EU LCS 2018 Summer Split – Week 2 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

June 22nd, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

With the first week of the EU LCS behind us, what have we learned after watching ten teams duke it out on the Rift? Well, not a lot, essentially.

We got a good read on how strong each team is and how they’re adapting to the evolving meta, but before we go deeper on each and every team, let’s focus a bit more on what’s meta right now.

The chaotic meta

A lot of games were played and we’ve seen a plethora of fascinating picks and team compositions however nothing is really set in stone. It became evident that almost every single pick and every single strategy has a high chance to work. On one hand this is the most exciting the LCS has been in quite some time, but there isn’t always a method behind the chaos and the frantic action. While it’s refreshing to see a pick like Darius in the bottom lane, it’s also crushing to see staple veteran AD players like Rekkles be relegated to Janna or Karma duty. They’re being forced into playing champions that have relatively low skill ceilings and they’re not able to fully flex their mechanical prowess.

So while it is engaging to watch, it’s a bit too chaotic.

Over the last week, we’ve seen teams try their hand at the meta and certain rosters did better than others. It’s obvious that some teams revel in the chaos while others are just plain lost. It’s a rough time in general as everything got turned on it’s head but there were still a couple of teams that emerged as clear cut winners. G2 eSports and Vitality in particular showed a fantastic understanding of the meta whereas others like Fnatic are still trying to figure out what’s the best and most optimal way to play the game.

For betting, this is essentially the absolute worst case scenario. You don’t have a clear idea on whom to bet on in general as anything can happen at any given time.

Without any further ado, let’s focus at Friday’s games in order to see which teams have the best chance of emerging victorious:

WEEK 2, DAY ONE

Giants vs. Unicorns of Love

For our first match of the day we have a fairly unexciting clash between Giants and the Unicorns of Love. Now overall, neither of these two teams are world beaters right now by any stretch of the imagination. They have a pretty solid read on the meta but nothing too extraordinary.

Giants were really hot and cold last week and not just because they ended 1-1. They played some solid League of Legends against H2K but things got very strange very quickly. After a complex teamfight ensued in the mid lane, Betsy decided to completely abandon his team and go for a quick push as Azir. Fortunately, due to a lot of attack speed and ability power, he was able to brute force through the mid lane and essentially back door.

Against Vitality on the other hand they failed to put up much of an offensive. Because of this, it’s still too early to give them any benefit of the doubt after just a single week of play.

The Unicorns on the other hand showed some signs of live overall. They displayed a very strong early game and some very solid team cohesion. They were leading against Schalke for the majority of their game however they were out of sync when it mattered the most and Schalke’s late game potential took over. Their game against Misfits however was a lot worse, so essentially they’re sitting in the exact same position like Giants. Some good signs but overall too early to give a verdict.

We’re going with the Unicorns on this one but in reality it can really go either way.

Team Vitality vs. ROCCAT

You can argue that Vitality is one of the rare teams in the region that completely revels in the current meta. They have the flexible players and the mentality to go for any pick, team comp and strategy that’s available and because of this they’re a very formidable opponent. Fortunately for all Vitality fans, they shouldn’t be tested too much by ROCCAT. They’re simply too fast, too cohesive and they’re not afraid to experiment. Attila (formerly Minitroupax) in particular played both Ziggs and Lux to perfection and even though he’s an AD main you can only imagine what he has in his pockets.

They have a chip on their shoulder after losing to Splyce in the semifinals and they want to go to Worlds.

As for ROCCAT, they displayed some clean gameplay last week. They were on point in their teamwork and macro overall and Memento remains their biggest catalyst. That’s not a problem though as he’s a consistent performer when it matters the most. While they did fumble against G2 you can’t really blame them as the former kings of Europe are currently playing the best League of Legends in the region.

Betting on Team Vitality would be the better and more logical choice, even though ROCCAT has the tools to make this into a highly competitive scrap.

Winner: Team Vitality, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs Schalke 04

We’ve come to the match of the week. G2 eSports are currently performing like the best team in the region – by far. Their two games were an absolute masterclass in every way, shape and form and by the looks of it they won’t stop any time soon. They’re hungry, they want to retain their throne and they’re on the right path for sure.

They’re so adept at the current meta and they’re fully utilizing their strengths in every way imaginable. Wunder – who is one of the more capable top laners in the region is finally on carries and bruisers, Perkz is almost always sensational when it matters the most and their bottom lane is finally able to carry their own part of the weight with picks like Heimerdinger and a plethora of different supports.

Schalke on the other hand continued their hot and cold streak from the Spring Split. They did some things well and others not so well. In short – it was a confusing performance to say the least. You could see their potential but also the fact that they’re far from reaching it. They have a questionable early game in general and even though they were losing for the majority of the game against the Unicorns of Love, they managed to rebound as the game went on.

Their game against Fnatic was the exact opposite. They dominated early on and they succeeded in shutting down Caps from the very get go. However even though they had a huge gold lead for the majority of the game, they let a Baron slip through for Fnatic and then they essentially shut down within a couple of minutes and just flat out lost the game. It was confusing and a sign of indecision, to say the least.

We’re going with G2 on this one and with good reason. They’re simply too strong right now with the meta changes and everything, and if they survive the early game without making any cardinal mistakes they should be able to close out the game without much trouble.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

H2K vs. Fnatic

Even though Fnatic started off the Summer Split with a 1-1 score overall – which isn’t that bad, their level of play was nothing short of abysmal. They tried essentially the same team comp twice last week and they succeeded once – arguably. They’re not tryharding, they’re testing their limits and testing things out – and that’s highly commendable. They know they’re one of the best teams in the world and that just brute forcing things in the first couple of weeks won’t allow them to develop and prosper in the long run.

As for H2K, they failed to do much in both of their games. They were outclassed by Giants in the second game of the split and their game against ROCCAT wasn’t much better. Their drafts aren’t that good and it just seems like they’re not at home with the meta.

To make matters even more complicated, they’re putting Sheriff on picks like Karma so they’re essentially losing their primary carry. Sheriff had some of the best damage stats out of all ADC last split and not having him on late game hypercarries will seriously hinder H2K’s chances, regardless of the opponent.

We’re going with Fnatic, but it could be a confusing game overall. With Fnatic’s latest drafting choices, they’re not an easy team to predict and they might not want to tryhard when you’d expect. That said, they have the tools to come back into the game and emerge victorious even if they don’t start as well.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

Splyce vs. Misfits

The last game of the day is quite the exciting one. Splyce didn’t start off the Summer Split as well as they had hoped. They lost both of their games against Vitality and G2 and while that’s not such a big shock, their play was far from perfect. They have a solid read on the meta but it seemed like they were playing certain picks and team comps not because they wanted to but because they had to.

With time they’re going to improve and be a solid threat overall, but that time isn’t right now.

As for Misfits, they’re looking like a Top 3 team for sure. Their flexibility and deep champion pools were on full display last week. Their play and drafting was on point and it was a delight to watch. They always had a fantastic early game but they were often outscaled and out-teamfought in Spring. If they manage to fix their late game shotcalling they have a very concrete chance of reaching the very top.

Winner: Misfits, 1.55 (odds @ Betway)

WEEK 2, DAY TWO

Giants vs. Misfits

Giants were unable to build on their win from last week against the Unicorns of Love. While they did make a couple of solid moves on the Rift, they were slower and less proactive than the boys in pink from start to finish. The Unicorns were always faster on the map and were focused on taking down objectives rather than going for quick trades.

Giants continue to be a middle-of-the-pack team with some solid potential, but right now it seems like they’re trending more towards the bottom of the standings. They have a pretty good read on the meta but they’re just not playing that well as a five-man unit.

Misfits on the other hand remain one of the best teams in the region. They’re one of the few teams that are still playing standard team comps and with a top tier AD like Hans Sama you can see why. They’re so cohesive and aggressive as a team and perhaps most surprisingly – Sencux has been stepping up considerably. His Irelia yesterday was a thing of beauty. They’re finally coming into their full form and right in time for Worlds. If they continue this level of play throughout the next couple of weeks then we could be in store for a very exciting finish of the Summer Split.

We’re going with Misfits on this one and with full confidence.

Winner: Misfits, 1.33 (odds @ Betway)

H2K vs. G2 eSports

For our third match of the day we have a fairly unexciting clash between the former kings of Europe and H2K.

G2 continued their incredible run yesterday after demolishing Schalke 04. It wasn’t clean early on but once Perkz got online as Kai’Sa – which wasn’t too hard seeing how he was protected by Karma, Braum and Tahm Kench – it was game over for Schalke. He was so strong in fact that he was able to score both a quadra and a pentakill. G2 aren’t just winning games – they’re dominating, and it’s a refreshing change of pace for the former four time champions.

