Each position’s top underperformer in the MSI group stage

The 2018 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational group stage concludes, with Royal Never Give Up surpassing Flash Wolves in a tie-breaker for first place. The six participating group stage teams represented elite organizations, each major region’s Spring Split victor. Every roster featured big names with historic reputations and colorful narratives. This event is designed to be a clash of major players with unique strengths and diverse talents.

However, like every other tournament, MSI brought out the worst in some individuals. Although fans have faith in their favorite players’ work ethic, ambition and talent, certain players could not put their best foot forward this time around. The group stage saw several teams suffer from lackluster individual performances out of each position. Here are the worst offenders who did not show their true potential over the 10 to 11 games.

Top – Khan

Kingzone Khan underperformed at the 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

The only true top lane carnivore coming into the tournament, Khan is known as a monster that only played three tank games in the 2018 LCK spring regular season. He played significantly more matches on Gangplank, Gnar, Camille and Jayce, unlike the rest of the top lane field at MSI. Just like Worlds 2017, Khan came into this tournament as a touted weapon for Kingzone to wield against his island opponents.

But the anticipated results did not really come to fruition. Sure, Khan tops the charts in laning differences at 10 and 15 minutes, but he failed to transition these leads into major advantages for his team. Other than Kingzone’s match-ups with EVOS, Khan took the back seat to the rest of his team. Khan made poor team-fighting decisions, often over-aggressively diving the back line without back up. Like other tops, Khan over-extended in the side lane without proper vision or communication to back off.

Of course, Khan did not perform poorly in the MSI group stage compared to the rest of the field. He simply underperformed compared to audiences’ expectations. His 21.4 percent MSI kill participation pales in comparison to his 60.9 LCK Spring. He dropped his DPM from 570 to 356 without significantly less gold share. And Khan’s 2.2 KDA ranks lowest among MSI tops, while his 5.9 KDA was number one among LCK tops. He has not been able to perform to expectations just yet, which could be critical to Kingzone’s third place group stage finish.

Jungle – mLXG

Royal Never Give Up Mlxg underperformed at 2018 MSI Group Stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Though Royal Never Give Up finished group stage at the top of the standings, Mlxg stands out as an under-performer. Despite RNG’s high average gold difference at 15 minutes (+430), Mlxg averaged behind 308, second to last among junglers. While similar statistics are not available for the LPL, his gold per minute and damage per minute dropped six and 18 percent from Spring Split to MSI, despite playing fewer tanks. RNG’s First Blood percentage also dropped from 50 percent to 27.3 percent, with Mlxg contributing only 30 percent participation.

Similar to Khan, Mlxg did not perform poorly compared to the field. He definitely came across as a top three starting jungler. Mlxg mostly just played lower than fans have come to expect from him, especially in the earlier stages of the game. Few matches felt like he controlled the tempo. Comparatively, Karsa clearly controlled the pace of RNG’s game against Flash Wolves on day four.

By day five, Mlxg looked warmed up. His Xin Zhao against Flash Wolves and Graves against Team Liquid felt more controlled, more calculated. Hopefully, this form transitions into the bracket stage of MSI. Peanut, Broxah and MooJin essentially played to or above expectations. For RNG to reach the next level in a best-of series, Mlxg needs to channel his more aggressive early-game style. He is certainly capable of greater play than he has demonstrated during most of MSI.

Mid – Pobelter

Team Liquid Pobelter underperformed at 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

While Pobelter is not considered to be a major threat by NA LCS fans, most considered him to be on an upward trajectory since Spring Split playoffs. His role in the finals against 100 Thieves awarded him Most Valuable Player of the series. MSI has brought that momentum to a screeching halt, as Pobelter has not lived up to expectations.

Team Liquid’s mid laner ranks last in laning stats at 15 minutes in the MSI group stage, which is not necessarily surprising, considering he was middle-of-the-pack during the regular season Spring Split. During playoffs he was roughly fourth or fifth in laning among mids. But, what he lacked in early game dominance, Pobelter made up for with team-fighting prowess. He knows the limits of his champion once he hits the two to three item mark, which is how he earned a 7.2 KDA and 527 damage per minute in playoffs.

At MSI, Pobelter has a 2.8 KDA and 363 damage per minute. Team Liquid drafted him slightly different champions, such as Malzahar, Karma and Taliyah, but that does not make up the discrepancy between playoff Pobelter and MSI Pobelter. He seemed off all tournament, often getting caught during his split-push or roaming between lanes. This bump in the road is unfortunate, as many fans were enjoying Pobelter’s success. Caps, Maple, and even Warzone put their teams on their backs at times. Team Liquid could not count on Pobelter in the same way this time around.

AD Carry – Rekkles

Fnatic Rekkles underperformed at 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Recency bias will cause European fans to turn their heads away from Rekkles’ overall lowered performance at MSI. From awkward drafts featuring Sivir when no other AD carry was playing her, to overly passive skirmishing, Rekkles had major issues during group stage. Unsurprisingly, Rekkles only composed of 27.1 percent of his team’s damage, while other members of the team stepped up to make up for his lack of presence.

