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Their boosted form has carried over into the current season - they are currently second in the overall standings with 13 wins and 6 losses, putting them just short of being at the top of the table. Facing Golden Guardians is NRG, who is playing the role of gatekeeper of the top 5. The team has 9 wins and 9 losses so far. While this may seem like an easy challenge for Golden Guardians, there's a catch: NRG defeated GG in both group-stage matches.
Despite being at the very top of the table in the current split of the LCS, Golden Guardians are unlikely to be handed an easy win in this upcoming match. Throughout the group stages, GG lost only six games to four teams: Cloud 9, TSM, Evil Geniuses, and NRG. Besides the top-ranked team Cloud9, no other squad has been able to hold two wins over Golden Guardians, except for NRG.
The surging Golden Guardians are having a terrific 2023 season so far. From being a mid-table team since their entry into the LCS in 2018, they strung together a solid set of performances in the Spring split and finished second overall. Their impressive form stayed consistent going into the Mid-Seasonal Invitational as well, and they were able to manage a top-10 finish in their first-ever attempt at the tournament. They would be hoping to keep up the good form and finish the Summer split strongly, but the unknown factor in NRG stands in their way.
NRG was formed by the acquisition of Counter Logic Gaming by NRG Esports. CLG is one of the oldest esports organizations in North America. The team was formed in 2010 by George "HotshotGG" Georgallidis.
In its early years, CLG was a top-tier team in the North American Esports scene, taking home two LCS championships in 2015 and 2016 and finishing in the top three numerous times. In their last entry under the Counter Logic Gaming banner, they placed 5th-6th in the 2023 Spring split of the LCS.
While sportsbooks have not picked an overwhelming favorite in the matchup, they have given Golden Guardians a slight edge. On the other hand, NRG are rated as three to one underdogs. While we pick Golden Guardians to win, it's impossible to rule out an upset, especially since NRG has already beaten them twice.
Except for Luger and poome, NRG's squad consists entirely of former Counter Logic Gaming players. Poome was replaced by the star Chinese Australian player FBI, who was previously with Evil Geniuses and 100Thieves. FBI cut his teeth with 100 Thieves, helping the team win the 2021 Summer split and also with two second-place finishes last year. In the current tournament, he has dealt 667 Damage Per Minute, amounting to 0.3 Kills + Assists Per Minute. He is also credited with a single Pentakill in the current split.
Interestingly, FBI was also part of the main roster of Golden Guardians as recently as 2020. His experience with the team is bound to give him a strong understanding of the ins and outs of the team's strategy and approach, giving NRG a distinct advantage against their upcoming rivals. He's joined by IgNar, who is playing the Support role for the squad.
Another League of Legends veteran, IgNar is a seasoned pro with two second-place finishes in the LCS to his credit. The remaining three players on the active squad, Dhokla, Contractz, and Palafox, are from Counter Logic Gaming, and they have a different level of S-Tier experience than FBI and IgNar.
In the current split, NRG has dealt 2241 Damage Per Minute and drawn first blood only 38% of the time. The new team has an average of 13.8 kills per game, which is balanced out by 13.7 deaths per game. In terms of economy, they have acquired 1801 Gold Per Minute and have established First Tower in 50% of all their games. NRG has a win rate of 66% when playing as the blue side and only 33% when playing as the red side.
2023 has been a remarkable year for Golden Guardians so far. Throughout the off-season, the team went from being a mid-table staple to nearly defeating Cloud9 for the LCS Spring 2023 championship. While it's difficult to pinpoint the exact reason behind their sudden success, the stability and reassurance of having no roster change since mid-2022 has brought some winning form to the team.
Currently, the team is a dominant force in the 2023 Summer split, with a win rate of 68%. GG has dealt 2463 Damage Per Minute and has played aggressively to draw first blood 63.2% of the time, leading to 15.3 kills per game, at a rate of 11.7 deaths per game for an average kill/death ratio of 1.8.
The economy has been one of the strong suits of Golden Guardians, with 1904 Gold Per Minute. Golden Guardians have won 84.6% of their games when ahead at 15 minutes. If they get the jump on NRG and build up an early lead, they're almost certain to steamroll their way to a victory. On the other hand, NRG will have to disrupt GG's momentum in the early game to realize any chance of success.
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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