H2K on the other hand were on the receiving end of a very game Fnatic yesterday. They were completely outclassed on almost all fronts from start to finish. They weren’t really able to do much and the game was over even before the thirty minute mark. It wasn’t a promising sign for H2K but at the same time they were up against one of the best teams in the region so the outcome was somewhat expected.

G2 shouldn’t have any trouble taking H2K down, regardless of the team comp they go for.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.30 (odds @ Betway)

Splyce vs. Unicorns of Love

This is where things get a bit complicated.

Splyce are simply trying too much. They’re experimenting and it’s not working – with Nisqy going with Camille and KaSing with Zoe in the bottom lane. Odoamne is still spending the majority of his time on tank duty and while he isn’t a bad tank player, they’re not utilizing his full potential.

While they didn’t exactly roll over and surrender against Misfits yesterday, their play really didn’t inspire any kind of confidence. Are they a good team? Absolutely. Do they have a lot of potential? For sure – but they’re not reaching it right now and the problems that they have aren’t really solvable in a week’s time.

We’re going with the Unicorns of Love on this one, but not will full confidence. While they’re far from a top tier team, they showed more over the last two weeks. They were more in-sync, they displayed a better understanding of the meta, not to mention their drafting versatility. That said, things got a bit heated in the mid game and they could have lost as well if it wasn’t for an insane Baron steal from Kold. With Baron in their possession, they managed to ace Giants and close out the game.

It wasn’t clean by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a win nonetheless. If they focus as come out full force against Splyce then they actually might have a solid chance of scoring quite a big upset.

Winner: Unicorns of Love, 2.30 (odds @ Betway)

Fnatic vs. Team Vitality

For our last match of the day we have a very exciting clash between Fnatic and Team Vitality.

This is by no means an easy match to predict. Fnatic are the better team overall but how well they will perform remains a mystery. They’re willing to experiment with their shotcalling as well as drafting so you never really know what’s going to happen before the game begins. They completely outclassed H2K yesterday but then again they were up against a bottom tier team.

Vitality are a different kind of beast, and even though they haven’t been that consistent overall they’re still a force to be reckoned with. They were unable to best ROCCAT yesterday so they’re currently sitting at a pretty solid 2W-1L record. The beginning of the game was like a nightmarish scenario for Vitality as they gave up multiple kills in the mid lane. That quickly snowballed to a pretty solid gold lead. ROCCAT had the upper hand until Vitality took the reins once again.

It was a hectic, back and forth game and we saw multiple throws. In the end, ROCCAT had more damage and a better late game team comp which was more than enough to secure the win.

Vitality are a very dangerous team when they’re playing their best League of Legends. Unfortunately, we rarely know when that will be the case. Regardless, we’re going with Fnatic on this one. Their mental resilience and experience should be the determining factor – given that they don’t go for an illogical team comp like last week.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.5o (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

EU LCS 2018 Summer Split – Week 1 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

June 13th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

With only a couple of days left before the start of the 2018 EU LCS Summer Split, let’s take a closer look at this week’s matches! We’re entering Summer with the exact same ten teams from Spring so we have more than enough intel on all competing teams.

There are a couple of key factors that you should have in mind if you’re going to bet this week:

The meta
Coming into Summer there are some really big and pretty confusing meta shifts. With Riot’s balancing still being fresh, we’re witnessing a lot of “off-meta” picks and changes especially in the bottom and perhaps even mid lane. Some teams (as we’ve seen in the Chinese LPL a couple of days ago) are experimenting with picks like Mordekaiser mid and non-AD carries in the bottom lane.

Depending on how all of this goes over, prepare to see a lot more Yasuo/bruiser-centric picks in the bottom lane than before which is pretty exciting overall.

Once all of a sudden all these ADC players have to change their playstyles and adapt to a completely different type of champions in order to play the game at the most optimal level.

It’s also important to highlight that these teams don’t have a consensus on what’s the best and most optimal way to play right now. Because of this the first few weeks of play will be absolutely bonkers since every team will be trying to figure things out for themselves and perhaps even carve out a specific niche strategy.

With Riot’s changes to critical hit items like Infinity Edge, there are only a couple of ADC champions that can still be played at the highest possible level like Lucian, Kai’Sa and Ezreal. In other words, the ADC role has been blown wide open and every pick is fair game.

Be prepared for absolute insanity.

Off-season practice
The very first week of both Spring and Summer splits are almost always carte blanche. We only get the chance to see the very best team in the region go to the Mid-Season Invitational and battle it out with the strongest teams in the world. However for the other nine European teams we know next to nothing on how well their practice is going, how much improvement they made (if any) during the mid-season period and whether or not they’re entering the Summer Split with more or less confidence when compared to Spring.

Because of this when the split begins we will probably witness a ton of huge upsets and overall inconsistent play. After a couple of weeks go by though, things should stabilize.

Without any further ado let’s take a closer look at this week’s matches!

FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2018 – DAY 1

Team Vitality vs. Splyce
An incredibly exciting clash for sure, also a repeat of the third place match in Spring playoffs. Even though Vitality had the upper hand it was Splyce that adapted faster and showcased incredible mental fortitude. (as well as better drafting)

Splyce are entering Summer as the third best European team from Spring and they have a lot going for them. An insanely talented roster that has yet to reach it’s potential and some of the best players in their respective roles. However just how strong they can get remains to be seen as they were often inconsistent when it mattered the most. (that said they did pick up the pace as the split came to an end)

We’re going with Splyce on this one but not with full confidence. With no intel on how these teams prepared for the Summer Split we can only go by what we know from Spring and that’s the fact that Vitality doesn’t adapt that quickly to big meta swings whereas the Splyce boys have a very capable support staff, as well as many veteran players that will be able to clutch things out.

Winner: Splyce, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)

Giants Gaming vs. H2K

This is where things get complicated. Giants were quite a strong team last split however you could argue that the only reason why they were able to even contest for the playoffs was because of their strong late game teamfighting, and while that isn’t anything to scoff at, once the meta changed they essentially crumbled. Hard.

H2K on the other hand though improved with each passing week and when all was said and done they were a Top 5 team without a doubt – as surprising as that might seem. They put up a good fight against Vitality in the quarterfinals but it wasn’t enough. That said they’re entering Summer with a lot of momentum. The fact that they were able to improve so much over the course of just a couple of weeks is a testament to their work ethic and coaching staff and with a couple of changes to their playstyle they could pose quite a real threat.

The addition of Shook completely revitalized this roster so it will be exciting to see just how well they’ll play in Summer now that they had a couple of months to further gel and develop synergy.

Winner: H2K, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Unicorns of Love vs. Schalke 04

If someone told you that Schalke would be near the very bottom of the standings after Spring Split concluded, you probably wouldn’t have believed them. And with good reason – there’s so much talent on that roster. They were supposed scrim beasts, but when it came to playing on the EU LCS stage in Berlin, they fumbled and failed almost every single time.

They were able to show glimpses of brilliance here and there and caused a fair share of upsets but it was never consistent. Coming into Spring they made just a single roster and that is in the jungle position – Amazing will be starting instead of Pride. Is that the change that will help Schalke turn things around?

Unfortunately not. Amazing simply isn’t playing at the highest possible level right now and we’ve seen what he can do during his short stint with Mysterious Monkeys. He brings a ton of experience and shotcalling but those virtues aren’t permanent and they degrade with time. Pride wasn’t really the shinning star on Schalke but he did good, even better than expected. In the end it seems like this roster will be one of those “super teams” that never really gelled that well.

As for the Unicorns they’re a different kind of beast. After an abysmal start to the Spring Split they were able to carve out a unique identity (as they almost always do) and quickly started playing like a Top 6 team. Unfortunately their start was way too bad and they couldn’t contest for the playoffs but at least they showed a lot of promising signs. They’re a fairly capable roster with some potential but if Exileh doesn’t step up then they’re destined to remain in the middle of the standings – at best.

The last time these two teams met was on March 3rd and the Unicorns took the win. Going into this match however it can really go either way. We’re going with Schalke 04 however as the Unicorns of Love are entering the first couple of weeks of Summer with a substitute in the ADC position. The loss of Samux will be a big one as he was their biggest catalyst more often than not. Schalke should by all means be more than capable enough to take down a weakened UOL roster.