For example, Uzi, PraY, Doublelift, and Betty output anywhere from 90 to 110 percent of their 2017 Worlds’ damage at 2018 MSI. Rekkles’ damage per minute dropped to 80 percent of his Worlds’ numbers. He put up a 6.5 KDA, third among AD carries, but mostly from lower deaths, not higher kills or assists. Rekkles’ champion preferences essentially gave up Fnatic’s early game pressure around bottom lane, while other teams prioritized more aggressive champions and playstyles.

Rekkles’ final Xayah game versus Team Liquid should restore hope for EU LCS followers. For seemingly the first time during the tournament, Rekkles and Hylissang exhibited substantial early laning pressure, and transitioned their power throughout the map. Rekkles output larger damage numbers and higher kill participation, which constricted Team Liquid the way Fnatic dominated Spring Split playoffs. As the West’s last hope of an MSI victory, Fnatic will need more of this Rekkles during the bracket stage.

Support – Olleh

Team Liquid Olleh underperformed at 2018 MSI group stage

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Without beating a dead horse too much, Olleh fell flat at MSI, and was arguably the largest liability in the entire event. From sub-par day one play, to stepping down at one point, to further reduced execution, Team Liquid’s support looked completely out of sorts. His decision-making with Tahm Kench, Alistar and Braum was questionable, which is why safer supports, like Janna and Morgana, better suited him.

With supports having much less statistical analysis to back up their play, eye testing becomes much more important. Compared with SwordArt, Ming, GorillA and even Hylissang, Olleh felt outclassed. While every other support player showed off clutch play-making, particularly on Rakan, Olleh’s best plays were in the background and his worst plays remained memorable.

This tournament is far from Olleh’s best, and anyone who has followed his time in North America knows his potential. He was a top support in North America on Immortals, and he was strong this spring. Olleh will most likely come back even stronger this summer. However, this MSI will be a dark stain on his record, as he severely underperformed when Team Liquid needed him most.

credits

Images: LoL Esports Flickr

Player and Team Statistics: GamesofLegends.com

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Luminosity

Week Six: Luminosity Gaming’s Current Standing

With only one week left to go in the spring split, Luminosity Gaming has continued to show time and again that they deserve their spot in the pros. Unfortunately, with only the top two teams moving on to Masters in May, it’s unlikely that LG will be moving on for the spring split. That said, matches have been very even in North America versus the European rankings with every team performing remarkably well. Let’s take a look at the moving parts and see how the Luminosity machine is running as we move into week six.

Solo

What started out as a very safe, slow solo lane has slowly evolved as Ismael “KikiSoCheeky” Torres has become more comfortable with what his team can handle. His god picks have remained fairly consistent, favoring guardians such as Artio and Cerberus over more traditional warrior picks. With how strong magical gods and assassins presently are this is not terribly surprising, but it’s always exciting to see.

Mid

Keegan “Keegsmate” Twoeagle has been one of the most interesting players to follow this season. After transitioning from console, he has continued to show that he can just as easily contend on the PC. While he’s no Baskin, Keegs is certainly no slouch either. His form on god picks such as Poseidon and Scylla have been impressive to watch. He consistently brings the damage for the team and has no problem following up on opportunities when presented. You can see a great example of this from week five’s match up against Splyce. The Kraken follow-ups on Poseidon to NotGeno’s Dharmic Pillars on Ganesha to keep Divios’ Cerberus shut down during team fights were masterful.

Carry

Luminosity

Conor “Clout” Roberts, formerly Vetium, is a relatively fresh face but no stranger to the scene. While never underperforming, much like the rest of his team, he has continued to improve with each passing week. With picks like Sol and Hachiman, he has continuously brought the pressure in dual lane. Clout has shown he has no problem out pressuring his opponents and certainly deserves his spot on the team. It’s refreshing to see the new blood, Clout and Keegs, holding their own in North America.

Support

Michael “NotGeno” Lukashin, the support of Luminosity, has been a solid foundation for the team. With regular god picks of Athena and Sylvanus, Geno has done well applying pressure and keeping his teammates alive consistently. Between Geno and Kiki, the amount of sustain these two are putting out makes it difficult to take down LG when they come together for late game pushes. The biggest concern with Luminosity has been reaching that comfort zone as a team, and Geno is certainly there. He knows when to initiate, when to setup, and when he needs to protect his team to secure objectives or get them out of a fight.

Jungle

SmiteKurt “Weak3n” Schray has made a very interesting transition in the weeks since the spring split began. When Luminosity started the season, they were a team finding a way to work around Weak3n. His Arachne was dominating the jungle, and his team was helping to make sure he could secure those gank opportunities. Now, while still a strong component to the team, Weak3n is more of a utility and less the whole tool. Given the opportunity though, Weak3n excels at his role. Not only that, he has been one of the few players to utilize Achilles to great result. Should he continue to show how dangerous he can be with the Hero of the Trojan War, it will be difficult for opponents to find a way to keep him from dominating in the jungle.

Week Six

This coming week, Luminosity will have their rematch with eUnited. The defending champions didn’t look too strong earlier in the season when they faced off but have returned to fighting form. Much of whether or not LG can secure another victory against EU will be that team element. Both teams have players that have proven they can excel in their individual roles. Who can make the better calls and is able to secure more objectives will be the deciding factor. The way that Luminosity has shaped up coming onto the scene , it won’t be easy match for eUnited.

