NA LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Regional Qualifiers Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

September 6th, 2017

Photos: Riot Games

With the regular season behind us, there is only one thing left to find out. Which team is going to be North America’s third seed at this year’s World Championship in China. For the four teams in the regional qualifier, there is no time to take a breather. This is their last and final chance for redemption and their potential ticket to Worlds so expect every team to give it their all.

Cloud9 await in the final day of qualifiers, with CLG being locked in a day earlier. FlyQuest and Team Dignitas will duke it out this Friday for a chance to go farther up the qualifier bracket.

As the gauntlet is played over three days, we will cover each day individually in this post and update it as the games are played.

Let’s take a closer look at the first series!

FlyQuest vs. Team Dignitas

It is almost surprising to see FlyQuest’s name pop up even after the regular season has ended. They failed to reach playoffs or even achieve any kind of noticeable success over the course of the Summer Split – and yet here they are, actually fighting to reach Worlds! How is that possible? Due to their fourth ranking in Spring, and Phoenix1 and Envy failing to achieve any success in playoffs, FlyQuest get to be North America’s fourth team fighting in the gauntlet.

The biggest question people have is – do they have a chance to make it? Plain and simple – no. Even though they managed to win two clutch series in the last week of the regular season, they’re still the exact same team that barely managed to cling onto seventh place. While they’re all great players, they’re heavily mismatched in terms of individual skill and performance. Almost every other NA team developed better synergy between the Spring and Summer splits, and FlyQuest simply couldn’t compete. While they still had standout moments, they lasted long enough for them to take a game, but almost never the series. Their creativity in-game and their boldness to go for objectives or unexpected plays only got them to the seventh place. Novelty is a rare commodity in League of Legends, and as with most things it weakens over time.

Team Dignitas played a relatively abysmal series against TSM just a couple of weeks ago in the Semifinals. Much like CLG, when you expect them to do well they fall flat almost immediately. When their level one strategy went awry in game one, somehow they thought it would be great if they would repeat it for game two. After their game two was essentially lost in the first couple of minutes due to the exact same mistake – they decided to repeat it for game three. What we witnessed was a farce, not high quality League of Legends. You could almost question how they even got to playoffs in the first place, however that would be wrong. It was simply a clash between two teams that belong in two distinct tiers. Nothing more, nothing less, people just thought that maybe they had the tools to contend for a higher spot – and what we saw was that they don’t, not yet at least.

As anyone who had the privilege to watch the old Cloud9’s gauntlet run in 2015 will tell you, whenever Hai is in the regional qualifier things get complicated really quickly. They did have a lot of time to recuperate and watch their opponents, and they will surely come into their series on Friday with a lot of strategy, however it’s simply hard to envision them beating Team Dignitas.

If Dignitas manages to contain Shrimp to his own jungle, and maybe even defend him from Moon’s early aggression, and if they come out the gates with a somewhat different strategy and approach from the one they had in the semifinals, they shouldn’t have too much trouble taking FlyQuest down.

Winner: Team Dignitas, 1.30 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Counter Logic Gaming

No one expected the ferocity that FlyQuest would come out with in their series against Team Dignitas. No one expected an abysmal, out of sync Team Dignitas to show up either. FlyQuest were constantly moving, always more proactive with a clearer idea on what they wanted to do on the Rift. During the entirety of the series they were able to force the fights when and how they wanted. Dignitas didn’t draft too well, nor did they itemize intelligently and they’re only partly to blame for that. FlyQuest always had a great deal of both physical and magic damage, and they always drafted a great frontline as well. Their game one comp consisting of Rumble, Jarvan IV and Galio was a thing of beauty. They were able to CC and endure everything Dignitas had in store, while WildTurtle dished out insane amounts of damage.

They also showed great resilience and mental fortitude as they went to invade Dignitas’ jungle at the very beginning of game two. Things couldn’t have gone worse as they gave two kills and used both flashes in an attempt to escape. However their bottom lane smashes Altec and Adrian and Balls managed to be more effective as a completely shutdown Maokai than a fed Ssumday who tried his hardest to make the game-winning plays but was essentially unable to do so.

FlyQuest arguably overperformed, and Dignitas underperformed by a wide margin. While WildTurtle (along with LemonNation) had an insane series, it’s also worth mentioning that this has been the absolute worst we have seen of the Altec and Adrian bottom lane. They were Dignitas’ biggest strength when they joined the team and became their starting duo down bot, however last night we saw a mere shadow of what they were able to do against even the best North American bottom lanes.

Looking ahead at their next opponent, it’s hard giving any prediction with a lot of confidence.

Aphromoo himself said how complex and frustrating it is when playing against Hai. When FlyQuest go out of the base they have a very clear idea of what they want to do. It’s not always the best plan, and it doesn’t always go their way however they’re always on the same page and that does wonders for them. However CLG put on a clinic against Team Dignitas in the third place match, and they outclassed them a lot harder than FlyQuest did. They’re used to playing with OmarGod, and they’re used to him having a target on his back.

Now playing against an aggressive, playmaking jungler like Moon is a lot harder than playing against an underperforming Shrimp, however CLG should have this. They have threats in every lane, and with Huhi performing so extremely well they have the tools to win without a doubt, however the number of games is up in the air. They have the experience and the mental fortitude to survive the early onslaught, and they even did so both times when they played against FlyQuest during the regular season.

Winner: CLG, 1.33 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. CLG

Photo: Riot Games

While FlyQuest’s resurgence did surprise a lot of people, the “final” we will have the opportunity to see did not. Everyone expected Cloud9 and Counter Logic Gaming to clash for one last time in 2017, and this time there is a lot on the line. Winner goes directly to the Play-In stage of this year’s World Championship, in hopes to qualify for the main shebang. Loser on the other hand ends their regular season, and waits until January to play in the Spring Split.

CLG had to fight a lot harder than they expected to. In fact, they could have very well lost the series, as FlyQuest outplayed them for the majority of the second game. We saw the problems that plagued CLG over the regular season, and they were in full effect. Not always that decisive, not always on the same page, and prone to illogically go for trades that end up bad for them.

Cloud9, even though they lost in the quarterfinals, are still a phenomenal team. They had an abysmal showing, and that happens. They’re still arguably the third strongest North American team, and they will surely show it tomorrow. They have the individual talent, and the quality shotcalling to take CLG down. They had a couple of weeks to prepare, recuperate and come up with a solid gameplan.

That said, matches between these two teams always go the distance, and they leave every part at least partially satisfied. They’re prone to teamfight non-stop, so we are surely in for an action packed five game series.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.72 (odds @ Betway)

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European LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Regional Qualifier Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

September 5th, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

With the regular season behind us, there is only one thing left to find out. Which team is going to be Europe’s third seed at this year’s World Championship in China. Teams are surely exhausted as a result of the constant grinding, however for the four teams in the gauntlet there is no time to waste. This is their chance for redemption, and their potential ticket to Worlds so expect a lot of tryharding and some great League of Legends.

Fnatic awaits in the final day of qualifiers, with Unicorns of Love being locked in a day earlier. H2K and Splyce will duke it out this Friday for a chance to go farther up the qualifier bracket.

As the gauntlet is played over three days, we will cover each day individually in this post and update it as the games are played.

Let’s take a closer look at the first series!

H2K vs. Splyce

Regardless of which team advances, there is a tough road ahead of them. They essentially have to win nine games in a span of three days, and while it’s not impossible – it’s mentally and physically draining. It’s also somewhat hard to come up with a complex game plan as they have less than 24h before the very next series.

That said, these teams are all staple organizations in the region. They’re experienced veterans and they’re used to high pressure setups and games.

Splyce are coming in from an extremely competitive five game series against G2 eSports in the Quarterfinals. It was a lot closer than most expected, and even though they’re coachless for almost a month – they managed to take the best European team to the brink of defeat. That speaks volumes about their skill both as a team and as individuals. The Splyce boys have been playing together for almost two years now and it shows in the way they play together.