Winner: Schalke 04, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs. ROCCAT

Will we see the rise of the G2 dynasty once again? Only time will tell. Coming into Spring they’re automatically predicted as a Top 3 team at worst and with good reason. They’re a very capable roster with a ton of potential. They have a chip on their shoulder coming into Summer and they want to retain their throne from Fnatic.

Roccat on the other hand is no slouch – far from it. Blanc and Memento proved to be more than just a formidable duo when they played in Spring however it was the rest of the team that was slacking behind. They reached the playoffs but they were without a doubt the weakest team among the Top 6.

We’re going with G2 on this one. They’re simply too strong regardless of the meta and Roccat did little over the course of Spring to warrant any benefit of the doubt against such a powerhouse.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

Fnatic vs. Misfits

To finish off the first day of competition we have an incredibly exciting clash between Fnatic and the team that took just a single year between the Challenger Series and challenging SKT T1 to five games at Worlds – Misfits.

However if we’re going to judge from their level of play from Spring they’re far from their 2017 Worlds form.

They remain an enigma. You could never really deduce their real power level in Spring as they played like beasts in one match and then like a bottom tier team the very next day. After their sensational performance at 2017 Worlds everyone expected them to enter Spring as a Top 5 team at worst even with the two roster changes that they made.

That was far from the case as they ended the Spring Split as the seventh ranked team with a fairly unimpressive eight wins and ten losses.

That said it was always evident that they needed just a little bit more time to synergize and that their “final form” was constantly within reach.

Unfortunately regardless of their mid-season practice and hypothetical improvement, they’re up against Fnatic which is almost surely a loss barring any wild illogical drafting from the current kings of Europe.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2018 – DAY 2

ROCCAT vs. H2K

This match really depends on how both these teams perform on day one. H2K should have the edge overall but it’s too early to tell as ROCCAT are far from a weak team. That said when these teams concluded their Spring Split run they were on completely opposite trajectories – H2K was on the rise whereas ROCCAT failed to sustain a formidable level of play.

We’re going with H2K on this one, but not with full confidence.

Winner: H2K, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

Misfits vs. Unicorns of Love

Regardless of how you spin things, Misfits should have the edge in this one. Even though they failed to leave a mark throughout the Spring Split they still showed glimpses of a top tier team, and were the only team that was able to outperform Fnatic on more than one occasion. They have a lot of work to do but the level of talent that’s present on this roster is undeniable and if they used their off-time accordingly they should be entering the Summer Split with a lot of momentum and confidence.

The Unicorns are no slouches either but we’re going to give Misfits the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Winner: Misfits, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Giants Gaming vs. Team Vitality

If there is always one thing that Vitality didn’t lack it was confidence. They never doubted their team cohesion (even when they should’ve) and individual skill and against a middle-of-the-pack team like Giants that should be more than enough. Jiizuke (Rookie of the Split in Spring) is an absolute beast and their bottom lane even though they can feed at times is very formidable, perhaps even Top 3.

Betting on Team Vitality seems like the more logical choice. They want to start Summer off with a bang and this is the way to do it.

Winner: Team Vitality, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Schalke 04 vs. Fnatic

Regardless of how well Schalke might look straight out the gates, there’s no way that they will be able to match Fnatic’s strength. With a new jungler they will need more time to fully synergize and adapt to Amazing’s playstyle and to make matters worse Fnatic has the best players in the region in essentially every single role.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

Splyce vs. G2 eSports

This is where things get very interesting, very quickly. Could Splyce “upset” G2? Absolutely – there’s no doubt about it. But because they failed to play at a consistent level throughout Spring and because G2 was able to step up and reach the finals, it’s hard to have full confidence in the Splyce boys – at least right now. The former kings of Europe are favored in this one and with good reason, but Splyce aren’t lacking at all, and have in fact shown more creative drafts and strategies in general which could be their path to victory.

Make sure to watch both teams on Friday to get a better idea on their power level because this could be a match where you could win big if you bet on the underdog.

Winner: Splyce, 2.20 (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

Mid-Season Invitational 2018 – Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

May 11th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

After a couple of months filled with engaging meta shifts, upsets and exciting top tier League of Legends, we are on the brink of the first international tournament of the year.

Founded in 2015, the Mid-Season Invitational serves a very concrete role in the competitive season. It’s always held in May, right after the Spring Split comes to a close and it functions as a very direct indication of how strong each region is. Throughout it’s rather short history, MSI was always a proving ground for the absolute best teams in the world. Perhaps most fittingly it serves as a mini-World Championship, without the chaos, the big stadiums and the month long marathon of League of Legends.

This time around the Mid-Season Invitational is being held in the EU LCS studio in Berlin and later on in Paris. We’re going to witness the absolute best teams in the world represent their regions and things really cannot get any more exciting. The meta is pretty flexible and teams can play through both bottom and mid lane but there is also ample space for experimentation. (Vietnam’s EVOS eSports is a good example)

Without any further ado, let’s focus on the teams that will be competing at this year’s Group Stage.

LCK: KingZone DragonX

Hailing from Korea’s LCK we have KingZone DragonX – formerly known as Longzhu Gaming. 2017 was a fantastic year for Longzhu as they completely dominated their region and went to Worlds as the clear-cut favorites. (and with good reason)

It was such a big shock then to see them get kicked out in the Quarterfinals by Samsung Galaxy in a 3-0 shellacking. Losing is one thing, after all every Top 3 team in the LCK is incredibly dangerous but losing in such dominant fashion was a sight no one expected to see. They’re entering 2018 with an improved roster as they’ve signed both Peanut (of ROX Tigers and SKT fame) and even Rush. (former Team Impulse and Cloud9 jungler) To say that they’ve been dominating on home soil would be an understatement.

They’ve only lost two matches during the 2018 Spring Split and one of those losses was without their toplaner Khan. The amount of tools that they have at their disposal is simply astonishing. They can play any style, they’re dominant and focused when ahead but when behind as well and they have some of the best players in the entire world.

Kingzone isn’t perfect, in fact they’re still essentially the same team from last year (even with Peanut being a huge upgrade) and taking them down lies in setting back Pray and Gorilla. That said – it’s far easier said than done. They know where their weaknesses lie and they’re more than able to play around them. They know what’s the best and most optimal way to play and win in the current meta and even though Pray statistically gets the least amount of resources out of any other ADC competing at MSI he still does wonders.

They want redemption for their 2017 Worlds failure which could make this Kingzone roster a highly dangerous one. They’re not just looking to win but they’re looking to make a statement.

Betting on Kingzone DragonX to win is a complete no-brainer at this point.

LPL: Royal Never Give Up

After three splits spent in EDG’s and Team WE’s shadow, this is the first time since 2016 Spring that Royal Never Give Up managed to claim the LPL throne. It was an exhilarating ride from start to finish and even though they got a bit “lucky” in certain moments of their Spring Split run they’ve still earned their right to be China’s representative at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational.

It was also the first time that fan-favorite Uzi was able to lift an LPL trophy after years of finishing second. His level of play throughout the regular season and playoffs was absolutely astonishing. He completely outclassed other world class AD carries in his region and is absolutely the most feared ADC in the world – judged by his peers. Even if he doesn’t shine to the fullest of his ability (which is hard to imagine), RNG also has one of the best midlaners in the world as well in Xiaohu.

The current meta is very bottom lane focused and RNGU’s ability to play around arguably the best ADC in the world is quite the advantage. Uzi isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes but the level of his play is simply mindblowing and it’s present both in the laning phase as well as teamfighting in later stages of the game. Paired with their staple aggression and willingness to go for insane plays and you get a team that could in theory really challenge Kingzone.

They’re also coming in with both Karsa (of Flash Wolves fame) and Mxlg, two very different but equally dangerous world renown junglers. Depending on the opponent they could by all means swap junglers and force a completely different playstyle.

Overall they’re an incredibly capable team however it’s still too early to realistically predict whether or not they will be able to contest for the finals or not. LPL champions have been hit or miss over the last couple of years but their potential should never be overlooked. Their aggression and high level teamfighting is something not a lot of teams can contain which is one of the main reasons why we’re putting them second.

If last year’s Worlds is any indication (two representatives in the top 4), LPL is as strong as it ever was.