You can find all of the hot plays during week six live on Mixer. The broadcast will be streamed exclusively through the SmiteGame channel on Mixer.

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Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 6

Moving into the last week of the Spring Split, we’ve got some interesting matches lined up.

On the EU side, it will be exciting to see how Obey Alliance will perform. After their upset against NRG, they’ve proven they have what it takes to stand up to Europe’s best teams. And with match-ups against Team Rival and Dignitas, we’ll know how they stack up against the best by the end of the week.

Over in North America, it’s still intensely even competition in the Spring Split. After finding their footing in week three of the split, we get to see how far EUnited has come. With matches against the teams that obliterated them in the first week of the split, Luminosity and Spacestation, EUnited has their chance at redemption.

With that, let’s go to the picks.

Tuesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival vs NRG EsportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

Both of these teams are around the same skill level. However after dropping a game to Obey Alliance last week, I have to give this one to Rival.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSK Gaming vs MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

SK Gaming

Mousesports are having some trouble finding their playstyle as a team. Everyone enjoyed watching their crazy picks at the beginning of the split. And while it may not have worked out for them in the short run, it’s better to be the meta definer coming up with new strategies if you aim to be a top team. In the past week, though, Mousesports have been picking fairly conventionally. And they haven’t seen any more success than when they were picking Janus Jungles and Chaac Mids. I don’t anticipate this being a good direction for the team, and I can’t see them finding their footing in the last week of the split.

 

Wednesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited vs LuminositySmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

While Luminosity took this match up 2-0 in the first week of the split, EUnited is stronger than they were back then. While I don’t doubt Luminosity’s skills either, I think EUnited can manage to pull a win this time.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSplyce vs Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Counter Logic Gaming

Splyce is still having trouble finding wins in this split. And while they’re not a weak team by any means, CLG is still looking stronger right now.

 

thursday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Dignitas vs MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Again, Mousesports are having identity problems. If they can’t manage to beat SK gaming, there’s certainly no reason to change my mind in a match-up against the EU powerhouse Team Dignitas.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival vs Obey AllianceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

I want to believe that Obey can take these matches. They’re definitely the team to root for if you like underdogs. But I pick with my brain, not my heart, and my brain says Team Rival.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance vs Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Again, I would love to pick Obey here. But with the information we have, Dignitas is just the stronger team.

 

Friday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTrifecta vs Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

CLG has been underwhelming lately. They’ve fallen from grace after looking like the strongest team in the split half way through. On the other side of the spectrum, Trifecta has been fairly impressive. Taking wins off of both EUnited and Luminosity, Trifecta has had a strong showing in the past two weeks. Because of that, I have to predict Trifecta.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited vs SpacestationSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

This is another match-up where I want to vote for EUnited, but I just can’t. Spacestation has seated themselves on the throne of the SPL, and while EUnited certainly has a chance to take this I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpacestation vs TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

Just like with the last match, Trifecta is a strong team that has a chance. But it’s hard to deny that Spacestation is the strongest team in North America right now.

 

Summary

Team Rival > NRG Esports

SK Gaming > Mousesports

EUnited > Luminosity

Splyce < Counter Logic Gaming

Team Dignitas > Mousesports

Team Rival > Obey Alliance

Obey Alliance < Team Dignitas

Trifecta > Counter Logic Gaming

EUnited < Spacestation

Spacestation > Trifecta

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Philip.

Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 5

Now that we’re done with rerun week, I can start actually predicting things instead of regurgitating last weeks results. Which would be more fun in a different SPL climate. But this split’s North American teams are so even that it seems practically impossible to make clear power rankings.

EUnited beat Counter Logic Gaming, Counter Logic beat Spacestation, Spacestation beat Luminosity, Luminosity beat EUnited… All of these teams are in the same tier. It’s great for watching games, but stressful for predicting them.

At least the European side is a little easier. There seem to be two distinct echelons of EU teams, with Rival, NRG and Dignitas being top teams and Obey, SK and Mousesports being lower. But if teams from the same tier face off in EU, it can be just as hard as an NA game to predict.

Oh well, you’ve gotta pick someone. Let’s get into the picks for week 5.

 

Tuesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

Rival and Dignitas are both great teams, and both could easily take this. But for my money, Dignitas comes out on top. Dignitas are still the standout team of the European Pro League, even if they’ve recently lost some sets.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Obey Alliance

Two of the weaker teams square off in this set. But Mousesports is too inconsistent, and their drafts can get a little too crazy. And while I like experimental drafts as much as the next guy, they don’t translate cleanly into wins.

 

Wednesday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionseUnited VS TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

eUnited

It’s hard to vote against eUnited in these match-ups after their Week Three comeback. Last week they looked as strong as they did in the World Championship. And while I don’t doubt that Trifecta could take this, the same could be said for the team I vote against in practically any North American match-up. They’re just too even.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpacestation VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

On the opposite end of the spectrum, before eUnited’s comeback CLG was looking like the best team in the world. But after taking a loss from not only eUnited, but from Luminosity, they don’t look so tough anymore. Spacestation, on the other hand, is a consistently great team.

