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Top Esports will open their LPL campaign as heavy favorites against Rare Atom. This Top Esports team is one of the best in the le4ague but have woefully underachieved in the last few months, which will not please their management.
Top Esports have one of the best mid laner and bot laner pairs in the LPL, which will leave them heavily reliant on that part of Summoner’s Rift for kills. Top Esports finished fifth in the summer split of 2021 with a 10-6 match record and a 23-15 map record.
Rare Atom had a terrific summer finish in 2021, finishing third in the season with a 11-5 record at a win percentage of 69. That was far better than the team’s expectations. Still, it seems like the strength of Top Esports will be simply too strong and powerful for Rare Atom.
Rare Atom will continue to play with three key players, including iBoy in the bottom lane. That is important because he was steady right through summer, producing 3.34 kills and 4.85 assists per map at a KDA of 4.1 and a creep score of 291. Commendable returns for a bot laner without much experience.
Rare Atom will also have Cube in the top lane, who had one of the better returns in the summer of 2021 from a kill participation standpoint. He managed 2.95 kills and 5.39 assists per map at a KDA of 3.42.
Leyan will likely continue to be the jungler for Rare Atom. There are a couple of new entrants into the team as well, who will likely be tasked with producing solid returns without being too flashy. That modus operandi could just work for Rare Atom.
It is hard to look past mid laner Knight and bot laner JackeyLove when discussing the strength of Top Esports in the lanes. While JackeyLove can occasionally be a bit hot and cold, Knight is more than just reliable.
Let’s analyze their returns based on the summer split of 2021. Knight produced a staggering 5.82 kills with 1.66 deaths and 4.58 assists per map. This helped him build his KDA to a terrific 6.27 along with a creep score of 284.53. For a mid laner, that is not easy to do. He will continue to be the key for Top Esports this season as well.
JackeyLove was pale in comparison to Knight or even his usual self in the 2020 season. Still, he managed more than three kills per map along with 6.11 assists that carried his kill participation rate close to 10. If JackeyLove can find more strength in the lanes, particularly with his kill rate, then Top Esports will challenge for the title again.
LNG Esports (moneyline)
LNG Esports were the surprise picks of the previous season of the LPL. They demolished several teams in the postseason, including the aforementioned Top Esports. As a result, they will start this game as massive favorites against a middling Ultra Prime team.
LNG Esports finished eighth in the LPL standings in the previous split with a 10-6 record while Ultra Prime struggled through the last split to eventually finish 15th in the league with a 5-11 record and a map record of 13-26. Simply not good enough in a competitive league.
LNG Esports will have a deeper roster, the more offensive propensity in the lanes and plenty of success from the previous splits to help them achieve success in the spring of 2022 too.
It is possible that mid-laner Cryin’s experience will be the difference between a spot in the playoffs and another underwhelming campaign for Ultra Prime. While the franchise has done well to retain the core of the team, they will need some additional strength in the lanes, which Cryin could certainly provide.
Elsewhere, Ultra Prime will continue to have the key services of H4cker as jungler of the team along with ShiauC as a support player. Both those players have had plenty of experience in the fast pace of the LPL. To stay consistent, Ultra Prime will be desperate for both of those players to perform.
One of the best acquisitions LNG Esports made in the offseason was bringing in Doinb from FunPlus Phoenix. Doinb was undoubtedly FunPlus Phoenix’s best player in the summer of 2021, and will bring with him plenty of experience, consistency and success.
In fact, here are Doinb’s returns for analysis. He had 4.79 kills, 1.79 deaths and 6.67 assists to earn himself a KDA of 6.39. He also chipped in with a creep score of 266, all as mid laner, which is not easy to do, not by any means considering his position in Summoner’s Rift.
Another vital position, the bottom lane, will be taken by Light, who has also provided steayd returns for the team. He had the best KDA in his team, indicating that he also was the most efficient player in the team. He had 3.29 kills per map along with an incredibly low death rate of 1.37. Along with 6.03 assists per map, he picked up his KDA to 6.81.
DRX had a terrible 2021 summer split, finishing dead last in the LCK standings with a 2-16 record. In terms of maps, they won just 9 of 43 maps at a win percentage of 21. That was half the next team on the list, which was Fredit Brion with a map win percentage of 42.
Liiv Sandbox were much better as they attained a 11-7 record to finish fifth in the standings. They won 26 of 47 maps, not bad at all. However, they will come up here against a team that is refreshed with a new-look roster.
This could be a tight game, which could even find a way to move into the third map. But if you were picking a direct match-winner, then DRX seems the likelier team simply because they have found some players that can mix well in the lanes.
DRX have brought in some firepower from the big teams, including one of the best teams in the world in Damwon Gaming. BeryL has made the move from Damwon to DRX as their support player in the lanes. He will provide support to a new bot laner in Deft.
DRX also made a change in the middle lane, bringing in Deft from Hanwha Life Esports. Deft had a solid summer split in the LCK, producing 2.72 kills along with 2.35 deaths and 4.79 assists per game. That earned him a KDA of 3.2 and a terrific creep score of 309.47. He will be another key player in the lanes for DRX this season.
They will continue to have Kingen and Pyosik as top laner and jungler respectively. This will help the team keep their identity. Pyosik has been a remarkable performer in a team that has continued to struggle to find fluency in the LCK.
It is hard to say how but Liiv Sandbox will need to be at their best to sustain their excellence from the summer split of 2021. They have a renewed roster as well, one that may not match up well with experienced rosters across the board in the LCK.
They had a stunning summer considering they were not expected to do as well as they eventually did, winning 11 of 18 matches. Even in terms of maps, they overperformed, with a map win percentage of 55.
T1 to Win
T1 are one of the title contenders of this LCK season. They have deserved that recognition after remaining one of the most consistent teams in the last few seasons. As a result, they are labelled as favorites even for this opening match.
Kwangdong Freecs are a newly-named franchise, replacing Afreeca Freecs from last season, with much of the same vigor they had in summer of 2021. They finished that split with a 11-7 record, exactly the same as T1 in summer.
This is not a mismatch, in terms of quality of teams. However, T1 has the deeper roster and are more capable of overcoming duress, especially if this map goes into a third, which makes them compelling favorites to back in your betting slip.
T1 have managed to retain their offensive core, with Faker in the middle lane and Gumayusi in the bottom lane. Both of them didn’t perform to their usual excellent standard but have remained steady. That is important because the LCK is a much slower league when compared to the quicker leagues in the LPL or the West.
T1 have, however, lost their star top laner in Canna, who has departed from the team. Canna, in fact, was the top kill producer for T1 last season, with an average of 3.16 kills per map. Those sterling returns are now on the shoulders of new recruit Zeus in the top lane.
Oner should keep his position as jungler in this matchup. He had found decent success last year, with 2.57 kills and 4.95 assists per map, which are steady returns for a jungler that is capable of flanking in efficiently into team fights.
The short answer is yes, but if you break down their new-look roster, you might not see the same level of success as what they enjoyed in the summer of 2021 last season. It will be imperative that Kwangdong Freecs find their feet quickly in the new franchise because the LCK can be unforgiving if they do not.
|PL and LCK 2022 Spring Split Information|
|Teams||LPL: Rare Atom vs Top Esports, Ultra Prime vs LNG Esports
LCK: DRX vs Liiv Sandbox, T1 vs Kwangdong Freecs
|Location||Offline event, conducted in China (LPL) and Korea (LCK)|
|Time||Wednesday, January 12 at 3.00 AM EST onwards|
|How to watch||LPL official Twitch channel
LCK 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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