EU LCS: Fnatic

Representing the EU LCS we have the former (and current) “Kings of Europe” – Fnatic. After a pretty satisfying 2017 season they entered 2018 willing to regain their long lost throne. After an insane regular season they completely and utterly dominated G2 eSports in the finals, clean sweeping them in 3-0 fashion. They’re the absolute best team Europe has to offer and this will be the first time since 2015 that they will be attending the Mid-Season Invitational. (the year when Fnatic almost took down SKT T1 in a Best of 5)

They’re an incredibly talented team that has already proven it’s worth on the international stage. They’re also incredibly dangerous since they can play either through mid or bottom lane. By being a multi-threat team they can essentially adapt regardless of the opponent and go for the most optimal strategy. On an individual level they’re also some of the best players in the world and the fact that sOAZ will be their starting toplaner will surely boost their chances. Even though Bwipo did well in the finals against G2, the amount of leadership, shotcalling and experience that sOAZ brings to the table is invaluable.

Over the last year or so Fnatic proved to belong near the very top of everyone’s power rankings and while they didn’t really make a splash on the international stage just yet, they’re just getting started.

The primary reason why we’re putting Fnatic at third instead of someone like Team Liquid is because they’ve not only retained their 2017 roster but actually managed to improve as well. Everyone on Fnatic has Worlds experience and they were able to showcase incredible resilience and mental fortitude last year when they became the first team in the history of the World Championship that went from 0-4 to advancing to the quarterfinals. They’re all incredibly skilled and perhaps most importantly they have a fantastic entourage within the coaching staff so they should be very prepared for this year’s Mid-Season Invitational.

They have some big shoes to fill after watching G2 challenge SKT T1 last year, but they absolutely have the tools to make their region proud.

NA LCS: Team Liquid

For the North American representative we have Team Liquid. It’s strange not seeing the likes of TSM or Cloud9 represent the NA LCS but at the same time this is a breath of fresh air. TSM couldn’t really do their region justice so perhaps it’s time to give someone else a try. Fortunately for all NA fans this teams is as good as it gets on paper. Unfortunately they didn’t really get that challenged in North America. Echo Fox had an insane dip in performance mid-split, Cloud9 couldn’t really compete at the highest level near the end, TSM had more than a fair share of problems regarding synergy and overall team play, etc.

Regardless, Team Liquid has a lot of things going for them. When you break down the roster on an individual level you realize that this is an absolute all-star cast consisting of some of the best players in each and every role. Impact still hasn’t lost his touch and the meta currently suits him perfectly (not to mention his international “buff”), Xmithie is one of the most intelligent and experienced junglers in NA and to top it all off he has a ton of synergy with Pobelter and Olleh back from their Immortals days (they also competed at Worlds 2017) and last but not least we have Doublelift, one of the best AD carries the West has to offer. He didn’t always play to the fullest of his ability on the international stage, but his leadership and sheer mechanical prowess cannot be ignored.

While they’re all incredibly skilled and experienced individually they’re still fairly fresh as a five man cohesive unit. Dominating your region is one thing but performing on the international stage is another – and that has been the biggest pitfall of North America as a region. TSM dominated for years, in fact this was the first year in NA LCS history that we didn’t see TSM in the final. Regardless of their level of play on home soil – facing the upper echelon from Korea, China, Taiwan, Europe etc. is a different story.

Because of this we’re placing Team Liquid at number four. (ironic) That said they’re incredibly skilled all-around and it’s highly possible that this is the year when North America breaks the curse and actually performs as expected on an international stage.

LMS: Flash Wolves

The only team returning from last year and the de-facto representative from the Taiwanese LMS. After winning five straight LMS titles in a row they’re entering the Mid-Season Invitational with a fair amount of hype. There is a fair number of people who are expecting less from the Flash Wolves this year as they have two new members in the roster – Hanabi in the top lane and Moojin in the jungle, however after seeing them play and dominate against Gambit Gaming this Wednesday it became clear that they’re still a force to be reckoned with primarily due to the fact that they retained the Maple-Betty-SwordArt core. They’re all incredibly skilled individuals

The Flash Wolves are always a hard team to bet on. They have flashes of brilliance regardless of the team they’re up against (also known as the “Korean slayers” due to the fact that they held a positive record against SKT T1 in their prime) but they also stumble and fall at the most random of times. They’re incredibly dominant and strong in the early stages of the game however as time goes on they begin to make critical mistakes at the worst possible times.

Their skill and overall potential is obvious and their aggression is much similar to that of the top LPL teams – probably due to the fact that they consistently scrim the Chinese cream of the crop throughout the year. However they rarely played their best when it came down to those clutch games and moments so we’re ranking them fifth.

VCS: EVOS

Last but not least we have the Vietnamese representative. Even though they weren’t favored to win and proceed to the Group Stage they showed the world that their region is not one to scoff at. Turkey’s SuperMassive was favored not only to dominate in the Play-In stage but perhaps even make a splash throughout the tournament as they were coming in with quite a lot of hype. (mainly due to their high profile imports GBM and SnowFlower) However it was EVOS that proved to be the better team on almost all fronts in their Best of 5 clash on Tuesday.

Without a doubt the biggest performer on the team was their jungler Yijin who almost single-handedly demolished SuperMassive with some of the best (and cleanest) Graves play we’ve seen in quite some time.

After an insane game three (+40 CSD@10, 27.3% of his team’s damage) he went for a repeat in game four and performed even better. It’s fitting that the entire Vietnamese region is becoming feared primarily for their junglers and style of play – incredibly aggressive, “in-your-face” with a sprinkle of mechanical prowess.

Vietnam’s biggest strength is undoubtedly their unfiltered aggression and willingness to play the game in a different way. While others are playing through the mid and bottom lane, EVOS’ main strengths lie in their jungle and top positions. They fight from the very beginning and if they manage to dictate the pace of the game they become quite unstoppable.

After witnessing just how big of an impact Yijin as an individual has, it will be exciting to see how well he fares against the like of Xmithie and Broxah who are more controlling, cerebral junglers. He shouldn’t be able to dominate as much against the likes of Peanut and Mlxg but Fnatic and Team Liquid could in theory be vulnerable.

In other words they have the potential to upset. It’s still far too early to predict anything concrete but if their level of play is any indication it’s very possible for them to have a repeat result like the Gigabyte Marines a year prior. (when they kicked TSM out of Groups)

Again, they’re not going for the “most optimal way” to play League of Legends, they have their own playstyle and they’re doing what works for them – to much success so far. They completely overwhelmed SuperMassive and gave a ton of resources to Yijin expecting him to carry – which he did.

They’re entering Groups as the underdogs but knowing how wild Best of 1’s can get, this might be the perfect chance for EVOS to shine and shock the world.

Verdict

As always, betting on the Korean champion to win is always a fool-proof strategy and it pays off almost every single time. (with the very first Mid-Season Invitational being the rare exception when EDG bested SKT in the finals) That said it doesn’t mean other teams won’t be able to contest and perhaps even upset. Royal Never Give Up in particular looks like a very formidable opponent and while Fnatic and Team Liquid didn’t really have the toughest of opposition in their respective regions they’re still highly skilled and experienced teams.

Much like every year the power rankings are pretty obvious. Korea at number one, then a couple of empty spaces then China, Europe and North America. Taiwan is always a wildcard region when it comes to performance – they can either shine and dominate or completely fall flat. Regardless, they’re currently an unknown quantity but they did show quite a lot of potential in their Best of 5 against Gambit Gaming.

As always, if you’re betting on the Mid-Season Invitational try to watch as many games as possible to get a better grasp on the overall power rankings. Things change from game to game and since it’s a volatile Best of 1 format anything can happen at any given time.

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EU LCS 2018 Spring Split Third Place Match – Team Vitality vs. Splyce Preview

April 5th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

For our third place match we have a clash between Team Vitality and Splyce. Now while the third place doesn’t matter on paper, in reality it carries quite a lot of significance. First of all – the third placed team gets more circuit points that could go a long way in securing a spot at this year’s Worlds. Secondly, the third best team in the region gets the chance to represent Europe at this year’s Rift Rivals in North America (being held in the middle of the Summer Split). While that might not seem like a lot it’s a highly valuable experience for new and veteran teams alike, going overseas and gaining some international experience.

In reality though, it’s a bittersweet consolation prize and teams react differently when they have to fight for third – some go all out and try to end the split on a high note while others don’t prepare that much.

Both Vitality and Splyce had somewhat similar fates in the playoffs. They both had ups and downs during the regular season but when the dust settled it was obvious that they belonged in the upper echelon of the European LCS. However when facing Fnatic and G2 in the semis they really failed to show their worth. Both teams lost in pretty convincing 1-3 fashion as they failed to  impose their own playstyle. They only barely managed to rise and dominate for a single game and that obviously wasn’t enough.

