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This is arguably the most exciting match of the first round of the LCS summer playoffs. Both sides offer decent value because they’ve been neck and neck all season. NRG were one spot below Team Liquid in the standings and lost one match more than their upcoming opponents. The two sides also won a game each when facing each other this season, so neither team has got anything to fear from the other side.
NRG’s value is a big factor when picking the winner for this match, but there are other factors that suggest they might be the best pick for this match. NRG acquired Counter Logic Gaming (CLG) and most of their staff before the season kicked off; CLG were the better side last season and won their two matches against Team Liquid last season, so many of the players will have a psychological edge going into this match
The biggest factor in favor of Team Liquid is the form. They won their last match heading into the playoffs, unlike NRG, who are heading into this match with two losses on the bounce. Momentum is a big factor in any sport or esport, so NRG must be wary of this. Despite that, we think NRG are the better pick for this game.
This is NRG’s first season since acquiring Counter Logic Gaming. They first entered the LCS in 2016 without much success, but they seem to have a plan this time around. It was important that they entered the playoffs in their first season since returning to the LCS, and they’ve managed that. The next step is becoming serious contenders for the LCS, which is something they look unequipped to achieve just yet.
However, they’re more than capable of getting the better of Team Liquid in the first round of this summer’s playoffs. They’ve beaten them once this season already, and some of their members beat them earlier in the year when they were part of CLG.
Their key player heading into this match is FBI, who averages an incredible 5 kills per game, 2.93 deaths per game, and 5.33 assists per match. He’s also ably supported by Palofax, who averages 3.83 kills per game, 2.22 deaths per game, and an incredible 6.11 assists per match.
There’s no one in Team Liquid putting up numbers like FBI. Team Liquid are far more reliant on the team coming good than a single player, which is an interesting clash of styles. NRG have also had some big wins this season: they beat current champions Cloud9 and last season’s runners-up, Golden Guardians, twice this season.
They love the big occasions, and it doesn’t get much bigger than the playoffs. Their opponents, Team Liquid, have also claimed some big scalps this season, but not as many. Ultimately, we think NRG have a lot going for them in this game, and the better value trumps it. Even though Team Liquid have the better odds, more arguments go in favor of an NRG win. The only worry is their recent form heading into this game, but Team Liquid haven’t really been too consistent in the last couple of matches, either.
Team Liquid have improved remarkably this season. Going from eighth place to fourth place is a worthy achievement, but the work doesn’t stop here. Team Liquid are expected to enter the playoffs, so what they’ve managed this season isn’t extraordinary.
The addition of APA has been a masterstroke. In just eight games for his new team, the mid laner has averaged 4.5 kills per game, 2.75 deaths per game, and 6.25 assists per game. He isn’t up there with NRG’s FBI, but he doesn’t have to be because bot laner Leon has averaged 3.75 kills per game, 1.89 deaths per game, and 4.47 assists per game.
Former mid laner Haeri had to make way for APA. He started the season and averaged 3.32 kills per game, 2.68 deaths per game, and 4.61 assists per game, but this was never going to be enough in a team that didn’t have another player who could hit 4 kills per game this season.
They won their last match before the playoffs, and have won one game more than NRG, which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the bookies have given them the edge for this match, but we don’t think this is enough for them to oust NRG.
Like NRG, they’ve beaten Cloud9 twice this season, which is really impressive, but none of their other results stand out. As mentioned earlier, they have an even record against their upcoming opponents, but they lost too many of the players in NRG twice last season. As good as APA is, he isn’t performing at the level of NRG’s FBI. It’s why we think NRG are worth opting for despite the bookies suggesting otherwise.
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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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