Picking up the pieces of a two week first round, sufficed to say that all brackets were busted for one reason or another. A few stray believers had faith in a few of the major upsets but, like March Madness, this was April Absurdity. We had numerous five game series that occurred that once more showed how close so many teams in this League are. I think there was something that surprised me in each series, so here’s a few sentences about each matchup
CB Shield versus Going Ghost -> How well Kreutz played. They were strong throughout the series and were a force to be reckoned with.
CB Hydra versus !rawr -> How worn down !rawr seemed to be in regards to their delayed series. Maybe the Doki magic just was all worn down.
Literal Monkeys versus Piltover Pokes -> How dominant Nikolai K was throughout the series. They are not a one player team but Piltover Pokes dictated the pace of the series rather than Literal Monkeys which was impressive.
TDS Knights versus Conduit Esports Ghost -> How close TDS Knights were in their losses to Conduit Esports Ghost in this series. They always had a strong lane and potential win condition, fighting until the end.
DZG Arcadia versus Clinical -> How Clinical took Game One and forced DZG Arcadia to push themselves in order to advance. They came in with a plan and it worked for them at the start.
Mythical Esports Hydra versus TE Genesis -> How TE Genesis was able to employ relatively similar strategies to success game after game. They won decisively and they won in a slugfest too.
Conduit Esports Goblins versus TE Phantasm -> How dominant the botlane of Conduit Esports Goblins was throughout the series. A major shining light for them and will continue to be going forward.
TD Unknown versus Clown Gaming It -> Series mentioned here as it occurred.
Looking Ahead to Round Two:
CB Shield versus CB Hydra - The sister team showdown occurs earlier than some may have predicted as only one CB team will advance to the Final Four. Other than a singular series loss to TD Unknown, both teams have not dropped a single series this BOL split. Both teams have deep champion pools and it will be interesting to see what comes out from both sides. I would presume they have scrimmed one another a time or two. In full disclosure, in my Pickems, I took CB Shield in five games but I also had these two teams in the top two positions to start the year. What do I think the deciding factor will be? As odd as it sounds, I think the ability to select their side for Game One is substantial for CB Shield as they can dictate the terms that CB Hydra has to approach them at to start. Even if they drop a game or two, they get at least three games this series where they can select their side. In a series as close as this, with two very evenly matched teams, small things like that can be the difference. If there’s one role that I’m hyperfocused on for this series, it may be the ADC role. Rivered taking on INDUCED is substantial and, given that both players can play wildly different styles at times, it will be interesting what champions they end up on over the course of the series.
Piltover Pokes versus TDS Knights: “Make sure your win conditions are given as many resources as possible.” Piltover Pokes took this to heart in the quarterfinals and may have to resort to that once more. I would expect that, given how strong TDS Knights has been as a whole, the gameplans for both teams remain largely the same heading into this series. The true question for me is in toplane where Wimbels meets BigJon. Will champions like Mordekaiser or Olaf play integral roles in this series? I would feel like this series will be largely dependent on the top side of the map as TDS Knights has a strong botlane who usually performs game in and game out. Both of these teams were taken to Game Five last week so there is no worries about mental fatigue. The Pokes are best when they are dictating the game at a high tempo and TDS Knights usually lean for a more controlled style so we will see how it all fares. Keep in mind the importance of the ban phase as the series evolves as any bans that do not carry over for Game One to Two could have a substantial impact, perhaps moreso than other quarterfinals matches here.
