Philadelphia Eagles 2018 schedule

Philadelphia Eagles 2018 schedule overview

The NFL schedule for 2018 that we have all been waiting for is finally here. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, they have one of the hardest schedules. The Eagles play seven teams that went to the playoffs last season. That slate includes home games against the Falcons, Vikings and Panthers, as well as away games against the Rams, Jaguars and Saints.

Not only that, but the Eagles play each of their division rivals twice. The Dallas Cowboys are expected to have a bounce-back season, the Washington Redskins will be playing with new quarterback Alex Smith and the New York Giants are getting their playmakers back on offense after an injury-ravaged season. This adds up to a very difficult season for the Eagles.

All of the matchups are listed below in order of difficulty. The week the game takes place, a home or away listing, some brief reasoning and a breakdown are also included.

Games the Eagles will win

These are games the Eagles will need to, and should win. In most years, there would be more games in this section. However, with the extreme difficulty of Philly’s schedule this year, it is pretty small.

1. Indianapolis Colts – Week 3, home, Sept. 23

The Colts are no pushover. When Andrew Luck is playing, they can win almost any game. However, the Eagles have a huge overall talent advantage over Indianapolis and are playing at home. Furthermore, this is a game they need to win. There are no games that don’t matter in a 16-game season.

2. New York Giants – Week 12, home, Nov. 25

The New York Giants will no doubt be better than last year. Odell Beckham Jr. always comes to play against Philadelphia. The Giants do not have a strong enough team to go into Eagles territory and come out with a win.

3. Washington Redskins – Week 13, home, Dec. 3

A home game late in the season against the Redskins is just not one where I can see the Eagles losing. Before Philly swept Washington last season the Redskins had owned the Eagles in recent years.

Games the Eagles should win

Philadelphia Eagles 2018 schedule

Jay Ajayi outruns the Dallas Cowboys defense. (Photo by Tim Heitman of USA Today Sports)

These games should all be won except for maybe one or two.

4. Dallas Cowboys – Week 10 , home, Nov. 11

If the Eagles effectively neutralize Ezekiel Elliott’s rushing attack, Dak Prescott does not scare me through the air. This should be a relatively easy win at home.

5. New York Giants – Week 6 , away, Oct. 11

New York is in rebuild mode and should not be that big of a threat to the Eagles as it seemed they would be heading into last season. Before they can compete with the Eagles, they are going to need to fix their terrible offensive line and give Eli Manning some time to throw.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Week 2 , away, Sept. 16

The Buccaneers have all the parts of a potent offense, so if they can put it together in year two of the DeSean Jackson era, they could be a sleeper team. Plus, this is also the Beau Allen revenge game.

7. Washington Redskins – Week 17, away, Dec. 30

If Alex Smith takes care of the ball, the Redskins should be able to manage a winning record. However, beating the Eagles is another story, unless they are resting their starters in Week 17, which seems possible given the strength of the team.

8. Houston Texans – Week 16, home, Dec. 23

The Texans have a bright future, but will not be ready to beat the reigning Super Bowl champions.

9. Tennessee Titans – Week 4 , away, Sept. 30

The Tennessee Titans would have to take a major step forward this season to be able to win this game. It is unlikely, but certainly not impossible for the Titans to win.

10. Dallas Cowboys – Week 14, away, Dec. 9

Playing Dallas in Jerry World always makes for a good game. Luckily for Philadelphia, the Eagles have won four of the last five games they have played at Dallas.

11. Carolina Panthers – Week 7 , home, Oct. 21

The Panthers are a ground and pound running team, and luckily, the Eagles were best in the NFL at stopping the run last year. They allowed only 79.2 yards per game on the ground. All in all, that should help in limiting the Panthers offense at least enough so that they can be outscored.

Games that are toss-ups

Philadelphia Eagles 2018 schedule

The Eagles defense sacks Matt Ryan. (Photo from Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit)

The Philadelphia Eagles should win around half of these games. They are tough contests against tough teams. The NFL is a league of parity, so you cannot expect to win them all.

12. Atlanta Falcons – Week 1, home, Sept. 6

The Falcons are a quality team with a good quarterback and a fast defense. The Eagles can win this matchup, but that is not to say it could not go the other way as well.

13. Minnesota Vikings – Week 5, home, Oct. 7

Minnesota is a tough team. Last year’s blowout championship game was less of a reflection of the talent on the Vikings and more about a team coming off an emotional roller coaster underestimating the Eagles and getting outplayed. This matchup should be closer than the last one with Kirk Cousins coming in to try and lift Minnesota’s offense into the elite category.

14. Los Angeles Rams – Week 15, away, Dec. 16

The Rams are a strong team on both offense and defense, and they have solidified the back end by trading for Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. This makes them a large threat to the Eagles in their fight for supremacy in the NFC. In addition, Sean McVay is a great play-caller and elevates the whole offense. Who knows how good his offense could be now that he has Brandin Cooks and another full offseason of work with Jared Goff.

15. New Orleans Saints – Week 11, away, Nov. 18

The New Orleans Saints are perhaps the largest threat to Philadelphia in the NFC. It took a literal miracle to knock them out of the playoffs last year. The improvement their defense underwent from two years ago coming into last year was unprecedented. Plus, it should result in an even better defense this year as young talented players on the team gain experience. It seems like this could be one of the teams that give the Eagles some trouble.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Week 8, away, Oct. 28

Flying to London to play a game has a bad effect on a team’s passing offense. This is worrisome against a team with as fearsome a defense as the Jaguars have. Jacksonville is also accustomed to playing in London, they do it every year. The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, have never played there.

 

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SPL: Spacestation Gaming week two preview

After a strong week one, Spacestation Gaming (2-0) look to keep up their momentum in their week two sets against Counter Logic Gaming (2-0) and Luminosity Gaming (2-0).

spacestation week one

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

Counter Logic matched Spacestation as the only other North American team to win win two sets in week one. Spacestation fans will see familiar names, as Connor “Jigz” Echols, Alexander “Homiefe” D’Souza and Alec “fineokay” Fonzo have all spent time with Spacestation. For them, it will be a chance to prove the organization made a mistake by not bringing them back in season five.
Coming into the season, few people predicted Luminosity to finish above 5th in North America. But after defeating the reigning world champions eUnited in week one, Luminosity created believers throughout the SPL. Now they look to prove they are a legitimate contender by taking down another top team in Spacestation.

