Friday, October 16th Recap
Suning Gaming vs JD Gaming
The first game of this series was a back and forth slugfest that I’m a bit surprised was this close based on the drafts. I talked about it before in articles here as well as on The Gold Card Podcast but I’m not quite sure what’s compelling these top LPL teams to select Galio with so much as a stand-alone champion. Typically you see it as a combination with Camille, Jarvan, Leona, Nocturne, Malphite, etc. Bard can work but it’s a much stranger execution. The idea is to Bard ultimate, followed up by Galio taunt, and Miss Fortune ultimate and you just ult backwards if you have to peel back. It’s rather odd to me but we’ve now seen TOP, Suning, and JDG on multiple occasions prioritize it in these situations. Suning did it in game one and managed to make it work but Yagao’s Zoe and eventually Loken’s Jhin were too much to handle in this one. Zoom played as Renekton in the Gangplank matchup about as well as you can do it but Bin pretty badly botched his level one even from the brief views we had on the main stream. Out of character.
Game two was an absolute blowout by Suning. Galio without a wombo combo again. This was slightly less egregious than the first time around since they had a Settt and Renekton and potentially even Lillia to follow up on but still not surefire way to connect.
Game three was the level one heard round the world. I have to say, regardless of which team did it I was going to praise the team that finally found a better way to deal with this level one Lillia non-sense that I’ve been complaining about all tournament. A few teams have had success but none of them had a plan quite like this one. A Galio taunt + barrel combo at level one was quite funny and resulted in two kills for Bin that allowed him to start at level one in lane with a Sheen. Honestly that’s almost grounds for a good game considering Suning had the superior scaling but JDG managed to pull a nice counter early on and get some of the gold back. What happened through the rest of this game was honestly just weird and looked like tilt from JDG. Yes they were behind but they weren’t just throwing hail mary’s early in the game they were just making poor decisions. Rotating up to a herald, late to the party mind you, that they had no intention of contesting when they could have stayed bottom and put some plate gold onto Loken’s Ezreal, a few just plain stupid engages, and a few other mistakes throughout. Level one cheeses happen but JDG did not play this out well. Suning sort of threw this on an overzealous mid lane engage at one point and JDG were able to get a baron out of it but the lead was just too much to overcome (very LGD-like).
Game four JDG opted for a strong early composition with Renekton, Graves, Twisted Fate, Ashe, and Blitzcrank. You had the counterpick to Thresh in Blitz and two excellent lanes to gank for. I really liked JDG’s draft in this game quite a bit. It’s Yagao’s second most played champion and arguably his most successful other than Zoe, he had two great lanes to ult and a tempo jungler to make plays with. Perfect set up but you did need to get the ball rolling. They did. JDG jumped out to a 5k gold lead in this one but Suning were able to trade the first two dragons in exchange to set up their only way to potentially win this game through dragon soul. Ultimately Suning sold out for the third soul, managed to somehow win a team fight while down more than 5000 gold due to some nice plays by Huanfeng and some really REALLY suspect decision making by JDG before and during. Eventually Suning forced the soul fight which made Twisted Fate unable to set up in a side lane, won the smite fight, and eventually the game in an absolute stunner.
I’m going to go into some more detail on this third dragon fight because that’s where this game really fell apart. A little before 17:30 JDG started setting up for this dragon which they should have had little issue with given how far ahead they were. After picking up scuttle and clearing the initial Suning wards they opted to go for a Blitzcrank pick in the open.
LvMao missed the hook and got himself chunked out on the way out. To me there was absolutely no reason to be going for a pick in the open when you had just cleared out Suning’s forward vision toward the baron pit. Make them face check. You have a significantly higher percentage chance of hitting a pull when they’re blind or stepping into a narrow corridor. Or even hit an Ashe arrow into a pull. You have so many options in this situation that don’t involve running out into the open, into Suning’s hand.
That play forced JDG to step backwards and allowed Suning to step up into the river to have the proverbial high ground, or the better positioning for the dragon fight.
Suning position in front of the pit knowing Zoom is flanking from the bottom side through vision they have via a ward. A few things go horribly wrong right away in this fight. First of all, Yagao flash+gold cards SofM who already had a Quicksilver Sash, an item that removes crowd control. Why… you can literally see it on him. Maybe he just missed seeing it in inventory but that’s something elite players should be doing leading up to crucial moments like this. Higher end players need to be more aware of these things especially someone that’s played a lot of Twisted Fate or Malzahar, or others like them that rely heavily on flash plus an ability very often. This was bad. I also think the overall idea to not uses Blitzcrank as your first attempt to engage when they’re all grouped up didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I get that you want to have a “confirmed” hook that isn’t flash-able but why the QSS target?
