NA LCS 2018 Spring Split – Week 4 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

February 10th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

We’re off to the fourth week of the North American LCS. Things are going by incredibly quickly and teams have finally played enough games to give us a fairly concrete sample size so that we can judge their level of play.

Going forward, things are fairly similar to last week, with a three way tie for the number one spot between Echo Fox, Cloud9 and Team Liquid. Teams are also getting somewhat into place in regards to the standings. There aren’t a lot of surprises other than the fact that Echo Fox is playing so incredibly well with so little time to practice. Teams like TSM and Counter Logic Gaming are also improving at a staggering pace as the weeks go by so they’re climbing up as well.

Without any further ado, let’s focus on the games at hand!

SATURDAY

Team Solo Mid vs. Clutch Gaming – For the first game of the day we have an exciting clash between two “middle-of-the-pack” teams, at least momentarily. Clutch Gaming are in a somewhat confusing state right now. They’re showing a lot of great things but it’s obvious that they still need time to further develop team cohesion. They’re not on the same page, LirA has been fairly unimpactful so far and Apollo and Hakuho haven’t really been that strong either. They had a fairly strong early game last week but it’s always a bad call or sloppy teamfight in the mid game that seals their fate. The same happened against 100 Thieves last week – they held the gold lead for the entirety of the game but it was all in vain.

As for TSM, they finally managed to string two victories last week albeit against the Golden Guardians (which doesn’t go by much these days) and a confusing, badly executed draft from 100 Thieves (other than a couple of good early game plays). Regardless, individually they all stepped up and perhaps most importantly MikeYoung looked focused and was highly impactful in both of their games.

TSM should be able to take this game. They have the better players and they’ve shown improved synergy last week so they shouldn’t have too big of a problem handling Clutch Gaming. That said, it’s not going to be easy for the NA titans.

Winner: TSM, 1.06 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. Team Liquid – This is where things get incredibly interesting. Cloud9 are currently looking like a very solid top team (tied for first) much like last split however last week all that convincing. They took down a highly questionable OpTic Gaming team (led by questionable draft choices like Akaadian’s Nunu and zig’s Urgot) and even then they struggled in the early and mid stages of the game. They were more clean against Clutch Gaming however it often seems like they manage to survive by the skin of their teeth. They’re rarely clean in their execution which is forgivable, they’re still gelling with Licorice and Svenskeren.

That said, they’re fighting against Team Liquid this time around. Taking down a game Team Liquid squad is a tall task for any team, let alone for one that is still gelling and that is having more than a couple of issues in the early game. It’s tough seeing them competing with Liquid as they simply have superior synergy at the moment, and quite frankly they have better players in almost every position.

This should be a Team Liquid win, however expect an insane game filled with tons of skirmishing.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.72 (odds @ Betway)

Optic Gaming vs. Counter Logic Gaming – CLG finally looked somewhat cohesive last week and not just because they ended 2-0. Their macro was on point, they rotated on the map consistently and even managed to take down the feared Echo Fox squad. Reignover utilized Jarvan IV to perfection, and paired with a great performance from Darshan as well as their bottom lane, it seems like CLG can be counted out no more. Luckily for all CLG fans, their momentum won’t come to and end here as they’re fighting against a struggling OpTic Gaming that has so far barely managed to win just a single game. While they do pose a certain threat, CLG should be ready for anything OpTic has in store.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. FlyQuest –  The Thieves are fairly similar to Clutch Gaming in the sense that they still haven’t fully developed. They made multiple errors against Clutch Gaming however they persevered, they took whatever they could on the map and waited their turn. When the late game came, they had the superior team comp and they simply executed to perfection. Against TSM however they started inversely – strong in the early but it all fell flat as they got outscaled and eventually stomped in just over forty minutes. As for FlyQuest they were completely powerless against an incredibly aggressive Team Liquid roster that utterly dominated

If the Thieves draft well, if they fix their early game problems and play the game with a more clearer game plan in mind they should be able to take the game. That said they have a ton of issues so FlyQuest could be able to exploit it quite a bit however the individual experience within the 100 Thieves roster should persevere and emerge victorious when all is said and done.