Counter Logic Gaming: Mar. 28, 2018 6:45 ET

Solo – Aquarius (SSG) vs fineokay (clg)

Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill helped to answer many of the questions that surrounded with his performance in week one. Now, he will be tasked with going against the man he beat out when he joined the now Spacestation roster in the 2017 fall split. Both solo laners played guardians in week one for the majority of their games, so expect a slow start to the games in this one. Guardians are typically picked for their safe laning phase and excellent team fight, so if the trend continues, don’t expect much action in the solo lane. Aquarius has shown himself to be solid in the solo lane this season, while fineokay has been playing a more supportive role. Overall the slight edge goes to Aquarius in this matchup.

Most contested god: Cerberus

Advantage: Spacestation

Jungle – andinster (ssg) vs Homiefe (clg)

In week one, Andrew “andinster” Woodward did not show much rust being back in the jungle. After a shaky start, the Spacestation jungler was dominant in both of his sets. His opponent in the jungle this week is Homiefe, one of the best junglers in North America last season. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of early aggression and ganks in this set, especially coming on the duo lane side. This is another extremely close matchup, but with how dominant Homiefe looked in his games along with his play last season, the advantage is in his favor.

Most contested god: Nemesis

Advantage: Counter Logic

Mid – Baskin (ssg) vs Hurriwind (clg)

The matchup in mid for this set will feature two of the best mid laners in the world. Tyler “Hurriwind” Whitney was an absolute force last season for Trifecta, and the trend looks to be continuing on Counter Logic. Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim played a monumental role last week in securing the victories for Spacestation, and there is no reason to expect any different this week. If Counter Logic are not able to shut down Spacestation’s superstar, they will be in for a very short set.

Most contested god: Discordia

Advantage: Spacestation

ADC – BaRRaCCuDDa (SSG) VS sNOOPY (clg)

It was a relatively quiet week for John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter. A familiar story for most ADCs in a meta that sees the role struggle to provide an impact. In week two, hunter items will see a big buff, possibly leading to a resurgence within the class. BaRRaCCuDDa and Evan “Snoopy” Jones  are no strangers to each other. The two have faced off as opponents, and played together as teammates. When two players know each other so well, you can expect a very safe early game to be played. If BaRRaCCuDDa is able to make his presence known in week two, good things will be in store for Spacestation.

Most contested god: Jing Wei

Advantage: Spacestation

Support – JeffHindla (SSG) VS Jigz (clg)

Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi put on an absolute clinic in his games last week. The Spacestation support did it all, including peeling, setting up, and even stealing a fire giant. In his match this week comes a counterpart that JeffHindla has seen a lot of in his career. Both he and Jigz have been battling out the support role since season two. The two play a similar aggressive style of game that sees a lot of rotations around the map. Overall the advantage is in Spacestation’s favour as JeffHindla has shown himself to be one of the best supports in the world.

Most contested god: Ganesha

Advantage: Spacestation

Prediction

Overall this is an extremely close set with two of the best teams in the world. The games will ultimately be decided with objective play, and after the changes to make attacking phoenixes easier goes into effect, don’t expect many phoenix defenses in week two. This one should be won by Spacestation in three games.

2-1 Spacestation

Luminosity: Mar. 30, 2018 6:45 ET

Solo – Aquarius (SSG) VS KikiSoCheeky (lg)

The matchup between Aquarius and Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres features another two players that enjoy playing guardians in the solo lane. Once again, don’t expect to see a lot of action here if the trend continues. KikiSoCheeky has been a journeyman within the league, seeing play with a variety of teams. His play last week showed why it is that teams keep giving the 22 year old a chance. However, with how well Aquarius played in week one, it is hard not to give him the advantage in this set.

Most contested god: Cerberus

Advantage: Spacestation

Jungle – andinster (SSG) VS Weak3n (lg)

As the outspoken and charismatic leader of his teams, Kurt “Weak3n” Schray has drawn the ire of many fans throughout his career. Last week it was clear he had a chip on his shoulder to prove wrong those who doubted him. He will need to continue that strong play against another top jungler in andinster. If the Luminosity jungler is allowed to control the game, Spacestation will be in for a rough set. However consistency has been the major issue in Weak3n’s recent career, and until he proves that to be in his past, andinster will have the advantage in this one.

Most contested god: Serqet

Advantage: Spacestation

Mid – Baskin (ssg) vs keegsmate (lg)

Keegan “keegsmate” Twoeagle was the biggest unknown coming into season five. The former console worlds MVP made the transition to PC after the 2018 SWC. He did so with the hopes of proving wrong the doubters that insist console players can’t make it in the SPL. The rookie midlaner got off to a fantastic start to his career, making big plays against eUnited and outplaying the PC worlds MVP Brandon “Venenu” Casale in week one. Now he will be tasked with going against one of the best players in the world in Baskin. With the way Baskin played in week one, it is clear he wants to prove that he is in fact the best in the world, and one of the front-runners for the spring MVP. The advantage in this game goes to the incredible experience and skill of Baskin.

Most contested god: Thoth

Advantage: Spacestation

ADC – BaRRaCCuDDa (ssg) vs Clout (lg)

It is hard to make an accurate assessment of Conor “Clout” Roberts this week. The Luminosity ADC makes his season debut after missing their first game in week one. The player formerly known as Vetium has had a solid career in the SPL, and you can expect BaRRaCCuDDa to have his hands full in this set. This one will once again come down to the player that farms the most efficiently, so expect BaRRaCCuDDa’s experience to give him an advantage.

Most contested god: Sol

Advantage: Spacestation

Support – jEFFhINDLA (ssg) vs nOTgENO (lg)

As another newer face, NotGeno is going to need to prove he can compete with the top supports in the league. He had a promising start to that goal, outplaying one of the top supports in the world in Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss. Luminosity will need their rookie support to keep up with the veteran JeffHindla if they want a chance in this game. But after how dominant JeffHindla looked in week one, the advantage is in his favor.

Most contested god: Athena

Advantage: Spacestation

Prediction

Luminosity looked strong in week one, but they still have a lot to prove. They should put up a good fight against Spacestation, but ultimately it will be Spacestation coming out the victor in three games.

2-1 Spacestation

Things to watch

Watch out for how teams react to the changes being implemented in patch 5.5. The Fire Giant will give a more powerful buff making phoenixes easier to kill. This may force teams to take more fights around the Fire Giant instead of giving it up to defend.