Vitality looked confident coming into their series against Fnatic even though they struggled to defeat H2K just a week prior. They knew their win conditions – get Jiizuke ahead early against a game Caps and snowball from there just like they did so many times earlier. Fnatic though had other plans as they flipped the script and used Vitality’s main strategy against them. From very get go Caps was the one getting snowballed as Broxah focused almost exclusively on getting him ahead. (31.6% jungle proximity, an incredible jump from 21.3% during the regular season) Their Zoe + Nidalee combo was too much for Jiizuke to handle who didn’t even take Cleanse in order to counter Caps’ “Sleepy Trouble Bubble”.

They shifted towards a more early game focused playstyle in order to counter Vitality’s main win condition – a strong start. Even though Vitality tried their best to adapt – and to their credit they did, it was never really enough. Fnatic was just simply better in every stage of the game and when they created leads they didn’t need a lot of time in order to close the game out. Gilius in particular managed to bounce back in each game and actually have a solid impact on the map but when Vitality didn’t have a big lead in the mid lane then the sidelanes really didn’t have anything to work with.

In the end they did well, but not as well as they could. They displayed some potential but they were ultimately too inconsistent. Looking ahead though they have a chance against Splyce and getting that third spot isn’t too shabby for such a young roster.

Splyce on the other hand arguably had an easier task at hand as they had a weakened G2 roster in the way and yet they failed to play even remotely as well as they did during the regular season. Beating G2 is never an easy task regardless of their starting line-up however Splyce showed a fantastic understanding of the meta and paired with great individual performance they should have fought a much closer fight.

Even their single game win was lackluster and when they destroyed G2’s nexus they were behind in gold and objectives. It was only through a well executed teamfight (that resulted in almost acing G2) that they were able to close things out but they were barely managing to keep up the pace with G2.

Game two went all according to plan for G2 as they stomped Splyce from the very get go. As did game three, and game four. G2 had their early advantages and they used them in best possible way. They were clean, confident and never let go when they were ahead.

Perhaps most surprisingly the player that was expected to underperform the most – Nisqy, actually had a fantastic showing, almost carrying Splyce in teamfight after teamfight. G2 knew Xerxe had the biggest impact when playing Zac so they banned him out from the very get go and when they saw his performance on Trundle in game one they took that pick away as well so Xerxe had to go over to Sejuani and Olaf. Neither pick really work our as he was a complete non-factor for the rest of the series. Without such a big catalyst in the jungle no other member of the team really popped off. Kobbe and KaSing especially didn’t do anything in their semifinal match against Vitality, and going into it everyone knew Kobbe had to be Splyce’s main and most successful win condition. Without that on the board there was really no way to with, other than the one game where Kobbe managed to get to full build, late game Sivir and had a beefy frontline.

Overall, either Splyce underperformed to an incredible degree or G2 eSports just stepped up to the plate and ultimately clinched their spot in the finals.

As for Splyce, they didn’t show much and they’re going into their match with Vitality without really proving their worth. There is zero hype and zero momentum even though there is a lot of talent on the roster. If Vitality bans out Xerxe’s most impactful picks then it’s hard seeing Splyce winning any kind of early game and with Gilius showing proficiency on a wide variety of picks (even playing Xerxe’s Trundle to an impressive degree) then it’s hard giving Splyce the benefit of the doubt.

Verdict

This is such a hard match to predict as it can really go either way. It depends on which team shows up more and how they react to playing on such a big stage in front of a big Danish crowd. Vitality has an easier time imposing their playstyle and they have multiple win conditions even though they mostly play only through mid lane. Splyce on the other hand really fell flat against G2 and failed to do anything worth mentioning, whereas Vitality arguably had the tougher task at hand and performed admirably.

Much like our EU LCS finals, this will be a game of inches. Vitality however showed more on the Rift a couple of days ago, and they also displayed some impressive mental fortitude even when Fnatic had match point. We’re going with Vitality on this one but this will be far from an easy series and it could by all means go the distance.

Winner: Team Vitality, 2.49 (odds @ 1xBet)

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NA LCS 2018 Spring Split Semifinals – 100 Thieves vs. Clutch Gaming Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

April 1st, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

For our second semifinal match we have an incredibly exciting clash between 100 Thieves and Clutch Gaming. Now while no one had anticipated that this would be our semifinal match-up, things really cannot get more interesting.

For the first time in years we will have a new NA LCS champion – gone are the days of TSM, Cloud9 and CLG – teams that either didn’t reach the playoffs or were defeated handily.

No one saw it coming – an upgraded TSM losing in the quarterfinals to a new organization, and in such convincing fashion. TSM started off strong, they were relentless with MikeYoung spamming his “Predator” on cooldown. They were able to exert insane amounts of pressure and paired with incredible teamplay they were able to shut down LirA and play as a five man cohesive unit, always on the same page and making the right moves without a moment of hesitation.

It was then such a big surprise to see them come back in game two and turn the series on it’s head. Clutch displayed incredible teamwork as well as individual skill – Febiven and Hakuho had the opportunity to shine the brightest with the latter showing off his incredible (filthy almost) Thresh skills that eventually swung each and every game in their favor. Even Solo stepped up to the plate, as he managed to solo kill Hauntzer in a losing match-up. They were fearless and utterly demolished TSM who didn’t have an answer to either Swain or Thresh. They were too slow to adapt and Zven had one of the worst showings ever, dying almost fifteen times in just four games.

100 Thieves on the other hand are still somewhat of an unknown quantity. They’re one of the best teams in the region right now – that’s for sure, but just how good, and how consistent they are is still a question mark. That said they always showed bigger potential as a team and that is one of the main reasons why they were able to clinch the number one playoff bye in their inaugural season.

That paired with the fact that they had an additional week to prepare and watch Clutch Gaming in action should give them a considerable edge in today’s series.

We’re going with 100 Thieves on this one, simply off of their regular season form and overall success. They have some of the best players in the region and a fantastic coach in Prolly, so they shouldn’t have any problem taking on Clutch Gaming on an individual level. In the end it all comes down to overall team cohesion and synergy. While 100T are heavily favored in this one, have in mind that it should by no means be an easy match as Clutch showed no signs of slowing down even when losing to TSM. They know their strengths and they want to reach the finals so expect a close, perhaps even five map series.

Winner: 100 Thieves, 1.36 (odds @ Betway)

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EU LCS 2018 Spring Split Semifinals – G2 eSports vs. Splyce – Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 29th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

After nine weeks of back and forth action, exciting upsets and twists and turns we are finally at the point where every single move carries significance. Things played out in such a way that we actually do have the absolute best four teams in the region, fighting it out not just for bragging rights but for Worlds circuit points and a chance to play at this year’s Rift Rivals in North America. (July)

All four teams will be fighting in Copehagen, and the first match we have upcoming is G2 eSports vs. Splyce this Friday.

As G2 took hold of the second place in the rankings and that important playoff bye, they were able to recuperate for an extra week and watch Splyce play against ROCCAT last Friday. Unfortunately for G2, if they were hoping to see some glaring problems in Splyce’s game or strategy they were probably left empty handed. While Splyce is far from a picture perfect team, they cleaned up their early game enough so that they’re no longer just a late game threat. They still do make mistakes here and there but it’s fairly forgivable.

In their first game against ROCCAT they relied on Odoamne frontlining on Sion and Xerxe engaging on Zac which worked well, however they were often too eager to make something happen and ROCCAT simply waited it out. Unfortunately for ROCCAT Nisqy had arguably his best EU LCS game to date on Kassadin – ending the game 12/0/2.

The same can be said for game two, however this time around Splyce put Odoamne on Camille which as the game progressed became unstoppable. The “roaring Romanian duo” did a ton of the heavy lifting in game two, being the only players having 100% kill participation at the twenty minute mark. With a 13k gold lead after twenty five minutes it wasn’t hard for Splyce to close out the game for match point.

Game three started off badly for Splyce after a botched 2v2 in the bottom lane, however Splyce took the fights they needed and denied ROCCAT’s engages. After a fantastic Baron bait Splyce accrued a big enough lead to go for a repeat of game two and they even did so with Xerxe on a 1/1/13 Trundle in the jungle. He was always a pioneer with his picks and this quarterfinal matchup was no different. It’s quite hard to prepare for someone who can just pull out an insane counter pick on the spot – seemingly improvised but has in fact practiced that pick to no end. Xerxe always did that, picking Kayn, the reworked Warwick, Ivern, Rumble and even Poppy as a counter to Jankos’ Zac in the regional qualifier last year. The 2017 Rookie of the Split has continued his rise among the best junglers in the region and is currently the best performing jungler in the region – without a doubt. Regardless of the bad start Splyce had, he has the highest KDA among all junglers (7.1), lowest death share at a measly 13%, highest first blood rate at 63% and some of the best stats regarding CS and gold differential. He doesn’t have the highest damage numbers – that’s for sure but Splyce doesn’t need a carry in the jungle position as some other teams do, what they need is a catalyst, someone who can enable their laners and set up plays and that is something that Xerxe excels at.

