Wednesday we have a 3 game slate across IEM and Flashpoint. There was a scheduling conflict between the two tournaments so IEM moved one of their games to Wednesday. Then Draftkings decided to cut out the North America IEM game, presumably because the 2nd participant (which ended up being Rugratz) wasn’t going to be known until late. Draftkings is running their big $333 on Wednesday, so they must have wanted to get pricing out early. Unfortunately, this has left us with a pretty gross 3 game slate. Lock is still at 8:00 am EST and the games are:
Mad Lions (82% implied win probability) vs Dignitas
Fnatic (77%) vs c0ntact
Navi (56%) vs Spirit
Nothing like a couple of huge underdogs that haven’t been on a Draftkings slate in months to add some spice to the big $333 that Draftkings has been running qualifiers for for weeks. Draftkings has at least made the pricing tight enough that you have to make some difficult decisions on this slate. There’s a few different roster building paths I expect most of the field to go, and I’ll explore them here.
Path 1: Spirit
I expect this to be the most common path on this slate, particularly as you go up in stakes. Navi has struggled of late, while Spirit has been playing well. Spirit is fairly cheap, with only Mir topping $7.0k, coming in at $8.2k. More importantly, playing allows you to get mostly who you want from Mad Lions and/or Fnatic. There’s a build where you can get Refrezh captain with Mir, acoR, and iDisbalance, all in the same lineup (or switch any of them in at captain since Refrezh is the most expensive). This is a strong build to use in Single Entry or smaller tournaments (which I do consider the 200 entry $333 to be), but even in those it’s likely not to be super unique.
Possible offshoot to differentiate: Spirit is mostly going to be used to get up to Mad Lions stacks. Mad Lions are bigger favorites than Fnatic, are in better form (everyone just saw them beat Fnatic on Tuesday), and project a good amount better than Fnatic. You can easily differentiate yourself in SE/Small Field simply by going Spirit + Fnatic instead of Spirit + Mad Lions, or even using a Fnatic 2 stack with a Mad Lions one off instead of the other way around.
Path 2: Cheap Navi
The one thing that will likely keep Path 1 from being overwhelmingly popular is the fact that S1mple still plays for Navi. He’s still a top 2 player in the world, and people are going to want to own him. Unfortunately, with pricing as it is on this slate, in order to fit him you have to play either: his cheap teammates, his opponent(s), or a massive underdog. We’ll get to the massive underdog in a minute. You can play S1mple with Spirit, but then you need a fairly narrow outcome, likely 3 close maps, for that to work out well enough to win a tournament. That leaves you with S1mple plus his cheap, aka non-electronic, teammates. If Navi sweep, at least 1, possibly even 2 out of Flamie, Boombl4, and Perfecto are likely to have a solid point per dollar game. Which one(s) is a complete toss up, but you’re really just playing them so you can fit S1mple and assume S1mple carries them to victory. This is not a fun path, but if Navi take a 2-0 it’s likely that this is the optimal route to take for the day.
Possible offshoot to differentiate: Fnatic. Again, I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but Mad Lions are likely to have much higher ownership than Fnatic on this slate in general, and in this combination as well. Going Fnatic with the cheap Navi players (and S1mple) should differentiate you from most of the field in SE/Small field tournaments.
Path 3: c0ntact
The DFS community does not like Fnatic, and that may be an understatement. It’s hard to blame them, as Fnatic have been a shell of their LAN selves in this online era. They’ve lost 5 straight matchups coming into this showdown with c0ntact. To top it off when they do actually win, they tend to win dirty, often times being outfragged by their opponents even on maps they win. However, we can’t overlook the level of their competition. On their current 5 game losing streak, Fnatic have lost to the 3rd, 11th, 5th, 14,th and 31st ranked teams in the world. Frankly, Complexity at 14 and Mad Lions at 31 are also probably under-ranked, Mad Lions in particular as they are a pretty much newly formed roster that has a lot of promise. c0ntact on the other hand, come into this matchup ranked 43rd in the world, and that’s probably about right. They have recent series losses to Hellraisers, K23, and Project X. It is worth noting they come in riding a 7 map (4 match) winning streak, but that’s again against T3 competition. Long story short, I think people are going to talk themselves into more c0ntact than c0ntact deserves to be played. The cheap prices are admittedly enticing, as for example Spinx +rigoN allows you to fit S1mple captain with anyone else you want. This is an OK route to go, just recognize that it won’t be nearly as sneaky as you’d normally expect playing a +280 underdog to be.