Another important change in patch 5.5 is a bonus to the damage of T1 towers. By dealing more damage, we will either see fewer tower dives, or more deaths by players that choose to dive.

The picks that are made for each team’s ADC will be very telling about the state of the hunter class. With the buffs to hunter items we could see magical ADCs take a backseat. The amount of picks between magical and physical ADCs will be an indication towards how much the buffs helped hunters.

Look for some early game group ups this week. Teams have had some good success at catching a pick with an early fight. If they are successful, check the time to see how long until minions spawn. The closer it is to the start of the game equates to a bigger impact on the rest of the game.

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Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios

SPL: Spacestation Gaming week one recap

Spacestation Gaming got off to a strong start in week one of the SPL.

spacestation gaming

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

After winning the $15,000 Esports Arena Las Vegas showmatch, Spacestation (2-0) began their SPL season Friday night by winning a pair of sets against eUnited (0-2) and Trifecta (0-2). With the victories, Spacestation put themselves into a tie for first place with Counter Logic Gaming (2-0), a team they meet in week two. If Spacestation can continue the level of play they showed in week one, they will be strong contenders come the Smite Masters LAN event.

Spacestation Gaming vs eUnited

Game 1 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Cu Chulainn (4/3/6)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Camazotz (3/8/10)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Thoth (4/2/9)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (2/3/11)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Hachiman (2/2/7)

SSG bans: Nemesis, Arachne, Bastet, Ravana

EUN picks:

Solo: Ben “Benji” McKinzey – Cerberus (1/6/10)

Jungle: Lucas “Screammmmm” Spracklin – Serqet (4/1/13)

Mid: Brandon “Venenu” Casale – Discordia (8/4/9)

Support: Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss – Amaterasu (1/2/13)

ADC: Maksim “PandaCat” Yanevich – Ullr (4/2/7)

EUN bans: He Bo, Da Ji, Sol, Jing Wei

It was a war of attrition in game one as Spacestation and eUnited went back and forth in a 56 minute game. Spacestation looked to be in trouble throughout the middle of the game, as eUnited attempted to siege their phoenixes. However, it was Spacestation’s superb defense that allowed them to make a comeback.

Venenu looked like the strongest player on the battleground for the majority of the game. Piloting Discordia, Venenu was able to provide control and burst for his team. Unfortunately for eUnited fans, once Spacestation was able to take Venenu out of the fight, the tables were immediately turned.

After struggling in the early and mid game, andinster was able to turn it around late. Through diving onto the eUnited backline, andinster was able to pick off Venenu in multiple team fights, giving Spacestation control of the map.

Player of the game: Venenu

Game 2 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Cerberus (1/0/9)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Da Ji (8/0/4)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Camazotz (8/0/3)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Geb (0/2/9)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – (1/0/7)

SSG bans: Nemesis, Ullr, Cu Chulainn, Amaterasu

EUN picks:

Solo: Ben “Benji” McKinzey – Sobek (0/3/0)

Jungle: Lucas “Screammmmm” Spracklin – Ravana (0/3/2)

Mid: Brandon “Venenu” Casale – Nu Wa (1/4/1)

Support: Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss – Athena (1/4/1)

ADC: Maksim “PandaCat” Yanevich – Sol (0/4/2)

EUN bans: Thoth, He Bo, Hachiman, Jing Wei

In a complete reversal of game one, Spacestation dominated eUnited from start to finish. After a quick gank in the duo lane gave andinster the first blood, Spacestation took complete control over the game. As the game went on, andinster built a five level lead over his jungling counterpart Screammmmm. With this lead, Spacestation was able to control the objectives, and finish the game in only 28 minutes.

For the second time this season, eUnited lost a set in which they looked clearly in control. This loss will be a major test of adversity for a team that only lost four games in the fall split.

Player of the game: andinster

Spacestation Gaming vs Trifecta

Game 1 – (SSG)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Cerberus (0/1/4)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Da Ji (7/1/4)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – He Bo (6/6/4)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (1/2/10)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (0/2/3)

SSG bans: Nemesis, Thoth, Anhur, Agni

TFECT picks:

Solo: Ronnie “ScaryD” Belair – Amaterasu – (3/1/4)

Jungle: Suharab “MASK” Askarzada – Ravana (3/4/9)

Mid: Michael “Metyankey” Fasciano – Hou Yi (3/5/4)

Support: Neil “Neirumah” Mah – Artio (0/3/7)

ADC: Steven “Zapman” Zapas – Chronos (3/1/6)

TFECT bans: Ullr, Camazotz, Hachiman, Geb

Game one between Spacestation and Trifecta saw close back and forth action. Both teams had their moments where they looked to have the game under control.

After Trifecta was able to turn a team fight 25 minutes in and pick up three kills, they turned their sights to the Fire Giant. However, Baskin had a different plan when he blinked in at the last moment and stole the Fire Giant kill with his Water Spout. The steal quickly turned the game in Spacestation’s favor, as andinster was able to follow up the steal with a quadra kill. This allowed Spacestation to storm up the right side of the map and end the game 28 minutes in.

While his score line does not indicate it, Baskin had an unbelievable game on He Bo. After being banned throughout most of the SPL games played in week one, Trifecta made the mistake of letting Baskin pick it first overall. From an amazing Blink double kill, to overall control, to the final Fire Giant steal, Baskin was an absolute force on He Bo making Trifecta regret their decision to let him through.

Player of the game: Baskin

Game 2 – (TFECT)

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Cerberus (2/3/7)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Thor (3/2/7)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Scylla (7/6/3)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Athena (1/2/11)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Ullr (1/5/6)

SSG bans: Nemesis, Thoth, Geb, Artio

TFECT picks:

Solo: Ronnie “ScaryD” Belair – Cu Chulainn (7/4/4)

Jungle: Suharab “MASK” Askarzada – Da Ji (6/2/9)

Mid: Michael “Metyankey” Fasciano – Sol (3/3/10)

Support: Neil “Neirumah” Mah – Sobek (1/3/13)

ADC: Steven “Zapman” Zapas – Hou Yi (1/2/9)

TFECT bans: He Bo, Camazotz, Serqet, Thanatos

After the heartbreaking loss in game one, Trifecta turned it around in game two. MASK was able to provide the same level of impact andister made in game one with Da Ji, dominating from the jungle. ScaryD played a pivotal role in the win, matching Baskin’s triple kill late in the game with a triple kill of his own, allowing himself and MASK to end the game.