They’re at home with the meta right now as Wunder can play both tanks and carry fighters, Trashy is best when on a tank like Gragas or Sejuani, Sencux is extremely flexible and has an insane champion pool while their bottom lane is incredibly formidable. So what’s their problem? They don’t always come well prepared, and they don’t always play their best. They lack the mental fortitude and confidence and that loses them a lot of games. They’re also prone to overextend or go for an awful play and completely lose all momentum.

That playstyle gets punished heavily against top tier opposition. To make matters even more interesting, H2K and Splyce already fought not too long ago – in week 8 of the regular season. It was a 2-0 shellacking, as H2K had their number from the very beginning of the match. It all started with an abysmal Splyce three man dive on the H2K bottom lane duo who managed to not only kill all three enemies but survive in the process.

H2K on the other hand are also coming in from a very competitive five game series against Fnatic. While they eventually came up short, they showed a lot of good things. Above all, they showed the willingness to adapt, and that is not something seen often from them, if ever really. They want to start strong and as fast as possible, which is exactly the playstyle that Splyce can’t always contain. Seeing how the meta didn’t change from then, it’s tough to give Splyce the benefit of the doubt.

H2K are surely looking for vindication, and Splyce are a familiar opponent. It couldn’t get any easier for them, however this is far from an easy win. Splyce had a lot of time to recuperate and come up with a gameplan so expect it to be extremely close.

Winner: H2K, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

Unicorns of Love vs. H2K

H2K emerged victorious after their clash with UOL last night, and while it was a relatively quick 3-0 victory, it was far from an easy one. Splyce went toe-to-toe in almost every stage of the series, almost defeating H2K on multiple occasions. That said, H2K were the better and more cohesive team in the moments that mattered the most.

They adapted well, they put Odoamne on champions that he’s extremely proficient on, Nuclear on comfort ADC picks and Jankos on engage tank jungler. Speaking of their star jungler, he rightfully won “Player of the Series” right with 80% Kill Participation. His consistent, high-quality play and great teamfighting was exactly the element that allowed H2K to play like they had to. Add on to that a playmaking Febiven and you have a very threatening H2K squad.

Now to be fair, they still haven’t proven themselves as a worthy contender. They did some things right, they showed some improvements however as it always comes with H2K, their play degrades in high-pressure matches when there is something at stake. When they’re the closest to their goal, it seems like they’re at their weakest point.

For their second Best of 5, they have just the right opponent. At this point, the UOL vs. H2K clashes have evolved into something out of an anime. These two teams met four times this year, and the Unicorns of Love won all four encounters. It is simply a stylistic matchup, they’re H2K’s krytonite as illogical as it might seem. There is just something in their playstyle that counters H2K’s. What is that? Two things stand out – late game teamfighting, and decisiveness. When the Unicorns decide to go for a play or an objective, there is almost never hesitation – they’re all on the same page. H2K isn’t like that, they have lapses in judgement and they’re not always on the same page regarding how to play the game on a macro level.

We don’t have a solid read on the Unicorns of Love however. They’ve had a considerable amount of time to fix their issues, however the problems they have aren’t exactly fixable in two or three weeks time. They might have succeeded, however if they failed to adapt to the meta and come up with something new and exciting after a couple of weeks of the regular season and the playoffs, chances are – they’re coming in with the same strategies as they did before, and that could just be their downfall.

Exileh performing is the crucial element to their victory. He has been a huge detriment to his team, as he is consistently losing lane and giving up kills, and in essence it’s not just him, the complete team underperformed during the later half of the Summer Split. Vizicsacsi gets caught at the most random of times and has big fluctuations in the quality of his play, Xerxe wasn’t able to transition with the meta and adapt well enough and Hylissang constantly made significant positioning mistakes. Samux is their best performing player and he simply cannot carry by himself.

As ludicrous as it might seem, betting on H2K would be the more logical choice here. The Unicorns simply have too many question marks regarding their play and effectiveness in the current meta.

Winner: H2K, 1.61 (odds @ Bet365)

Fnatic vs. H2K

It actually happened. For the first time in 2017, after four straight losses, H2K managed to take down the Unicorns of Love after a closely fought, five game series. H2K finally stepped up. They finally did what they had to. They adapted, they fought through adversity, through early game deficits and won handily. They were the better team, more in-sync. They were fearless and it showed on the Rift, with a clear gameplan.

The Unicorns tried their hardest however. Xerxe had a couple of outstanding games, especially on Kayn and he even managed to play his staple Ivern pick, to great success. The biggest surprise however was just how well Exileh played. He even managed to solo kill Febiven and go toe-to-toe. They brought out surprises in the draft and H2K always responded adequately.

Sadly for the Unicorns, the majority of the team underperformed. Vizicsacsi wasn’t influential at all, Hylissang was too impatient and mispositioned and Samux even though he didn’t fail by any stretch of the imagination – couldn’t do anything worthwhile on his first-picked Tristana.

Looking ahead, we have a repeat of the third place match between Fnatic and H2K. There is a lot on the line – winner goes to the Play-In stage at this year’s World Championship. This is literally the Third Place match we had just a week ago, and things cannot get more interesting. While Fnatic looked strong, they didn’t look unbeatable. If Jankos hadn’t gone for his game five Kayn pick, things could have very well turned out differently. Predicting this match is almost impossible. However the edge has to go to Fnatic.

Not only did they defeat them once, but they also had the opportunity to watch H2K play two best of fives, back-to-back. They should be perfectly capable of coming up with a solid gameplan. They’ve played them a lot over the year and they know their abilities inside and out. However it should be extremely, unnervingly close.

Note: While Fnatic are favored, this could very well be the chance to earn some money. H2K are coming in with some serious momentum and confidence, and they’re looking better than they ever did this year.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)

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NA LCS – 2017 Summer Split Finals & Third Place Match Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

September 2nd, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

We have finally reached the grand finale of the North American 2017 Summer Split, and it has been one hell of a ride. It went almost completely as expected, however there were a couple of moments and surprises that stood out.

The Dardoch and Xmithie trade, CLG dropping Dardoch for the rookie OmarGod, Dignitas managing to improve to an incredible degree, Envy becoming a decent playoffs team and even Cloud9 faltering a bit as the season closed out.

There is one thing for certain however and that is the fact that we will get to witness the two absolute best North American teams duke it out this Sunday – TSM & Immortals. TSM managed to snatch the number one seed due to a slightly better game differential even though they had the same numbers of wins and losses. They’re heading into the finals with an even head-to-head score, and things simply cannot get any more exciting.

To get a better idea of how these two teams match against each other, let’s first take a look at how well both teams played last weekend in the semifinals.

Immortals

Everyone expected Immortals to best CLG and reach the finals, however it was still a bit shocking to see how dominant they looked in doing so.

CLG started the first game strong, swinging for the fences as they’re known for doing. They brought their A-game and made it an intense game filled with some phenomenal League of Legends.

To be perfectly exact the first game was somewhat sloppy as we got to witness two skirmish-prone teams going at it and while it was fun from a spectator’s point of view it was far from clean. There wasn’t a lot of setup or strategy, it was more akin to EU LCS’s Unicorns of Love strategy – “see hero kill hero”.

While IMT made a ton of mistakes, they never let go of their gold lead. The forty-fifth minute of the game became the deciding one after a back and forth slugfest around the Baron pit, ending 4-1 in IMT’s favor.

Games two and three on the other hand were absolute stomps. Immortals came out aggressive, with more confidence and dominated in every way, shape and form. CLG didn’t have the right response and as a result succumbed to the pressure.

Their strengths

  • They’re not perfect and they make mistakes, however their mental fortitude and cool-headedness is the virtue of a championship worthy team.
  • They have threats in every lane. You cannot single out a single Immortals player, they’re all in phenomenal shape at the moment.
  • They can carry as a team, and individually as well. This is perhaps their biggest strength, as they’re not always co-dependent completely and can pop off individually if needed.
  • Olleh. The man, the myth, the legend. The words of praise that he’s been getting all over the region are well deserved. He completely destroyed Huhi with his consistent roaming to the midlane. At the moment he manages to do what no other support in NA does – roam and influence other lanes as well as his own. In addition, he almost never losses lane along with Cody Sun even though he spends a considerable amount of time away from his ADC.

