At the conclusion of Week 7, Golden Guardians are tantalizingly close to the playoffs. With a record of 6-8, they are just two games out of 2nd place. The problem is that there are six teams in the same or better position. Just like the last few splits, it appears the LCS regular season will end in a myriad of tiebreakers. Unfortunately for GG, Week 8 pits them against 2nd place TSM and a desperate Team Liquid. With the pack so close, Golden Guardians cannot afford to drop a single game; while they may not be mathematically eliminated, they would have to start relying on the outcomes of other games to make the playoffs. Here’s a preview of the road ahead.
Team Liquid (6-8)
Team Liquid looks to be in disarray, especially after the latest roster shuffle. Though Tactical played well in his starts, no one can deny Doublelift is the better player. However, Week 7 matched them against several former teammates who did not pull punches. Saturday featured the notorious POB popping off on Syndra and last place CLG taking them down. Then on Monday, veteran jungler Xmithie and Immortals sent them home with an 0-2 weekend, despite the early efforts of both Jensen and Eika. Tied for 7th with Golden Guardians, Team Liquid faces the possibility of missing playoffs after four straight LCS titles. World Champions Impact and CoreJJ have struggled, and Broxah has not been the superstar that TL fans had hoped for. While Tactical may have brought a spark to the team, most fans would want Doublelift back on the rift with the season on the line.
Based off of current performance, GG matches up well with TL. Hauntzer has looked on par with Impact, and Close should be able to bounce back and find success with his aggressive playstyle against a struggling Broxah. While Doublelift has the greater pedigree, FBI has been statistically the better AD carry this split. On the flip side, the jury is still out on the recent substitution of Huhi for Keith and if it will have successful results. In mid, Jensen has been arguably the best player for TL so far, while Goldenglue has been hot and cold. On champions not named Zoe (particularly Leblanc) he has been able to pump out damage and be a difference maker. Unfortunately, he has turned in a few duds this season as well. Even if Grayson gets a matchup he’s favored in, he may struggle particularly if there is jungler intervention
Prediction: Golden Guardians Win
The game versus Dignitas showed what GG is capable of. Even against Cloud 9, in a game they were expected to lose, they were trying to make the right play but were just too far behind for it to work. The switch to Huhi should help their coordination, and already they looked better on Saturday. Team Liquid, on the other hand, looked just as bad with Doublelift in the game. This game should be heavily affected by the draft, and in recent weeks it seems like GG has been able to pick towards their game plan and execute it. Outside of a lane winning off of pure skill – which is a possibility – GG should be able to take this based off of current form.
Team SoloMid (8-6)
After a slow start, TSM is making a late charge for the second seed. True to the pattern of the season, they followed up an 0-2 week by handing Cloud 9 their first loss as well as beating FlyQuest, their biggest competition for the second spot. Vintage Bjergsen has been carrying games on Zilean, Broken Blade is playing like its Spring 2019, and Dardoch looks to be resisting the urge to transform into a ward. The team has had talent all split and is putting together the teamplay at the right time. If the pattern remains, they should lose this weekend in a swift 0-2 fashion, but there’s a first time for everything. If they carry their current form over to next week, GG is in trouble.
Several key matchups include mid and top. Bjergsen has historically been able to carry teams against stronger opposition then Goldenglue. Hauntzer has also had his problems when teams focus him hard. If Dardoch is able to get BB ahead, top lane can turn into a deadly snowball. When Broken Blade takes a lead into teamfights, he has proven time and time again that he’s a game changer.
Prediction: TSM Win
For all the recent improvements that GG has made, TSM has looked that much better. There is no better statement of current form then handing C9 their first loss. Unless the 0-2 curse comes in strong, the power points of TSM may be overwhelming for GG. Similar to the Golden Guardians game against Cloud 9, even if they play to their win conditions, TSM may be able to snowball theirs harder.
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