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Two teams down in the dumps will be looking to go one up over another. Both sides have made poor starts to the Spring Split, losing four out of their five outings. After Saturday’s clash, one of them will slip further into the abyss, which could leave their entire season in danger of slipping into a free fall. Only one side can arrest the slide, and the punters believe SK Gaming have the better chance, even though they’re only marginally in front.
While they have ended up on the wrong side of the result, SK will draw solace from their fight against Excel, against whom they collected 61.6K gold while conceding just a marginally higher figure of 66.8K. They landed 11 kills to Excel’s 18 and raised 5 towers to Excel’s 9. On the face of it, these aren’t terrible performances by any stretch of imagination. It merely points to their inability to close out contests despite being in decent positions. Their bot laners, especially, will have their task cut out.
Given this result came on the back of an absolute hiding against G2 will give SK Gaming some encouragement. Against G2, they conceded 61.4k gold while managing to pocket just 50.2K, landed just 5 kills to their opponent’s 15, apart from raiding just 2 towers to their opponent’s 9. This was a clinical loss, if ever there was one. So comparing their two results, they’d be relatively happy with how they bounced back against Excel. Now for them to improve on that to have a chance against BDS come Saturday.
Meanwhile, BDS have a lot of young and inexperienced players in their roster. Their top layer Adam, among their best in the field, only made his debut in the LEC last summer split. The only player with any sizable LEC experience is LIMIT. The inexperience stares at them, but they will want to channel this in the best way possible. They need to first find a leader to steer the ship. Both Adam and LIMIT are equally deserving candidates.
Adam has a lot of players previously associated with KCorp for experience. He has been reunited with Cinkrof, xMatty, and NUCLEARINT. LIMIT is the only player he hasn’t played alongside. This is a team that is still in a building phase, and the losses are a true test of their resolve to build a healthy outfit moving forward. Adam has insisted time and again that the notion of him being an average top layer isn’t true. This is his opportunity to go out and let his performances do all the talking.
The underlying issue for BDS is each of their players have a very high death rate, while going for below-average kill rates. This isn’t always a reflection of their overall proficiency but it tells you why they have struggled. LIMIT, for example, has a kill rate of 1.4, deaths of 3.2 and 4.8 assists. His KDA of 1.94 is on the lower side as a result. For players with vast potential, these are underwhelming numbers whichever way you look at it. SK have Jenax as a clear-cut leader of the pack in the bot lane. He lands 3.8 kills, 3 deaths and 4.8 assists, along with a KDA of 2.87. His creep score of 294.8 is their second-best, below Sertuss’ 302.2.
Excel is trying to swim upwards against the tide. Astralis is rooted to the bottom of the ocean floor, struggling to pick itself up on the face of mounting defeats of giant margins. On paper, this is an epic mismatch. Excel, with two wins in five, are sixth. Astralis are winless in five and are ranked last. There’s clearly plenty of work for both teams; for Astralis, time is of essence because if they are to salvage something from this Spring Split, they will gave to start winning right now.
There are certain parameters the punters have studied to differentiate the two sides. Excel have the odds with them and are best-placed to give you wholesome returns on your money. Astralis will have caused a huge stir should they upset Excel. Is there reason to be cautiously optimistic? Perhaps not, yet.
Excel Esports have signed former G2 Esports support Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle in what is among the more significant signings of the season. Mikyx will be replacing Henk “Advienne” Reijenga, who got to play five games this LEC split. He’s been the team’s go-to support player since 2021, and will be a huge miss. Mikyx, who played actively for G2 in over three years, achieving a trophy at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, four domestic LEC titles, and is one of the best bot later.
He didn’t find a new team immediately during the off-season, but would perhaps now swear by the mantra that patience pays. Now for him to use his experience and get Excel up and running. They’ve won two of their last three games, against Team Vitality and SK Gaming. The loss was to Misfits – all by a 1-0 margin.