Player of the game: MASK

Game 3 – SSG

SSG picks:

Solo: Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill – Artio (3/3/5)

Jungle: Andrew “andinster” Woodward – Camazotz (6/3/2)

Mid: Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim – Thoth (6/2/4)

Support: Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi – Ganesha (0/0/13)

ADC: John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter – Jing Wei (2/0/7)

SSG bans: Nemesis, Ullr, Serqet, Ratatoskr

TFECT picks:

Solo: Ronnie “ScaryD” Belair – Amaterasu (3/1/3)

Jungle: Suharab “MASK” Askarzada – Susano (3/5/2)

Mid: Michael “Metyankey” Fasciano – Sol (0/3/3)

Support: Neil “Neirumah” Mah – Sobek (1/5/3)

ADC: Steven “Zapman” Zapas – Hou Yi (1/3/1)

TFECT bans: He Bo, Da Ji, Sylvanus, Athena

In a similar story to game one, Spacestation and Trifecta went back and forth attempting to establish control of the map. This time, Trifecta caught a pick onto andinster in the mid lane, allowing them an attempt at the Fire Giant. However, as Baskin did in game one, JeffHindla was able to penetrate the Fire Giant pit, and steal the objective with his Dharmic Pillars. The steal stunned Trifecta, as Spacestation once again marched up to their titan and ended the game soon after.

JeffHindla showed why he is one of the best Ganesha players in the world. Showcasing an absolute mastery of Dharmic Pillars, JeffHindla controlled team fights for Spacestation. Multiple times, the Ganesha ultimate was dropped perfectly to separate Trifecta members allowing Spacestation to pick up kills. In the end, his objective steal led to another heartbreaking loss for Trifecta.

Player of the game: JeffHindla

Takeaways

Not only does Spacestation have the ability to siege well in season five, they also showed their ability to defend. Against eUnited, their base seemed to be impenetrable as they held strong against a constant onslaught from an eUnited team buffed by the Fire Giant. If they can keep up this defense after the newest changes in patch 5.5, Spacestation will have a strong season.

Chalice of the Oracle is clearly being favored by the entire team, with four out of five members purchasing it each game.

Spacestation’s objective control was proven to be one of the best in the league. The way they are able to pull and leash major objectives to force fights shows a high level of coordination within the team. Few others are able to match this shot-calling, and it is clear that the loss of MASK did not have a major impact on this aspect of their play.

Any questions about Aquarius and andinster appear to have been answered. After struggling in the first game against eUnited, andinster turned into a different player for the rest of the night. Both he and Aquarius dominated their roles, proving that Spacestation fans have nothing to worry about.

All SPL games are available exclusively through SmiteGame on Mixer.

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Top image courtesy of Hi-Rez Studios.

SPL: Spacestation Gaming season five spring split preview

Image courtesy of esports.smitegame.com

After a strong showing throughout much of season four in the SPL, the now Spacestation Gaming roster ran into disappointment at the 2018 Smite World Championship. Going in as the number two seed in North America, the then Luminosity Gaming roster was put against the two-time defending champion NRG eSports in the quarterfinals. NRG made quick work of Luminosity, needing only 53 minutes to win the best of three in two games. The loss marked yet another letdown for a roster that has struggled against top competition from Europe. With their elimination it was clear that change was going to be needed.

Not long after SWC 2018, it was announced that four members of Luminosity would be moving on to join Spacestation Gaming. Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill, Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim, John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter and Rosario “JeffHindla” Vilardi all joined Andrew “Andinster” Woodward to form the new Spacestation roster. The move marked a championship reunion for BaRRaCCuDDa, JeffHindla and Andinster as members of the season one SWC champion Cognitive Prime. Fans of Spacestation are hoping that this new roster of familiar faces will be enough to contend in a new SPL season filled with stiffer competition.

Solo Lane

The most inexperienced and unproven name on the Spacestation roster belongs to their solo laner Aquarius. While not as flashy as other solo laners in the league, Aquarius has been steady and poised in the role. This year, solo lane will showcase one versus one talent compared to the two versus two meta of season four. With that in mind, the 18 year old Canadian needs to prove he can keep up with the league’s best.

Top gods to expect from Aquarius: Cabrakan, Chaac, Osiris.

Jungle

While his name is not unproven, questions still remain regarding Andinster’s return to the jungle role. After moving into the mid lane in early 2017, Andinster decided to go back into the jungle in season five. With a full year off from high level jungle competition it is fair to question how soon the former world champion jungler can recapture his success. However, the 21 year old American has shown he is not the type of person you should be doubting. If he can return to his previous form, Spacestation will have a superstar in the most important role this season.

Top gods to expect from Andinster: Serqet, Thor, Camazotz.

Mid Lane

From one player considered to be the best to another, Spacestation has an absolute stud in their mid laner Baskin. Like Andinster, Baskin transitioned to mid after proving to be one of the best solo players in SPL history. Baskin has improved and flourished throughout the entirety of his time in mid lane. Now analysts, casters and players alike consider the 19 year old American to be in the top five at his role. With the mid role gaining a lot of importance in season 5, Spacestation’s best player will be able to have a greater impact on games. If Baskin continues his improvement within the role in season five, it will not be hard to argue his position as the greatest Smite player not only currently, but of all time.

Top gods to expect from Baskin: The Morrigan, Janus, Sol.

ADC

Having BaRRaCCuDDa simply guarantees a strong roster. The legendary ADC has spent years dominating his lane and rival ADCs in the SPL. With an incredibly diverse god pool, BaRRaCCuDDa is always a factor in games as long as he is healthy. This year, the meta rewards efficient farming more than rotations, which plays right into the 27 year old American’s hands. However, the current meta is one that sees ADCs provide less of an impact than years past. This will make it interesting to see how much of an effect BaRRaCCuDDa’s mastery will have on SpaceStation’s win total.

Top gods to expect from BaRRaCCuDDa: Hachiman, Jing Wei, Anhur.

Support

As the other half of the iconic “SexTank”, JeffHindla has exhibited why he commands such deep respect within the league. It would be hard to find a player more beloved by his teammates than the Spacestation support. Through his outstanding communication skills and team-friendly attitude, Jeff is the type of support that makes the team around him better. The 24 year old American is exactly what a team needs when it comes to winning games. With the current meta seeing diminished value for supports, Jeff’s intangibles allow him to continue to massively impact games. As well, Jeff’s ability to play a double jungle style gives Spacestation needed variety to keep opponents guessing.