Their weaknesses

  • Xmithie is their catalyst more often than not and he has ups and downs just like any other player, however his level of play goes a tad further. He will look like an absolute beast in one game – predicting enemy movements and pathing and fighting with impeccable positioning, and then straight out feed and mis-position like a complete rookie in the very next game. You can notice this pattern even in their series against CLG where he had a huge number of deaths in game one with some abysmal skillshot accuracy on Gragas.
  • They make sloppy mistakes. They overreach at times and get punished for it. You could say that that tendency is relatively manageable however against the perennial North American team things get a lot more complicated. TSM doesn’t need a lot to turn the game around. (as Cloud9 know best)

Team Solo Mid

TSM’s series against Dignitas went a tad differently, however the outcame remained pretty similar. (3-1 for TSM) Both teams started off strong, with TSM opting for a split push comp for game one.

We waited 19 minutes for the first fight, and it was somewhat worth it. It ultimately went in Dignitas’ favor, however TSM managed to punish with a quick Baron call and turned it into high gear. They took over the map and reaped the rewards. Eventually they were able to outscale as well. They frontline was durable enough to endure all Dignitas had in store, with Bjergsen and Doublelift dishing out insane amounts of damage.

Game two was an early demonstration of skill on TSM’s side, as they were ahead for over 10k gold at the 25 minute mark. They had the superior teamfighting, and completely neutralized Shrimp’s Nunu. Dignitas managed to respond with a solid game three mostly thanks to Adrian’s insane Thresh plays, but eventually failed to repeat their performance for game four.

What we saw was an incredible skill disparity in the mid lane. Bjersen was able to not only win lane every single time but also win losing matchups without much trouble.

In the end it was TSM that was able to transition well into the mid and late games, they drafted well and executed their win conditions correctly.

Verdict

Looking at how individual players stack up, it’s pretty close lane-by-lane. The big deciding factor will most likely be the mid lane matchup of Bjergsen vs. Pobelter. We have witnessed Bjergsen’s greatness time and time again, and he has always played his absolute best League in the moments that mattered the most. Another factor will be the pick and ban phase, as both teams often prioritize the same picks, with the latest one being Kog’Maw. TSM was very focused on picking it up for Doublelift in their series against Dignitas, and we know that TSM and IMT scrimmed each other just a couple of weeks back.

TSM is looking to make history. They’re looking to win three NA LCS titles in a row, and they’ve made this their tenth final showing in a row. Those are some sensational stats. On the other hand this is the absolute best Immortals squad that ever existed, the most sound and consistent.

It will be unnervingly close, however TSM is the greatest and most iconic NA organization for a reason. This is a solid, experienced lineup with great cohesion, and they perform extremely well in clutch moments.

Winner: TSM, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

Third Place Match – Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Dignitas

Photo: Riot Games

The match for third place is not as exciting, but will surely be a fun scrap nonetheless. We have two teams that love to fight big and fight often, and they’re both fighting for momentum before entering the gauntlet. CLG is coming off a crushing 3-0 loss against Immortals and they showed a lot of the problems that have been plaguing them during the regular season.

The moments when CLG lost were moments when they were out of sync. They were able to find the fights they wanted however they often fought without a single target in mind, thus allowing Immortals to respond correctly.

They have the individual talent in each lane, however it doesn’t always come into place. Unluckily for CLG, they had to do best they could with a last minute change in the jungle. They went from a seasoned aggressive veteran in Dardoch, to a complete rookie. It’s no one’s fault to be fair, however he is too big of a reliability for his team and it shows on the Rift. They cannot build LCS level synergy in a month or two’s time.

And that goes for the team as a whole, the volume of work that needs to be done in order for CLG to actually contend for a Worlds spot is almost uncomfortable.

Dignitas on the other hand didn’t show a lot either in their series against TSM, however they at least made it competitive. Even when behind they fought valiantly and looked for openings, and it payed dividends in their third game. They were slow to start in almost every game and they weren’t that in sync and it showed.

They were too hesitant, too afraid of what TSM could do. As the games went on, they drafted every comp they could and still lost regardless.

Verdict

Dignitas have the tools to take down CLG. They’re looking to recreate their quartefinal magic and they have a fairly easy opponent in front of them. They have the edge, and if they manage to shut down OmarGod (which shouldn’t prove to be too big of a problem) and allocate resources into their bottom lane they shouldn’t have too big of a problem taking CLG down.

Expect this one to go 3-1 in Dignitas’ favor.

Winner: Team Dignitas, 1.80 (odds @ Betway)

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European LCS – 2017 Summer Split Finals & Third Place Match Preview, Betting Tips and Odds

September 2nd, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

We are at the cusp of the 2017 Summer Split. It was an exciting ride, filled with surprises and excellent games. If there is one thing that is yet to be decided it is just how strong Europe as a region currently is. While G2 eSports showcased phenomenal League of Legends at this year’s MSI, the whole region failed to put up much of a fight against their NA counterparts at Rift Rivals.

In the end, it does seem like we get to witness the two absolute best teams duke it out in Paris. While G2 didn’t have a strong showing overall during the regular season, they finally found a playstyle that suits them and they’re performing on a very high level.

However let’s focus on Misfits for a bit.

They’ve entered the LCS this year. They had this “one year plan” of getting into the LCS and reaching Worlds within a single year. Now that plan is, no matter how you put it, incredibly optimistic. Europe as a region has been very top heavy for quite some time now, and to think that a bunch of newcomers could contest for a Top 3 spot was ludicrous.

How could they beat the European giants? Fnatic, G2 eSports and even H2K and the Unicorns of Love. While some of these teams had varying degrees of international and local success over the last couple of splits, it’s fair to say that they’ve occupied the top for a long time now.

However against all odds, they’ve managed to do so. And in what phenomenal fashion.

They didn’t just beat Fnatic. They outclassed them, both on an individual level and as a team. Misfits played with renewed confidence after clean sweeping UOL the week prior.

While both teams drafted well, Misfits always came out ahead fairly early. Fnatic know how to play from behind and they showed that virtue last week as well however to an extremely moderate degree. To their demise, Misfits always went toe-to-toe.

Every game was filled with tension. Both teams wanted to attain any lead possible and when they managed to fight it was often long and drawn-out. Misfits were a bit slow, however they moved cautiously as a unit and it paid off.

It was a strange series for sure. It’s not that Fnatic made any huge error. They made small ones. A lapse in vision, a bad engage, a careless fight turned awry. Misfits didn’t always play that well, they still made individual mistakes, a bad call here or there but when the late game came, they were always ahead by such a wide margin that whenever they did decide to engage and fight they were ahead in gold, objectives and items as well. It only took one big teamfight at the end of each game to close things out.

They took out Fnatic in the midst of their strongest showing in two years.

As a team Misfits grew, and they improved a lot all underneath the surface. They’re playing like a team possessed.

It’s mindblowing how quickly they fixed their issues in a week or two’s time. You could see their holes and mistakes in every single game prior to playoffs and then they just changed, almost over night. Obviously those improvements are a result of an immense team-wide effort.

It’s impossible to predict their skill level at the moment. However they did outclass Fnatic in a Best of 5 series and that speaks volumes about their strength.

Their opponents, G2 eSports also didn’t have a shabby showing themselves. Far from it. It was a 3-0 shellacking and H2K were the recipients. While the first game started off even, a single mindblowing Baron steal swung the momentum in G2’s favor. Stealing a Baron is one thing, but smiting between Jankos’ smite and “Consume” combo is a work of art.

As expected, the games were very slow and macro oriented. They rotated, focused on building their advantages, with H2K getting the better end of things early. However as the games progressed, things always went in G2’s favor. They were the better team, with better macro and a better gameplan going into the series.

Every member of G2 played phenomenally. The first two games were spearheaded with Expect and Trick, while the third one was essentially the Perkz show. He was on point with every champion he played – Orianna and Cassiopeia especially, hitting multi-man shockwaves and taking H2K to school. In the third game of the series he had nine kills and three and a half items by the 25 minute mark – on Cassiopeia.