Thursday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Dignitas VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Dignitas

This is the day where that short tier list I made starts coming in handy. Dignitas is in the top three, and SK is in the bottom, which makes this prediction easy.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS Obey AllianceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Thursdays in the EU SPL seem to be the designated strong team versus weak team days. NRG is good, Obey isn’t. Easy FP.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

I like the low stress environment Thursday is creating here. I don’t have to think very hard. But there’s also not much to write about. That tier list is pretty real; so far none of the lower echelon teams have managed to take even a game off of the top three, let alone a whole match. It would be exciting to be wrong about these matches. But it also wouldn’t be responsible of me to predict SK.

 

Friday

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTrifecta VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

This is the battle of teams I’m not quite sure what to think of yet. Splyce has a number of talented veteran players that we haven’t seen in action for a while, and I’d love to see them find their footing in this match. But for right now, they’re not great. Trifecta in the short term is a pretty lukewarm team. They never seem to look that strong or that weak. But in the short term, I have to give this one to Trifecta.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS SpacestationSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Spacestation

This is the match that I’m most unsure of. Spacestation is still a consistently strong team, but Luminosity had a strong showing last week. But when in doubt, vote for Spacestation. That way at least John “BaRRaCCuDDa” Salter fans won’t get mad at me.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Luminosity

I’m still reluctant to give Splyce my vote, and to repeat myself Luminosity has been looking incredibly strong lately. This is probably about as easy to predict as North American matches can get. And even here, I have no doubt that Splyce could take the game. It’s really anyone’s league in North America.

 

Summary

Team Rival < Team Dignitas

Obey Alliance > Mousesports

EUnited > Trifecta

Spacestation > Counter Logic Gaming

Team Dignitas > SK Gaming

NRG Esports > Obey Alliance

NRG Esports > SK Gaming

Trifecta > Splyce

Luminosity < Spacestation

Luminosity > Splyce

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Philip.

Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com

Finals

EU LCS – The deciding moments

The EU Spring Split came to a close this weekend with G2 Esports facing Fnatic in the finals. Though the final score was 3-0, the series was much closer than the scoreline suggests. As is often the case with such closely matched games, the outcome can be traced back to a single factor that tipped the scales.

Game 1 – Team fight at Baron.

Blue Side: Fnatic

Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau – Sion

Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen – Sejuani

Rasmus “Caps” Winther – Karma

Martin “Rekkles” Larsson – Tristana

Zdravets “Hylissang” Iliev Galabov – Braum

 

Red Side: G2 Esports

Martin “Wunder” Hansen – Cho’Gath

Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski  – Zac

Luka “Perkz” Perković – Ryze

Petter “Hjarnan” Freyschuss – Jinx

Kim “Wadid” Bae-in – Tahm Kench

The first game of the series started out in G2’s favor. Just after 4 minutes in, Jankos Ganked the rookie Bwipo who had pushed his Top Lane wave just a bit too far. Jankos walked in from the river, and was able to initiate with Stretching Strikes, saving Elastic Slingshot to prevent Bwipo’s escape. With Wunder’s help, he was able to secure First Blood and a small gold lead for G2.

Ten minutes later, G2 stretched this small lead into a considerable one. In a Bot Lane team fight that was originally initiated by Fnatic, G2 found themselves in a position to turn and overwhelm their opponents. Hjarnan took down Hylissang and Broxah, and Perkz was able to kill Bwipo as he tried to escape. Using this advantage, G2 executed the impressive macro play they are known for, and in the following 10 minutes extended their gold lead to nearly 6k as they took three towers, their second dragon, the Rift Herald and Baron Nashor.

Finals

Courtesy of LoL Esports

The decisive fight

Unfortunately for G2, it was this Baron call that allowed Fnatic back into the game. After using Perkz’s Realm Warp to make Bwipo use Unstoppable Onslaught defensively on the bottom half of the map, G2 cleared a wave in the Mid Lane and made their way to the Baron. Despite a Fnatic Teleport coming in behind the pit, G2 decided to stay and finish the objective.  As Broxah cast Glacial Prison and jumped into the enemy team, Caps and Rekkles put down significant damage on Wadid and Wunder. Bwipo landed a knockup from behind the wall, before flashing in and chunking Perkz, Hjarnan, and Jankos down with Soul Furnace. As G2 attempted to escape the Baron Pit, Rekkles melted their health bars one by one, using the resets on his Rocket Jump to follow their Flashes. Jankos was the only survivor for G2, and in the next few minutes Fnatic was able to secure several more objectives.

The next two team fights also went the way of Fnatic, and they nearly ended the game at 33 minutes before Hjarnan respawned and kept the G2 Nexus alive. Fnatic was finally able to end the game at 42 minutes following a clash in the Mid Lane that led to an unofficial Pentakill for Rekkles. Though this is the play captured in most highlight reels, Fnatic may not have made it this far without their victory at the Baron Pit.

