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River’s form makes GG a value pick
Dignitas need to channel spirit of EG to secure second win
100 Thieves devoid of momentum ahead of key clash against CLG
From having been outside the top six just four days ago, CLG have won two games on the bounce to vault back into the reckoning. But now that we’re well into the second half, the room for slip-ups gets smaller. CLG just about have their necks above the water with a 6-5 record that currently places them fifth.
Up against them are the 100 Thieves, who’ve lost two of their last three matches and are looking to pick up the pieces again in their fight to remain in contention. Currently, they round off the top six with a 5-6 win-loss record, but only time will tell if they would enter this contest against CLG with a win to break the rut or another loss to demoralize them.
That they’re taking on second-placed Cloud9 on Friday makes their task that much harder. For a safe bet, a value pick, go with CLG for this one.
One of the reasons 100 Thieves signed Bjergsen and Doublelift from North America is because of their propensity to lift the team single-handedly and produce winners as they have in the past couple of years. But so far, this ability has been tested to the hilt at LCS.
Bjergsen lands nearly the same kills as deaths, which makes the assist rate next to negligible. Doublelift offers a slightly better kill-to-death ratio with 4.73 kills and 2.64 assists. but it hasn’t proven to be enough. A fully-firing duo will mean trouble for the rest of the pack. Can they turn up?
From being the early pace-setters, CLG have slipped and how. They’re slowly trying to pick up the pieces again, though, as the win over Immortals exhibited. It was a game they dominated from start to finish. It was like ticking off every single box they possibly could. Higher gold count, barons, towers, and, of course, kills - 21 to their opponent’s 7.
After an indifferent first half, Dhokla is firing again, as is Luger. The pair landed 9 kills between them in the previous game and are slowly showing shades of their dominating best. If they can continue this upward surge, expect CLG to surprise many in the second half.
Dignitas have one win, their first of 2023. And it was a big one too. A massive upset over title favorites Evil Geniuses. It was a topsy-turvy result in a sense. They nearly bungled up after an 8k gold lead within minutes after hitting EG’s Nexus but managed to hold on to their life and win.
Such a result should have ideally spurred them to do better things, but a familiar script played out in their next game. As a result, they are firmly rooted at the bottom of the points table with a 1-10 win-loss record.
One of their major problems so far this season has been their inability to prioritize objectives. That said, against EG takes took four dragons, which was nearly as much as they had in the entire split until that point. Now as they take on Cloud9, currently second with an 8-3 record, they need to channel some of that heroics.
They have to win every single game from here on to try and finish in the top six. Even that may not be enough. Go ahead and punt big on Cloud9 - it’s not hard to pick a winner here. You don’t even need to deep dive into data or player insights to decide who the favorites are.
They’re cruising, high and happy. No turbulence, in cruise control and little to worry about as far as qualifying for the playoffs are concerned. FlyQuest are on top of the leaderboard with a 10-1 record. Their wins have all been marked by authority and outright dominance that has made them everyone’s envy this split. In fact, their previous win, over Dignitas, came even without them remotely exerting themselves.
They took their time, had fun in teasing Dignitas, and then closed out the game in a manner that suggested they were bored. Challenges like this one against EG could be stiffer, but in their current form, they’re better placed to weather any storm that comes their way.
All visa issues are resolved and FlyQuest’s roster is complete with Eyla linking up with the rest of the squad. The one impediment that was often brought up when they were challenged is now out of the way as they turn their attention towards remaining in the top three, perhaps challenging for the top spot to end the split.
Already in the two games, Eyla has left his imprint with a massively impressive kill participation rate, as his assists of 12.5 suggests in the two games so far. Eyla’s inclusion has also eased some of the pressure off their other players.
This is a clash between two teams outside the periphery of the playoffs, but not all’s lost yet. TSM are seventh with a 5-6 record, while Liquid are eighth with a 4-7 record. Both teams can still get on a bit of a roll to string up wins and expect to finish in the top six, but the competition doesn’t get easy with the draw set to pit them against the top sides yet.
So a win in a sense is non-negotiable here to try and reclaim some momentum. TSM start rank underdogs on form; they’ve lost two games back to back and barely scratched home against last-placed Dignitas. They have to do all the running to remain in contention.
In our final game to round off Saturday, Golden Guardians are the overwhelming favorites against Immortals, who like Dignitas are faced with the prospect of finishing last. GG are currently in a logjam in the top half with a 7-4 record, whereas Immortals are separated from last-placed Dignitas by one win. They’re currently ninth.
GG have dominated several stats charts, leading in average gold difference, first tower rate, plates per game, and baron and dragon control. It merely tells you how offensive they’ve been and their plans of playing all-out aggressively are paying off.
The resurgence of Kim “River” Dong-woo has had a positive spin-off on the rest of their group. The jungler has landed 2.64 kills, 2 deaths and 7.36 assists on average, at a KDA of 5. He’s helped elevate his mates during the laning phase, while also leading through several invades and catches in the jungle.
Teams: 100 Thieves, Cloud9, Golden Guardians, Evil Geniuses, FlyQuest, Team Liquid, Counter Logic Gaming, Dignitas, Immortals
Location: North America
Time: Friday, March 3 at 3 PM ET onwards
How to watch: LCS 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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