It took them 38 minutes to close out the first game, 31 for the second and a mere 27 for the third.

Verdict

This is not an easy game for G2, far from it. They themselves said that they don’t know what to expect from this Misfits squad and with good reason. Betting against G2 is almost always ill-advised, unless it’s an international competition. They’re the more experience team, they’ve been through it all, the highs and lows. They’re a very versatile team and they can play the game in a plethora of ways and that is an ability that allows them to adapt so well, so often.

Looking at this matchup statistically, it’s won’t be an easy fight either. Misfits boast an almost comically high 2.42 Kill-to-Death ratio, meaning they make almost 2.5 kills for every 1 death. Paired with an equally insane 1,086 gold lead and the highest Early Game Rating at 61.8 (compared to G2’s 48.7) – it’s normal to feel unsafe betting on this match.

Misfits are coming in hot with the underdog mentality and that will surely allow them to perform even better, however G2 are used to the pressure. They’re seasoned veterans and they’ve proven their worth on more than one occasion. We are also yet to see the highs that this team can achieve, as rekindling their 2017 MSI fire is only a matter of time.

Expect this one to go the distance, and ultimately end in G2’s favor.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.35 (odds @ Bet365)

Third Place Match – Fnatic vs. H2K

Photo: Riot Games

Fans of both organizations must have a sour taste in their mouths due to all the “what-if” scenarios. Fnatic were just a single win away from securing their spot at this year’s Worlds, and H2K failed to meet expectations – once again.

Furthermore, both teams looked lost and at times even stubborn. Fnatic failed to adapt during their series against Misfits and were constantly drafting similar comps. They entered every game almost disrespectfully, thinking it would be a much easier match that it turned out to be. Even individually, they looked lost. Broxah was a complete non-factor in the jungle, and Caps failed to impact the game in any way, shape or form.

Their backs were constantly against the wall and they failed to show why they we’re touted as the best team in Europe.

Luckily for them, H2K looked even worse. You can’t really blame them too much, if you lose the most important Baron of the series to a Sejuani and you have a Nunu on your team – it’s hard not to tilt off the face of the planet. That single misplay destroyed any momentum they might have had.

After the series Jankos vented through a Facebook post, saying they don’t have enough mental fortitude whenever they’re behind and it is a fault that was evident from the beginning of the split. When they’re ahead, they’re incredible and they dominate beyond expectations. When they’re even, things get a lot more complicated and nuances become the determining factor, and when they don’t get the early lead they often crumble under the pressure.

It’s strange seeing this team struggle this much, as they have three very experienced players and two rookies who actually manage to hold their own against the best bottom lanes in Europe. On paper they have the tools to at least be a Top 3 team, however in reality it never seems to pan out.

Eventually fans simply lost faith in H2K as a team, and they’re not doing anything to earn their trust back. It is a shame however as they managed to have a great showing last year at Worlds, and not having them represent Europe this time would be a disappointing turn of events.

Looking at this matchup specifically, Fnatic are surely angry and with good reason. They want to prove themselves and show the world that they do belong on the Worlds stage in China and their redemption story starts here. The problems that are preventing H2K from improving and performing are not fixable in a week’s time.

Fnatic will surely fix their issues and defeat H2K in a somewhat close 3-1 series.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.50 (odds @ Bet365)

CONTINUE READING

European LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Playoffs Semifinals Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

August 26th, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

The quartefinals were filled with surprises. Misfits managed to upset the Unicorns of Love, and Splyce were just a single game away from doing the same go G2 eSports.

Let’s take a closer look at the matches that await us this weekend.

Fnatic vs. Misfits

After their last week’s performance Misfits should be getting nothing but praise. While the Unicorns do have a fairly one-dimensional playstyle, they’re still a force to be reckoned with. They have the 2017 Spring MVP in the top lane – Vizicsacsi, the 2017 Spring Rookie of the Split jungler – Xerxe – a man that is proficient on any almost jungle pick and a bottom lane that is extremely deadly and potent in almost every stage of the game. (and Exileh in the midlane…)

With all of that going in their favor, they still managed to get clean swept by a team that was heavily underperforming during the second half of the Summer Split. To be fair, UOL sort of outplayed themselves. They drafted horribly and always put themselves in a corner. They went for late game comfort and thus allowed Misfits to take whatever they wanted. They were never a strong early game team, but taking losing matchups in every single game is pushing it to an all new level.

As for Misfits, they always had winning lanes. PoE destroyed Exileh (which doesn’t go for much these days), Alphari had an amazing couple of games and their bottom lane managed to perform extremely well too. Hans Sama finally stepped up, even getting a stylish pentakill on Tristana in game one of the series. (and then was able to repeat the same performance in the next two games as UOL never banned Tristana out for some illogical reason)

They were always faster on the map, with the manned advantage when it mattered the most.

However things are getting a lot more complicated, very quickly.

They’re up against the most dominant team in the region, and also a team that only managed to lose two meaningless fluke matches. (against ROCCAT and NiP) They don’t have a skill advantage, and they don’t have better team cohesion than Fnatic either. This will essentially be a rematch of the third place match in 2017 Spring Split when Fnatic dominated in 3-0 fashion.

The only difference is Misfits’ jungler – Maxlore. He seems right at home with the current meta and it’s fun seeing him perform at a high level, however he had it easy against UOL as he always had three winning lanes.

Fnatic’s advantages

  •  Misfits won’t have that same kind of comfort against Fnatic. They won’t have an immobile Trundle support that they can pick on and will have to be on the defensive. With that in mind, they won’t be able to dominate early as they did against the Unicorns and that will make all the difference.
  • Broxah is also an incredibly sound jungler that is a lot more impactful than Xerxe at the moment. As a player he spends a lot less time powerfarming, as he prefers to influence all lens and get his allies ahead.
  • Rekkles and Jesiz are arguably the best bottom lane duo in the region at the moment. They won’t make the same mistakes Samux and Hylissang made.

It is simply impossible to bet against Fnatic. They are in prime form, and they’re bound to play in the Finals regardless of the opponent. Misfits might come in with renewed vigor but it won’t be enough.

Expect this one to go 3-1 in Fnatic’s favor.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.22 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs. H2K

Photo: Riot Games

No matter how you put it, predicting this match is a tough one. Both teams showcased fantastic League of Legends over the last couple of weeks, but they also have serious ups and downs. This is also a key moment for both teams. If G2 manage to perform up to expectations and defeat H2K, they will secure themselves a seed at this year’s World Championship in China. It is within their reach and they can finally complete their redemption story.

H2K on the other hand has a lot to prove… overall. They are a team that is notorious for underperforming when it mattered the most. They’re known for choking in playoffs. They’re known for their bad drafts and slow adaptation mid-series. Could this split be the difference? Will they actually be able to perform up to their level and represent Europe at Worlds? We cannot know for certain, however they are looking like a Top 3 team at the moment. Much better than any team ranked beneath them, and never strong enough to take down a team above.

G2 eSports had an insanely close series against Splyce. They played better in clutch moments, and paired with their experience were able to emerge victorious. They’re still a phenomenal team, they’re just having trouble finding their identity post-MSI, and to be fair it’s taking them longer than most expected.

H2K had the opportunity to enter the playoffs with a lot of hype, however it all went through the windows after they got dismantled by the Unicorns of Love in the very last week of the regular season. It wasn’t a pretty sight, so looking ahead we simply can’t know for certain what to expect from them. If anything they looked extremely focused and eager to play at the highest level. They too, much like G2 eSports, know that a seed at Worlds is within their reach.

Regardless, G2 eSports simply have a phenomenal track record in Best of 5 series, and this time that sentiment should ring true as well. They adapt too fast, and they only have a single opponent to prepare for. They know H2K’s playstyle inside and out, and seeing how neither team changed much over the regular season, this series shouldn’t bring anything new or surprising.

It won’t be easy, and it probably won’t look good but G2 eSports should be able to take it in the end.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.80 (odds @ Betway)

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NA LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Playoffs Semifinals Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

August 23rd, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

The playoffs have never been this close and we are in for a real treat this weekend as we get to watch two premier matchups.

Let’s dive deeper into analysis.

