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Pick: G2 Esports (moneyline)
A loss to Fnatic in the Round-1 Winners’ Bracket has now put G2 Esports in an unenviable position as they take on Vitality in a Losers’ Bracket Lower Seed fixture.
How Vitality? Because they managed to cross the line 3-2 over XL Gaming in a pulsating clash. In many ways, this fixture is the coming together of two teams in a similar position.
It isn’t a coincidence that they’re near to the same strength and on the same wavelength when it comes to tactics, match-ups, and otherwise. And it is precisely for this reason that the odds for this match are nearly the same. In many ways, they will renew their famous rivalry when they go head to head.
Though Fnatic and G2 each earned a win in their best-of-one clashes in the regular season, Fnatic secured the win in their matchup for the 2022 LEC spring playoffs. G2 will need to be mindful of moments slipping through the cracks. Like it did in their upper bracket fixture.
The game was on an even keel with Fnatic having arm-wrestled their way to a 2-1 lead before things went hurling down. In the fourth game, Fnatic went on a rampage, landing as many as 69k gold to G2’s 55.4k. They landed 21 kills, 9 more than G2, apart from capturing 11 towers to G2’s 1. G2 was blanked when it came to Inhibitors, Barons, and Dragons too. It was merely a reflection of how they fared under pressure.
Wunder and Hylissang hardly gave G2 a window of opportunity. Jankos and BrokenBlade were far less proficient than their record suggest because they were marked out with their propensity to go for kills greatly reduced because of efficient planning. So now, G2 needs to come up with a counter-plan against Vitality. Fnatic’s explosion mid-game caught G2 off guard.
That said, it wasn’t like G2 didn’t have their moments. With a combination of shields, armor, and impenetrable defense, G2 showed versatility and fantastic game mechanics across the map and soon confined Fnatic in their base in the only game they won. Pockets of such brilliance are something they will want to sustain over a longer period.
Vitality made the playoffs after a late dash in the final week with a 9-9 record.
Though both them and Excel finished with a similar record, they were viewed through different prisms, factoring in the initial expectations and other major factors like players on their roster, budgets, and experience.
While 9-9 is seen as terrific for Excel, it has the potential to be viewed as a major disappointment for Vitality. There’s a sense that they made the playoffs doing the bare minimum with one of the most stacked and hyped teams going into the 2022 season. Now, it’s for them to prove detractors wrong yet again.
Pick: Rogue (moneyline)
After wins in their respective winners’ bracket round-1 fixture, Rogue and Fnatic are set to clash in the playoffs semi-final. That means both sides are two wins away from the title, which only one can have a crack at.
On the face of it, this is a massively exciting contest. It’s going to be tough to pick a winner for this one, it’s that close.
The spring split has been entirely dominated by Hylissang, who has played like someone who has been let loose and asked to just enjoy himself.
Coach Yamato has given him the freedom on his pocket picks, like Pyke and Renata. The legendary support player has been storming through fortresses with his aggression and ferocity.
His Pyke has been an exquisite treat in particular, since he establishes an enormous lead very early into the game with his laser-accuracy hooks, chunking opponents out and burning their flashes to set up for a three or four-man dive at the hands of Razork and/or Humanoid.
Hylissang has been a key driver to their overall campaign, helping them get to 13 wins during the regular split. Wunder has emerged from the depths of despair. After enduring one of the worst splits of his career last year, Let’s talk a little bit about Wunder and his redemption arc.
Following the worst split of his career last year, he has rebounded superbly. One of the reasons for this is Wunder’s shift in playstyle to a neutral and weak-side player, which has further helped impress upon everyone the utility and value he brings to the team. All said, he’s still a terrific top laner.
Rogue’s recent success has all been thorough team efforts.
The synergy of Trymbi and Hans Sama in the bot lane, where Hans Sama became one of the best ADCs in the world, has helped them achieve a level of intimidation few expected them to. They were well complemented by Inspired in the jungle, Larssen in the mid lane, and Finn in the top lane.
However, when Hans Sama and Inspired left the team after the 2021 World Championship to play in the LCS, there were doubts about whether the team could bounce back and remain in the playoffs.