Winner: 100 Thieves, 1.36 (odds @ Betway)

Echo Fox vs. Golden Guardians – Even though they lost to CLG last week, Echo Fox is entering the fifth week of the NA LCS with the same momentum they had prior. They’re an incredibly dominant team that is feared across the League and with good reason. It doesn’t matter what they come out of the gates with, they should be able to take care of the Golden Guardians with relative ease as the Guardians really haven’t been playing on a high level ever since they entered the LCS. They’re winless and if they’re aiming for a rebound, it’s not going to be against a beastly roster such as Echo Fox.

Winner: Echo Fox, 1.15 (odds @ Betway)

CONTINUE READING

NA LCS 2018 Spring Split – Week 3 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

February 3rd, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

Last week was an incredibly exciting one in regards to high quality League of Legends. We had pentakills, nerve racking backdoors and a couple of sixty minute brawls as well. (just to make things a bit more dynamic) Do expect some surprises this time around as the games will be played on patch 8.2, so changes in the midlane and support meta should be evident from the very get go – making games a lot more unpredictable!

Let’s take a closer look at the games that await us this weekend!

SATURDAY

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Echo Fox –  Echo Fox has been looking absolutely insane over the last two weeks. They’re currently undefeated (perfect Immortals 2016 Split flashbacks), and made quick work of both Cloud9 and TSM last week. They’re simply an astonishingly talented group of players that displayed far greater decision making and macro than anyone expected. Looking at their week 3, there is no reason for them not to improve to a spotless 6-0 record.  As for CLG, things haven’t been going “according to plan”. Reignover really hasn’t lived up to any chunk of hype that CLG fans were building when news broke that the former Fnatic jungler would replace OmarGod as he’s been mostly suicidal, their bottom lane hasn’t been performing up to expectations and overall they’ve been unable to fully realize their strategies and win conditions. The only beacons of hope so far have been Darshan and Huhi, however their macro has been downright abysmal so there’s almost no chance for them to tango with a very game Echo Fox squad. That said they might be able to keep the game pretty close until the late game but it shouldn’t be enough.

Winner: Echo Fox, 1.36 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. OpTic Gaming – Many people felt pretty underwhelmed when Cloud9 announced their full starting roster and with good reason – the loss of Impact and Contractz is a huge one. However they don’t seem to fazed by public opinion as they’ve been playing admirably well so far. As for OpTic, they showed serious improvement last week. So far they’ve managed to keep things pretty competitive however it’s always a bad call in the mid game or a sloppy teamfight in the late game that becomes the determining factor in regards to whether or not they get the win. They simply have too many holes in their game and Cloud9 even in their current weakened state should be more than able to capitalize. That said, Akaadian and PowerOfEvil are a very formidable early game duo, so don’t be surprised if they take the lead early.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.33 (odds @ Betway)

Clutch Gaming vs. 100 Thieves – This is a very interesting matchup, as both teams seem pretty solid. They’re far from dominant, and they have a ton of problems in the decision-making department but they’re highly capable regardless. The only question that looms in the air is – how impactful will Febiven be? That’s the only “X factor” as we’ve seen what the “Boy who killed Faker” can do on a comfort pick. That said, his teammates haven’t been playing that good overall, with LirA being far less impactful than in 2017. The 100 Thieves roster simply have more tools and by default more win conditions. Their only loss so far came at the hands of a very game Team Liquid which is perfectly forgivable for a roster that is this young.

Winner: 100 Thieves, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)

FlyQuest vs. Team Liquid – It’s still to early to fairly gauge FlyQuest’s realistic skill level at the moment. Unfortunately even in their best form, they shouldn’t be able to take down Team Liquid. Regardless, they might be able to keep things somewhat competitive so it shouldn’t be that one-sided.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.28 (odds @ Betway)

TSM vs. Golden Guardians – Luckily for all TSM fans, this game should be a lot easier to win than any other. Unfortunately for the Golden Guardians, they lost their head coach in Locodoco, which could seriously hinder their preparation and performance. Even though they kept things really competitive last week against FlyQuest, they should fall prey to TSM’s macro and better individual players. Betting on TSM here would be the more logical choice.

Winner: TSM, 1.30 (odds @ Betway)

SUNDAY

Echo Fox vs. OpTic Gaming – Unfortunately for OpTic Gaming, things don’t get any easier as the weeks go by. This time around they’re facing one of the most bloodthirsty teams in the entire League and they’re basically outmatched on all fronts. The pace at which Echo Fox plays is simply unbearable for a team that isn’t perfectly in tune with their shotcalling and decision making. Echo Fox should be able to take this one with relative ease.