Top gods to expect from JeffHindla: Ganesha, Athena, Fafnir.

Prediction

On paper, Spacestation has one of the strongest rosters in North America, rivaled only by the defending SWC champions eUnited. Some questions still remain regarding how well Andinster will transition back into the jungle, how well he will work in conjunction with Aquarius, and whether their objective play will be hurt by the loss of their former jungler Suharab “MASK” Askarzada. However given their pedigree, this team has all the markings of a championship roster. They are predicted to finish second in North America in the 2018 spring split with seven series wins (15-6 record).

Schedule

eUnited: Mar. 23, 2018 6:45 ET

Trifecta: Mar. 23 2018 8:30 ET

Counter Logic Gaming: Mar. 28 2018 6:45 ET

Luminosity Gaming: Mar. 30 2018 6:45 ET

Splyce: Apr. 4 2018 6:45 ET

Splyce: Apr. 11 2018 6:45 ET

Counter Logic Gaming: Apr. 18 2018 6:45 ET

Luminosity Gaming: Apr. 20 2018 6:45 ET

eUnited: Apr. 27 2018 6:45 ET

Trifecta: Apr. 27 2018 8:30 ET

All games are available exclusively through SmiteGame on Mixer.

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Top image courtesy of HiRez Studios, SmitePro.

The 2018 North American Academy League starts soon.

Introducing the 2018 North American Academy League rules and rosters

Along with the franchising of the North American LCS, Riot is introducing an Academy League for the 2018 season. This league is replacing the North American Challenger Series of previous years. Each LCS organization is required to support an Academy roster alongside their primary team, which will compete in the “minor league.”

While this move is not a huge change for North American League of Legends, Riot has stated slightly different goals for this Academy League compared to the Challenger Series:

“At its core, Academy League is a service for organizations to develop in-house talent–unlike its high-stakes predecessor, the Challenger Series, whose focus was to promote new teams to the NA LCS.”

The Academy League is not necessarily designed to be competitive in the same way Challenger Series was. It is a space for organizations to focus on bringing in players and coaches to season them into LCS talents.

STRUCTURE and RULES

The 2018 Academy League Spring Split schedule is available online

Image from lolesports.com

The Academy League will run parallel to the NA LCS. For every Saturday and Sunday LCS match-up there will be a Thursday or Friday Academy match. For example, since TSM and Team Liquid’s LCS teams face off in week one, their Academy teams also face off in week one. Academy League is a best-of-one double round robin, just like the LCS. Riot will broadcast Friday’s Academy series, but Thursday’s will only be available as VODs. The entire schedule is published on their website.

In order to keep the Academy League true to its goals, Riot has implemented a few roster restrictions. Every organization has to lock in their active roster each Wednesday, then set starters by 1:00pm for Academy, and 12:00pm for LCS, each game day. Riot kept roster changes relatively flexible, because they “felt it would be detrimental for player development if it was difficult for players to move between the starting Academy and LCS rosters.”

In addition, Academy teams have veteran and import player limits. For the 2018 Spring Split, Academy teams can only start up to three veterans and one non-resident. Riot was torn between expanding North America’s rising stars and continuing to support established talents through the chaos of the franchising off-season. Moving forward, Academy teams will be restricted to two veterans.

They define a veteran as “if the player has started over 50% of eligible regular season games over the course of the last two splits of professional, Worlds-eligible League of Legends competition (i.e. NA LCS, EU LCS, etc).” Riot believes veterans bring several benefits to Academy teams. They allow LCS organizations to field a couple of solid substitutes for their bench. Veterans on Academy teams can also help influence young players in and out of the game. Import players can use the Academy to “get acclimated to NA esports, as well as learn English and deal with the transition of living in a new country.”

Academy Team Rosters (previous team-recent achievement)

OpTic Gaming joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

OpTic Academy (OPTA)

Dhokla – Sin Gaming – 4th place 2017 Oceanic Pro League Summer

Kadir – ÇİLEKLER – 8th place 2017 Turkish Championship League Summer

Palafox – Team Ocean – 1st place 2017 NA Scouting Grounds

Andy – Zenith eSports – 2nd place 2016 Carbon Winter Invitational

Winter – Team Mountain – 3rd place 2017 NA Scouting Grounds

OpTic’s roster-building strategy did not carry over as much from their LCS roster. While Dhokla most recently competed in Australia, he is North American, along with Palafox, Andy and Winter. Kadir, from the Netherlands, is the only technical non-resident.

This Academy squad seems to truly be about developing young talent, as these players have hardly anything on their resume coming into 2018. Hopefully the OpTic LCS team gels better than predicted, because none of these players appear ready to take the main stage just yet.

Team Liquid joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

TL Academy (TLA)

RepiV – NA Solo Queue – Challenger

Hard – Echo Fox – 10th place 2016 NA LCS Summer

Mickey – Team Liquid – 9th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Shoryu – NA Solo Queue – Challenger

Joey – CLG sub- 3rd place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Liquid’s Academy team centers around Korean mid laner Mickey, who TL brought on towards the end of Summer Split. Hard has some LCS experience as a starter and substitute, while Joey was a substitute for CLG under Aphromoo. He did get to start a couple of times during the Spring Split.

RepiV (previously Viper) and Shoryu are essentially solo queue talents, although RepiV was Liquid’s top lane substitute for most of last year. This Academy roster provides Mickey, Hard and Joey as substitutes if Xmithie, Pobelter or Olleh do not pan out. However, it is mostly a testing ground for RepiV and Shoryu.

FlyQuest joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

FlyQuest Academy (FQA)

Ngo – University of Toronto – 2nd place 2017 uLoL Collegiate Series

Shrimp – Team Dignitas – 4th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Keane – Team Dignitas – 4th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Erry – University of Toronto – 2nd place 2017 uLoL Collegiate Series

JayJ – University of Toronto – 2nd place 2017 uLoL Collegiate Series

FlyQuest is the only Academy roster to bring on collegiate talent for Spring Split. Ngo (aka iMysterious or Gaow Gaiy), Erry and JayJ played together on the University of Toronto uLoL team last year. The team took second place in North America, but this will be their first test in the minor league.