Immortals vs. CLG

Immortals are entering the playoffs on a high note. While many are still reserved due to the organization’s history of choking when it mattered the most, this is the first time this team managed to perform on the highest level without star players. They win through teamwork, smart play and great coordination. They’re always on the same page and it shows in key moments. They were on fire for the last week of the regular season. Every time they played on the stage it looked effortless. Every game they played was a statement, and even though they failed to end the season as the number one team, they’re entering the semifinals with their heads held high as they know that they performed at the highest possible level.

CLG on the other hand have a lot to be worried about. They will live to fight another day as they managed to best Team Envy in the quartefinals. Barely.

It was a slugfest from the very beginning, with CLG drafting late game team comps while Envy always went for early game power. We witnessed which strategy and playstyle prevailed in the end, however veteran experience and the ability to perform under pressure made a huge difference on the side of CLG.

They won, but they shouldn’t be too satisfied. They barely managed to win against the sixth and absolute worst team in playoffs. They were expected to steamroll NV but failed to do so. To be fair, NV exceeded all expectations. They fought to the very last breath, and even managed to individually outplay CLG on multiple occasions. In the end, the team that made less mistakes won. They have a lot of work in front of them and only a week’s time to prepare for arguably the best and cleanest team in North America.

To CLG’s credit, they persevered. They endured everything Envy threw at them and even managed to win the fourth and most important game from a deficit.

As for Immortals, thanks to their playoff bye they had a bonus week to recuperate and adapt to the meta. If that wasn’t enough they also had the opportunity to dissect CLG’s play against Team Envy which will surely allow them to come up with a solid gameplan.

CLG’s flaws

  • Inconsistent bottom lane. While both Stixxay and aphromoo are veteran players, they haven’t been performing at the highest level for quite some time now. Stixxay in particular has serious ups and downs and we never really know which one will show up on the stage. Aphromoo is still a fantastic playmaker, however if the opposing team keeps him from Alistar and Bard then they shouldn’t have too much trouble.
  • OmarGod is still their biggest liability. While he did have a fantastic Baron steal in game one of their series against NV, he still made a ton of mistakes and always had the largest number of deaths. It’s not fair to be too harsh on him, however he is playing on the biggest stage and against top tier opposition and if he can’t perform then his team will suffer. It’s tough seeing him having an even matchup against a game Xmithie who is one of the frontrunners for MVP of the Split. He never showed anything worth mentioning and his champion pool is alarming as well.

While it’s tough to say with absolute certainty, Immortals look like the best North American team at the moment. While TSM will surely question that statement, they have the cleanest macro and some of the best performing players. Seeing how sloppy and inconsistent CLG looked, the odds are against them and with good reason. Immortals are simply on another level and they shouldn’t have too much trouble taking CLG down, even with Darshan and Huhi popping off.

Obviously it’s a clash of styles, so expect CLG to come in with the underdog mentality, wanting to fulfil their redemption story. Sadly for all CLG fans, this is where the road stops. It could go to five games, however CLG simply aren’t playing well enough as a five man unit to take down an uprising Immortals squad.

Expect this one to go 3-1 in Immortal’s favor.

Winner: Immortals, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

TSM vs. Team Dignitas

Photo: Riot Games

Number one against number five. You would be mistaken if you thought this will be a one-sided match. Team Dignitas entered uncharted territory after taking down Cloud9 for the first time this split, and did so with a bang! However let’s focus first on the number one NA team – TSM.

Their Week 9 matches of the regular season weren’t too hot. While they managed to take down both Phoenix1 and CLG, their play wasn’t too clean. (at least not for the number one team) They only managed to be a bit faster when it mattered the most. However we had the chance to see the dominant, vintage TSM in small fragments. How fast they responded in clutch situations, how well they fought in close corridors. However they looked lost and out of sync the very next game against the same opponent.

As for Dignitas, those watching their last week’s series against Cloud9 were in for a fantastic couple of back-and-forth games.

In the end, Altec was simply too fed on Sivir, he had too much protection, and the frontline that Dignitas was able to pull up was too much for an AD heavy teamp comp on C9’s side. Unlike Cloud9, Dignitas had a very threatning Taliyah in the middle lane and a hyper carry in the bottom with a fantastic, CC heavy frontline consisting of Maokai and Nunu.

They drafted heavy amounts of engage, however disengage as well and they were able to utilize both to their favor in clutch moments.

While Cloud9 fans must be devastated, it is a very refreshing change of pace. No long will we witness the age-old TSM vs. Cloud9 final. (that eventually goes in TSM’s favor in game five) This is a breath of fresh air, and as with all new things – prediction and odds will be all over the place which is hypothetically a good time to make some money.

Dignitas’ fresh bottom lane duo managed to do what they do best – hard carry. They’re in the contention for the best bottom lane in NA, and that is no small achievement alongside the likes of TSM, IMT, C9, CLG and even NV’s bottom lanes.

They can play a plethora of champions, and they always manage to do very well, great even. More importantly, they can be counted on to both perform and carry which makes them irreplaceable on Team Dignitas. While other members fluctuate from game to game, Altec and Adrian are a rock and the foundation that Dignitas always builds upon.

They know just how mechanically sound Altec is, so they don’t have a problem with drafting a lot of CC and frontline in order to protect him. That, while a somewhat one-dimensional strategy, has been working wonders so far.

Where Dignitas could capitalize on

  • They will not back down. Bad Baron call? You can expect them at the Baron pit the very next minute. They will not be deterred, and they will either pull off their plan successfully or lose trying.
  • They came back and won the fourth game with three inhibs down. That is an insane comeback no matter how you look at it, and it speaks volumes about their mental fortitude and willingness to fight until the last second.
  • All of the starting players are performing very, very well. Even Keane who was thought to be the weakest link manages to step up against better opposition. If he keeps safe and predicts early ganks (unlike his games versus Cloud9) then he be a big factor when the late game comes.

They’re looking really good overall, however we have to be realistic as well. Cloud9 didn’t play that well, at all. They even managed to lose every game in the draft, always giving Dignitas the picks they wanted and were most comfortable with. TSM is a team that adapts a lot better mid series, and they don’t just have a single carry (Jensen) but multiple ones.

If there is one thing that is certain with TSM, it is the fact that people should never count them out. They always manage to play on an extremely high level when the playoffs come and this split should be no exception. Even though their Worlds seed is guaranteed, they still want to at the very least reach the finals and continue their legacy. It is a matter of prestige, and after all – there has never been a NA LCS finals without TSM.

Expect this one to be insanely close, possibly going to five games but ultimately ending in TSM’s favor.

Winner: TSM, 1.40 (odds @ Betway)

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European LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Playoffs Quarterfinals Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

August 16th, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

You could have expected upsets for the last week of the regular season. You could have expected top teams to slack off a bit as those matches didn’t really matter. However the amount of surprises that last week had in store for us was mindblowing.

G2 eSports losing to ROCCAT. Unicorns of Love losing to Team Vitality. Fnatic losing to… Ninjas in Pyjamas, of all teams. To be fair, these lower ranked teams upped their games as the split came to an end, however the results are unexpected and shocking nonetheless.

As a silver lining, the matches we had the opportunity to watch were amazing, filled with fan service and solo queue picks. We rarely get the opportunity to watch pros have this much fun on the big stage.

However the playoffs are upon us and the first two matches will take place in just a couple of days time.

Let’s take a closer look.

Unicorns of Love vs. Misfits, August 19th

Last week was a mixed bag for the Unicorns. They suffered a heartbreaking 2:0 defeat at the hands of Team Vitality. Losing is one thing, but losing in this fashion is downright embarrassing.

It was a shellacking. To their credit, Vitality played some phenomenal League of Legends.

A perfect game one. Zero turrets, zero drakes, zero Barons and zero kills on the side of UOL. It wasn’t pretty. Game two was more of the same, however the Unicorns did manage to put up a better offensive.

Now, UOL was never known for their early game, but handing over a 10k gold lead at the twenty minute mark is still a bit extreme.

