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Team NRG is a wildcard in the current season of the LCS. Since their last official entry to the tournament was all the way back in 2016, there’s very little statistical data to go by. With a roster consisting of players from Counter Logic Gaming, NRG has been putting in some surprising performances in the current split. Few thought they would be able to fight through the adversity dished out by some of the top North American teams and reach such an advanced tournament stage.
Similarly to when NRG played Cloud9, oddsmakers have listed NRG as four-to-one underdogs. However, we believe that NRG has more tricks up its sleeve than they are letting on. After all, they did beat Cloud9 in both their group stage meetings. There’s no reason to believe that Cloud9 will be able to do something new at this stage of the tournament and overcome the challenge posed by NRG.
Throughout the early stages of the tournament, both Cloud9 and Golden Guardians seemed untouchable. With only five losses to thirteen wins apiece, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that one of the two teams would take home the championship at the end of the season. On the other hand, NRG had a mixed bag of results in the early stages, perhaps due to the fact that they are playing as a brand-new team.
While they didn’t achieve runaway success in the group stages, one aspect of their form stood out: a 100% win rate against the top-ranked teams, Golden Guardians and Cloud9. This crucial detail is bound to give NRG a tremendous boost in confidence as they head into the upper bracket final. Even if they are to lose, they will get another shot at gold in the lower bracket finals.
Cloud9 came upon the new team in NRG for the first time on June 24 in their first group-stage encounter. At the end of fifty minutes, NRG emerged as the winner. Going into this game, NRG had a win rate of 33%, which dwarfed Cloud9's 67%. They had also drawn first blood only in 16.7% of their games in comparison to their rival’s 57%. However, NRG would go on to get 22 kills to rival Cloud9’s 13 and destroy ten towers in contrast to their opponent’s 5. The game would eventually end in NRG’s favor, and they went back to having mixed back of results in the remaining group stages until they would meet with Cloud9 again.
In their second group stage meeting on July 18, the game would last only 38 minutes, and NRG would put in a strong showing to take the win, with towers playing a deciding role in the late game. NRG’s KDA was 15/15/41, while it was 15/15/44 for their rivals.
Both teams were evenly matched in terms of economy as well, with 72.1k for NRG and 71.3k K for Cloud9. What really stands out about this particular game is that NRG was able to put these stats on par with Cloud9 while also destroying a massive 11 towers. In comparison, Cloud9 was only able to take out three. This would prove to be the deciding factor that allowed NRG to break away and take the win.
Cloud9 has a tower differential at 15 minutes of -0.16. This could prove to be a critical strategic error against NRG, who have been placing emphasis on destroying towers in large numbers during the current season. Cloud9 impresses on all other fronts: they have dealt an average of 2254 damage per minute over the course of the seasons and drawn first blood in 52.6% of their games. Their average kills per game stands at 14.3, while the average deaths per game is 8.9, making for a kill/death ratio of 2.5.
Apart from their tendency to ignore towers, Cloud9 has some impressive economy stats, with a tournament average gold per minute of 1974 and a +262 gold differential per minute. Again, balancing out aggression with economy and tower attacks will be Cloud9’s key to getting past NRG.
If we compare their stats side by side, there’s not a lot separating NRG from Cloud9. NRG has acquired an average of 1801 gold per minute over the course of the tournament and has won 62.5% of their games when ahead at fifteen minutes. They have dealt 2241 damage per minute and drawn first blood in 38.9% of their games.
Their kill/death ratio stands at 1.5, with 13.8 kills to 13.7 deaths per game. In their last ten games, NRG has won 6 games in which they destroyed more than 8 towers and have lost all games in which they claimed less than 5. The writing is practically on the wall: NRG seems to have found a formula for success in the current meta. It will be interesting to see if Cloud9 catches on to it and comes up with something that prevents NRG from securing another upset win.
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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