DZG Arcadia versus TE Genesis: It has been a familiar refrain to talk about the solo lanes for DZG Arcadia as they have typically led the way for DZG Arcadia but this may not be as evident in this series. JayJ and Right3ous will absolutely force bans and priorities with DZG Arcadia that other teams may not necessarily have done. Thus, I think the actual point of focus should be with the botlanes who have quietly and effectively done their jobs on a weekly basis here. While neither of them has had the same hype as the rest of their team, they have both been integral parts and are far from their weaknesses. Jaken and DefiniteLesbian remain the unsung heroes of the team and I’d argue the same for Aquarat and IllicitRaven for TE Genesis. While I did predict DZG Arcadia to escape this quadrant, the fact that TE Genesis swept through Mythical Esports Hydra handily bears notice. TE Genesis is riding a wave of momentum which may sweep away DZG Arcadia if not careful. Adaptability on the side of DZG Arcadia may be required.
Conduit Esports Goblins versus Clown Gaming It: This series may be the most substantial mismatch out of all the semifinals. Conduit Esports Goblins is a veteran team that has played together longer than some organizations in Blue Otter at this point so they know their own playstyles completely. They need only stay the course and they should escape this quadrant. As this series will be played on Friday, I would expect that they do that and make their way forward.
Ten Crucial Players In The Second Round:
Please note I have kept the five players and their writeups from the previous round. I am adding five more players for this week.
BaegopaQc - DZG Arcadia - In a League filled with numerous toplaners who “do their job”, BaegopaQC has excelled. Few toplaners bring the carry potential they do and opponents of DZG Arcadia need to have a response to them.
BIG NEWS - CB Hydra - Few players can abuse a counterpick matchup quite like BIG NEWS can. Expect CB Hydra to take advantage of that every chance they get.
Nikolai K - Piltover Pokes - Teams cannot let Nikolai K execute their early game strategy as they will suffer and pay a heavy price.
Cyclone - CB Shield - Though Cyclone never gets the respect they deserve, they will be challenged and can demonstrate that such is the case in the first two rounds. I think we’ll see them emerge as a primary win condition.
Kazuha Nakamura - TE Genesis - Kazuha has shown they can absolutely carry a game if given the necessary support and TE Genesis usually enables this. Their quadrant could play to their strengths.
Rivered - CB Hydra - Ever since their roleswap to their most played position, CB Hydra has continued to round into their top form. They’ll need it this week and the botlane fights should be massive.
Beastieric123 - Conduit Esports Ghost - Far stronger and not as talked about as they should be, an unsung hero for this team and their champion pool plays perfectly into whatever opposing botlanes will throw at them.
Right3ous - TE Genesis - If Right3ous is able to conduct business on their primary champions, their flexibility could give DZG Arcadia nightmares.
NotSoDark - TDS Knights - NotSoDark often ends up quietly doing their job on a weekly basis and never gets the appreciation they deserve. I think they can gain some substantial leads in this upcoming series if left to their own devices.
0utrage - CB Shield - While many people know of the power of 0utrage, they face one of the top players in their role this week and cannot afford to have an off week otherwise they will only have weeks off going forward.
Community Questions and Content
In the spirit of including the Blue Otter Gold Community, I decided to ask some questions on game day. All answers were anonymous and I’ll strive to keep my sources that way. There are a few spicy questions in here for people to chew on prior to the games. We have some questions regarding past teams, present teams, and players. Feel free to dive into the thoughts of several people who have been a part of our community this split.
Who is the most overrated team still in playoffs? Why do you feel that is?
“The most overrated team still in playoffs is clearly CB Hydra. Teams should not be fooled by their regular season record. During their one loss to TD Unknown, CBH was exposed as their best player, BIG NEWS, was completely outmatched in the top lane and failed to put the team on his back like he has done in their regular season wins. CB Hydra barely snuck by !rawr in the first round of playoffs. Yes, it was a 3-0 but look closely at the matches and you’ll see that CBH is not a team that should be feared. CB Shield will expose CB Hydra and eliminate them in a 3-0 sweep.”
“It's a hard one to tell... But I would have to say CB Hydra. Looking into the most hyped games of this round, you cannot avoid looking at the only seed 1 vs seed 2 matchup. However, is CB Hydra as strong as they appear?