 

Game 2 – The double carry

Blue Side: G2 Esports

Wunder –  Gangplank

Jankos – Olaf

Perkz – Karma

Hjarnan – Varus

Wadid – Tahm Kench

 

Red Side: Fnatic

Bwipo – Sion

Broxah – Skarner

Caps – Zoe

Rekkles – Sivir

Hylissang – Braum

In Game 1, Fnatic built their comp around Rekkles being the lone carry.  With three tanks to be the front line, and Caps playing Karma, Rekkles was able to stay alive while putting out 57.9k damage. Their success with this caused G2 to shift their focus going into Game 2. While for their first match, G2 banned three potential Mid Lane champions, they allocated only one ban for Mid Lane in the second. Instead, they focused Rekkles with 3 ADC bans, taking only Ryze away from Caps.

Finals

Courtesy of LoL Esports

The second carry

This suited Fnatic just fine, as they were planning a new strategy for Game 2. They once again went with three tanks, but instead of a secondary support, Caps locked in the high-damage Zoe. Perkz was the aggressor early, and came close to killing Caps around the 5th minute. From there, they continued to farm, staying fairly close in CS. Caps was biding his time. By 10:45, he had enough to purchase Luden’s Echo, and by 11:51, Perkz was dead.

Not only did this solo kill establish a lead for Caps in the mid lane that he kept throughout the game. It also showed that Fnatic could rely on more than just Rekkles to carry them. This additional threat proved too much for G2, and they failed to shut down either one. Despite 6 Magic Resist items on the enemy team, Caps did the most damage in the game by nearly 10k. This focus on MR and Fnatic’s expert team fighting enabled Rekkles to record his second Pentakill of the series. Shorty after this, Fnatic closed out the game to go up 2-0 in the series.

 

Game 3 – Panic

Blue Side: Fnatic

Bwipo – Sion

Broxah – Skarner

Caps – Ryze

Rekkles – Tristana

Hylissang – Janna

 

Red Side: G2 Esports

Wunder – Ornn

Jankos – Zac

Perkz – Cassiopeia

Hjarnan – Sivir

Wadid – Karma

By the time Game 3 came around, it was do or die for G2. Not only had they lost two games in a row to Fnatic, but they had lost both of their head to head matches during the split as well. G2 had been so successful for so long by having superior discipline, macro strategy, and team fighting, but they had found a team that surpassed them in all of those categories.

Only one loss away from being swept in the finals, G2 was desperate, and they played like it. Adjusting their style, they started the game by invading Fnatics jungle. Though they come close to killing Hylissang, he survives, and it puts G2 a bit behind in laning. The early game also saw G2 playing a different game than they were used to. They chased into the river, hoping to catch Broxah, but failed to come close, and lost out on experience and gold in lane. They attempted tower dives and overextended for fights that were not in their favor, forcing them to retreat almost immediately.  Though they got kills and took towers, something was off for G2. They were, understandably, shaken.

Panic sets in

Around the 22nd minute, G2 attempted to take Baron. They seemed indecisive, and were interrupted twice, ultimately wasting nearly two minutes dancing around the objective as Caps pushed the bottom lane into the base. Roughly four minutes later, they attempt Baron again, once again peeling off to fight the 4v5 as Caps split pushed. They managed to kill Hylissang, but then seemed to panic. As Caps chipped down the inhibitor turrets, G2 tried to back. Three members chose to do this inside the Baron Pit, including the flashless Hjarnan. As Fnatic looked to delay their return to base, they discovered the enemy ADC, trapped behind the Epic Monster. Allowing Nashor to do most of the work, Fnatic only had to wait as Hjarnan took giant chunks of damage.

Finals

Courtesy of LoL Esports

With the enemy Carry out of the way, Fnatic was able to put G2 in an impossible position. Caps was nearly on the Nexus, and Bwipo, Broxah, and Rekkles started to take the Baron. Knowing that it would be nearly impossible to defend if Fnatic got Baron, Jankos waited, attempting a heroic Baron steal. Fnatic read the situation perfectly, and stalled. Unable to wait any longer, Jankos dove in, and Fnatic killed both the Baron and the enemy Jungler. Though they did their best, G2 could do nothing to hold off Fnatic at this point, and the series was over.

Looking forward

The finals were a hard fought battle between the former and reigning champions of Europe. Though both had their chances, the superior coaching, strategy, and skill of Fnatic won out in the end. If both teams learn from this intense series, their Summer Split games will be for the history books.

 

I want to extend a special thank you to fellow Hausmate Benjamin Schwartz for his input on this article!

 

Find the rest of my articles here. If you would like to contact me or keep up with things I like, find me on Twitter: @_mrdantes. For more of the best esports news, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Featured photo courtesy of LoL Esports

 

 

Several players from 2017 Immortals found success in the 2018 Spring Split

An Echo of Immortals in the 2018 Spring Split

Leading into the 2018 Spring Split, ESPN’s Jacob Wolf reported that Immortals would not be included in North America’s franchised LCS. The League of Legends community responded to the decision with disbelief, anger and confusion. They also wondered, “If IMT did not get accepted into the LCS, then which teams are safe?”

A Brief History of Immortals

Immortals entered the NA LCS in 2016 with Huni, Reignover, Pobelter, Wildturtle, and Adrian

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Immortals entered the NA LCS in 2016, announcing Huni, Reignover, Pobelter, WildTurtle and Adrian as its roster. Dylan Falco would coach. They finished the 2016 Spring and Summer regular seasons in first and second, respectively, but only secured third in both playoffs. IMT barely missed Worlds that year, because they lost to Cloud9 in the Regional Qualifier.

