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Golden Guardians should win this match quite comfortably. When the two sides met last year in the playoffs, Golden Guardians beat 100 Thieves 3-2, and that was a far better 100 Thieves side than the one Golden Guardians are set to face this week.
Golden Guardians have been excellent this season, which is reflected in their second place standing on the league table. The same can’t be said of 100 Thieves, who’ve struggled all season and are in danger of missing out on a playoff spot. This is a great fall from grace for a side that ended last year’s summer season as the runners-up.
The Thieves were also the second-best team in the league last season, so this fall-off is pretty concerning. Golden Guardians don’t offer great value heading into this game, but there isn’t much to suggest that 100 Thieves will get something from this match. Unlike their opponents, the Thieves don’t have the form on their side and have struggled in the recent head-to-head ties.
Thieves’ Doublelift, one of the best players in the league, has also lost some form recently. The Thieves couldn’t be in worse condition heading into such a big game.
Golden Guardians surprised everyone with an excellent playoff run last season. They got the better of their upcoming opponents and G2 before falling short in the final against current league leaders Cloud9.
Golden Guardians entered the playoffs with a 9-9 win/loss record and a sixth-place league finish. Entering the playoffs was an achievement in its own right, never mind making it all the way to the finals.
As good as that run was, there were doubts about their ceiling heading into this season. They’ve silenced the doubters and proved they belong at the top this season. Bot laner Stixxay has been key to their rise: he has averaged 4.88 kills per game, 2.13 deaths per game, and 4.58 assists per game this season.
He has been well-supplemented by mid-laner Gori, who has averaged 3.32 kills per game, 2.31 deaths per game, and 5.69 assists per game this season. The best teams often have one player who averages over 3 kills per game and another over 4.5 kills per game, and Golden Guardians have managed the same this season.
Before this season, Gori wasn’t averaging over 3 kills per game, so he deserves a lot of credit for upping his game this season. The Thieves don’t have the same quality in their current roster; it’s one of the many reasons we don’t see them getting anything from this game.
It looks like 100 Thieves haven’t recovered from their 3-2 loss to Golden Guardians last season. Beating them could go a long way to ironing out their season, but it is easier said than done. Golden Guardians have gone from strength to strength since that playoff match and have gotten even stronger since beating 100 Thieves earlier in the season.
In hindsight, it looks like 100 Thieves were never as good as many fans and experts made them out to be. They were good in the league last season, but only had a 56% win rate; there clearly wasn’t a big gap in quality between the teams between 2nd and 6th place.
The big worry this season is that they’re in danger of not qualifying for the playoffs. In fact, they’re not in the playoff places currently, and another loss could make it even harder for them to qualify for the playoffs. There isn’t a lot of time to make up for their poor start to the season, and playing catch-up is never ideal. Playing an in-form side like Golden Guardians during your quest for playoff qualification is harder, still.
One of the concerns this season is the form of bot laner Doublelift. Doublelift came into this season with kills per game average of over 5, but that dropped to 4.6 after this season. Of course, his teammates need to do a lot more to help him, but the drop-off is pretty stark.
Quid, the mid-laner, is the only other member of the roster with respectable stats at the moment. He has averaged 3.25 kills per game but has been quite vulnerable defensively with 3.17 deaths per game this year. The team has struggled to find a balance all season, which invariably leads to a drop in the number of key players.
These numbers also highlight that there isn’t a massive gap in quality between these teams; 100 Thieves can catch up with Golden Guardians if they add decent support players, but until that happens, the team will lack cohesion and the top players won’t be able to play to their full potential.
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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