Following some roster changes, we saw !Rawr dropping to Clown Gaming It in the last week of the regular season, settling in for 3rd place in Noxus. They then got swiftly taken care of by CB Hydra in a 3-0 series. If that is the case, we cannot truly know how strong Freljord is until we look at the rest of the bracket where we find no Freljord teams remaining.
TDS managed to overpower Conduit Ghost. The score of the series (3-2) indicates a hard-fought series. Until you realize that one of those losses came without their top laner (Wimbels). So looking purely at the full TDS roster, we get a 3-1 win. On top of that, CG IT pulled one hell of an upset, sending TD Unknown packing early by taking the series 3-2.
So in terms of which team is the most overrated? I think the most hyped team that has achieved the least so far would have to be CB Hydra.”
“I'm on my “Exposing Shield for being bad” arc tonight.”
“I think the fact that it is called CB Shield makes people think that the team is better than what they are. Generally I think that the teams they had in their group were not that strong of competition. CB Masquerade is an IBS team, Hyperion Gaming Heretics legitimately hated each other (as is the case when playing with FireoftheFox1), TE Genesis imploded multiple times during the split, and the rest of the teams in that division are new faces that are new to competitive for the most part. Then they played Going Ghost's worst roster this split in the first round and dropped a game. The only legitimate team they played was Conduit Esports Ghosts, which they barely won 2-1. It's pretty likely that Hydra 3-1s them tonight in my opinion.“
What team deserved a better fate than they got? (This could mean an early exit from playoffs or that they deserved to make playoffs in the first place)
“This has to be Conduit Esports Ghost in my opinion. TDS Knights is one of if not the strongest two seed available and for them to have gone to five games against them gives me the confidence to believe they could’ve easily still been in had they drawn a different opponent. If I had to go with a team that missed playoffs, I’d have to go with Hyperion. With players like JesusJuice13 and FireOfTheFox, there really shouldn’t be a way this team misses playoffs barring a complete team meltdown.”
“Hyperion Heretics. A bad last week and unlucky other matches at the same time took them from 3rd seed to 5th. Their mid jungle synergy was insane and it turned out Demacia was more than qualified. They could have got to semifinals.”
“Going Ghost is the first team to come to mind. Despite their 4-3 record and fourth seed ranking in the Ionia Division, I am convinced that they would have placed second seed if not for their competitive ruling. Unfortunately, this left them facing off against CB Shield which resulted in a 3-1 loss. Nevertheless, the games were tightly contested, with two of the four games lasting over 42 minutes. In my opinion, if Going Ghost had been placed on the opposite side of the playoff bracket, they would have been strong contenders to make Finals.”
“Hyperion Gaming Heretics definitely got dealt the short end of the stick in the division they were in. Demacia had some of the heaviest hitters in all the league, and, if given the chance to compete against other 4th seeds, they would have made playoffs. For example, I think HGH beats teams like Clinical and Going Ghost hands down. Hell, after losing Moowy I think HGH beats !rawr for a playoff spot. That for me is the biggest let down; a team like !rawr taking a spot away from more deserving teams knowing that they were going to lose one of their best, if not their best, players on the team.”
Who is a player you feel is the most underrated in this League that the statistics do not show?
“He is not underrated but I believe there is a serious argument to be made that SirJackson is the best player in the entire league. Tonight he will have a chance to show that. He is capable of overwhelming a team in a way few gold junglers can.”
“Glada. Dude never gets the credit he rightfully deserves in regards to how influential he is to that team’s success.”
“SG Jak. There are a couple ways to be better than your stats: Play a style that is highly kill oriented but also high deaths (Moowy, Cactus Thief) or play on a team with extreme skill disparity (SG Jak, I am Deo).
SG Jak had the worst statistics of any starting mid that was trying except for IL Dathollo. The quick stat I can give is that SG Jak and gvgnumber1 had the same Kill+Assists per Game but gvg had a 48% Kill Participation and SG Jak had a 60.6%. The difference in team around these players is an easy identifier for the disparity in KP%. This is why I had them ranked #13 in my list, despite their stats being third to last.”
