What a great regular season we had. This post will be more focused on a few things
First of all, I want to look at each Division and see where my biggest misses were. There were two Divisions (Demacia and Ionia) where my bottom team was a playoff contender. However, in two Divisions, I was quite close to my predictions. Typically, there were a few misses in each Division but given that there were 32 teams, I’ll give credit where it is due and call myself out on the major misses below.
Demacia Division -
In good news for me, I did indeed call three out of four teams and mostly in the order stated. I called this Division extremely volatile out of the top three teams and I’d argue, for the most part, it was that until the very end. I give myself an A- for I predicted CB Shield and Conduit Esports Goblins to be the top two teams in the Division and TE Genesis to secure a playoff spot. My major miss was on Hyperion Gaming Heretics who had an unfortunate final week that left them out of the playoffs entirely. My major miss was the Piltover Pokes who I had rated at the bottom to start who ended up making the playoffs. All in all, one major miss that affects my own rating coming in. Don’t worry, it only goes downhill from here for me until Freljord.
Ionia Division -
My self-proclaimed “Group of Death” was quite horrible in regards to calls for me. I’ll give myself a C- and I’m probably being generous in that regard. I predicted Degenerates to secure a playoff spot along with TE Eternity to top the group. Neither of those occurred and while I did predict Going Ghost and Literal Monkeys to “sneak into the playoffs”, it was clear that I did not have the details on this Division, looking back. My biggest regret was Mythical Esports Hydra at the bottom but I do submit that the caveat that I felt this was an extremely deep division where every spot was up for grabs. This did bear out over the course of the split but, alas, I’m not going to back myself up too much as this was another case where an uncertain team in my books was a playoff participant in the end. Additionally, if Going Ghost had not been given an early season loss, it’s entirely possible things would have been closer here. Truly, the Group of Death was exactly that for me and my predictions.
Noxus Division -
Time for me to hedge my bets once more. DZG Arcadia went from an unstable roster at the start to an absolute juggernaut due to the inclusion of Tsuki and others. Doki’s coinflips largely paid off and I did predict TDS Knights as a playoff team. The fact that TD Embrace barely missed out on playoffs was something I do not fault myself for - the prediction of Slurp Squad and The Epidemic to make playoffs can be faulted, however! Thus, I’d say that this Division ended up stabilizing because, largely, the teams that had high peaks and potentials were far more consistent than expected (DZG, !rawr) and those who were expected to be consistent (The Epidemic, Slurp Squad) were not as consistent as first imagined. Let’s give myself a B or a B- and call it a day.
Freljord Division -
Another chance for me to toot my own horn for the most part as I was able to call three out of four and actually call the top three (Albeit in a different order than I had said). I had said “Spin a wheel for the last spot” too and Clinical won that spin so I’ll give myself credit there, too. I did not call the Sussers to end up where they did but, other than that, I find it hard to give myself grief as I nailed the vast majority of teams coming in here and their relative positions. Even in the case of the Sussers, I admitted my confidence was shaky. A solid A in my books. That's the advantage of being judge, jury, and executioner I suppose.
Most Underrated Teams by Feathers:
Mythical Esports Hydra (8th -> 2nd)
Piltover Pokes (8th -> 4th)
Literal Monkeys (5th -> 1st)
DZG Arcadia (5th -> 1st)
TE Phantasm (7th -> 3rd)
Most Overrated Teams by Feathers:
TE Eternity (1st -> 6th)
The Epidemic (2nd -> 7th)
TD Embrace (1st -> 5th)
Conduit Esports Spark (3rd -> 7th)
Looking Ahead to the Playoffs:
My next fun part will be looking at the path that many teams have going ahead and what it would take for them to reach the semi-finals or Finals. As Semifinals would require two series wins, I’m going to look at that as a key as I think most any team here can secure two series wins. Obviously, I’m not going to do predictions as my predictions can be found in the Pickems channel.
CB Shield: CB Shield has been the most consistent team thus far and needs to only continue their winning ways. Their talent is strong enough to carry the day but let’s be genuine here, it is unlikely to be an easy path the first two weeks. For the most part, while they face Going Ghost and the winner of CB Hydra versus !rawr, they just need to trust the process. It is entirely possible one of those teams pushes them to the limit. They have the most potential win conditions in their quadrant.
Going Ghost: They need to play their own game first and foremost. This team, when they are on fire, is dangerous enough that they will burn any team. On paper, they may be the most dangerous fourth seed and I know they’d also revel a chance to dole out justice to !rawr if both teams could clear the CB teams out. In short, they have nothing to lose and if they play like that, they could get a quick series lead that may affect other teams.
CB Hydra: This team is coming off of a championship in Aegis so it’s not hard to predict them continuing exactly what they did in another League - dispatching one team before removing their sister team from the equation. The major benefit for CB Hydra is that they have such a deep champion pool and their players have the ability to rotate to multiple roles so, if they find themselves in trouble, they could easily change up their strategies on the fly. Few teams are as adaptable as CB Hydra can be.
!rawr: Focus on what makes your team effective. !rawr is going to come in with a chip on their shoulder and people doubting them due to last week’s result. You have a powerful botlane that is, at the least, equal to anyone in this quadrant and the return of Moowy gives multiple win conditions. If they can force CB Hydra or their second round opponent to ban champions they were not expecting to have to, then potential champions could be opened up for !rawr to take advantage of.