Luckily for them, their win over H2K was almost enough to erase any and all memory of their abysmal play just a day or two earlier. While they started slow, they managed to dominate and outplay H2K on almost all fronts for the last two games of the series.

It was a fun sight to see. All other teams picking random, off-meta champions and having fun, and H2K and UOL playing like it’s the most important match of their lives. H2K had a lot to prove, after all they lost every match against the Unicorns in 2017. They were unable to win once again.

UOL looked good, they looked comfortable on the stage and on the Rift as well. Samux was able to do his thing even though H2K tried their hardest to stop him with a strong, seemingly unkillable frontline. UOL’s teamfighting prevailed in the end, as it almost always does.

As for Misfits, they have yet to show anything worthwhile on the Rift. In a span of six weeks they have managed to win only two matches that were against two teams that are now in the promotion tournament. They have too many holes in their game and even if you ignore that aspect, they’re not playing that well individually.

Hans Sama failed to live up to the hype that was put on his shoulders, and Maxlore didn’t positively impact the team as most predicted. While they seem to understand the meta to a solid degree, they never succeed in realizing their gameplan and that is a shame.

To make matters even worse, nearly every mage that PowerOfEvil plays will be getting nerfed on patch 7.16. Cassiopeia, LeBlanc, Taliyah, Syndra.

Their run for Worlds ends here. While it’s a hard blow to anyone sporting a Misfits jersey, it should be noted that they’ve come a long way from the challenger series. After all, this is only their second split in the LCS, and they look like a great team in the making. Will they be able to make a run for 2018 Worlds? Not impossible, with the right staff/player changes.

As for the Unicorns of Love, while their success further down the road remains unclear, they have a relatively easy test right now and they should by all means pass it with flying colors.

Expect the Unicorns of Love to take the series 3-1 and advance into the semifinals in Paris.

Winner: Unicorns of Love, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

G2 eSports vs. Splyce, August 20th

Photo: Riot Games

Much like the first quarterfinals match-up, this one is fairly one sided as well. G2 eSports played a somewhat competitive series against Fnatic last week, and even though they didn’t manage to win, they showed some good stuff on the Rift.

Sadly for everyone expecting fireworks, it wasn’t much of an El Classico. G2 got outdrafted and outplayed in almost every stage of the game. While Fnatic had their fair share of misplays as well, they always managed to win the teamfights that mattered.

G2 also faltered in the draft in both games, drafting either comps that lacked damage or going for Perkz’s Lucian. While he is a highly talented player, he is without a doubt the worst Lucian in the scene and almost singlehandedly killed all of the Lucian mid hype from a couple of week back.

Regardless, they are a top tier team that will improve, and now that they have ample time to prepare just for a single opponent, they’re set up to dominate and prove their worth.

Splyce on the other hand still have no coach, and have yet to truly show that they’re an elite EU team. They have the potential, but it’s not possible for them to achieve it in time for playoffs. They always manage to fall short of expectations. They are capable of upsetting any team, however in a Best of 5 series things get a lot more complicated.

Much like Misfits, they are a highly talented bunch. In fact, the parallels are very strong. Both teams have a toplaner with a lot of potential that crumbles under the pressure of performing against top tier teams, a jungler that while very solid fails to have a big impact on the game, a very talented midlaner and a strong bottom lane that doesn’t always pop off.

Sadly for Splyce, this is where the road stops. Even on a good day they don’t have the tools to take on an uprising G2 eSports. While we’re not witnessing the G2 of old, they’re pretty close. Close enough to contest for the number one spot for sure.

Expect this series to go 3-1 in G2’s favor. However don’t be surprised if Splyce put up a much bigger fight than most expect.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.28 (odds @ Betway)

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NA LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Playoffs Quarterfinals Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

August 14th, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

Cloud9 vs. Team Dignitas, August 19th

Watching Dignitas play over the last two weeks was really a mixed bag. When Altec and Adrian became their starting bottom lane, things just “clicked”. They not only started playing better, but they dominated the opposition as well. Wins over CLG, TSM and even IMT were a huge morale boost to all Dignitas fans.

However things settled down, their fast adaptation to the meta was matched by other teams as well, and as the weeks went by they had less tools to work with.

Something really stood out when Dignitas played against CLG in the last week of the regular season. They had the chance to get a higher seeding and face Team Envy in the quarterfinals, and with no offense to Envy, that would have been an easy path to the semifinals, maybe even the finals.

With something that big on the line, what do they do? They lock in Nasus! To be fair, the champion did get some hefty buffs in patch 7.15, however they’re not big enough to warrant him getting played competitively on the LCS stage.

As luck would have it, Darshan had an amazing series, completely shutting down any and all hopes Ssumday had of scaling, and even managed to turn the tides on a lot of fights around the map thanks to his TP’s and Shen ultimates.

How could they do such a thing? They didn’t take the series seriously enough, and that is a red alarm. They have the potential to go higher, they have the individual talent to surprise a lot of people, and yet the faltered at such a stupid road block.

Fighting a game Cloud9 in the playoffs is not something that you should want, especially not in the quarterfinals. As luck would have it, those are exactly the cards that were dealt to Dignitas.

If we take a look at Cloud9, it’s hard not to be impressed. They’re looking as dominant as they ever were. Their wins over Team Envy and Echo Fox we’re statements to all other NA teams. They’re on a six match win streak, and their series against Echo Fox took under 50 minutes of game time.

Individually, Cloud9 players have stepped up immensely.

Over the last couple of weeks, Contractz could do no wrong. He is just as intimidating on tanks as he is on carry junglers. Smoothie is playing like the second best support in the League and can play whatever is necessary, Jensen is arguably the best midlaner in NA with some pristine positioning and insane damage output and we already know how versatile and consistent Sneaky is.

Even Impact, who was arguably their biggest underperformer started playing better, probably due to the meta changing.

They will enter the quarterfinals with some serious momentum.

On the other hand if we take a look at how Dignitas played, one has to be a bit concerned. They’re a great team, and even in their losses they manage to hold on and make things even for as long as possible, but it’s never clean. You rarely see them dominate, even against lower ranked teams. When Altec and Adrian play out of their minds, they contend for the best duo bot, however that isn’t always the case, and if Shrimp wasn’t able to shut down OmarGod in their series against CLG – how does he expect to take on Contractz who is arguably the best performing and most versatile NA jungler at the moment? (or at worst Top 2 if you value Xmithie more highly)

Their third game against CLG was a mess, overchasing when they should have simply backed away, Keane playing without flash and overextending, Adrian using the potentially game-changing Taric ultimate multiple times without any reason or initiation, etc. They don’t always come together as a unit, and that simply isn’t acceptable if they want to contend for the Summer Split trophy.

Best of 5 series are a whole different ball game, and it’s where Cloud9 strive. Expect the boys in white and blue to come out victorious in a somewhat close 3-1 series.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Envy, August 20th

Photo: Riot Games

Last week we saw the two sides of CLG that manage to somehow co-exist. The dominant, creative playmaking team that contends for the top spot, and the lost, almost leaderless team that fails to create any game winning plays.

The latter often comes to the stage when they’re against a top tier team, however that wouldn’t be too right to say about CLG. They have the potential to be the number one team, just not this split. They’re pretty inconsistent, and are prone to making a lot of mistakes – especially early. To make matters even more problematic – they have a complete rookie in the jungle! While OmarGod has the potential to improve, he doesn’t have the luxury to do it in time for playoffs. While he shouldn’t have too big of a problem against LirA, it’s hard seeing him having a good time against Contractz, Svenskeren and Xmithie. He is serviceable, and that isn’t what CLG needs.

Individually, they’re all playing super well, with Huhi and Darshan being the two standout performers. They have their ups and downs, but overall have shown some spectacular play on the Rift over the last couple of weeks.

As for Team Envy, when watching their games against top tier teams you can see that they always need just a little bit more. It’s always a mistake in the early or mid game, a call that was unnecessary, an engage that went very wrong very quickly. They’re also a very competent team as well, they just need more time. Nisqy is playing really well and has shown great proficiency on a lot of different champions and Apollo and Hakuho are a very formidable duo that can tango with the very best.