In their second outing, they were best placed to record a win against MAD Lions but fumbled when it mattered most. As such, MAD Lions were the favourites and from the outset, it looked like the game may have ended easily in their favour as Astralis focused heavily on the enemy bottom lane, but MAD Lions’ duo held their own fairly well. It was neck-and-neck until one point before MAD Lions broke away.
This dogfight eventually went against Astralis and since then, they have looked a team that is searching for answers. Dajor and Kobe are their keys runners across the lanes. Dajor has a kill rate of 2.4, deaths of 3.4 and 5 assists.
The KDA of 2.18 is on the lower side, something he’ll want to improve. Kobe has a kill rate of 2.8, deaths of 2.6 and assists of 3.6. His KDA of 2.46 is marginally better, but doesn’t point to a massive scale up in terms of performances the team expects. They’ll need to find answers very quickly.
Mad Lions (-300)
Two teams brimming with potential square off in what could be a thriller. Misfits and MAD Lions both have three wins in five matches, and are on an upswing. But it is time for the early inconsistency to give way to a run of wins that will vault them into a championship-winning position. Games come thick and fast, and they will want to iron out any deficiencies that may have cropped up over the course of the past two weeks. It is time to put pen to paper for both sides.
Misfits gave toppers Fnatic a decent run for their money before eventually going down on Sunday. Vetheo nearly stole the show with a superb performance sifting across lanes. He landed 4 kills and 2 assists, but faltered with 5 deaths. This hugely impacted his in-game creep score that was eventually pegged at 187. He should’ve taken a leaf out of Upset, who landed 8 kills, no deaths and 5 assists. That is the kind of offensive proficiency that has ditched Misfits lately, and they’ll need one of Vetheo or Neon to lift their game up by several notches to compete against the big boys.
For inspiration, however, they’ll only have to look as far back as last week to their game against G2 Esports, where they landed nearly 10k golds more than their rivals, landed 12 kills to G2’s 6, and captured 11 towers to G2’s 2.Vetheo and Neon raided the fields and went on a giant killing spree, landing 9 kills and 10 assists, and between them accounting for just 1 death. That was closer to a complete performance they have been yearning for. If they can do better that here, they would’ve given the LIONS a serious run for their money.
MAD Lions are aware this is a fight to enter the top three, and a win would give either side a massive push towards championship contention. MAD LIONS have a hint of momentum having beaten Astralis, which helped regain a bit of confidence after a deflating loss to Rogue. Over time, MAD Lions have come to be known as that one side who can be giant killers on one day and lackluster on another. It’s this inconsistency and the tag of being ‘predictably unpredictable’ that they’d want to erase. Clearly, there is a lot of expectations on them for good measure.
Bot laner UNF0RGIVEN has been in tremendous form for them, and will carry their fortunes on his shoulders. He lands a mighty impressive 6.6 kills, 1.6 deaths and 5.4 assists, amounting to a KDA of 7.5 and a creep score of 343.6. These are incredible stats for a gun player who any opponent will be wary of.
In comparison, Vetheo’s numbers – the best for Misfits – are slightly pale in comparison. He lands 3.89 kills, 2 deaths and 5 assists, with a KDA of 4.4 and creep score of 289. In isolation, these aren’t the worst numbers by any stretch of imagination. Perhaps a little more support from the rest of the pack could send these numbers soaring higher.
Rogue are in top form, having vanquished one opponent after another, and are sitting pretty with five spotless wins to top the standings. For Team Vitality, the matter is a bit more urgent because they don’t want to slip up badly, having already lost two games out of five to currently be outside the top five. For the record, they’re seventh. But so close are the teams stacked that a win could potentially vault them into the top half. As such, one good performance could get them on a roll and from there on, it’s anybody’s game.
What works for Vitality is the presence of proven performers in every position. In Carzzy and Labrov, they have two men capable of taking the term offensive proficiency to another level. Combine their aggression with two support players in Alphari and Perkz, and you have a blockbuster line-up that is capable of beating any team on any given day. Alphari has consistently outdone every top layer across the field, and is in prime form. The former MAD Lions player will now have to rally around his teammates and build on that consistency.
