We have another 2 game slate on Saturday, as the the tournament is reaching it’s final stages. Lock is at 10:30 am EST again, and the games are:
Vitality (51% implied win probability) vs Astralis
Navi (60%) vs Liquid
Sub Risk/Roster Changes
We’re back to having all kinds of sub risk on Saturday. Starting with the easiest one, B1t subs in for Flamie on Inferno. Liquid picked Inferno just a couple days ago and won 16-6. Navi permaban Vertigo, so it’s highly likely Liquid are able to pick Inferno again, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t. I said this last slate, but it’s not like Flamie is a stud even if he’s in so this concern is enough for me to take him out of my player pool given that this is the 2nd game and we won’t know the map picks until after lock.
On to the more difficult game. Now, the first thing I’ll say before I try to break down the likeliest map picks is that as this is the first game, it may be worth making several sets of lineups for different scenarios and uploading the correct ones if we get the map picks before lock. For Astralis, Bubzkji subs in for Xyp9x on Nuke. For Astralis, Nivera subs in for Shox on Inferno and Misutaaa on Dust 2 and Nuke. Now, to dive in to the pick bans a little:
These teams have met 5 times since August. 4 of those 5 matchups, Astralis have used their first map pick on Nuke. Astralis did win the 1st 3 times they played Nuke, but last time out Vitality won 16-2. Plus, Astralis isn’t picking Nuke against anyone right now, and have even banned it both series so far this year in the 2nd round of bans. What I’m trying to say is it’s not a lock that Astralis pick Nuke here, although it’s definitely a possibility.
Meanwhile, Vitality have picked Dust 2 in 4/5 series, even though they’ve only won it once (it was also the 3rd map in the 5th series, again won by Astralis). The last couple losses have been close, losing 22-19 in double OT and 16-14, but they’re still 1-4 so maybe they switch it up.
Long story short, if you base your decisions on past series, there’s a decent chance that the 1st two maps set up for both Nivera and Shox to play. If you think these switch it up, realistically it could go anywhere. If was forced to submit lineups without seeing the maps, I’d play very little Xyp9x, a tiny bit more Nivera, and a good amount of Shox, particularly in Vitality 3 stacks (Inferno has been the 3rd map twice in the 5 matchups). However, we hopefully will know the picks before lock. I recommend building at least 3 or 4 sets of lineups ahead of time to cover the different scenarios, and then entering the correct one once we get to see the map picks. That way you aren’t scrambling to make lineups in only a couple of minutes.
Actual Slate Analysis
Pricing overall is fairly loose on this slate. Only 4 out of the 20 players are $8.0k or above, and only S1mple is above $9.0k. Because of that, I don’t think it will matter all that much for ownership that Liquid are entirely too cheap. What might matter though, is that everyone just saw Liquid smack Navi only a couple of days ago. Now, I could be wrong as Vegas is usually king in determining ownerships (as evidenced by ownerships in the EG/Liquid game today) but I expect we’ll see a lot of S1mple + 2 Liquid. After a terrible opening series against Liquid and opening map against Complexity, Navi finally woke up. Against G2 we got solid performances from all 5 players. I think Navi 3 stacks will likely go underowned, as even people who play S1mple + Electronic will be enticed by the cheap Liquid players, so I like it for that reason. Perfecto and Boombl4 are both solid plays if banking on a Navi route (aka 3 stacking them).
On the Liquid side Naf has been crushing it of late. While I like his move back to being a rifler, I do think he’s likely to regress a bit from his huge recent performances. A Liquid stack without Naf is also likely to be unique, and is an intriguing option on this slate.
In the other game, it’s tough to analyze the Vitality side without knowing the map picks. If either of Shox or Nivera are going to play all 3 maps I would like either of them a lot (of course, it’s only possible that one plays all 3 since Nivera subs in for Shox on Inferno, while it is possible neither plays all 3). If Nuke and Dust 2 are the first 2 maps, I think Zywoo + Shox + Nivera 3 stacks would be very interesting, as you’re basically already banking on a Vitality sweep when you 3 stack them. Apex and RpK are both cheap, and are definitely safe options, but the upside is quite as great as Shox and/or Nivera if the map picks break the right way. I’ll likely stay away from using both in the same lineup, but either Apex or RpK are a solid 3rd in a 3 man Vitality stack.
On the Astralis side, Dupreeh and Magisk are too cheap. The Astralis 3 stack will likely be low owned, as everyone will want Zywoo, but they have, on occasion, managed to make him look human. Astralis are the only team in the world where I feel like I don’t HAVE to play Zywoo against them, but his ownership will still be thru the roof. I like the Astralis 3 stack for that reason.
Almost all of my captain slots will be filled by Zywoo, S1mple, or Device. Sure, Shox/Nivera, Electronic, or Dupreeh/Magisk can outscore their respective teammates, but again with contests fairly small, I’ll be focused on the big guns. Naf is likely to get some captain attention, but I’ll again be fading him. Maybe I’ll have a bit of Fallen, but Liquid in general are the team I’ll have the least of, both in the captain slot and in the flex.
That’s it from me, good luck Saturday!