Schalke vs Excel
Schalke have yet to win a single match this split and perhaps their best chance of doing so will come this Friday when they will meet with Excel Esports, who are entering Week 3 of LEC with a 1-4 record.
So far this split, neither side managed to impress, but it’s not all bad. Excel have shown they have a good macro play which often earns them the first turret, while Schalke tend to have the ability to drag out their games and force their opponents to work hard for the W, albeit they don’t know how to close out the games.
Last week, Schalke changed up their bottom lane, bringing in Neon and DreamS instead of Innaxe and Nukes and right off the bat, we have seen some improvement. Schalke lost both games, albeit they fought well, which is a praiseworthy achievement since they faced G2 and Misfits. This team, however, is still in a bad spot, in most part due to poor showings from their top lane Odoamne, who needs to step up his game.
Excel are not in a much better spot heading into this game either. While they picked up a win against SK Gaming, this team is still not performing at the level needed for them to contest a top-four finish. Partick and Tore are the main actors in this team, while Kryze does his fair share of the work in the top lane. For Excel to succeed, however, Special will need to start showing something, because up to now he looked very iffy.
This game can easily end both ways and while Excel are priced as favorites, they can easily lose against Schalke. A lot will come down to the performances of their bottom lanes and I’m a bit skeptical whether Special will manage to compete with Abbedagge. Nevertheless, we can expect a long gamer where teams will go back and forth. Excel will likely start strong but fall off later on as they usually do.
Prediction: Excel Esports first turret
Prediction: Schalke +5.5 – 1.833
Vitality vs Misfits
Misfits did not look too sharp so far this split, but at these odds, they are underrated. Vitality overachieved in Week 1 and it should be obvious by now that they’re not a top-six team – not even close. They might have occasional flashes of greatness and at times look like a well-organized team, but quality-wise, they don’t stack up to Misfits.
Unlike Vitality who overachieved, Misfits did the opposite. This team is very underrated and I’m certain they can easily make a deep run into the playoffs, just as soon as they gel together. Last week, they lost to SK Gaming but defeated Schalke. The match against Schalke was relatively close, but there is no denying Misfits looked far more tactically sound.
Doss is still a bit question mark in my book, but he does the job fine and helps enable Kobbe to show his talent. While Kobbe would have performed better if he had better support alongside him, they should do just fine against Comp and Labrov.
This is a must-win game for Misfits if they’re serious about contesting a playoffs spot and with Razork, Kobbe, Febiven and DanDan on the team, I don’t see how they can lose against the hyped-up Vitality.
Prediction: Misfits -4.5 kills – 1.885 – Best Bet
G2 Esports vs SK Gaming
SK Gaming will be faced with their biggest test of the season this Friday, when they meet with G2 Esports. So far, SK have shown a lot of quality by defeating OG, Schalke and Misfits, and although they have lost to Excel last weekend, SK are still a fairly solid team.
Most of, or better yet, all of SK’s strength comes from their bottom laner Crownshot and mid laner ZaZee, who were giving their all to carry their team to victory against Excel, but failed to do so. Nevertheless, ZaZe and Crownshot have shown they can hold their own even against some of the best mid and bottom laners in the league.
G2 endured a shaky streak with losses to OG and Vitality and while their win over Schalke last Friday looked a bit iffy, they have shown improvement against Rogue on Saturday. They are undoubtedly stronger team compared to SK in terms of individual quality, but SK are a very well-coached team. That shows in their strong objective control – which is far higher to that of G2.
SK have shown strong early aggression, so it’s likely they will be taking down the first turret against G2. The latter should still come out ahead here, but the kill line is way too high. G2 will likely underestimate SK, as they do with many other low-tier teams, so siding with SK to keep it within nine kills is the best bet we can take.
Prediction: SK Gaming first turret
Prediction: SK +9.5 kills – 1.78
MAD Lions vs Origen
A match we were all waiting for, featuring two of the main contenders for the third-place finish, or possibly even a top-two. MAD Lions began their LEC Spring campaign with a loss to G2, but bounced back with impressive performances against Excel, SK Gaming, Fnatic and Vitality. Even their loss to G2 is something I wouldn’t put too much weight on since G2 played exceptionally good in their opening game.
As for Origen, they lost to SK and Misfits, but took down G2, Excel and most recently Fnatic. Although their wins over Fnatic and G2 look impressive on paper, it’s worth noting that OG faced G2 when G2 were struggling and they defeated Fnatic while they were (for some reason) trying to put Rekkles on Soraka. As mentioned before, Soraka ADC is a viable option, but I just can’t understand why Fnatic decided for that approach. Rekkles is their main carry (besides Selfmade) and if he’s not playing a proper marksman Fnatic are just not Fnatic.
If we just accept that Origen defeated two of the strongest LEC teams they should be considered as the strongest team in the league, but I don’t believe they are. As mentioned, they were a bit lucky to face G2 while they were underperforming and OG did not exactly defeat Fnatic, at least not the “proper Fnatic”. Something similar can be said for MAD Lions, but the latter won by outclassing Fnatic both individually and by having a much better objective control – which is an impressive feat.
MAD Lions are entering this bout as underdogs, which I can’t agree with. They are very flexible with their drafts, which till be a huge problem for Origen to deal with. OG tend to play what works for them and they rarely show any creativity with their drafts, which makes me believe they don’t have the needed tools to outdraft MAD Lions.
Additionally, MAD Lions are very aggressive, which could be an issue for OG, who will likely fall behind early and struggle to get back in the game.
Prediction: MAD Lions first turret – XXX (NU 1.48)
Prediction: MAD Lions to win – 2.06 (NU 2.0)
Fnatic vs Rogue
After a 0-2 week, Fnatic will look to bounce back and start their climb to their eighth LEC title, and their climb will begin with a clash with Rogue. Rogue have won four games so far, but lost their most recent one against G2, who seemingly had no issues claiming a comfortable win. Rogue had their chances and perhaps they should have kept it a bit closer, but a couple of misplays and Caps’ strong performance made it difficult to achieve that.
Fnatic, on the other side, looked like the strongest team after Week 1, but their “experiment” by placing Rekkles on Soraka backfired and “awarded” Fnatic with two losses against MAD Lions and OG.
Based on Fnatic’s Twitter posts, they are aware their experiment did not go as planned and that they are now ready to go back and play with what works for them i.e. with Rekkles back on a proper ADC. This makes me excited since Fnatic have shown this season might be one of the best they had.
Fnatic’s biggest strength, however, is that all five members are doing their job. Bwipo is playing well on the weak side, Selfmade has established himself as one of the crucial members of his team and Rekkles is surely enjoying the current meta, which again made ADCs relevant. Nemesis has had a few iffy performances, but he is still solid enough for me not to see him as a liability.
Fnatic are rightfully priced as the favorites here since they are not only individually better than Rogue but are also a very disciplined and very objective-heavy team. From Rogue, I expect to see some early aggression to try and shake up Fnatic, but if Fnatic manage to get into the mid-late game, their strong team fighting and approach to the game should ned them a comfortable win.
Prediction: Rogue first turret
Prediction: Fnatic -5.5 – 1.92