Winner: Echo Fox, 1.30 (odds @ Betway)

TSM vs. 100 Thieves – All eyes are set on TSM as they enter the third week of competitive play with a pretty underwhelming 1-3 record. They showed serious improvement last week, however it was still pretty disappointing for a team that was expected to be at the very top of the standings from the very get go. They managed to best OpTic Gaming last week however it was a 63 minute snooze fest so it’s tough giving them the benefit of the doubt this time around. 100 Thieves have the tools to emerge victorious and after seeing them take down Team Liquid last week there is no doubt that they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Winner: 100 Thieves, 1.85 (odds @ Betway)

Golden Guardians vs. Team Liquid – Arguably the biggest mismatch this week. Without a coach and with all lanes losing, there is simply no win condition for the Golden Guardians, and regardless if they overperform or not, it simply shouldn’t be enough against Team Liquid.

Winner: Team Liquid , 1.25 (odds @ Betway)

Clutch Gaming vs. Cloud9 – Regardless of the potential within the Clutch Gaming roster, Cloud9 simply have the edge due to the stronger bottom half of the map and long term synergy. Svenskeren seems to be a good fit for Jensen’s playstyle and is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with LirA. That said this should be far from an easy game for Cloud9.

Winner: Echo Fox, 1.50 (odds @ Betway)

Counter Logic Gaming vs. FlyQuest – This should by all means be a barnburner, as both are constantly struggling with mid-game decision making and they also have serious inconsistencies. If FlyQuest comes out of the gate in the same form in which they took down TSM, they should be able to make this really close, however CLG simply have years of experience, they have a solid shotcaller in Reignover and highly competitive players all around.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

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NA LCS 2018 Spring Split Week 2 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

January 27th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

After an exciting and chaotic first week of the NA LCS, let’s take a closer look at the matches starting tomorrow night and the overall state of the game.

The meta

If there is one thing that became apparent after the first two days of competitive NA LCS League of Legends it is the fact that the games are far more slower and passive. With teams going for picks like Azir and Sivir, they have wave clear for days which in turn allows them to stall out over the sixty minute mark. (100T vs. OpTic game comes to mind) Paired with the Relic Shield bottom lane meta and free Stopwatches and boots for every player that chooses the “Inspiration” mastery tree we get a lot slower early game.

At the moment, the NA LCS is wide open. Staple teams like TSM and Counter Logic Gaming failed to get even a single win after the first week of regular season play which speaks volumes about the level of competition that’s present even in the bottom half of the standings. Teams like FlyQuest that are being overlooked almost by default all of a sudden have fantastic, capable rosters with a high skill ceiling which means no game can be taken for granted.

Additionaly, that means that every single game could be far close than originally anticipated which makes betting a bit more risky. That said, there are still clear favorites, so without any further ado let’s look at what’s in store for week two!

SATURDAY

Clutch Gaming vs. Counter Logic Gaming – even though they’re 0-2 at the moment, CLG showed us more than just a couple of good things last week. They held the lead against Cloud9 but eventually failed to translate over their leads into the mid and late game. (plus they fell prey to C9’s staple late game teamfighting) Clutch Gaming should be a far easier opponent that is a lot less threatening throughout all stages of the game, so expect CLG to emerge victorious.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.75 (odds @ Betway)

TSM vs. OpTic Gaming – after last week’s debacle, the North American giant TSM is entering the second week without a single win on the board. That said, they always managed to rebound after a bad performance. They obviously misread the meta and played poorly on an individual level as well. Going into the second week they know this is a match that could be easily won, especially seeing how well Echo Fox is playing right now. Expect TSM to improve and to take the game with relative ease.

Winner: TSM, 1.35 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. Echo Fox – after their first two games we can safely say that Cloud9 still have the tools to compete at the highest level with their current roster – at least for the time being. That said, Echo Fox is currently looking like an absolute beast of a team. They have a good portion of C9 outclassed on an individual level, and if they manage to shut down Jensen they should be able to take the win. That said, this should be an absolute barn burner and it can go either way.

