SK Gaming vs Schalke 04
Two teams that were viewed as equally strong at the start of the split have now found themselves miles apart in the standings. Schalke 04 somehow managed to look worse and worse as the season goes on and even though we can’t criticize them too much for their loss to Rogue yesterday, we also can’t find any positives in their performance.
SK, on the other side, are slowly clawing their way into the playoffs and while finishing above Origen or Misfits will be a tough task, we would not be so quick to say SK can’t make it. With Misfits underperforming, SK just might get a chance to overtake them, however, for them to achieve that feat, winning games like this one will be crucial.
Last time out SK defeated Schalke in very convincing fashion (11-1, +9.5k gold lead) and based on Schalke’s recent performances, we don’t expect this one to end any differently. Yes, Schalke defeated Fnatic last week, but as mentioned before, that win was a complete fluke and more of Fnatic underperforming rather than Schalke playing well.
This could still turn out to be a close match, but if Crownshot, ZaZe and Jenax can continue playing at the same pace they did against Vitality, wining against Schalke should not be a problem for SK.
Prediction: SK Gaming -4.5 kills – 1.877
Rogue vs Excel – Best Bet
We have praised Excel before for their performances, and even though they lost to MAD Lions yesterday, Excel held on well and even looked like they will cause an upset, but in the end, fell short and lost the game.
Excel are an extremely well-coached team which is evident in their solid approach to the game, but at the same time, they lack the needed quality to put that into practice and consistently win. They will always outclass lower-tier teams and even occasional cause an upset against stronger opponents, but when faced against lane dominant rosters, Excel will struggle.
Unfortunately for them, Rogue are a very strong team in the laning phase which is evident in their strong early game numbers (+1104 gold differential @15, +5.9 CS differential @15 and +0.8 turret differential @15). Excel, on the other side have also shown a solid early game (+672 gold differential @15, +7.3 CS differential @15 and +0.1 turret differential @15), but it can hardly compare to that of Rogue.
Last time out, Rogue won with relative ease (8-0, +5.4k gold differential) and since Rogue have improved heaps since the start of the split, it’s difficult to imagine they will drop the ball here.
Rogue are a level above Excel and unless we see some experimental draft on their part, taking control of the game in the early game and snowballing into a dominant victory is something we can expect to see from the newly crowned LEC frontrunners.
Prediction: Rogue -6.5 kills – 1.847
Misfits vs Origen
Misfits are coming into this match after (another) humiliating defeat against Fnatic, which surely left a huge dent in their morale and confidence ahead of their next bout.
Misfit’s bout with Fnatic played out similarly to their first meeting earlier in the split. Misfits grabbed an early lead, led by double digits and over 7k gold, but still found a way to lose thanks to more than a handful of iffy decisions and miss plays.
As talked about before, Misfits are a very deadly team in the lane due to their individual quality, but when the mid-late game rolls around, they usually struggle against teams who know how to play around objectives and put pressure around the map. Unfortunately, Fnatic are the definition of a disciplined approach to mid-late game and a strong mind to produce such incredible comebacks.
Are Origen that kind of a team? To be fair they weren’t but with the arrival of Jactroll, their macro play has improved. While their win over G2 was mostly thanks to Origen’s superior draft, we have to give them some praise for their better approach to the game.
Last time out Origen lost to Misfits (6-11, -8.7k gold differential), which suggests Misfits should not struggle too much here. Even though they’re 0-3 in their last three, we have to consider Misfits have faced G2, MAD Lions and Fnatic, who are three of the strongest teams in the league, so perhaps they deserve some slack for those losses.
This one is tough to call, but we are leaning more towards Origen. Not only did they look better against G2 (albeit it’s only one game), the morale in Misfits is at an all-time low, which won’t do them any favors heading into this match. Nevertheless, we can expect Misfits to go all in and brute force a win, since they are in a do-or-die situation, so betting on the underdogs to claim at least nine kills seems like the safest bet here.
Prediction: Misfits over 8.5 kills – 1.793
Vitality vs Fnatic
Despite their win against Misfits, Fnatic are not yet at the level we expected of them, however, as long as they can pick up wins by either outclassing their opponents in early game or out-macroing them in the mid-late game, Fnatic will eventually find their way to the top of the table.
Last time Fnatic and Vitality met was during Week 1 of LEC Summer, where Fnatic won in a fairly commanding fashion (15-5, 12.4k gold lead) and even though they have slowed down a bit since the boys in orange are still the rightful favorites here.
Vitality are not a team we would expect will make it to the playoffs. Even though they looked surprisingly strong in the early stages of the split, Vitality failed to show up as of late and their humiliating loss to SK does not inspire much confidence they can derail Fnatic.
Having said that, the kills line for this match is way too high. Fnatic might have won their last game, but it was far from a convincing performance and until we see a bit more aggression in the early game and better individual performances, we find it hard to imagine Fnatic will manage to stop their opponents.
Prediction: Vitality +7.5 kills – 1.819
G2 Esports vs MAD Lions
MAD Lions are looking extremely strong and while they dropped the game against Misfits two weeks ago, they’re still 8-1 in their last nine games, which is an impressive achievement. G2 Esports, on the other side have found themselves in a slump and are 2-3 from their last five. While they managed to defeat Misfits and Fnatic, G2 had to admit defeat to Excel, SK and most recently Origen.
Seeing G2 lose to Origen was rather shocking, but to be fair, they deserved to lose for choosing the draft they did. It’s hard to understand what they wanted to achieve with AP top and mid lane and it’s even more difficult to explain why they left Malphite open against Ashe and Kog’Maw.
Even though we believe in G2’s individual quality, their drafts are very concerning and it’s hard to tell whether they are just trying out new things or are the reigning LEC champion just bad at drafting in the current meta.
Considering G2 struggle to draft against “normal” teams, they will likely struggle to find the right composition for MAD Lions, who don’t draft the way other teams do. They outright disregard meta and play what suits them in any given game, which not only makes it hard to out-draft them but also makes it hard to prepare to face MAD.
Expecting MAD Lions to win here is still a bit too optimistic, however, since G2 are now in a position where they desperately need wins. MAD Lions also struggled a bit in the early game against Excel yesterday, which suggests they won’t have an easy time against G2 Esports. The kill line on G2 is set a bit too low since they can easily win here as long as they can learn from their mistakes and show at least somewhat decent draft this weekend.
Prediction: G2 Esports -4.5 kills – 1.925