Literal Monkeys: Play to your strengths. Every team in this quadrant has a “general identity” that has got them into the playoffs. This team’s identity cannot be dealt with in the draft phase and they come in as a first seed for good reason. Whether they fact TDS Knights or Conduit in the second phase, there is no reason to alter what has been so successful thus far. This team has continually displayed a high level of consistency and the playoffs should not be different.
Piltover Pokes: Make sure your win conditions are given as many resources as possible. Nikolai K has been a terror in the jungle all throughout this split and most of the junglers in this quadrant tend to be more “team-oriented”. Look to gain advantages quick and early. You’re not just Nikolai and 4 Wards, however and many teams have learned from that mistake. Control what you can and exploit where you’re able to.
TDS Knights: Again, you’re a team I predicted to go five games in the first week so you can surely beat Conduit this week. You’ve been counted out multiple times before and have risen to the challenge. You have the highest ceiling in this Division and just need to make sure to not give up any easy games. I like your chances if you run your own course as teams have to account for you in the draft. Take what is being offered and I would not be shocked for you to find success.
Conduit Esports Ghost: You have championship talent on your roster which can be relied upon to be successful. There’s a lot of veteran experience on the roster that can absolutely adapt to what a team is giving you in the draft phase. What Black Eyed Peas ends up on, and if he is allowed to gain advantages, you could go far. How the first few ganks go in most of these games could set you up for early and numerous victories. Don’t fret if a game doesn’t go your way as your talent can carry the day. You match up exceptionally well against the teams in your quadrant.
DZG Arcadia: Trust the process that has gotten you here. Your quadrant is filled with teams that can and will look to gain major advantages in order to make up the lead you have naturally. Let the way that got you here guide the way as teams must adapt to you first rather than the other way around, especially in the solo lanes. Your quadrant favors your playstyle and how you have found success previously. No team has more snowball potential than you do, as can be evidenced by your 3-1 victory this week.
Clinical: Way to take a game off DZG! Good luck next split.
Mythical Esports Hydra: Consistency is the name of the game here, at least in the first round. What works for you can still work on a weekly basis here. Make no mistake here, you will be tested early and often as this is a matchup in the first round that many people are divided on. Take comfort knowing that people have often counted you out and you have proved them wrong time and time again.
TE Genesis: Remember you’re a talented team that has convinced many players of your talent thus far. You may even be the slight favorite. You matchup extremely well in the first round and I expect that early leads will lead to early wins. You’re riding a wave of momentum so keep it up. People have seen your strengths and so just continue to let them shine.
TD Unknown: Your ability to adapt over the course of a series and introduce new elements is among one of the finest Gold teams in the Amateur scene. With so many potential win conditions and veterans littering your roster, merely staying the course may be all that is necessary for you to clear this quadrant. I am not expecting complacency but you may find yourself the favorites in almost every matchup until Finals after people see what you did to CB Hydra. Many people are considering you among the favorites to win it all.
Conduit Esports Goblins: This veteran team has known each other and their capacities for such a long time that I do not know if there’s really another plan other than the usual “Know thyself.”. Anyone who has been around the scene for the last year plus knows how dangerous this roster is and how they can take a series off of anyone. Every game is played at a very high level and, if there’s an off week by another team, it’ll be a Conduit Esports Goblins series victory. The bar is always set high and I would not rule out adaptations as few teams have a better knowledge of their team’s pools than Conduit Esports Goblins.
TE Phantasm: You all know how good you are and I believe too many teams look past you. While I do not expect Conduit Esports Goblins to do that, you are a strong team from top to bottom. Force people to account for you for an explicit win condition could be beneficial to you in this quadrant as Conduit and TD Unknown have adaptable team compositions. Challenging the junglers or getting a counter pick there could yield substantial results. Come in and dictate the terms that teams must approach you.
Ten Crucial Players In The First Two Rounds:
Sorted in no particular order, here are ten players I think are vital to their team’s success in the first two rounds. Again, these are not players that I think will advance and I am not doing every team. Simply put, these are players to watch out for.
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.
Rigamortus - TD Unknown - Rigamortus has been one of the top junglers throughout the season and has done nothing but run over most Gold level junglers. If teams cannot develop a plan that accounts for them, it will be hard for any team to find success against TD Unknown.
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.
Archer - !rawr - Archer and Islamic combine to make a ferocious duo. They will be in tough but there are few AD Carries that can singlehandedly push even the top Gold teams like Archer can.
iEnders - Mythical Esports Hydra - Never doubt the impact that Mythical Esports Hydra can have on the bottom side of the map. In one of the strongest divisions, iEnders was among the brightest lights. A deep playoff run will require top level play from them.
AyeYoPenguini - Going Ghost - The quiet and certain stability that this player has brought to Going Ghost’s botlane cannot be understated. They have thrived and given this team the possibility of winning most, if not all, botlane matchups.
Ypsi - Conduit Esports Ghost - Afraid of no botlane duo, this player will be vital in securing leads for Conduit Esports Ghost in the botlane. Teams will need to keep an eye on him both in and out of lane as their ability to be a playmaker is vital to their team’s success.