In 2017, Immortals broke up and completely rebuilt its roster around Pobelter. Flame, Dardoch, Cody Sun, and Olleh joined as starters, while Anda signed as a substitute. Hermes moved up to fill the head coaching position. During 2017 Spring Split, this roster finished seventh in the regular season, narrowly missing playoffs. In the mid-season, Immortals traded Dardoch to CLG for Xmithie, imported Ssong as head coach, and brought on Stunt as a substitute. The invigorated team rose to second place during the Summer regular season and playoffs. IMT booked their first ticket to Worlds, where they finished 14th-16th.

And Immortals’ time in the NA LCS ended there. They would not get a new opportunity to dominate North America like 2016, or go to Worlds like 2017. The team fully disbanded, and the league moved on.

EX-IMMORTALS IN 2018

Immortals traded Dardoch to CLG in 2017

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Following Riot’s permanent partners announcement, Team Liquid acquired most of Immortals’ released roster. Xmithie, Pobelter, Cody Sun, Anda and Olleh joined the organization initially, but Cody Sun went on to 100 Thieves and Anda went to FlyQuest. Flame and Stunt signed with FlyQuest, as well. TSM picked up Coach Ssong to lead their new roster.

Four fifths of Immortals’ 2017 roster met in the last stage of playoffs. Xmithie, Pobelter, Olleh and Cody Sun made it to the finals, yet again, with Team Liquid winning the whole split and 100 Thieves second. Flame, Anda and Stunt finished the split in eighth place, and Coach Ssong finished fifth-sixth with TSM. However, this was the first time Anda and Stunt entered a split as starters. Flame performed perfectly fine as an individual top laner. And Coach Ssong helped build TSM into a formidable team, even if they fell short in playoffs.

Looking back at previous iterations of Immortals, Huni, Dardoch and Adrian made up three fifths of Echo Fox this split, finishing third in playoffs. Wildturtle joined FlyQuest in eighth place, but had several stand out performances himself. Reignover played with CLG to secure seventh place, and Dylan just led Fnatic to their first LCS title in two years.

Immortals Echoing through the LCS

Olleh, Cody Sun, and Zmithie used to play on Immortals in 2017

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Each of these individuals had significant development during their time on Immortals. Ssong, Huni, Reignover, Flame, and Olleh might not be in North America without importing with IMT. Xmithie and Pobelter might not be as renowned as they are now without taking Immortals to Worlds. Cody Sun, Anda and Stunt might not have starting roles this year. Wildturtle and Adrian’s stock definitely rose after their time on IMT, and Dardoch’s trade may have spurred changes with him. Dylan Falco got his first coaching job on Immortals, long before joining Fnatic.

Although Immortals’ organization no longer plays in the LCS, their players and staff have spread throughout the league. Many individuals had their LCS debut with IMT, and, through their development, upgraded the ecosystem overall. IMT put up strong performances throughout 2016 and 2017, leaving their mark in the history books. Although its banner no longer hangs in the LCS arena, Immortals’ legacy echoes on through the players and coaches they brought to the table.

credits

Images: LoL Esports Flickr

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EUnited

Is eUnited back on top?

In the first two weeks of the Smite Pro League, eUnited’s performance was disappointing. After losing to Luminosity Gaming, it was loss after loss for eUnited. Fans were left with the question: had the magic faded for these world champions?

Opinions on eUnited were still mixed going into their matches last Friday. Some held onto their hope that they would make a comeback, while others had already decided they were washed up. Even after their win against Splyce, their reputation hadn’t recovered. Going into their match against Counter Logic Gaming, the top seeded team in the North American Pro League, most still predicted that eUnited would lose.

But in an upset, eUnited managed to pull a win. The world champions looked like their former selves this set, proving that they could still take on the best of them. What contributed to eUnited’s triumphant comeback?

Objective play

Eunited

Image courtesy of smite-esports.gamepedia.com

For as long as eUnited has been around, they’ve been known for strong objective play. Way back in Season 3, when they were still Enemy Esports, they made a name for themselves taking sneaky Gold Furies. This tactic lead them all the way to second place in the Smite World Championship.

In the first few weeks of the Season 5 smite pro league, eUnited’s objective play had been lacking. But in this set, they showed they were still the kings of Objective Play in Smite, returning to their sneaky Gold Fury tactics to great success.

Picks and bans

One of the most lacking elements of eUnited’s play in the Spring Split was their picks and bans. They would often draft teams with poor synergy, or take gods that just didn’t fit the Season 5 Metagame. But in their match against CLG they managed to find a nearly perfect Draft.

In their first game against CLG, they managed to get Janus and Hachiman, two gods that are among the best at their roles. But most notably they managed to get Nemesis, one of the best gods in the game. The opposing picks in those roles: Ullr, Rama, and He Bo respectively, were alright picks, but they couldn’t stand up to the dominant draft eUnited managed to pick. Rama in particular became a costly pick for CLG, with their Hunter Evan “Snoopy” Jones going 0/5/1. These dominant picks continued into game two, with eUnited managing to pick up Nemesis and Hachiman again.