When the dust settled, it was a rather easy and quick 3-0 domination from the Splyce boys. They didn’t show weaknesses – at all even, and it was just a shellacking from beginning to end. However this shouldn’t play too big of a factor going forward into their match against G2 eSports as, after all, even with a weakened line-up they’re still the undisputed “Kings of Europe”.

As for the rest of Splyce even though they haven’t been playing that well from the very beginning (Odo inting on Ilaoi, Nisqy being one of the worst midlaners in the region, etc.) they all stepped up and improved considerably.  Unfortunately Odoamne doubles Wunder’s death share which is not a good thing, however Splyce only recently started giving Odo picks that he can carry on. He’s a good tank player, however he wasn’t as successful this split as he was during his stint in H2K. From the moment he got his hands on Camille, the change was evident.

Nisqy on the other hand still fails to show up big time other than his single Kassadin game against ROCCAT. That said he’s been the perfect utility midlaner that Splyce need however it’s always a question of how big his mid lane deficit will be and how that will impact the rest of his team.

Most of their cards are on Kobbe hardcarrying in the late game and that has worked out more often than not. With a strong frontline in Odoamne/Xerxe and a peeling, utility support like Janna, Zilean or Lulu from KaSing all Kobbe has to do in the late game is position correctly and right click. That said even though he’s been getting a lot of praise for his clutch plays he is far from a dominant or well performing ADC from a statistical standpoint. In fact he’s been rather mediocre and even outside of the top five. (his laning especially leaves a lot to be desired) Fortunately for him with a veteran support like KaSing by his side things get a lot easier, especially when not against a top tier ADC.

As for G2 eSports, their Spring Split was a roller coaster from the very beginning. Fortunately for all G2 fans they managed to pick up steam as the split came to an end and ultimately secure that valuable playoff bye. That said, the team has serious faults and issues that cannot be changed over night, the main one being their bottom lane.

To be quite frank they’re probably not up to the task. It’s hard enough having to fill the void left by Zven and Mithy, let alone having to play in front of thousands of roaring Danish fans that are cheering on one of the best European teams in history. The burden to carry is heavy enough and Hjarnan and Wadid are probably not adept enough for the task. They’re not bad players, far from it but they’re just not at the level that is necessary in order to stand next to players like Perkz and Jankos, they don’t have the experience nor the mechanical prowess to clutch out the game and lift the trophy. They’ve consistently been exploited in the bottom lane and the pressure to perform is surely immense.

That paired with the fact that Wunder hasn’t been nearly as effective and impactful on tanks when compared to his carry performances and you get a team that is essentially revolving around their mid and jungle duo. Perkz alone cannot carry the game all the way through to the end – even though he tries his hardest. Depending on the draft this team could have a lot of tools to carry with or at worst just one and that is a big problem. Now they might be able to manipulate their way into get the picks that they want but it’s all still a big question mark especially in a meta where the ADC plays an integral role in the mid and especially the late game.

Verdict

Thing is, even with the small mistakes Splyce makes predominately in the early game it’s hard seeing G2 exploiting them as hard as they need to in order to win. (barring any abysmal Baron calls or teamfight that Splyce are prone to taking) That said the last time these two teams faced off in a tiebreaker for second place, G2 was able to take the win. A week before that Splyce utterly demolished G2 with a roaming Galio + Ivern duo, combo’d up with a lethal Zayah and Rakan for Kobbe and Kasing. (ended up 11-1 in SPY’s favor) These two teams constantly go back and forth which should lead to an extremely engaging series that could by all means go the five game distance.

There are a lot of factors and scenarios that have to go in favor of each team if they want to win, and it’s not all just preparation. Who will get the priority in the top lane? How will Nisqy fare against Perkz’s lane kingdom? Will Splyce be able to exploit the Hjarnan and Wadid duo as they’ve been able to in the past? So many questions and variables that are up in the air. Given how Splyce is quite the underdog from a betting perspective and yet they’ve shown more consistency and a higher success rate over the last couple of weeks (depending on the draft in particular) we’re going with them as they really do have a big chance to pull off the upset. That said, expect an explosive game of inches where even the slightest mistake could become the deciding factor.

Winner: Splyce, 2.40 (odds @ Betway)

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EU LCS 2018 Spring Split – Week 9 Day 2 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 17th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

After a hectic first day of the last week of regular season play things cannot get more exciting. The European LCS has always been a top heavy region, dominated by the giants like Fnatic, G2 eSports and a couple of others. (Alliance, Origen, Misfits as of late, etc.) You always had four or five top tier teams that scooped up the majority of the talent and the coaching staff which left the bottom five teams with scraps. This year however with so many players leaving the region and after such a big influx of young new talent, almost every team entered the Spring Split on a somewhat even footing.

This lead us to arguably the most exciting Spring Split in the history of the region. While things did pan out in the end somewhat as was expected, it was still one heck of a ride and we’re still not settled on the last two playoff spots.

Giants vs. Splyce

For our first match we have a clash between Giants and Splyce. Now both teams want to win this one hard – Splyce are fighting for that second place playoff bye and Giants want to be in the playoffs. Without a win here they’re probably going to get edged out by someone like H2K, ROCCAT or perhaps even Unicorns of Love. Even though Splyce lost yesterday they’re still one of the best teams in the region and they played an almost perfect game. They built a fantastic lead from the very get go but failed to execute their comp perfectly (which was a risky one to begin with) and after Odoamne got caught on the bottom lane Splyce didn’t have their primary carry. As for Giants, the majority of their wins came at the beginning of the split when they were one of the first teams that realized that drafting late game team comps was the way to go however teams adapted and the meta changed which left them without a lot of win conditions as they don’t really have a carry within their team.

This one should go in Splyce’s favor without a doubt.

Winner: Splyce, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

H2K vs. ROCCAT

An incredibly important match for both teams. After upsetting Schalke 04 yesterday, H2K have their eyes set on the last playoff spot and if they want to keep their hopes alive they know this is a must win. As for ROCCAT they’re in a somewhat more relaxed position as they have one additional win over all other teams below them however they’re still not a safe lock for the playoffs. That said the level of gameplay they’ve displayed over the last couple of weeks is very respectable and they should be able to not only win this game today but go on to be a worthy opponent in the playoffs. It won’t be easy however as H2K are far more capable than most people expect.

Winner: ROCCAT, 1.5 (odds @ Betway)

Unicorns of Love vs. Misfits

What a surprise this year has been for Misfits – from challenging SKT in the quarterfinals of the Worlds Championship to being one of the worst performing teams. The problems are obvious but the fact that they failed to fix any of their issues over the last nine weeks is the most disappointing one – regardless if you’re a Misfits fan or not. They’ve constantly shown flashes of brilliance – like taking Fnatic down twice this split, you can still see their preparation and their incredible coaching staff, they’re still all playing relatively well on an individual level – excluding Maxlore and Sencux, however whatever they draft, whatever they play they almost never seem to execute properly. This means they will most likely miss out on this Split’s playoffs even though most people would expect them to make quick work of the Unicorns.

UOL on the other hand has been playing some incredible, high level League of Legends but they often fail to close out games even with the big leads they create. They completely and utterly demolished G2 eSports yesterday but failed to close out in the end which allowed G2 to scale, farm up and eventually turn the tides. It was a depressive sight to behold but it’s also a testament to their improvement and overall skill. We’re going with the Unicorns of Love here, but don’t expect a clean, quick game.

Winner: Unicorns of Love, 2.75 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs. Team Vitality

The current “Kings of Europe” are struggling highly with the changes in the meta and an underperforming bottom lane. They essentially don’t have a secondary carry other than Perkz and even the top tier midlaner hasn’t been performing up to expectations over the last two or three weeks. If they put Wunder on a late game carry they have a better chance however they’re barely been able to scrap a couple of wins ever since the meta changes. Vitality on the other hand actually managed to survive their mid-split slump and came back as strong as they debuted at the beginning of the Split. It’s still hard to fairly gauge their skill with their bottom lane still being a mystery and Gilius underperfoming more often than not but they’re potential and their skill is undeniable. They’re also fearless and are able to go for team comps and in-game calls that other teams simply aren’t prepared for. This gives them quite a big edge and will allow them to take down G2 as well.