However Envy simply depends too much on LirA performing, and that isn’t happening at the moment. They make too many individual mistakes, and their communication isn’t looking that good, so it’s fairly optimistic to think that they could give CLG a run for their money. After seeing them dismantled by both C9 and IMT (who had an 11k gold lead at the twenty minute mark) it’s hard to get hyped.

In summary, Envy have nothing to be ashamed of, a sixth place ranking in a split this competitive is nothing short of admirable. Could have they gone higher? Not really, not with Seraph and the whole midlaner situation. (Pirean, then Nisqy) However things look promising for this squad, and with another split’s time and perhaps a couple of roster changes they could be a real contender.

CLG will focus on taking Seraph down early so that he becomes a non-factor later on the game, all the meanwhile taming LirA and his impact on the game. Apollo and Hakuho are a threat for sure, but the veteran duo of Stixxay and aphromoo shouldn’t have too big of a problem going even, at the very least.

They want to have a couple of statement games and enter the semifinals with some momentum, and this series is the perfect way to accomplish that. Looking at this series specifically, CLG’s path to the semifinals could not be any easier.

If CLG come prepared, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t (and don’t prioritize Ashe in the draft) they should be able to take this one in clean 3-0 fashion.

Winner: CLG, 1.30 (odds @ Betway)

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European LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Week 10 Preview, Betting Odds & Tips

August 7th, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

We are on the verge of the final week of the 2017 Spring Split regular season. The standings are mostly locked and teams already know their fate. Some are headed to the promotion tournament (Mysterious Monkeys and Ninjas in Pyjamas) in hopes to defend their LCS spots, while six other teams are headed to playoffs. The only uncertainty at the moment is who will end up first in Group B and get that very important playoff bye.

Teams are entering week 10 with a somewhat relaxed demeanour. Teams that are placed lower in the standings are playing spoiler, while teams that are fighting for the top spot are looking to dominate and have a couple of statement games.

We will also have the chance to watch two insanely promising matches – Fnatic vs. G2 eSports and H2K vs. Unicorns of Love. These matches will surely provide fireworks.

Let’s take a closer look.

Fnatic vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas & G2 eSports

While it’s still too early to say for sure, it seems like the former kings of Europe are back. There is only one road block ahead of them before they can rightfully say so – G2 eSports. Problem is, they’re not playing extremely well nor clean. Against ROCCAT they were sloppy, and a lot of individual members made tons of mistakes. Their backs were against the wall in both games, and while it’s not that fair to criticize them after a 2-0 win, it’s not the level of play that you’d expect from the team that arguably has the biggest chance to win the split. It’s never a promising sign when a team this good has to come back from a deficit twice in a row against a team that is ranked nine in the standings.

That said, there is no doubt that they can fix these things in time for playoffs.

vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas

It’s a shame NiP didn’t have more time to nurture and develop. We’ve seeing some fun things from them over the last couple of weeks, as they were finally able to translate their early leads into a formidable mid game. They’re still prone to making mistakes left and right, but it’s a big improvement. They managed to take Misfits to three games, and if it wasn’t for that abysmall, tilting blast cone invade at the very beginning, they might have very well taken Misfits down.

As for their match against Fnatic, they shouldn’t be able to do much. That do have flashes of brilliance, so they might be able to take a single game, but anything over that is simply wishful thinking.

That said, do expect them to put up a solid fight in the promotion tournament. While it’s incredibly tough to predict whether or not they will manage to win and get back into the LCS, they have the potential to do so.

Winner: Fnatic, 1.04 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. G2 eSports

The match everyone is talking about. Former, versus the current kings of Europe. All members of G2 have been stepping up, and it’s tough to say whether or not they’re finally back to form. They have been looking dominant however. Expect went from being the weakest link to one of the best performing top laners in Europe, Trick is finally at home with the current tank jungler meta, Perkz is back to his confident playmaking self and their bottom lane is as solid as it ever was. With every member performing at the highest level, G2 becomes a very tough beast to tackle.

As illogical as it might seem, it might be best to just skip betting on this match. Both teams are locked in for playoffs and their seeding is also fixed, so they might pull out some crazy picks to satisfy the fans. When that happen, all odds and tips become nullified.

Regardless, one team must come out victorious, and for the time being betting on G2 would be a good idea. The odds are against them, and they have a lot to prove. If Fnatic come unprepared as they did last week, this might be your chance to win big. That said, expect it to be unnervingly close.

Winner: G2 eSports, 2.10 (odds @ Bet365)

ROCCAT vs. G2 eSports & Misfits

When ROCCAT plays, logic goes out the window. They have the uncanny ability to play to their opponents standards. That means they’re able to “degrade” their play to the level of Ninjas in Pyjamas, but also put the gear into overdrive and give Fnatic an extremely hard time.

Communication is one of the biggest problems that ROCCAT has, and it’s apparent any time they step foot on the Rift. To their credit, they had good set-ups, and had the better early game in every way, shape and form – against a top tier team to boot. However when it came to translating those leads into something concrete they were unable to do it correctly. Other than a single sneaky Baron, they didn’t show too much.

vs. G2 eSports

They simply don’t have what it takes to take G2 down. It’s a complete mismatch, especially on an individual level. The way G2 play won’t allow ROCCAT to skirmish. They will have a strong hold on the series, eventually using their leads to close out the series 2-0.

Winner: G2 eSports, 1.25 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. Misfits

This is where things get very complicated. While both teams are locked in the standings, Misfits are surely looking to dominate and get into playoffs with some much needed momentum. They’re not playing well, in fact – their play is almost embarrassing for a team so heavily hyped and touted to be a dark horse in the playoffs. They have shown very little improvement over the last couple of weeks, and have in fact managed to lose five out of their last six matches. That is an awful statistic no matter how you look at it.

Against ROCCAT they have a chance. They should be the better team and they have the tools to defeat them. However they probably won’t. If ROCCAT comes in the same form as they did last week against Fnatic, Misfits will probably crumble and fall in a close 2-1 series.

Winner: ROCCAT, 3.00 (odds @ Bet365)

H2K vs. Mysterious Monkeys & Unicorns of Love

H2K have continued their dominance with their clean 2-0 win against Team Vitality last week.

They’re extremely focused and hungry to prove themselves, and they will finally have their big test to determine who gets first place in group B.

vs. Unicorns of Love

If G2 vs. FNC wasn’t enough, we get to witness this madness as well! Both teams are coming in extremely strong, with a great understanding of the meta. Individually they’re all playing super well, with Exileh managing to die an astonishingly small number of times. Xerxe managed to channel his 2017 Spring self and dominate Splyce in their 2-0 win. With that said, their weakest areas are exactly what H2K does best. Over the last couple of weeks, it seems like H2K finally fixed some of the issues that have been plaguing them for a long, long time.

You simply have to give H2K the edge. They’re very much in sync, and they’ve all been stomping individually. That said, UOL won’t go down without a fight, so expect this one to be a very, very close 2-1 series going in H2K’s favor.

Winner: H2K, 2.00 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. Mysterious Monkeys

Sadly, Mysterious Monkeys lost so fast and so decisively against Splyce that there isn’t anything concrete that you could say about their play other than that it was pretty uninspiring. They were destroyed early on, with Trashy focusing down CozQ and getting Sencux ahead from the very start.

They simply don’t have any team cohesion, and if it wasn’t enough against Splyce, it absolutely won’t be enough to fight off H2K.

Expect this one to be very swift and violent, with H2K coming out on top.

Winner: H2K, 1.06 (odds @ Bet365)

Unicorns of Love vs. Team Vitality

After a very strong showing last week, the Unicorns are looking to make another statement before clashing with H2K on Sunday. Unluckily for Vitality, they will be on the receiving end of a very strong Unicorns of Love squad. They’re playing well, they’re playing meta and they want that playoff bye. Vitality weren’t able to get anything off the ground against H2K last week, and while UOL has a pretty awful early game, they more than make up for it in the mid and late game.

Expect this series to go 2-0 in UOL’s favor.