Winner: Echo Fox, 2.05 (odds @ Betway)

100 Thieves vs. Team Liquid – Nadeshot’s new organization got off to a fairly satisfying start to the Spring Split, however their wins were far from dominant. They were afraid, sloppy and somewhat indecisive which is completely understandable seeing how fresh the roster is, but that level of play simply cannot succeed against a team that has multiple years of synergy in Team Liquid. Betting on Team Liquid would be the better and more logical choice.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)

Golden Guardians vs. FlyQuest – As for FlyQuest they’re currently 1-1 in the standings, and even though they got outclassed by Echo Fox on the first day, they managed to bounce back with a very strong showing against TSM. Luckily for all FlyQuest fans, GGS is predicted to be the last team in the standings and they’re playing true to that prediction. While they might be able to put up a greater fight than expected, this should go in FlyQuest’s favor.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

SUNDAY

Echo Fox vs. TSM – Heading into Sunday’s matches, TSM probably isn’t happy due to their strength of schedule. Echo Fox simply have too many tools in the shed right now. With Huni playing out of his mind, Fenix being at home with the meta (especially on his staple Azir) and a phenomenal bottom lane duo that has the synergy down to perfection. To cap it all of they have one of the best early game junglers in the League. (currently holds the 100% First Blood rate after two games) Regardless of how well TSM adapt they probably won’t be able to handle all the unfiltered aggression.

Winner: Echo Fox, 1.95 (odds @ Betway)

Cloud9 vs. 100 Thieves – This should by all means be a very entertaining scrap between two top tier teams. Unfortunately for 100T, they don’t have the synergy to take down Cloud9, especially not in the late game. That said, this should be far from an easy game, as Ssumday and Ryu surely want to continue their winning streak.

Winner: Cloud9, 1.75 (odds @ Betway)

OpTic Gaming vs. FlyQuest – Even though they started with an expected 0-2, OpTic performed above expectations for sure. They went blow-for-blow with Team Liquid (for a while) and fought tooth and nail against 100 Thieves in an hour long game. While that’s a weak consolation prize they’re far from a bad team and could become even better as time goes on. It’s hard predicting this game but it should go in FlyQuest’s favor as they have better players in almost every single role and showcased far greater synergy and decision making last week.

Winner: FlyQuest, 1.70 (odds @ Betway)

Golden Guardians vs. Counter Logic Gaming – Even though Hai had a fantastic showing on Zoe last week, they shouldn’t be able to take down CLG. The Golden Guardians are outclassed on all accounts and it should show on the Rift as well. Expect CLG to come out of the gates swinging as this is one of the easiest opponents they will face in the foreseeable future.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 145 (odds @ Betway)

Team Liquid vs. Clutch Gaming – Unfortunately for Clutch Gaming, Team Liquid is coming in hot and are surely looking to extend their win streak to four. While LirA and Febiven might be able to cause some trouble for Xmithie and Pobelter, they shouldn’t be able to match their cohesion and late game teamfighting in the end. Liquid simply have too many tools and avenues to win the game when compared to Clutch Gaming.

Winner: Team Liquid, 1.35 (odds @ Betway)

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NA LCS 2018 Spring Split – Week 1 Preview, Betting Tips & Odds

January 20th, 2018

Photo: Riot Games

After a lengthy, chaotic off-season filled with tons of surprises and roster shuffles, we’re just hours away from the very first day of the 2018 NA LCS Spring Split.

Things cannot get more exciting as the North American League is getting franchised. We’re getting tons of new teams, organizations and roster and watching things develop from the very beginning should be a real treat. The format will no longer be Best of 3 but Best of 1 instead, so we’re back on a single stream, five games a day on Saturday and Sunday.

Without any further ado, let’s focus on every match played this weekend.

SATURDAY

Team Liquid vs TSM – for the first match of the year we have a highly anticipated clash between two age-old organizations. For many analysts, these two teams will be the very pinnacle of the North American region and with good reason. While both teams have completely new rosters, Team Liquid should have a slight edge as all of their players already played together. (with the exception of Impact) They already have more than enough synergy to take this game, especially as they retained the fantastic Xmithie, Pobelter and Olleh trio from Immortals.

Winner: Team Liquid, odds 2.01 at Pinnacle.