Winner: Team Vitality, 2.20 (odds @ Betway)

Fnatic vs. Schalke 04

What a sad ending for Schalke, after getting hyped up by almost every single player and analyst before the Spring Split began. They had all the right tools, the rights players and the coaching staff but their potential never realized on the LCS stage. They still have a chance to get to playoffs in theory however their last obstacle is quite a big one – Fnatic. The “former kings of Europe” are currently looking like the absolute best, cleanest and most capable EU LCS team. The level of coordination and mechanical prowess that they’ve displayed over the last couple of weeks is astonishing, especially as they’re playing the game almost flawlessly. It will be almost impossible for Schalke to bounce back however they’re not ready to surrender just yet.

We’re going with Fnatic here but do expect a hard fought game in the end.

Winner: Splyce, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

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EU LCS 2018 Spring Split – Week 8 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 9th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

With one week left of regular season play we are at the point where every single win could be the difference between reaching the playoffs or taking a break until the Summer Split. A lot of it is on the line for all of these teams, not just the veterans like Fnatic and G2 eSports. While we do have a fairly good idea regarding the Top 5, that last sixth playoff spot is completely up in the air and we might even see a couple of surprises in the Top 5 as well.

So without any further ado,  let’s focus on each team and their matches this week. The list is based on the current EU LCS rankings.

1. Fnatic (10W-4L) – The former “Kings of Europe” are without a doubt the best European team at the moment. They’re flexible, they’ve shown better adaptation and more consistent individual play when compared to last year and they’re also all capable of making those incredibly important split-second clutch plays when it matters the most.

That said they are not without fault. They have inconsistent days, Caps hasn’t been performing as well as people expected overall, Broxah can be a beast in one game and then a complete non-factor in the very next one and they’re still putting all of their eggs in the Rekkles basket. Fortunately Rekkles performs out of his mind more often than not but he is just a single carry and when he makes a mistake (like in their game against Misfits last week) Fnatic doesn’t have a win condition.

This week however they shouldn’t sweat too much as they’re against ROCCAT and the Unicorns of Love. While both teams have the tools to make things very competitive, the veteran experience and overall individual skill should be the determining factor in both games.

Winner: vs. ROCCAT, 1.36 (odds @ Betway)

Winner: vs. Unicorns of Love, 1.35 (odds @ Betway)

2. G2 eSports (9W-5L) – The current “Kings of Europe” are currently sitting comfortably as the second best team in the rankings however the newest 8.4 patch wasn’t easy on them. They failed to adapt and played a couple of lackluster games, losing to Giants in the early and mid game but barely managing to cling on. However their game against Splyce was an abysmal one as they were completely outclassed on all fronts from the very get go.

This week however they have an incredibly forgiving schedule. They should by all means be able to take down both H2K on Friday and Schalke 04 on Saturday, however don’t be surprised if they don’t look as clean or dominant as people might expect.

Winner: vs. H2K, 1.36 (odds @ Betway)

Winner: vs. Schalke 04, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

3. Team Vitality (8W-6L) – After two abysmal weeks, the French organization bounced back quite nicely last week. The changes in the meta benefited them slightly however the biggest improvement has been on an individual level. (Gilius especially as he finally started playing League of Legends after being the worst jungler in the EU LCS in weeks six and seven)

They’re still a hard team to gauge. They’re too volatile and if they don’t dominate in the early game they lose almost by default as they don’t have the tools to come back. (whether it’s in the draft or individual skill doesn’t really matter)

Fortunately they do deserve to be in the playoffs and they’re one win away from getting a guaranteed spot, however their final ranking remains to be determined. For week seven they’re fighting against the Unicorns of Love and ROCCAT. Now technically Vitality has the tools to beat both teams but whether or not that happens is a big question mark.

Betting on Vitality would be the more logical choice, however it’s almost best not to bet as they really need to show more consistency before being given the benefit of the doubt.

Winner: vs. ROCCAT, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

3. Splyce (8W-6L) – The Splyce boys were finally able to come out with a 2-0 week and the level of play that they displayed was phenomenal. Individual members stepped up big time (most notably Odoamne and Nisqy), they drafted better early and mid game team comps and didn’t rely on Kobbe to solo carry and they also perfectly read the meta and played more around their early advantages. Looking forward, this team could very well be Top 2 as they have a fairly easy schedule for the next two weeks.

After their match against Misfits tomorrow that is. They have the upper hand as Misfits aren’t that consistent and they’re still struggling with some random drafts and the meta changes but it should be very close.

As for their match with H2K on Saturday, they shouldn’t have a problem taking them down in somewhat dominant fashion even though H2K is prone to overperform and upset from time to time.

Winner: vs. Misfits, 1.83 (odds @ Betway)

Winner: vs. H2K, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

5. Misfits (7W-7L) – Misfits are currently in an interesting position. They’ve finally been able to improve a bit, both individually (Sencux and Maxlore) and as a five man unit but they’re still very inconsistent. That said they’re going to reach the playoffs for sure. As for their matches this week they probably won’t be able to take down Splyce but they shouldn’t have a problem beating Giants.

Winner: vs. Giants, 1.55 (odds @ Betway)

6. Unicorns of Love (6W-8L) – People didn’t expect a lot from this UOL roster, after all they lost both Vizicsacsi and Hylissang – two veteran world class players. However UOL put in the work, week in and week out and even though they started really badly they’re currently on a five game winning streak – they went from 1/8 to 6/8 which is quite incredible.

A big factor is the fact that both Exileh and Samux stepped up and when paired with Kold’s leadership and shotcalling they became a very solid middle-of-the-pack team. They need to continue their streak if they want to reach the playoffs but it’s not going to be easy. This week they’re up against Team Vitality and Fnatic. We’re going for the upset on the first one as even though Vitality played really well last week they’re very vulnerable and inconsistent, however the Unicorns probably don’t stand a chance against Fnatic.

6. Giants (6W-8L) – While they did start off the Spring Split on a high note they failed to adapt to the meta and with other teams catching up in overall cohesion they don’t pose a real threat right now. They’re too reliant on Djoko creating plays and pressure in the early game and other than a couple of great plays from Ruin they failed to do much last week.

They’re facing Schalke 04 on Friday which is a game that could go either way however Schalke generally displayed more potential and they also have more threats. In all fairness it would be best if you would simply skip this match altogether as it’s a matter of which team will choke the least.

Winner: vs. Schalke 04, 1.85 (odds @ Betway)

On Saturday however they’re fighting Misfits which is not going to be an easy task, especially seeing how Misfits know that game is a must win.

6. ROCCAT (6W-8L)Roccat is currently fighting for each and every win as they’re on the brink of reaching playoffs, however their upcoming schedule is far from an easy one. They’re up against Fnatic and Team Vitality this week so it’s hard seeing them winning either game.

They’re a fairly underrated team however they don’t have any other win conditions if Blanc and Memento don’t pop off and that is a problem against top tier teams. Still, they have the tools to contest for that last playoff spot and will surely do their best.

9. H2K (5W-9L) – Even though they were able to surprise on more than one occasion, H2K is going to finish the Spring Split at the bottom of the standings. They’ve displayed serious improvement which is great but they didn’t improve in time to reach the playoffs. That said they’re still an enigmatic team that poses a real threat regardless of their opponent.

Unfortunately this week they’re up against G2 eSports and Splyce and barring any abysmal drafts from either team, H2K shouldn’t win either.

9. Schalke 04 (5W-9L) – And lastly we have Schalke. Now while they’re tied for ninth, they’re quite frankly the last team in regards to what they’ve shown on the Rift over the last couple of weeks. Their potential is undeniable however it seems unreachable at the moment. They’re supposedly a fantastic team in scrims however on stage they fall apart completely.

They don’t have a chance of reaching the playoffs but they’re surely looking to perform and end the split on a “high note”. They’re up against Giants and G2 this week and realistically neither game will be easy but they at least have a chance against Giants. They have the tools, that’s for sure, it’s just a question whether or not they’ll be able to perform on stage.

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EU LCS 2018 Spring Split – Week 7 Day 2 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

March 3rd, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

This will be the very first week that Europe and North America will be playing on patch 8.4, and it is quite a big one. Huge changes to AP itemization mean changes in the top tier mid champion priority, buffed up Baron and Elder Dragon buffs means that games will surely be a lot shorter and quite a lot more prone to snowballing and the lack of “Tracker’s Knife” means teams will have a lot less vision control overall which should in theory either lead to more aggressive early games or – at worst – more passive early play.

