be competing in the latest Intel Extreme Masters League of Legends tournament. He’ll be bringing his old-school style of split pushing right along with him, hoping to shock the world by rampaging his way through the side lanes.

Split pushing has long been a strategy utilized by objective-focused squads, but rarely have teams committed to it at the level of CLG and Darshan. In fact, when he went for the Nexus all by himself two games in a row during NA LCS Week 7, his opponents seemed at a loss as to how to respond. The result was a 2-0 week, with CLG bringing down the previously undefeated powerhouse Immortals and fellow strong team Cloud9.

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(Photo: Lolesports/Riot Games)

Darshan believes that their victories came from a much more back-to-basics approach.

“I feel like when most teams split push, they do it just so they can group to team fight,” he told Yahoo Esports. “They don’t really split push to win the game.”

“I don’t think teams really know how to play split push,” he continued. “You’re not running into [your opponent] and fighting them until there’s one person standing. It’s about killing their Nexus. Split pushing is that strategy. People don’t really think about the game that way as much as they should, I think. They don’t go back to the basics that much. They’re thinking about rotations, they’re focusing on 2v1 strategies, but it goes back to the basics. Split pushing is one of the best ways to set up the game for success.”

But while aggressive splitting has worked in North America, will it work once CLG hits the international stage? Can they find time to set it up while the likes of, say, Qiao Gu Reapers looking to engage whenever possible?

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(Photo: Lolesports/Riot Games)

Darshan believes it will, especially in League’s current meta. You just have to keep the plan simple.

“Objectives right now aren’t things that you need to always contest,” he said. “I think that’s a big reason why split pushing is so good. We don’t need to fight at Dragon. You kind of need to fight at Baron, but for the most part, for Rift Herald and Dragon, you don’t always have to contest those. You can go for their base. That’s what a lot of teams don’t realize and that’s what will give us a leg up against a team like Qiao Gu.”

And as for those pesky Korean teams that tend to win everything? Darhsan believes that the while the Korean teams tend to perform well on the big stages, the other regions “aren’t that far behind.”

“I don’t think the gap has ever been something you can’t surpass,” he said. The gap is slowly getting smaller and smaller. Yeah, SKT has always been a strong team and I definitely would never sleep on them, but they’re looking the weakest they’ve looked in a long time. This is the best chance ever for us to beat SKT.”

To do that, CLG will have to perfect the strategy they’ve made their trademark this season. Darshan is fairly certain that his team has the unique mindset to pull it off, and that’s what makes them dangerous.

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(Photo: Lolesports/Riot Games)

“Split pushing takes a lot of patience, and it’s not the most fun way to watch or play the game,” he said. “It might not be the style that fits a lot of teams.

“Well, it’s fun for me,” he laughed.

Taylor Cocke believes there’s nothing better than a good backdoor. You can follow him on Twitter @taylorcocke.