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Team Liquid (moneyline)
The caravan moves from one tournament to another. If the hard tussle of the LCS Spring Split 2022 was just an appetiser, the main course is set to come now. And it features two top sides who have had a successful run.
Team Liquid finished on top of the pile with 14 wins and four losses, including a three-match streak to stave off any competition for their throne. 100 Thieves weren’t too far behind, finishing third, with a 12-6 win-loss record. At no stage during the split were these two sides in any danger of not making it through to the playoffs.
Having established themselves to play in the winners’ bracket, they overcame fierce competition from Evil Geniuses before eventually nicking the game 3-2. For a while, it looked like there would be a massive upset on the cards but they managed to hold on.
Meanwhile, 100 Thieves had it slightly easier as they overcame Cloud9 by a comfortable 3-0 margin. They hardly needed to flex their muscle to get the result they desired. And that now brings us to the Round-2 clash between the two winners of the winners’ bracket contest. Whoever wins this one will directly make it through to the final. The loser will have a second shot at redemption as they will take on the winner of the losers’ bracket round-2 match.
Liquid and EG alternated wins while playing on the red. Both sides took a near identical 33 minutes to win their respective maps to make it 1-1. Liquid then clinically sifted through the map in the third, sweeping it in 28 minutes, to take a 2-1 lead. As it to counter-punch, EG hit back to take the next map in a little over 30 minutes to make it 2-2.
With everything to play for, the final game was a battle of nerves, with both sides playing to not lose, rather than going with all-out aggression. Liquid eventually held on to take the game, with Soren “Bjergsen” Berg playing a key role.
He landed 4.2 kills, 2.4 death and 5.8 assists to seal victory. He was well supported by Steven“Hans sama” whose proficiency landed him 3.8 kills, 2.2 death and 6 assists, this included a decisive final sweep, in which he landed 7 kills, 1 death and 10 assist in the decider.
Abbedagge has blown hot and cold right through the spring split. At one point, his lack of form elicited debates if the team had to carry him long, because he wasn’t delivering. But now, from being an average role player, he has lifted his game several notches.
This transformation seems to have had a direct impact on 100 Thieves’ upswing as well. They look a lot more rounded. All said, he still has some haunting memories of his previous outing against Team Liquid, where he died thrice within the first 10 minutes of the contest.
He will have to sync up with Closer and Ryze to give 100 Thieves some sort of a chance. This much we do know: 100 Thieves will run Liquid a lot closer than Evil Geniuses did. Expect a cracker.
Pick: Cloud9 (moneyline)
Cloud9 carry with them the confidence of a 3-0 mauling of the Golden Guardians. Cloud9 made a strategic change to their roster ahead of the game, with Jonah “Isles” Rosario replacing Kim “Winsome” Dong-Keon. Isles has the experience of having developed his game having been a regular feature at the Cloud9 Academy. When an opportunity opened up, courtesy Winsome’s travel hassles to America, he grabbed it with both hands.
But they have moved on from being near competitors in the starting line-up to key players in the squad. Isles did well upon promotion to the main squad, having done superbly well in combination with Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol. Isles was so impactful that he may have even won the player of the Series if not for a freak show from Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami on LeBlanc.
For the record, the game against Golden Guardians was Fudge’s first t the LCS, having only previously experienced this stage at the 2022 Lock-in. That he could make the kind of impact he did despite having just a handful of training hours in the build-up to the game told you something about his commitment and form. In performing the way he has, Isles has brushed aside skepticism about his ability to combine with Berserker.
Make no mistake. Evil Geniuses are very much aspiring for the title. They managed to close out the series 3-1 against FlyQuest, thereby knocking them out of the title race. But don’t go by the scoreline alone, there were plenty of exciting pockets in the game that Evil Genuises built on to claim victory. Kacper “Inspired” Słoma and Joseph “jojopyun” Joon Pyun had impactful outings, playing stellar roles in the taking an early lead which they managed to consolidate.
Evil Geniuses brought with the reputation of having one of the most promising rosters ahead of the 2022 spring split, and as we approach the end of the playoffs, that perception has only further been reinforced through their performances. Players like Inspired struggled early but have more than made up for the early lapses. Having been shown the door earlier by Cloud9 during the spring split, here’s their shot at redemption.
Prior to the start of the playoffs, jungler Inspired had lamented at the format, citing the best-of-one was hardly the way forward. He expressed confidence in being able to compete and challenge any team with the best-of-five series. The way the team has responded lately makes it amply clear, BO1 or BO5, they stand an equally good chance of beating anyone on their day. Along the way, EG have encountered numerous challenges. They needed to win their final round of the spring split to secure an entry into the playoffs. That was the kind of pressure they were under. In taking down CLG Academy to secure an entry into the top six, they proved their mettle. The win also knocked off Dignitas from contention.
Pick: paIN (moneyline)
Red Canids have taken the hard route to the final. They began with a mauling at the hands of Kabum! Esports in the round-1 of the winners’ bracket. It meant instead of directly securing a semi-final entry had they won, they have had to stave off three challenges of varying degrees to get to the grand finale.
Waiting for them are old nemesis paIN Gaming, who won their winners’ bracket game 3-2 over FURIA before seeing off Kabum!. That now brings us to the two teams standing. Who will prevail?
Because the two teams are so closely stacked together in terms of strengths, form and recent history, the odds are also tightly packed. paIN have a slight edge but it’s not much at all in the larger context. Red Canids swear by continuity.
Winners for the 2021 Split 2 and representatives at the Worlds 2021, they ensured the kept faith in the same set of players who delivered success last year. Four of the five players on their roster chose to extend contracts until 2023.
The BO5 game on Sunday brought out a different side of RED that were defeated by KaBuM in the first round. But they have dug deep and found solutions to problems they had been riddled it for a long time.
For starters, their map control was top notch, they executed the fights between teams better. Three wins back to back now mean Alexandre ‘TitaN” Lima’s side will compete for the CbLol title against paIN gaming, who were already sitting pretty and watching the fun unfold.
|CBLOL-LCS 2022 Spring Split Information
|CBLOL: Red Canids vs Pain
LCS: Liquid vs 100 Thieves, Cloud9 vs EG
|Offline event, conducted in North America and Brazil
|Saturday, March April 16 at 11.00 AM EST onwards
|How to watch
|CBLOL and LCS official Twitch channel
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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