Possible offshoot to differentiate *large field only*: Dignitas. I won’t be going here in SE/Small field, but Dignitas should go virtually untouched on this slate. Now that’s with good reason, as Forest and Friberg are unfortunately far removed from their NiP glory days, and the team has been shuffling members outside of those two and Hallzerk. This currently lineup has only played 1 map as a unit…a 16-5 loss to Havu. Now, all that said, their implied odds to win are only 5% lower than c0ntact, and it’s not that big of a stretch to say people may be overestimating Mad Lions based on performances against 2 struggling teams in Navi and Fnatic.
There are a few other minor paths, Mad + Fnatic 3/3’s that use multiple bottom fraggers from both teams or Spirit + Contact for example, but I expect the 3 I outlined above to be the primary builds. The Fnatic offshoot of Paths 1 and 2 are my favorite options on the day, as you pass a huge chunk of the field if Fnatic outscores Mad Lions. As a quick note on Fnatic, it’s mostly been Flusha stepping up lately when they win, so I like him best as the 3rd fragger to pair with Brollan and Krimz.
S1mple is as always the top captain on non-Zywoo slates if you can fit him and still feel good about the rest of your lineup. If you use Path 2 from above, you can fit S1mple captain but it requires either 2 of the 3 Navi bottom fraggers or 1 Navi bottom fragger and 3 bottom fraggers from Mad Lions/Fnatic. I’d personally rather pay down a little at captain and upgrade the rest of my lineup. S1mple fits just fine in path 3, but recognize that most people will be employing that path specifically so they can afford S1mple captain. Even if I choose that path, I’ll likely go to a different captain in order to be unique.
Refrezh/acoR are both likely to be popular captain options. I already mentioned that in Path 1 you can fit Spirit + whoever you want from Mad/Fnatic, and Refrezh and acoR are both strong captain choices in that build. In Path 2, you can feel a little bit better about your build than with S1mple captain, as both options save you a few hundred dollars, which is valuable on this slate. In path 3, both of these guys are solid pivots off of S1mple, who as I mentioned will likely be the primary captain for people going with that build. I’ll have plenty of each of these players, but I’ll skew towards acoR in hopes that the ownership will follow Refrezh after his huge day Tuesday.
Krimz and Brollan are my favorite captains on the slate. I expect them to have much lower ownership than Refrezh/acoR, and they are strong direct pivots off of the Mad Lions players. Krimz is slightly cheaper, and has been the better fantasy player recently, but I’ll have plenty of both in this spot.
Mir is also a good captain choice. I imagine he’ll carry decent ownership, as he projects quite well so he’s a viable option in build 1, but I’ll also have some here. If you think Fnatic will spread their points out too much, you can captain Mir in a Spirit/FNC lineup and still have a fairly differentiated build.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on one spot I will not be going, and that’s Hooxi captain. Hooxi lit it up on map 3 Tuesday, which will undoubtedly earn him some captain ownership, particularly at lower stakes. However, that was one of only 4 maps all year in which Hooxi went +10 K-D or better. For comparisons sake, acoR has gone +10 K-D or better 26 times in 2020. What I mean to say is, don’t expect a repeat performance from Hooxi tomorrow.
That’s it for me. Good luck to all those playing in the $333 on Wednesday, and to everyone else as well!