Winner: Unicorns of Love, 1.14 (odds @ Bet365)

Splyce vs. Team Vitality

Watching Splyce play is a mixed bag. They’re a strong team overall, and when they’re against a lower ranked team they are capable of showing off their skill and team cohesion. However whenever they went against a top tier team, they failed to do much. They are a proactive team and they are capable of building their advantages very quickly, however it never comes through against better teams. This week was no different, as they completely fell pray to UOL’s strategy. They failed to realize their own win condition, and instead opted to fight mid with the Unicorns thus allowing them to do what they do best – skirmish.

Things are not looking too hot for Splyce, however their last week is somewhat forgiving as they’re fighting against Team Vitality. No matter how slow and uninspiring Splyce was last week, Vitality was even worse. They were completely demolished by H2K. Other than a couple of good early game plays, they failed to do anything else for the entirety of the series. Even though they improved quite a bit over the regular season, they don’t have the tools to fight against Splyce.

That said, don’t be surprised if Vitality manages to take a single game.

Winner: Splyce, 1.25 (odds @ Bet365)

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NA LCS – 2017 Summer Split – Week 9 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

August 2nd, 2017

Photo: Riot Games

The final week of the regular season is upon us, and things cannot be more exciting. With just 10 more matches left to be played (not counting eventual tie-breakers), things have never been so close.

Last week we had the chance to see just how closely matched teams are, as TSM struggled highly to defeat the sixth placed Team Envy on Sunday night. With teams being somewhat equally skilled, nuances end up being the deciding factor which makes betting somewhat complicated.

Let’s take a closer look at the upcoming week and the matches that await us.

Immortals vs. Team Envy & Echo Fox

For a team so highly lauded as the best in the NA LCS, they’re not playing that well. They barely managed to salvage their train wreck of a series against TL, and have looked lost in the draft against Dignitas – a series they ended up losing. They’re simply not at home with the current meta, and that allows their opponents the upper hand. Luckily for them, they have amazing team cohesion, so teams like Envy and Echo Fox should not present too big of a problem.

Thing is, as a number one team – they want to have control from the very beginning of the game, and that’s not happening at the moment. That said, they’re obviously at the very top and with good reason. Betting on them to win this week is the only logical choice.

vs. Team Envy

Winner: Immortals, 1.50 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. Echo Fox

Winner: Immortals, 1.25 (odds @ Bet365)

Team Dignitas vs. Team Liquid & Counter Logic Gaming

What an unexpected surge from Dignitas over the last couple of weeks. They have absolutely wrecked house, beating out TSM, Immortals and CLG. Their only recent loss came to Cloud9, however it was arguably a series that could have gone either way. They have finally decided on their current roster and it is a fantastic one. Every member is performing at an insanely high level, with Altec being the biggest highlight. He constantly manages to deal fantastic DPS while having the least amounts of deaths. He is Top 3 in every statistic that matters, and it shows in his play.

They have a somewhat easy Week 9, as they’re facing a team that is essentially fighting to avoid relegations, and a struggling CLG that was just beat by the last team in the standings.

While Team Liquid shouldn’t give them much trouble, CLG could. Luckily for Dignitas, they already beat CLG even when they had Dardoch on board who was by all means a more menacing and dangerous player in-game than OmarGod. While it will surely go to three games, expect Dignitas to come out victorious. They’re too good at the moment, they have the best grasp on the meta and individually they’re all performing on the highest possible level. (by current NA standards) They have holes in their game, however teams just aren’t able to exploit them at the moment.

vs. Team Liquid

Winner: Team Dignitas, 1.28 (odds @ Bet365)

vs. Counter Logic Gaming

Winner: Team Dignitas, 2.20 (odds @ Bet365)

TSM vs. Phoenix1 & Counter Logic Gaming

The perennial NA team has really struggled over the last couple of weeks. Their wins against Echo Fox, Team Liquid and Team Envy are nothing to be proud of, as they barely managed to come out victorious, often thanks to their opponents misplaying or throwing their leads on their own. They’re slow to adapt to each new patch and to make things more complicated they are also fairly one-dimensional in the way they draft and play the game at the moment. They pick Syndra for Bjergsen and go for a scaling hypercarry and hope for the best, however they even struggle with their own comfort picks.

CLG looked very scary when they were on their game last week. The constant roams from Huhi, the amazing Camille from Darshan and aphromoo with some vintage highlight plays and saves. They’re still as scary as they ever were, however they’re still plagued by the same problems as before as well. They’re very inconsistent and to top it all off, they currently have a winless record against top teams. That, paired with at times illogical drafts and very questionable early game plays make for a team that is very hard to predict.

After all, it was madness seeing them lose to Phoenix1.

Now obviously TSM have the tendency to come back strong as they put in the time and effort to improve week by week, and this time it should be no exception. They know CLG inside out and shouldn’t have a problem beating them once again, especially now when they have a less experienced starting jungler. That said, expect it to be very close.

Winner: TSM, 1.66 (odds @ Bet365)

As for Phoenix1, they simply don’t have what it takes to take down even a struggling TSM. No matter what MikeYoung and Co. bring out, TSM will adapt and punish their mistakes far greater than CLG did last week.

Winner: TSM, 1.22 (odds @ Bet365)

Cloud9 vs. Echo Fox & Team Envy

The boys in white and blue have the easiest remaining schedule out of all teams competing, and they need it as they surely want to secure the highest possible seeding for playoffs. They ended last week on a high note, beating both Team Liquid and FlyQuest, and while those weren’t top tier teams by any stretch of the imagination, it was still a nice, dominant showing from C9. They were looking like the Cloud9 of old, with Jensen having some mindblowing performances in particular. However their games weren’t that clean, they were still making mistakes which better teams will be able to exploit, and their bottom lane underperformed heavily – Sneaky in particular.

Looking ahead, they’re entering Week 9 with some newfound confidence. They already beat Dignitas two weeks ago in 2-1 fashion, and they have a fairly solid read on the meta.

Echo Fox, while they did show big improvement, even managing to take down Phoenix1 thanks to Brandini in the top lane, don’t have enough tools to defeat Cloud9. That said, they always manage to make it insanely close and unnervingly intense, so expect it to be a 2-1 series going in C9’s favor.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.44 (odds @ Bet365)

As for Team Envy, they are truly an enigma. They locked in their playoffs spot so at least they can breathe a sigh of relief, however they don’t have what it takes to compete at the highest level no matter how well Apollo and Nisqy perform. Cloud9 know how to shut down LirA and after that it should all be smooth sailing. Cloud9 will take this 2-1.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.61 (odds @ Bet365)

FlyQuest vs. Team Liquid & Phoenix1

FlyQuest find themselves in a very tricky situation. They are currently in a three-way tie for last, and have only 4 wins and 12 losses. They are desperately fighting to avoid relegation, and to make matters more interesting they are fighting both of their relegation-bound brethren this week. They didn’t show a lot of good things. Other than a couple of standout Wildturtle + Lemonnation moments, they were outplayed in every stage of the game. Still, you could see that underneath all the chaos and bad macro, they had a good idea in mind, it’s just the execution that lacked.

Looking at their match against Team Liquid, it’s hard giving them any sort of edge. Piglet has been playing out of his mind recently, Matt finally had a couple of good Thresh games and Reignover feels right at home with the current meta. Even in their losses to C9 and IMT last week, you could see that their 2-0 in Week 7 was no fluke. They’re a lot more comfortable on the stage and with each other. Expect Team Liquid to come in strong with a starting roster that has Reignover and Goldenglue at the helm, as this is a must win for them.

Winner: Team Liquid, 2.00 (odds @ Bet365)

As for Phoenix1, they look somewhat good when ahead, however they got demolished every time they didn’t create a big lead in the early game. They were able to beat CLG and that in itself is no small task, however you have to question CLG’s play and take that into account as well. We saw the return of MikeYoung’s now famous Nidalee, and Arrow somehow managed to channel his inner 2017 Spring MVP self and completely stomp CLG on Kalista. If they manage to survive the early onslaught, they have what it takes to take down FlyQuest. They have better laners, and if Ryu comes to play like he did last week there is no doubt that they can win this series.

Winner: Phoenix1, 1.83 (odds @ Bet365)

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