Regardless, betting with such a big meta adjustment is really tricky but it can pay off in spades if you bet on the underdog. In other words the playing field gets somewhat leveled, and the team that adapts the quickest has the better chance. We’ve already seen a single day of play on the latest patch, so let’s focus on the games at hand for Saturday!

ROCCAT vs. Splyce – ROCCAT displayed some very clean gameplay against Giants yesterday. They were playing in the very first match of the day and they displayed a great understanding of the current meta – going for two “Banners of Command” on Profit and Norskeren and focusing on Baron from the very get go. Overall they look like a very solid team that could by all means be a solid playoffs contender mostly led by strong performances from Memento and Blanc.

That said, Splyce are currently on fire. They looked immaculate yesterday, they dismantled and outclassed G2 in the macro department yesterday and they also started playing more around Nisqy and Odoamne and less through Kobbe so the burden to carry isn’t as big. They all stepped up individually and read the meta perfectly. They’re a top tier in the making and they have the tools to win against ROCCAT so we’re going with them, but it won’t be close nor clean.

Winner: Splyce, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)

Unicorns of Love vs. Schalke 04 – The boys in pink kept their playoff hopes alive yesterday after a clutch late game win over H2K. They also went from 1-8 to 5-8 with every member stepping up, especially Samux and even Exileh. They displayed far better coordination than H2K and they’re getting into their own groove. They’re also obviously putting in the work and tryharding as much as possible which is very refreshing to see, especially as the playoff race reaches it’s climax.

Schalke essentially choked for the hundredth time in a row and lost almost every single lane. Their drafts are abysmal and their play leaves quite a lot to be desired. They’re completely out of sync, Pride is a non-factor more often than not, Nukeduck has been failing to play at a high level for weeks now which ultimately leaves them with a small number of win conditions. Their macro is also pretty sloppy which is one of the reasons why they’re currently ninth in the rankings.

Because of this we’re going with the underdogs. The Unicorns are fighting for every single win and they know this could be their ticket to playoffs.

Winner: Unicorns of Love, 2.05 (odds @ Betway)

H2K vs. Misfits Gaming – H2K had a good resurgence a couple of weeks ago after signing Selfie and giving the jungle role to an experienced veteran in Shook, however their luck kind of ran out. The meta changed and teams adapted to a better, more aggressive H2K. Their game against the Unicorns yesterday was a close one, mainly due to the fact that they never surrendered, never let go. However it is always a bad call, an individual mistake or a sloppy teamfight that leaves H2K winless regardless of how well they play at certain moments of the game.

As for Misfits, they were on fire with some fantastic calls, they did the right things at the right time, prioritized Baron consistently and team fought almost to perfection. They executed a tough late game comp with Sencux on Anivia who for a change had a sensational game, only dying once. It was close, but they managed to win in the end and they’re looking like a very solid team right now, especially as individual members like Maxlore and Sencux stepped up considerably.

Winner: Misfits, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

Fnatic vs. Team Vitality – Even though Fnatic lost yesterday it was the match of the week for sure, and it was a game of inches that could have gone either way. They made a couple of individual mistakes, Broxah was a complete non-factor and they were countered heavily by Sencux’s Anivia but they showed a lot of good things as well.

Teams figured out Vitality’s playstyle, they’re focusing more on negating Gilius’ ganking potential and they’re countering Jiizuke (who was able to hardcarry only on Zoe and Ryze) to a huge degree meaning Vitality simply don’t have the tools to fight. The fact that they took down Schalke 04 yesterday doesn’t mean they’re back in the mix as a strong contender, they were just able to keep it together for twenty minutes and not fall off a cliff.

They’ve only won a single game out of their last five, so they’re still on a downwards trend for sure. Fnatic have the tools to take down Vitality without a problem.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.55 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs. Giants – Even though G2 looked lost yesterday it’s somewhat forgivable. It’s a brand new patch and they obviously adapted the worst out of all teams competing as they went for a late game scaling team comp and played around objectives the wrong way. It was strange watching them get slapped around by Splyce from the very first minute as they failed to put up any kind of an offensive. They’re not a team that loses early that often – if ever, so it’s somewhat of a worrying sign. They’ll be able to adapt but not for today. Luckily for all G2 fans, Giants are on a downwards spiral and they don’t seem to be adept to change in time for playoffs. If Djoko doesn’t dictate the tempo of the early game they’re pretty much doomed, and they don’t have the tools to compete with G2 at the highest level, even with a weakened G2 roster.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

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EU LCS 2018 Spring Split – Week 6 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

February 23rd, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

Last week was a chaotic one for the European LCS. Favorites like Team Vitality fell off a bit whereas teams like H2K improved quite a bit – almost over night – with just a single change in their lineup and that is in the jungle position. Looking at the upcoming week specifically we don’t have a lot of unpredictable matches so hopefully the inconsistencies that almost every team (other than the very top tier ones) displayed last week will be a bit subdued and less noticeable.

Without any further ado, let’s look at the games and match-ups at hand!

FRIDAY

Fnatic vs. H2K – Even with an improved roster with Shook and Selfie, H2K shouldn’t be able to take down Fnatic. They might pose a very interesting set of problems for them, and it might not be as clean as people expect but Fnatic should come out victorious without a doubt.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.28 (odds @ Betway)

Team Vitality vs. Giants – With a slight shift in the meta, games became a lot quicker meaning the late game oriented strategies from Giants don’t work that well any longer. That was evident from their 0-2 week five, and they should continue falling down in the standings as the split progresses. As for Vitality they’re looking to bounce back and dominate after getting 0-2’d themselves. They need redemption and they want to prove that they belong at the top, so this is the perfect game to start rebuilding that dominance.

Winner: Team Vitality, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

Schalke 04 vs. Misfits – A very hype match for sure, perhaps even the most anticipated of the day. It’s also an incredibly important match as both these teams are fighting for a playoffs spot and they’re neck and neck in the standings. Unfortunately Misfits have a lot more problems than they should and it’s mindboggling to see them underperform, however Schalke 04 didn’t show much last week either and they went 2-0. Nukeduck had an abysmal showing in both games and Upset made some game losing misplays himself, so we’re going with Misfits on this one however expect it to be incredibly close.

Winner: Misfits, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

SATURDAY

ROCCAT vs. Unicorns of Love – Seeing the improvements UOL made over the last couple of weeks this matchup got a lot closer. That said ROCCAT’s wins are no flukes – they’re all playing really well. Memento and Blanc are an incredibly potent mid and jungle duo and they’re carrying the majority of their games, however every member of the lineup is performing admirably well. They’re far more flexible and more in-sync which should give them the edge over UOL this saturday.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.72 (odds @ Betway)

Giants vs. H2K – Shook brought a ton of experience, and he was a fantastic performer on the Ninjas in Pyjamas squad last year however it wasn’t enough then, but it might be now. They’re still not world beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they have the tools to take down a struggling Giants squad. It won’t be pretty, but they should be able to get the job done.

Winner: H2K, 2.10 (odds @ Betway)

Schalke 04 vs. Splyce – An incredibly important game, especially for Schalke 04 who are sitting at an abysmal eight place in the standings. They need to win this game, but it’s highly questionable whether or not they will be able to do so. Splyce on the other hand really showed a lot of problems ever since they started playing as a team. They have zero synergy in the top side of the map, Odoamne has been underperforming from week 1, Xerxe was a complete non-factor unless he’s on Zac and Nisqy has been mediocre at best. Both these teams are top tier contenders in the making, they have the tools but they just need the time. That said, Splyce looked a lot better and more synergetic last week that Schalke and they also displayed less issues on the Rift so they should have the edge.

Winner: Splyce, 1.90 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs. Fnatic – The match of the week. We have a clash between two of the very best teams in the region – period. They started off somewhat slow, but they improved leaps and bounds throughout the next couple of weeks. The current meta perfectly favors G2 eSports and they’ve displayed incredible synergy between Jankos and Perkz, along with Wunder who has been the best (statistically) performing top laner in EU. It won’t be easy, but G2 should be able to win in the end if they maneuver the draft in their favor.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.85 (odds @ Betway)

Misfits vs. Team Vitality – Another incredibly tough match to call. Misfits did show some gradual improvement last week but they’re still in a somewhat weakened post-Worlds state, whereas Vitality had a really, really rough week. That said they still have the same tools that allowed them to get to 7-1 before last week so they should be hungry to prove that they belong at the very top. Misfits themselves though looked very shaky, however they adapted far better to the patch and meta changes when compared to Vitality, so we’re going with the Worlds 2017 quarterfinalists for this one.

Winner: Misfits, 1.85 (odds @ Betway)

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