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Weibo Gaming (-105)
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In a 17 team pool, it can be really hard to look into where teams are placed in the points table after just one-fourth of the matches. However, it can give you markers on how teams have started. Weibo have lost just one game out of four, Victory are so far unbeaten apart from having a game in hand.
A look at the odds tells you why this is therefore a clash of two evenly-matched teams. For the record, all matches are played in a best-of-three format, with each side playing the other once.
Weibo’s only loss so far in the competition came in their second outing against Bilibili Gaming, who beat them 2-1. The setback was all too brief as they bounced back in style to beat TT and Anyone’s Legend by 2-1 and 2-0 margins respectively. Can they make it a hat trick of wins on Wednesday?
Victory Five have seen the better of Vici, Top Esports and Team WE so far. Unlike Weibo, they’ve flexed their muscle and shown an air of dominance in sifting through their lanes. They’ve gone all out aggressive, and haven’t held back. The 2-1 victory score line in each of these clashes point to how they’ve not let pressure get to them even, both when the opponents have taken a lead or have pulled level.
This stems from having innate confidence in your own abilities and well thought-out plans. Now for them to sustain this. Weibo will be hungry to put a stop to this mini victory-run. How successful will they be?
Weibo will place their faith in Angel, who has been their most prolific player so far. His kill rate is more than double his death rate on an average per map. He averages 3.2 kills, 1.4 deaths and 4.2 assists. His KDA of 5.29 along with a creep score of 280.4 makes him a key player in the bottom lane, one opponents will try to mark out. Whichever way you look at it, these are stunning numbers considering the team will be relying on his depth for offensive production.
Imagine two players in Weibo with the kind of numbers opponents would love to trade in. Yes, this is what makes them a dangerous side. Angel aside, they have huanfeng, who has also performed exceedingly well, producing 3.2 kills per map on an average. He also produces 1.5 deaths and 2.9 assists per game. What hasn’t impacted the efficiency is the excellent death rate.
What works for Weibo is the presence of players who have the ability to cover up in other areas when apparent weaknesses in one particular aspect show up. Take ON for example. His low kill rate of 0.5 makes him among their less proficient players, but he produces a mighty fine assist rate of 7.5 that makes him a key component as support cast.
Victory Five’s previous contest was underlined by the tantalizing mid-lane matchup between Rookie and Knight. It went down to the wire with neither giving an inch. It is the kind of battle one can expect going forward too. In a game that lasted nearly 40 minutes, the gold difference separated both sides.
Victory Five were mindful of securing team fights and played with the sole objective of maintaining their lead. They secured the Baron, sifted through lanes and finished the game with a flourish to maintain their winning run in the LPL Spring Split 2022.
In Photic, they have a top competitor who averages 5 kills, 1.67 deaths and 8.89 assists, to go with a KDA of 4.78. He will be the fire to Rookie’s ice: he averages 5.44 kills, 2 deaths, 7.67 assists along with a creep score of 274.33. These two once again hold all the aces. Will they go all guns blazing once again or keep the opponents on their toes by preventing them from switching lanes and protecting their territory?
LNG Esports (-200)
Elsewhere in another contest that promises exciting action from start to finish, unbeaten LNG take on FunPlus. LNG are cruising high and happy, no turbulence, no major form concerns. FunPlus are coming off a loss in the previous game, but a good start stands them in good stead. They will want to prove the loss was a minor aberration as they look to remain in the top half of the standings, potentially continue to challenge for a place on the top three. There’s a long way to go and they will be the first to acknowledge how difficult it can be to sustain winning form in a long competition such as this.
LNG may be unbeaten but it is not like they haven’t been challenged. In their very first game, they were neck and neck with Vici. After conceding the first game, where they managed 13 kills to their opponent’s 17, they bounced back to take the next two. In game two, they flexed their muscle to land 11 kills to Vici’s three. This helped them nudge ahead on aggregate kills. This helped them eventually prevail despite both sides once again going hammer and tongs to nail 14 kills apiece in the final round. However, LNG’s efficiency stood out elsewhere, in collecting nearly 10,0000 golds more than Vici. It set the tone for what was to come in the next two games. It was clear they were able to withstand pressure despite being pushed to the limits.
Their subsequent two outings in comparison were fairly one-sided; they beat Invictus and Team WE by a 2-0 margin. Against WE, in what was to be the deciding game, Ale and Doinb stood tall. Ale landed five kills, two deaths and nine assists; Doinb managed five kills, one death and 11 assists. Light contributed heavily in the mid lane, effecting nine assists to finish with the highest creep score of the contest at 299.
These two players also stood tall in their win over Invictus. There’s little doubt LNG will need these two to deliver again, but will hope for wholesome contributions from the others to reduce the dependency on two of their most prolific bottom laners.
It is time for FunPlus to find a strategy and stick to it. It can take a while for their new players to find the offensive proficiency and move around lanes, but having played four maps now, the players must have developed a sense of how to approach.