Well, they’ve proved everyone wrong. Much of their success has been due to solid plans, unnecessary chop-change, and giving stability to their core group of players. Long may that continue
Pick: Red Canids (moneyline)
A deflating 3-0 loss to KaBuM! The winners’ bracket round-1 fixture leaves Red Canids now competing in the Lowe seed round-1 fixture, where they take on Liberty, winners of the losers’ bracket round-1 game. Liberty is coming off an emphatic 3-0 victory over Netshoes Miners.
In the regular split, Red Canids finished third with 11 wins and 7 losses. Liberty just managed to scrape through, with 10 wins and 8 losses. They eventually took the final qualifying spot after staving off intense competition from LOUD, who also finished with a 10-8 record.
So in terms of recent results and a combination of form and personnel pegs Red Canids is in a strong position even if Liberty may start off as marginal favorites.
Red Canids allowed KaBuM to control the game, which led to them seizing on opportunities to win kills on a platter. RED prioritized getting the Dragons and focused on getting the most out of the initial game, but the plan failed spectacularly.
Even with Alma, the Pack didn’t have the reins of the game and, in trying to win the fight for the Elder Dragon, they ended up suffering a massive setback that eventually led to a loss.
What we also got to see from RED is their willingness to think out of the box and try something different in the face of pressure. The entrance of Betao and Avenger in place of Guigo and Grevthar in the top and middle lanes, respectively, promised to be a massive move going into the second game.
That the result didn’t pan out as expected was disappointing, but in giving a peek into their mindset of being open to change, they laid down a market. End of the day, KaBuM continued to take kills just like in the first game and, to make matters worse, it also had control of the Dragons.
How RED bounce back from that deflating loss will define their future course, both in the short and medium-term.
Liberty brushed aside Netshoes Miners; the manner of victory sure to give them a much-needed lift going into this match.
The team led individually by Matsukaze appeared better prepared and hardly felt the weight of expectation in pulling off a 3-0 win. Liberty won the first game, but the second was on an even keel until Liberty found some pick-offs.
With the newly introduced Zeri and Renata Glasc in the bot lane, Liberty took advantage of some nerves in the opposition camp to surge to a 2-0 lead. In the third, Krastyel and his teammates controlled the map, dictated the pace of play, and, with a lot of patience, closed both the match and the series at 3-0
Pick: Kabum (moneyline)
This one could go down to the wire. Smashing wins in their round-1 winners’ bracket fixture pits them against each other now in the semi-final.
KaBuM reached the playoffs after a dominating regular split where no other team even came close to them in terms of proficiency and results. They were runaway winners for much of the split, eventually securing a playoff berth with 13 wins and five losses. This makes the odds heavily with them as they now squad off in a crucial game.
With them having earned the right to choose an opponent between the third and fourth-placed team, they opted for the Red Canids in the playoffs. And having made the call, they bossed their game against them as well.
We chose RED as our opponents in the playoffs because of the moment, “Bruno”Hauz” of KaBuM later revealed. “We had just beaten them in the second round and we saw that they were playing very poorly.
It was pretty obvious, we didn’t want to take paiN. They are coming in a crescent and we can’t deny that.” What has given them much confidence after quite a poor start to the split were some standout great performances, like that of Marksman David “Disave”.
PaiN Gaming was led by some individual brilliance by Trigo as they beat FURIA 3-2. They demonstrated tremendous mental fortitude in getting past the line. FURIA initially had the dragon control while paiN countered with fights. Then they got the Baron, soon after which they made it 1-0.
Then paiN took advantage of the momentum of being at an advantage in the series and started the second game much better than FURIA, but they eventually fought back to make it 1-1. In the third duel, FURIA opened the work very aggressively and crushed paiN, courtesy of some terrific offensive play from Alma do Oceano and Barão.
|LEC-CBLOL 2022 Spring Split Information
|LEC: G2 v Vitality, Rogue v Fnatic
CBLOL: Kabum v Pain, Red Canids v Liberty
|Offline event, conducted in Europe
|Friday, March April 1 at 11.00 AM EST onwards
|How to watch
|LEC 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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