“iEnders. They had to maintain their rank low enough to remain eligible for the Gold League then got eliminated in the first round, climbing to Diamond 3 soon after. He deserved a better fate after dragging his feet through his ranked climb to just get eliminated in three games. He improved dramatically and you’d think that drive would have been contagious.”
If you had to select an MVP from your Division, who would it be?
“I'd say MVP for Demacia would be Cyclone from Shield. Cyclone has been a rock for the team in a way 99% of people have overlooked and label him a weaker part of our team. But, if you look deeper at how these games unfold, Cyclone is soaking excessive amounts of pressure from Jungle and Support and still maintaining cs leads and adding agency to Shield's early games. Super Soaker Cyclone is the piece that allows the rest of Shield to really excel and succeed. He takes all this pressure, and still performs well with very little resources from other members.
Honorable Mention would be Beasteric from Goblins. He has shown by his playstyle that he can take it a step above other supports in Demacia and push them to up their game, or get run over by his full map presence.”
“I’m inclined to go with Tsuki from DZG Arcadia. Dominated every midlaner they came across and it wasn’t particularly close in any of those games except perhaps against !rawr. They were the only player in the entire Division to warp the game around them and they are my choice.”
“For Ionia, I’d have to go with Competitive Rulings. It affected the entire playoff picture in the end and playoff matches were affected as a result.”
Who is a player you feel is most overrated in this League?
“Either Splitbreed or gvgnumber1. Splitbreed plays a predictable style and gvgnumber1 doesn’t do much to affect the game in my opinion.”
“TruX. That dude is a backpack in every lane. He’s carried by good AD Carries and with a poor AD Carry he’d be middle of the pack at best.”
“I’d say INDUCED. I don’t think he is the strongest AD Carry and the lane is dictated by Boulder far more than him.”
“I'll have to go Cyclone on CB Shield. For being tournament favorites, you would have to think this team would be on another level with a more competent mid laner. CB does well playing through side lanes, allowing the core three of 0utrage, SirJackson, and INDUCED to get ahead and steam roll games. Cyclone just has to show up and collect free wins doing little to nothing if not on his patented Viktor. But hey, at least he doesn't feed like in his solo queue games, averaging a 1.63 KDA with over 6 deaths in his past 40 games.”
“I’m going to have to go with Aquarat. They are an okay AD Carry but they get hard carried by the rest of the map. They have good laning but their teamfight is subpar. Their support is the one putting in work in the lane rather than them.”
What will be the closest series in quarterfinals and why do you feel that will be?
“I'd say that the closest series will be DZG Arcadia vs TE Genesis. I think most of the other series will probably be very one sided. While DZG is making their proofs as time goes on, Genesis also showed they had what it takes by upsetting Mythical Esports Hydra. We also saw from the Piltover Pokes that Demacia has some strong teams and cannot be taken for granted.
However, I struggle to know who's the underdog. I expect both teams to have aces up their sleeves that they will show us. I think Genesis will find other game changing teamfights in the mid to lategame as they did vs Hydra. As per Arcadia, I think they'll be forced to show their hand a bit more as to how they plan on winning this tournament”
“I’m going with Piltover Pokes versus TDS Knights. If Nikolai K can pop off, things will get interesting in a hurry.”
“Closest series is the Piltover Pokes versus TDS Knights. 3-2 Pokes. Not sure it will be much of a surprise, but TDS Knights jungler plays hard for mid and I think Cactus Thief's mages will be able to nullify enough for Nikolai K to make advantages on the sidelanes. Prior to last week, I wouldn't have said that would make a difference in this series, but seeing that Lamb can transfer a lead into a win gives me confidence that they can upset TDS Knights.
If they don't, it's going to be because bot gap for sure”