Eventually LvMao hooks Bin of all people, the worst target possible. JDG had pretty bad tunnel vision in this fight. Suning recognized the blunder and that LvMao was already low from the previous attempt in mid, and took this opportunity to to opt into a fight that was incredibly close and magnificently played by Huanfeng and SofM both with a clutch use of the Kindred ult to buy so much time and commitment from JDG and Jhin’s ability to reposition with his bursts of speed.
A lot of people were criticizing this draft by JDG and specifically the Twisted Fate pick. Our own John George made the argument that any other mid laner in that position wins you this game. While I don’t entirely agree I do understand why he and others feel that way. If you had an Orianna or something like that in those fights you probably win them and the whole “yea but you wouldn’t have been there without TF” argument doesn’t hold up either because, quite frankly, the Twisted Fate ultimate isn’t what got JDG so far ahead in this game. I won’t disagree on those grounds but I will disagree with those out there that are hating on the Twisted Fate pick in general. This was a perfect set up with a tempo jungler and two strong lanes with CC to gank. It wasn’t like Suning were playing great defense and giving up a lot of opportunities, JDG just failed to see the big picture here and ultimately that’s the real issue more than the Twisted Fate or any pick in this position.
The big take away from this is that regardless of the champion Yagao was playing here, JDG simply didn’t execute well from ahead in this game. You can blame a champion or that the difficulty of execution makes it not worth it but JDG lost this game because they had a bad macro game. It’s not something that happens very often either. JDG are one of the more cerebral teams in the world. Their approach to the game and setups are some of the best there are. They’re extremely disciplined. This game they weren’t and got ahead of themselves in a setup, got punished for it, and then more or less tilted off a fight that eventually lost them the game.
It’s too easy to simply point to a champion or a draft and blame that for a loss or a win. JDG lost this fourth game because they got sloppy with a 5000+ gold lead and didn’t abuse the vision advantage they had instead opting to give the enemy an opportunity back into the game. The third dragon fight wasn’t the only one either. Opting into a 5v5 shortly after around the 20 minute mark without an initial pick. No side lane pressure, no setup whatsoever and you had plenty of time, 3 minutes+, until the soul point dragon. Trying to make a pick on the full tank Volibear who was alone bottom (honestly a mistake by Bin) and just over committing to finishing the job after you got his ultimate out of him directly into the claws of Suning with the ocean soul on the line. You could have backed off after the ultmate, took over vision of the pit, and forced Suning, who are now without a good engage to blind check into Blitzcrank.
I had Suning in this match and have stated multiple times this week that these teams are closer than people think but JDG played a couple of very poor games (two and four) in this series. Three had the rough level one which I’ll sort of throw out but they didn’t understand their position in that game either even after they’d clawed back some of that lead and looked rather tilted the rest of that game with some suspect choices. You hate to see a team as good as JDG go out with such a poor performance like this. I expected to see two or three games that were more like game one, slugfests with a lot of back-and-forth but this got ugly really quickly. Credit to Suning who played a pretty solid series even with Bin having three abysmal lane performances, something you don’t normally see. Huanfeng finally got his moment to shine on the big stage and he along with the rest of Suning delivered.
Daily Total: +3.46 units
World Championships 2020
Quarterfinals – Day Three
TOP Esports -909 (-1.5 maps @ -303, -2.5 @ +118) vs
Fnatic +625 (+1.5 maps @ +230, +2.5 @ -149, -1.5 @ +895, -2.5 @ +1650)
Total Maps Played: 3.5 maps (over -141 / under +111), 4.5 maps (over +328 / under -476)
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -110 / under -119)
Kill Spread: -8.5 @ -120 / +8.5 @ -109
Team Kill Totals: 17.5 / 8.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -114 / under -114), 31:00 (over -132 / under +101)
With “true” odds of roughly 86.7% / 13.3%, by market price this is one of the most lopsided quarterfinal matchups of all time. I want that to sink in because you’re going to hear a lot of the same discussion points as we did in the DragonX vs DAMWON series from Thursday. When the numbers get this large the favorite becomes prohibitive unless you still think you have an edge and you begin looking more into whether or not Fnatic can make this a series. That’s where the majority of my exploration and analysis has gone.
TOP Esports, like the other elite LPL teams, haven’t been immune to criticism in this tournament. They have all showed a bizarre fascination with what I’ve come to know as “naked” Galio, or Galio without a wombo combo setup. They place a very high value on him in drafts. It’s possible they do so to threaten certain things to earn draft leverage but enticing other teams to ban things like Camille for example, but nobody has been falling for it and it hasn’t fared very well overall, especially in a metagme with three or more ranged champions on the enemy team like you see frequently on this patch with the carry junglers. This was how they lost to FlyQuest.