Pandacat

EUnited

Photo courtesy of smite-esports.gamepedia.com

But it wasn’t just the picks that won the Duo Lane for the world champions. Maksim “Pandacat” Yanevich had an incredibly strong showing in this set. In game one, he managed to get a solo kill on Snoopy, and from there it continued to get worse for Counter Logic Gaming. Even in the second game, Pandacat managed to go 6/1/5, winning the Mixer MVP poll for both games one and two of the set. In addition to his effectiveness, Pandacat’s aggressive play makes him a joy to watch when he’s at his best. If Pandacat can play like he did in this set consistently, then eUnited will be the team to beat in the second half of the Smite Spring Split.

Even after their win against CLG, some still doubt EUnited’s strength. Were they just lucky, managing to catch CLG playing poorly? Or were these first two weeks the exception to eUnited’s rule? You won’t have to wait very long to find out: this Friday eUnited will have to face CLG again. If they can pull another win, that will prove that this was no fluke. It will be interesting to watch who can win this repeat match.

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Top Image courtesy of the official Smite Youtube channel.

Team Liquid's Steve hopes the fourth place meme will die after the 2018 Spring Split finals

TL Steve on memes in 2018: “The fourth place thing, hopefully it’s dead at this point.”

All of Team Liquid arrived to the Fillmore Theatre in Miami, Florida for their last match of the NA LCS Spring Split. They face 100 Thieves, in what is sure to be an exciting finals. While 100 Thieves finished first in the regular season, most fans on-site in Miami favor Team Liquid to take the series, citing Doublelift’s carry potential as the “X-factor” that 100 Thieves does not have.

Prior to the match, both teams arrived in a red carpet-style fashion, surrounded by the press and fans. The players and staff posed for pictures, before breaking up for brief questions and fan-meeting. Team Liquid drew the largest, most enthusiastic crowd of the whole event. Fans battled to the front for signatures, selfies, and handshakes.

Steve Arhancet, the owner of Team Liquid, was among his team for the grand entrance. Accepting a brief interview, here is what he had to say:

Thomas: “What are your thoughts on the match today?”

Steve: “It’s going to be a convincing win, I hope. Based on scrims, things are looking good, but, you know, they can turn up. Hopefully, it’s a great match, but I think we’ve got this.”

Thomas: “How’s Miami treating you so far?”

Steve: “It’s been fun. We haven’t made it to the beach, yet.”

Thomas: “Yeah, me neither. Maybe afterwards?”

Steve: “Yeah, exactly! Maybe after we win today.”

Thomas: “Lastly, what’s your favorite meme so far this year?”

Steve: “Ah, my favorite meme. I mean, the fourth place thing–hopefully it’s dead at this point, right? I don’t know.”

Team Liquid's Steve hopes the fourth place meme dies after the 2018 Spring Split finals

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

“Paid by Steve,” “Sent from my HTC phone,” and other memes probably do not sting as hard as the TL-fourth place meme. As an owner with so much invested in the LCS, to never finish higher than third or fourth leaves a constant hunger for Steve. Seeing TSM, Cloud9, and CLG banners lining the LCS studio leaves Liquid as the last old guard organization to win a split.

Team Liquid hopes to win its first NA LCS in 2018. Just by finishing in the top two, TL will have surpassed any of its previous LCS finishes. While Steve hopes to kill the Team Liquid fourth place meme, a victory would peg them as the fourth organization to take home gold in the LCS.

After entering franchising, getting far ahead in the off-season shuffle, and building an entirely new roster and training facility, a 2018 Spring Split trophy would be immensely gratifying for Steve. A win may elevate the organization beyond frequently finishing fourth place, but the Liquid-fourth meme will live on, revitalized. But, knowing it lives on because of an LCS title would probably be okay with Steve.

FOX Altec did not prepare anything special for Clutch Gaming's bot lane

FOX Altec on facing Clutch’s bottom lane for third place: “I was not afraid of Clutch’s 2-v-2.”

Echo Fox decimated Clutch Gaming in their third place match of the NA LCS Spring Split playoffs. Their top-side trio of Huni-Dardoch-Fenix took over every single game, leaving both bottom lanes to their own devices. Such inactive bottom lanes are very different from the other games of quarterfinals and semifinals.

Quarters and Semis

Looking at Team Liquid’s victories over Cloud9, Doublelift and Olleh accounted for roughly 73 percent kill participation. Sneaky was involved in 86 percent of Cloud9’s kills. In the TSM-Clutch series, Zven and Mithy combined for an 8-27-23 scoreline (1.15 KDA) versus Apollo and Hakuho’s 20-7-48 (9.71 KDA). When Echo Fox lost to Team Liquid and Clutch lost to 100 Thieves in semifinals, Doublelift and Cody Sun won Player of the Series, with Doublelift specifically dominating TL’s series. Altec and Adrian combined for a 1.31 KDA in that series.

Third place match

Compare those matches to the third place match. Altec only participated in 36 percent of Echo Fox’s kills. Even as support, Adrian was only involved in 51 percent. FOX barely used their bottom lane to take the 3-0 over Clutch Gaming, turning the “bot-centric meta” on its head.