Keane and Shrimp join FQA from a disbanded Team Dignitas, which took fourth place in the LCS last summer. They are, arguably, the strongest duo out of any Academy line-up. Their mid-jungle synergy should provide FlyQuest with a sturdy anchor to develop the Toronto trio.

TSM joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

TSM Academy (TSMA)

Brandini – Echo Fox – 8th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Grig – Echo Fox sub- 8th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Ablazeolive – Team Mountain – 3rd place 2017 NA Scouting Grounds

MrRalleZ – TSM sub – 1st place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Shady – Phoenix1 sub – 10th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

TSM’s Academy roster is not nearly as threatening as their LCS line-up. MrRalleZ carries over from last year as a tenured substitute AD Carry. Playing under Zven should expand the veteran’s repertoire even further, after training with Doublelift last year.

Brandini, Grig and Shady have each gotten a small share of LCS experience, but mostly acted as substitutes for their respective teams. Ablazeolive has played in the Challenger Series, but is mostly known as a versatile solo queue mid laner. These individuals should be able to go toe-to-toe with most in the Academy League, but synergy may take time to develop.

CLG joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

CLG Academy (CLGA)

Fallenbandit – CLG Academy – 5th place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Omargod – CLG – 3rd place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Tuesday – CLG Academy – 5th place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Zag – CLG Academy – 5th place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Fill – CLG Academy – 5th place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

CLG is the only team that already had a reasonable sister team playing in the Challenger Series. They simply carried over their entire roster from Summer Split and re-added Omargod.

It is hard to say whether this line-up’s synergy will overcome the raw talent of some of these other rosters. Omargod is the closest to a veteran on the team, due to his LCS experience last split. Maybe he will be the leader to elevate the rest of CLGA into a threat.

100 Thieves joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

100 Academy (100A)

Kaizen – Team Ocean – 1st place 2017 NA Scouting Grounds

Levi – GIGABYTE Marines – 1st place 2017 Garena Premier League Summer

Linsanity – Team Cloud – 4th place 2017 NA Scouting Grounds

Rikara – Gold Coin United – 1st place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Whyin – Gold Coin United sub – 1st place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

100 Thieves put together a creative Academy roster for 2018. Everyone will focus on Levi, the aggressive GPL superstar jungler, but there is more to 100A. Rikara and Whyin played together last summer on Gold Coin United. Linsanity has been a touted solo queue mid laner for years now.

Most importantly, Levi and Linsanity could be 100 Thieves’ answer to Meteos and Ryu’s retirement. With a split or two of experience together, Levi and Linsanity could fill Meteos and Ryu’s roles without needing to change out Ssumday, Cody Sun or Aphromoo.

Golden Guardians joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

GGS Academy (GGA)

Jenkins – NA Solo Queue – Challenger

Potluck – eUnited sub – 2nd place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Bobqin – eUnited sub – 2nd place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Jurassiq – NA Solo Queue – Challenger

Xpecial – Phoenix1 – 10th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Golden Guardians used the same mentality to construct their Academy team as their LCS team. Xpecial acts as the long-term veteran shot-caller who will develop four young North American talents. Hai assumes that role on GG’s main line-up.

Jenkins, Potluck, Bobqin and Jurassiq are relatively unknown quantities. No one can really comment on how effective they may be. However, if Xpecial proves to be better than Matt, then he just may get the starting spot. It also might not be out of the question for Jenkins or Jurassiq to see some starts, depending on Lourlo and Deftly’s performances.

 

Cloud9 joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

C9 Academy (C9A)

League – Team Cloud – 4th place 2017 NA Scouting Grounds

Wiggily – Tempo Storm – 3rd/4th place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Goldenglue – Team Liquid – 9th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Keith – Echo Fox – 8th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Zeyzal – eUnited – 2nd place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Fans should be pleased with Cloud9’s Academy off-season, despite questionable LCS pick-ups. Goldenglue and Keith have previously had starting LCS roles, even if they were weak points for those teams. Wiggily and Zeyzal showed promise in last year’s Challenger Series.

League is the most questionable addition, but C9 worked with him at Scouting Grounds and obviously see something in him worth developing. As long as these personalities mix, C9 Academy should be fairly competitive. All of these players need a bit of development before promoting into the LCS.

Echo Fox joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

EF Academy (FOXA)

Allorim – Phoenix1 sub – 10th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

TheOddOrange – Team Gates – 6th place 2017 NA Challenger Spring

Damonte – Echo Fox sub – 8th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Lost – Legacy Esports – 3rd place 2017 Oceanic Pro League Summer

Papa Chau – eUnited sub – 2nd place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Echo Fox brings together five players with limited professional experience. Allorim and Damonte were substitutes for LCS teams, while Papa Chau subbed for eUnited. TheOddOrange has played in the NA Challenger Series, and Lost started in the OPL.

EF Academy is probably the weakest-looking out of the bunch. None of these players have much prior history or synergy together. Damonte previously played for Echo Fox, but he did not see many starting opportunities. Even parts of last year’s Delta Fox/Stream Dream Team might have been valuable for developing raw talent.

Clutch Gaming joins the 2018 Academy League

Image from lolesports.com

Clutch Academy (CGA)

Maxtrobo – Tempo Storm sub – 3rd/4th place 2017 NA Challenger Summer

Moon – FlyQuest – 7th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Sun – NA Solo Queue – Challenger

Piglet – Team Liquid – 9th place 2017 NA LCS Summer

Vulcan – Team Ocean – 1st place 2017 NA Scouting Grounds

Piglet returns to the minor league as part of Clutch Gaming Academy. He is joined by Moon and three rookies. Vulcan had a decent showcase at Scouting Grounds, and Maxtrobo and Sun have consistently maintained high Challenger solo queue rankings.

Clutch Gaming is smart to bring on Moon and Piglet as substitutes for LiRa and Apollo. These two duos would be interchangeable while still starting two or fewer non-residents. LiRa and Apollo were more consistent in Summer Split, but Moon and Piglet showed high ceilings in Spring Split. Hopefully, they are also able to lead this squad in the Academy League.

Expectations for 2018

Based on the rosters that these organizations have fielded, the 2018 Academy League should be much better for developing new North American players. Less than 10 percent of these players are imports. Close to 30 percent of these players have started in a major competitive league (LCS, LCK, etc.). Many of these players will have their professional debut in the Academy League, and others will finally get a chance to have a starting position in the minor league.