He lands 3 kills, 2.4 deaths and 4 assists, to land a KDA of 2.92 and creep score of 281.4. Carzzy has slightly better numbers overall, effecting 3.8 kills, 1.8 deaths and 4.2 assists, to amount to a KDA of 4.44 and a creep score of 307.2, the highest among all players competing in the match. Carzzy’s offensive proficiency – a result of his ability to switch lanes efficiently – is built on his ability to execute set plans.
Rogue’s identity is built on giving players certain roles and sticking to their plans even if they don’t come off. It’s a different matter that they’ve seldom been in situations where they’ve been searching for answers. The foundation of their team hasn’t changed despite the exits of Inspired and Hans Sama. Malrang and Comp have found their bearings and have been extremely good in building resources to give their side the best shot at wins. Malrang’s kill to death ratio of 3: 2.6 may not be the best in the field, but he’s built for the mid lane, and the asset rate of 9.8 points to how big an asset he is, even if he may not land the big kills in the bottom lane, where most of the kills happen.
This one’s going to be really hard to predict. You may be left scratching your heads for long, and still have no definitive clues on who to punt on. If you are a brave man, you could possibly hinge your bets on Vitality, but don’t discount Rogue either.
And finally to round-off a potentially action-packed weekend, table-toppers Fnatic, with five wins in five and not too much to worry about, square off against G2, who have two losses in five to currently be placed fourth. This is the best rivalry in Europe and expect both teams to pull no punches as they go hammer and tongs at one another.
G2 started the competition well but have lost two of their last three outings, pointing to minor cracks in their defensive proficiency which they will need to iron out very quickly going forward. A mid-season slump can be very difficult to get out of and they will be the firsts to admit a change of strategy can perhaps do them a world of good. The make-up of the teams have changed over the years, but what remains is the fierce rivalry.
In the Summer Split of 2021, both sides played tut a game for the ages. Up until then G2 had beaten Fnatic in three straight finals, but fortunes seem to have changed now as Bwipo, Adam, Hylissang, Upset, and Nisqy have all stood up and delivered at different times against their arch rivals.
Fnatic have parted ways with Adam, Bwipo, and Nisqy in exchange for players like Razork, Wunder, and Humanoid. G2 too have made a series of changes following a disappointing previous season. The exit of Rekkles, Wunder, and Mikyx has paved way for the inclusion of Flakked and Targamas along with former Schalke 04 top laner Broken Blade.
Can this newly-assembled squad bring G2 back to their glory days? There’s work to do and they’ll want to take it one step at a time. A win for starters on Sunday will be that first step they will be desperately looking for.
Humanoid and Hylissang’s assist rate of 7.6 and 12.2 are among the best in the pack. Combine this with Upset’s overall offensive proficiency and you have a perfect winning recipe. Upset lands 5.2 kills on an average per map and just averages 0.4 deaths, along with 5.4 assists. A KDA of 26.5 is borne out of having an impeccable death rate, and his creep score of 317.8 is a measure of his effectiveness.
For G2, it’s a cocktail of BrokenBlade’s efficiency and Flakked’s consistency they’ll hope will deliver big results going forward. Brokenblade averages 4.6 kills, 2.8 deaths and 6.8 assists to have a creep score of 272.8. Flakked does slightly better, with a kill rate of 3.6, death rate of 2 and assists of 4.6, amounting to a creep score of 300.
This fine concoction of attack and defensive has in the past thrown spanner in the works of many teams. G2 will hope this manifests itself again when they square off against the pace setters in what promises to be a blockbuster match.
|LEC 2022 Spring Split Information|
|Teams||Fnatic, Rogue, G2, Vitality, Misfits, BDS, Mad Lions, Astralis, Excel, SK|
|Location||Offline event, conducted in Europe|
|Time||Saturday, January 29 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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