FOX Altec did not preapre anything special before facing Clutch Gaming in the third place match

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

When asked about preparing to face Apollo and Hakuho leading into the third place match, Altec responded “I was not afraid of Clutch’s 2-v-2. Sure, Hakuho has looked good on Thresh, but Adrian and I have unique picks of our own that we can pull out whenever we need to. We practiced a lot in scrims, but we didn’t prepare anything special for this series.”

Altec and Adrian played fine. They didn’t need to do more than keep Apollo and Hakuho glued to bottom lane by constantly pushing. Echo Fox only banned Thresh once, but Clutch drafted Tahm Kench and Braum for Hakuho, while Apollo’s Caitlyn and Varus failed to earn any early pressure. Adrian’s Nami was crucial in disengaging any roams and ganks from Febiven and Lira, keeping Altec safe.

Fenix, Dardoch, and Huni’s spectacular play won this series. With their snowballs rolling, Altec and Adrian simply needed to play safe, which they accomplished. Clutch’s bottom lane was unable to gain leads for themselves, and they watched the rest of their team crumbled.

credits

Images: LoL Esports Flickr

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Smite Season Ticket Predictions

Smite Season Ticket predictions: Week 4

At first this looked like a hard week to start on. Not only am I late, but accurate predictions of NA match-ups are getting harder. With EUnited’s comeback, North American teams are so even that it’s nearly impossible to tell who will win in these match-ups. And Europe, while not as bad, is still harder to predict than past SPL seasons.

But looking at the next week’s schedule gave me déjà vu. Which is probably because they’re the exact same match-ups as last week. I don’t understand why, but it does make predicting the winner pretty easy. Just vote for the team that won a week ago. So let’s get into my Smite Season Ticket predictions for the next week of the Spring Split.

Tuesday, April 10

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS Team DignitasSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Well, at least this whole rerun week makes the picks pretty easy. Remember last week when NRG beat Dignitas? I’ve used my expert deduction skills to decide that that will probably happen again.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsObey Alliance VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Obey Alliance

Both of these teams have been a little weak so far. And while Obey took this match-up last week, it was incredibly close. This game could easily go to SK as well. But Obey’s chances are still a little bit better.

 

Wednesday, April 11

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS TrifectaSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Trifecta

Trifecta won last week, and I don’t see any reason to doubt them this time. Last week they won the set but lost game two. Trifecta learned a valuable lesson during that second game: Ban Nemesis. Even if she winds up in solo lane, you still need to ban Nemesis. And as long as they remember that, they should be able to beat Luminosity again.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsSpaceStation VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

SpaceStation

After the last week, Splyce has been looking like one of the worst teams in the league. Meanwhile SpaceStation looks like one of the best. It’s not quite that simple, though. Splyce is full of team members that have been out of the SPL for a while. And as they continue to readjust themselves to competitive play and learn to work with their new teammates, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Splyce rise above SpaceStation. But that’s in the long term, and this match is next Wednesday. So I have to give it to SpaceStation.

Thursday, April 12

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS SK GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

Unfortunately for SK gaming, they just don’t stack up to Rival. Last time we saw this match it went 2-0 to Rival, and I don’t see any reason that would change.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsNRG Esports VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

NRG Esports

Thursday is going to be a whole day of strong team versus weak team. And unfortunately for Mousesports, they don’t give Fantasy Points for voting for underdogs.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsTeam Rival VS MousesportsSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Team Rival

It’s bad enough that Mousesports is having to face Rival, but they also have to play two matches in a row. And they’re likely coming into this match after losing to NRG. And they lost both of these matches 2-0 last week. This match will probably feel like a recurring nightmare for Mousesports. But who knows? Maybe they’ll win against NRG and bring that momentum into this match. That scenario’s a little too unlikely to get me to vote for Mousesports, though.

 

Friday, April 13

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited VS SplyceSmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

EUnited proved last week that they’re still a powerful team, taking a decisive victory against Counter Logic Gaming. While this match was fairly close last week, EUnited are sure to be more confident after that comeback.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsLuminosity VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

Counter Logic Gaming

Don’t let their loss against EUnited distract you: Counter Logic Gaming is still a force to be reckoned with. And while Luminosity certainly isn’t a bad team, I don’t see any reason to vote for them over CLG.

 

Smite Season Ticket PredictionsEUnited VS Counter Logic GamingSmite Season Ticket Predictions

EUnited

I was really hoping that I would get the chance to play devil’s advocate and vote for last week’s loser at least once. But after the dominance EUnited showed in this match-up last week, I couldn’t possibly vote for CLG. The message of this game last week was clear: EUnited is back, and they’re still the world champs.

 

Summary

NRG Esports > Team Dignitas

Obey Alliance > SK Gaming

Luminosity < Trifecta

SpaceStation > Splyce

Team Rival > SK Gaming

NRG Esports > Mousesports

Team Rival > Mousesports

EUnited > Splyce

Luminosity < Counter Logic Gaming

Eunited > Counter Logic Gaming

 

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Top Image courtesy of Smitegame.com, SPL logo and Esports Team logos courtesy of Esports.Smitegame.com