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This Friday, we’ve got an absolute cracker: Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses, the top two sides in the LCS, face each other in a battle for the top spot. Cloud9 are the bookies’ favorites to win this tie, which isn’t much of a surprise considering they’re the defending champions; however, a loss to NRG in their last league encounter has highlighted that they have a few chinks in their armor.
Evil Geniuses have dominated the LCS for the last couple of seasons but were well below par in Spring. They look like their old selves again, which is great for the league and great for this match. With five wins out of six, they’re tied with Cloud9 at the top of the table; a loss to Dignitas has been the only disappointment of an excellent season.
Betting against Cloud9 seems like an absurd choice, considering how dominant they’ve been this season, but Evil Geniuses are capable of holding their own against any side in all of LoL esports, never mind Cloud9. Evil Geniuses have a history of showing up on the big occasion and have valuable odds for this match; picking them wouldn’t qualify as a punt. We think Evil Geniuses are the better pick for this mouthwatering clash.
Evil Geniuses are back on their perch. They tend to save their best for the playoffs, but they’ve been excellent in the league so far, with five wins out of six matches and three wins on the trot. Last season’s 3-0 loss to Golden Guardians in round two of the playoffs had everyone in the LCS world unsure of Evil Genius’ quality heading into the new season, but those doubts have been laid to rest after their start to this season.
The loss to Dignitas raised old questions, but impressive wins against Golden Guardians and Team Liquid proved that Evil Geniuses are well and truly back; you can’t keep them out of the big time for too long.
One of the issues last season was the form of mid-laner Jojopyun. It wasn’t exactly a Jojopyun issue but a larger team issue: teams seemed to have figured out a way to neutralize his impact on the game, but Evil Geniuses have worked a way around that this season like the best teams do.
Another plus has been the form of bot laner FBI. He still averages over 4.5 kills per game, under 2.5 deaths per game, and over 5 assists per game. As long as his numbers are this good, Evil Geniuses will always be a difficult opponent.
It’ll be fascinating to see how Cloud9 approach this game: will they expend most of their energy on stopping Jojopyun and FBI, or concentrate on their own game and hope to get the job done? Their tactics from last season will most likely not work against this iteration of Evil Geniuses, so it’ll be fascinating to see it all play out.
Cloud9’s first loss of the season couldn’t have come at a worse time. If they won their last league game, they could’ve gone into this match against Evil Geniuses unpressured, but it feels like a must-win game now. A loss will see them go below Evil Geniuses on the league table and affect their confidence heading into the playoffs.
Cloud9 are the bookies' favorites to win this tie despite their recent loss, so we shouldn’t forget the quality they possess. They are the defending champions, and Berserker is arguably the best player in the league. He has averaged 4.77 kills per game, 1.37 deaths per game, and 4.7 assists per game this year; he’s as aggressive as they come but is deceptively difficult to take aim at.
Emenes has also been a big plus since joining the team in February. The mid-laner has averaged 3.06 kills per game, 2.38 deaths per game, and 5.44 assists per game this year. He has taken some of the heat off of Berseker this year, which has been key to their improved results. As good as Berserker and Emenes are, the stats show that they’re a smidge below Jojopyun and FBI in terms of quality; it’s why Evil Geniuses can never be taken lightly.
There isn’t a lot of value in picking Cloud9, which will turn a lot of people off them for this match. They’re a great team, and most fans and experts will state that they’ve been the best team in the league this year, but Evil Geniuses have a history of dismantling the strongest of the sides when they’re in full flow – and they sure are in full flow at the moment. We think Evil Geniuses will edge this one by the slightest of margins.
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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