There are still a few players, such as Levi, Xpecial, Piglet and Keane, who have opportunities to rotate into the NA LCS this year. If they are able to prove themselves as leaders, and the rosters can conform to import limits, then they could be promoted. For now, though, they will need to focus on growth and development.

Academy League may not be as competitive as the Challenger Series was previously. It may be more of a training ground for players and coaches to condition and mature. Teams are going to have difficulty synergizing immediately. Some players may find they are unable to work well in a team environment. Nonetheless, 2018 will be full of growth, and the Academy League will be a huge part in continuing that growth for years to come.

credits

Featured Image: LoL Esports

Other Images: LoL Esports

Team and Player History and Achievements: LeaguepediaOP.GGuLoL

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majors, minors, dota 2, 2018, schedule

Majors and Minors: Patching Dota 2’s tournament system

Valve unveils a new tournament structure at TI7

This upcoming season of Dota is going to be unlike any other. This is thanks to a heavy commitment from Valve in the creation of a series of Majors and Minors. A new structure will help propel Dota 2 to the next level of mainstream esports.

Get ready for a lot of Dota

A plan that features 22 organized tournaments of 11 Majors and 11 Minors was announced in Seattle this year. Minors will have a minimum prize-pool of $150,000 USD and the minimum for Majors will be $500,000 USD. These prize pools will then be matched by Valve, but not organized by them. An interesting move by Valve that also makes a lot of sense. By directly contributing resources to the prize-pool Valve is able to heighten the prestige of these tournaments. At the same time, they are placing trust into third-party organizers like DreamHack, BeyondTheSummit and Perfect World to run the events.

These organizers have shown the ability to produce top-notch events and will take a lot of pressure off of Valve and their event production. Valve events have consistently been criticized for their production due to hiccups along the way. Also, this removes the stigma surrounding “Valve Events” being more important than other large tournaments.

Now tournaments are clearly defined as Majors and Minors that contain a brand new point system. Most important is that these points will be the sole factor in obtaining an invite to next year’s International. No more arbitrary invites based on what sometimes felt like complete randomness. Points are given based on a tournament’s prize pool and the timing of the event. Events closer to the International will be worth more points and could provide for some interesting surges by teams late in the season.

An interesting detail to note is that points will be distributed to individual players before being added to a team. While only the points of the top three player point values will be applied to the team value. Roster locks will still exist, but Valve has stated that players will carry points between teams. How will this affect upcoming roster shuffles? Will teams be more inclined to keep a roster together through the season? Could this make dropping players even easier? The bottom line is we don’t know. Keep an eye on this player-based point system as it could shape the scene in new ways this season.

Majors and Minors provide structure to the scene

A season of Dota 2 can be hectic. Months can go by with tier one tournaments happening every weekend, or even simultaneously. Other times can feel void of competitive games. The Majors and Minors system will combat that with a set schedule for the tournaments that is already in place.

dota 2, majors, minors, schedule, 2018,

(Twitter)

This tweet from Team Secret’s Director of Operation, Cyborgmatt, shows a detailed schedule. Something that is already being appreciated by players. In a Reddit interview a few of EG’s players let us know their initial thoughts on Valve’s new system:

“The best thing they did about that is that they laid out a schedule for us, so we’re able to set up bootcamps way ahead of time, so I think that is really important for us.” – Arteezy

 “…If there is an event happening every single week you know, how special does it become? So there’s a couple things that we kind of have to watch out for. It should lead to more money and more stuff coming into Dota, which is good” – Universe

“…it’s pretty nice for the scene I guess, because all of the tier 2 or tier 3 teams are going to have more opportunities to play in tournaments and show themselves.” – Sumail

Dota is a game that is constantly changing. Now the professional scene is seeing a large shift in its structure. The effects will be interesting to see in the upcoming year. Undoubtedly changing the landscape of the competitive Dota 2 scene in ways we can’t foresee. What we do know is that it will be fun to watch!

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VIT wants to qualify for playoffs

How Roccat, NiP, Vitality and Monkeys make it into EU LCS playoffs

Each EU LCS team has five to seven series left to get into position for playoffs. Over the next five weeks, teams will jockey for a spot in the top three of their groups. If playoffs were to begin today, Fnatic, Misfits and G2 would represent Group A, and Unicorns of Love, H2K and Splyce would represent Group B. It would essentially be a repeat of the Spring Split.

But playoffs does not start today, lucky for Roccat, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Vitality and Mysterious Monkeys. These squads still have a chance to muscle themselves into playoffs. The road ahead will be difficult, but not impossible. Here is the outlook for the rest of the split for these four EU LCS teams.


GROUP A

ROC

Record: 2-5 Schedule: MM, UOL, NIP, FNC, G2, MSF

ROC want to qualify for EU LCS playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

This is one of the most unpredictable teams. ROC served FNC their only loss in week three, but also lost a crucial 2-0 to VIT in week five. Their game record is 7-11 (38.9 percent win rate), but their series record is 2-5 (28.6 percent win rate).

On paper, ROC does not have much going for them. The team averages 1,059 gold behind at 15 minutes. They have the lowest First Blood rate in the LCS. ROC also sits in bottom two of the league for first turret rate, first three turrets rate, Rift Herald control and Elemental Drake control. According to OraclesElixir.com, ROCs early game and mid-late game ratings are ninth and eighth, respectively.

The only areas ROC relatively exceeds in are Elder Drake control and Baron control. They take 67 percent of Elder Drakes and 44 percent of Barons. Pridestalker has been instrumental in ROC’s objective control. The jungle, especially late game, has been ROC’s biggest strength.

For ROC to qualify for playoffs, the solo laners will need to improve. Betsy only looks comfortable with his pocket pick Vladimir. Although he puts out decent damage (445 dpm, 29.1 percent share), Betsy only participates in 60.9 percent of ROC’s kills, second lowest among mid laners. He is also one of three mid laners to be at a deficit in gold, XP and CS at 10 minutes.

Phaxi is in a similar, yet opposite position. He averages some of the lowest damage statistics of all top laners (313 dpm, 20.8 percent share), but does not start as far behind at 10 minutes. Phaxi is only involved in 57.6 percent of ROC’s kills, second lowest among top laners. He and Betsy will need to be more involved if ROC are to pick up wins against other EU LCS teams.