Lwx and xiaolaohu will lead they offensive production. Lwx has 3.6 kills per map, 2.4 deaths and 5.9 assists. His KDA of 3.9 to go with a sterling creep score of 298 makes him a thorn in the opponent’s flesh. Xiaolaohu has equally good numbers: 3.9 kills, 1.9 deaths and 3.9 assists, to go with a KDA of 4.11 and creep score of 302.9, the highest for the team. This is an excellent number for a top layer at this level.
FunPlus’ relative inexperience could be one telling factor, though. It is perhaps why the odds are slightly stacked against them. But don’t expect them to be run over. Even if they are going down, expect them to go down fighting.
Gen G (-800)
Two sides with contrasting fortunes and at opposite ends of the spectrum come face to face on Wednesday. Kwangdong are scraping the bottom with a solitary win in four outings; Gen G are among the early pace-setters having won each of their four games so far. There’s a reason why they are considered to be one of the favourites to win the LCK this split.
Gen G have done well to empower their players so far. They’re no longer dependent on just the likes of Chovy or Peanut, who literally carried their previous teams. Gen G over time have shown the ability to adopt different styles of play and develop different plans for different opponents, thereby kicking the predictability factor. This has helped them develop an aura around them, which has been hard to match for some of the other sides.
At the launch event of the split, most of the teams were in agreement that their stacked roster made Gen G overwhelming favourites. Their head coach Choi “Edgar” Woo-beom even quipped,“Gen G’s roster even has the potential to win Worlds.” It is clear Kwangdong have to do all the running in this contest.
Against Brion Blade they landed 16 kills in Game 1, even as their opponents managed just five. As it turned out, they were simply getting started. They flexed their muscle in Game 2, landing 14 kills to ensure they didn’t need to go into a decider. Across both games, they were on an average picked up more than 10,000 golds than their rivals while capturing 19 towers to Brion’s seven. It’s fair to say the opponents weren’t even in the contest.
Doran, Ruler and Chovy made a splash, landing one kill after another, and while not on the offensive, building up a series of assists in ensuring they sifted through lanes with clinical efficiency. They competed like a team unleashed, like a team that was simply having fun, playing without the fear of failure and with the knowledge that their plans for the opponents were in place even before they went on the offensive.
Against Hanwha, they flexed their muscle like never before after losing the first game, where they landed just five kills to Hanwha’s 14. In game 2, they bounced back to land 17 kills to their opponent’s 11. When it mattered most, in Game 3, they took the game by the scruff of its neck and landed 18 kills to Hanwha’s five.
This was beast level proficiency from the much fancied favourites. When the chips were down, Lehends and Peanut showed off their wares. They proved this is no ordinary outfit, and there are heroes for different occasions and situations. In short, they are no one-trick pony depending on the same set of players to bail them out over and over again.
In the LCK, you can often win with a robust defence, but Kwangdong gave been found wanting in this area, something that has troubled them for a while. How do they lift themselves up to ensure the shaky defence gets more competent?
Teddy is their king in the bottom lane, having a kill rate of 3, producing 1,75 deaths, 3.13 assists at a KDA of 3.5 along with a creep score of 331. No other player in their line up comes close to this level of offensive proficiency. This lack of depth has been their biggest issue over time. They have struggled to pick up dragons or barons and that usually results in a rout by the end of the map. They need to find a way to reverse things quickly.
Fredit Brion (-118)
Elsewhere in a contest of two teams in the bottom half, Fredit BRION and DRX will be desperately looking to make an upward jump, having won just one game out of four. BRION will be coming off two back-to-back losses and will be looking to arrest their form slump. But on the betting meter, there is very little that separates both sides. As such, there is no overwhelming favourite for this one.
Fredit Brion, who finished last and second-to-last in the Spring and Summer Splits respectively, have brought back much of their 2021 starting line-up. They have added depth to the top lane with the signing of former Hanwha Life top laner Morgan and former Griffin top laner Sw0rd. Will this alone be enough to guarantee success? Not quite. They will still need to develop consistency.
So much of their game borders around rebuilding and trying to develop their squad for the coming year. Six of BRION’s win last year came against teams in the playoff. So, currently you are looking at both these sides trying to spoil the party of the big players. If along the way they can string up a wins, it will help them build forward.
Each of the DRX players have just two wins in eight maps, and are struggling to rack up a winning combination. When the chips are down, you expect their senior players to stand up and perform. Who has the best numbers? Let’s have a look.
Pyosik comes with some pedigree and numbers that can intimidate. He averages 3.13 kills and 3 assists, but by conceding 3 deaths per map, he ensures the advantage is more often than not frittered away. So any forward proficiency that gives them the edge is often negated. This is something they can ill-afford to do.
This is an issue, by extension, to every other player in their roster. Their Kill to death ratio doesn’t elicit much confidence. This points to a slightly flawed strategy that they must look to change up. Until then, they can at max hope to shock one or two teams rather than dream of sustained excellence.
|LPL And LCK 2022 Spring Split Information|
|Teams||LPL: Weibo Gaming vs Victory Five, LNG Esports vs FunPlus Phoenix
LCK: Kwangdong Freecs vs Gen G, Fredit Brion vs DRX
|Location||Offline event, conducted in China (LPL) and Korea (LCK)|
|Time||Wednesday, January 26 at 2.00 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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