100 Thieves vs. OpTic Gaming – While there are a couple of highly important questions that are yet to be answered regarding the 100T roster, they should have no problem handling the confusing OpTic Gaming roster. They have better players in almost every role and with a solid shotcalling voice in aphromoo they shouldn’t struggle too much.

Winner:  100 Thieves, odds 1.57 at bet365.

Clutch Gaming vs. Golden Guardians – while this isn’t a premier matchup by any stretch of the imagination, people shouldn’t sleep on the upgraded Clutch Gaming roster. By retaining the LirA, Apollo and Hakuho core and upgrading with EU’s Febiven in the mid lane, this roster has more than enough tools to be a serious playoff contender.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, odds 1.51 at 1xBet.

Echo Fox vs. FlyQuest – we’re going for Echo Fox this time around. Even though FlyQuest has a seriously upgraded roster, Echo Fox has a couple of insanely talented, early game-oriented players in Huni, Dardoch and the Altec + Adrian bottom duo. While they should be prone to tilting, they have more than just a single win condition and if they play at least somewhat intelligently they should have this.

Winner: Echo Fox, odds 1.63 at Pinnacle.

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Cloud9 – for our last match of the day we have an exciting clash between C9 and CLG. These two teams always duke it out and leave everything on the Rift regardless of the roster and meta, so expect a very chaotic game with a ton of bloodshed. CLG should have a very slight edge however as Cloud9 lost both Contractz and Impact. Reignover is by all means a fantastic jungler and should more than just fill the void left by aphromoo.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, odds 1.79 at Pinnacle.

SUNDAY

Photo: Riot Games

OpTic Gaming vs. Team Liquid – unfortunately for OpTic the first week of the Spring Split won’t be the start they’re hoping for. They don’t have the tools to fight a top tier team like Team Liquid. While they might be able to come out with something fresh and innovative it won’t be enough against a powerhouse like TL.

Winner: Team Liquid, odds 1.33 at bet365

FlyQuest vs. TSM – much like OpTic, FlyQuest are most likely to enter the second week of the split without a single win. TSM even with the changes that they’ve made should be playing the game on a completely different level when compared to FlyQuest.

Winner: TSM, odds 1.40 at Pinnacle.

Counter Logic Gaming vs. 100 Thieves – perhaps the most exciting game of the day. While both teams have the tools to compete at the highest level, CLG should have a serious edge in terms of team synergy and cohesion. The swap to Reignover and Biofrost should be an upgrade in the long run, and by keeping the Darshan, Huhi and Stixxay trio they shouldn’t really skip a beat during the first few weeks of the Spring Split, especially against newly formed teams like 100 Thieves. That said, the 100T roster led by Prolly has some serious heavy hitters so expect this one to be extremely close.

Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, odds 1.65 at Pinnacle.

Golden Guardians vs. Cloud9 – the Guardians are currently predicted to inhabit the very bottom of the NA LCS standings and with good reason. Even though they have Hai to shotcall and Contractz to assist him, the fact that Cloud9 retained the Jensen, Sneaky and Smoothie core should allow them to contest for a Top 5 spot easily. Luckily for C9’s Licorice, this will also be one of the top lane matchups where he won’t be at a disadvantage meaning Svenskeren should be able to focus more on Jensen who has proved to be one of Cloud9’s biggest win conditions over the last two years.

Winner: Cloud9, odds 1.42 at 1xBet.

Echo Fox vs. Clutch Gaming – for the last game of the week we have a highly promising clash between two very interesting teams. Quite frankly it’s almost impossible to predict the outcome. Echo Fox have an insanely talented roster but they don’t have any synergy whereas Clutch Gaming literally imported the best parts of the former Team EnVyUs lineup. LirA is still seen as one of the best and most dominant early game junglers and will surely compliment Febiven’s playstyle and playmaking potential. With the bottom lane being pretty much self-sufficient and strong both in lane and in teamfights, Clutch Gaming should have an edge. That said, as with any team that has Dardoch, it will all come down to the early game. Which ever team builds a lead early will probably take the game.

Winner: Clutch Gaming, odds 1.93 at Pinnacle.

You can watch the NA LCS on Twitch and YouTube.

CONTINUE READING

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)

CONTINUE READING

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)

CONTINUE READING

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)

CONTINUE READING

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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