NIP and MM should not be too hard for ROC to overcome in weeks six and eight. Their series against G2 in week 10 will be critical. If G2 and ROC go 2-4 in all other match-ups, then this will be the edge ROC needs to force a tiebreaker based on game wins. Since ROC has proven they can even sneak series wins against FNC, they can reasonably take games off of any team. And if teams from Group B continue to beat Group A teams above them, then that benefits ROC.


NIP

Record: 0-8 Schedule: SPY, G2, ROC, MSF, FNC

NIP want to qualify for EU LCS playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

NIP is at the largest series deficit in the EU LCS, but it is not too late for them to turn it around. The squad lost to MM at the beginning of week five, but then they came back to take UOL to three games on Sunday. NIP’s early game is their strength. They average 232 gold ahead at 15 minutes, fifth highest in the league. They have a 78 percent First Blood rate, which is second highest in the EU LCS, and a 50 percent first turret rate, fifth in the league.

All three of NIP’s carries average ahead at 10 minutes. Shook is the only one behind in CS and XP, but his 61 percent First Blood rate (fourth overall) more than makes up for it. NIP secures Rift Herald in 72 percent of games, second in the league. This early aggression is a great place to start building winning strategies.

NIP’s issues surround mid-late game. Despite taking first turret in half of their games, NIP are middle-of-the-pack for taking the first three turrets (44 percent), first dragon (44 percent), and overall dragon control (49 percent). Worse yet, they are last in the league for first Baron rate (17 percent) and overall Baron control (21 percent). This is a glaring issue that will inhibit NIP’s ability to win unless it is addressed. EU LCS matches are so often won and lost around a Baron call.

Vision control is another area where NIP needs to improve. While they have high wards per minute (3.76), they have an abysmal wards cleared rate (1.11 per minute). NIP clears the lowest percentage of enemy visible wards in the league (52.1 percent), and only clears 10.4 percent of non-visible wards. This gameplay aspect is crucial to mid-late game, especially strategy surrounding neutral objectives.

Luckily, NIP is in Group A with other struggling teams. In week eight, they face a G2 squad that is heavily underperforming. ROC is the other opponent that week, who has one of the worst early games in the EU LCS. In week 10, NIP will battle FNC, who also disappointed at Rift Rivals. Unfortunately, NIP lost this week’s less intimidating VIT match-up 2-1, losing any momentum from week five. If ROC, G2 and FNC falter, then it may just be NIP’s opportunity to climb into third place within their group and qualify for playoffs.


GROUP B

VIT

Record: 3-4 Schedule: FNC, G2, MM, H2K, UOL, SPY

VIT want to qualify for EU LCS playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

VIT are a team that came out of week five trending upwards. They put up a decisive 2-0 victory over ROC by utilizing mid lane Corki and Kog’Maw. VIT mid laner, Nukeduck, has been a topic of conversation since Caps shared his EU LCS mid laner rankings and put him at number two.

The VIT solo laners generally hold things together for this team. Nukeduck and Cabochard average ahead of opponents in gold, XP, and CS at 10 minutes. Together they make up 54.7 percent of VIT’s total damage, the second highest top-mid duo in the league. There is a reason these two players have been on the team the longest.

The jungle is problematic, though. This is Djoko’s second split in the EU LCS, and he has not been able to make a name for himself just yet. While he contributes a decent first blood rate (44 percent), gold differential at 10 minutes (+123) and XP differential at 10 minutes (+59), Djoko’s kill participation is very low for a jungler (66.7 percent) and his death share is high (24.9 percent). On top of that, VIT’s worst metrics surround jungle control (46.2 percent), Baron control (42 percent) and dragon control (37 percent).

Part of the poor dragon control starts with VIT’s bottom lane duo. Steeelback has been criticized for “playing for KDA” in the past, and that argument could be made currently. He has a 3.5 KDA, which is highest on the team, but he falls behind by 10 minutes, offers the third lowest damage of AD carries in the league (434) and the second lowest share of damage (24.2 percent). As for support, Vander has the second lowest kill participation (64.8 percent) and low wards placed and cleared per minute (1.42, 0.27).

VIT has potential if they can resolve their jungle-bottom issues. As North America taught Europe at Rift Rivals, early dragon control can hugely benefit a team. Nukeduck and Cabochard are reliable in holding their lanes against other talented top-mid duos, but they cannot carry games alone. Steelback will need to contribute more damage, even if it results in more deaths. Vander and Djoko need to improve in the vision game.

The series against NIP and MM should be expected wins. SPY and G2 are certainly beatable opponents. FNC, H2K, and UOL will probably be the most difficult for VIT, but they only need to overtake SPY in the standings to make playoffs. It may just come down to their week 10 match-up.


MM

Record: 1-6 Schedule: ROC, MSF, VIT, UOL, SPY, H2K

MM wants to qualify for EU LCS playoffs

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

MM secured their first series win in week five in a 2-0 victory over NIP. The addition of Kikis and Amazing has certainly improved MM’s overall performance. However, they still lost 2-0 to FNC and G2 since their arrival. This team has plenty to improve while working towards third place within Group B.

Kikis is the best individual performer during laning phase, coming out ahead 51 gold and one XP at 10 minutes, but two CS behind. Every other member falls behind in the early game. The bottom lane is the biggest offender, averaging a deficit of 230 gold, 232 XP and five CS by 10 minutes, lowest in the EU LCS. Altogether, MM’s early game amounts to 1,360 gold behind at 15 minutes, a 36 percent first turret rate and 21 percent first three turrets rate (all lowest overall).

MM is also in the strange position of having the fourth highest combined kills per minute (0.77), yet the lowest kill:death ratio (0.52). These numbers indicate that they like to fight, but often lose. CozQ sacrifices the third highest death share among mid laners at 22.3 percent. At the same time, he only participates in 58.6 percent of MM’s kills, fourth lowest overall. This lack of positive contribution in the mid lane will continue to hurt MM’s chances of winning unless it is addressed.

If MM are to rise through the ranks, they will need to focus less on skirmishing and team-fighting. Being overly proactive can be just as harmful as being overly passive. ROC and VIT are not out of this team’s reach. More of MM’s placement in Group B will depend on how teams above them play against each other. If H2K, SPY, and UOL can beat VIT, then MM have a better shot of moving up to third place. It may be the longest stretch of the bottom four teams.


Featured Image: LoL Esports Flickr

Other Images: LoL Esports Flickr

Team and Player Statistics: Oracle’s Elixir, Games of Legends

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