With that in mind, TOP have basically done everything else you could ask a team to do. JackeyLove is playing at a ridiculous level right now, particularly on Senna and Ashe in the games we’ve seen so far. Knight and 369 have each played six different champions which is maybe a hint that TOP might have been intentionally hiding things or trying to show certain things for draft equity further along in the tournament.
Fnatic have looked tremendous and are playing their best LOL of the calendar year to me. This non-mid centric meta has worked wonders for them much like it has for Suning. As a matter of fact, that’s something my colleagues and I all pointed out going into this tournament. If the metagame was going to be less about interactive, skill-testing mid lane matchups that teams like Fnatic and Suning get a direct bump up a half tier or more. It’s a small sample size but that does appear to be the case, along with Nemesis playing quite well overall. Selfmade has been the star though. This kid is capable of completely taking over any given game on a number of different champions and I think he’s sort of the “X factor” if you will for Fnatic.
So how competitive do I think Fnatic can be in this series? That’s the question. TOP are clearly one of the best teams in the world, they’ve given us no real reason to think otherwise but just like with DAMWON and DragonX I think this number is simply too large. When you get into these levels of prices, you need so many things to work in the favor of the favorite if you’re going to back them so you better be damn sure you believe in your handicap if you think there’s an edge to be had because any slip up and suddenly it all blows up.
I think Fnatic can make this a series in enough situations to warrant a position on them. I love teams like Fnatic specifically as big underdogs. They have enough willingness to try bizarre champions and drafts that can throw more traditional-styled teams for a loop in a game or two and force them to adjust. They’ve also just got the chops to hang here. Again, I’m not saying Fnatic are a better team by any means but to say a Worlds quarterfinalist is a +600 or more underdog is just stupid to me. There may be a gap between the elites and the rest but these are still world class teams and you have to be galaxies better to justify a number like this.
TOP are -400 to win each map. Just for comparison, TOP were -549 to win the series against Team WE in Spring playoffs, -263 to win the series vs Suning in Summer playoffs, and the only teams that they were more than -400 favorites against in the LPL were Rogue Warriors, OMG, BLG, EDG, LNG, Vici, Dominus, RNG, and eStar. Does that look right to you? How do you compare Fnatic to those teams? A few of them I could argue might be better but that’s a fairly loose case. From a statistics standpoint TOP shouldn’t be this heavily favored either. It’s a little tricky comparing across leagues because the different leagues prioritize different things which can result in some wonky numbers as well as your opinions on strength of competition but based on my models this is closer to a 72-28 series matchup implying quite a bit of value on the underdog here. I think it might be slightly better than that. Now again, cross-regional makes this a little tricky but I think Fnatic can take a game or two here especially if they’ve got something spicy cooked up. I also think the non-mid focused metagame is a huge huge bump up for Fnatic in a matchup like this where Knight is clearly worlds better than Nemesis. That liability has much less likelihood of popping up. Fnatic are also playing at an extremely high level right now relative to what we’ve seen from them this year both as a team and individually and they’re the type of explosive start team that can completely balloon an early lead.
All it takes is one game. As a reminder, as we saw today, sometimes the elite teams just have an off day. You obviously dont’ want to rely on that but Fnatic are good enough to capitalize on something like that and in my opinion, to lay this kind of number you’d need to be facing a team that couldn’t punish you efficiently.
I’d expect these to go over but there’s enough of a likelihood that TOP to just completely roll over one or two of these games that I don’t want to mess with the kill totals.
I do, however, love a few of these props. Fnatic were a good first blood and first and first tower team over the course of Summer. TOP are not with sub 50% rates in both for the Summer. I’ll also be taking the tower overs in each game since 11.5 is on the lower end. Again, slim margin of error for TOP.
Spread: FNC +2.5 maps @ -125 (4.75 units) (Bet365)
Spread: FNC +1.5 maps @ +275 (1 unit) (Bet365)
Moneyline: FNC +650 (0.5 units) (Bet365)
Spread: FNC -1.5 maps @ +900 (0.25 units) (Bet365)
Spread: FNC -2.5 maps @ +1600 (0.1 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 1 FNC first blood @ +110 (0.5 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 2 FNC first blood @ +110 (0.5 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 3 FNC first blood @ +110 (0.5 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 1 FNC first tower @ +162 (0.5 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 2 FNC first tower @ +162 (0.5 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 3 FNC first tower @ +162 (0.5 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 1 total towers destroyed OVER 11.5 @ -150 (1.5 units) (Bet365)
Prop: Map 2 total towers destroyed OVER 11.5 @ -150 (1.5 units)(Bet365)
Prop: Map 3 total towers destroyed OVER 11.5 @ -150 (1.5 units)(Bet365)
(all lines from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)