Thursday, May 6th Recap
Before going into the games I wanted to touch on a few big picture concepts, primarily about making adjustments to expectations. Short form tournaments are challenging because you have to figure out what was signal and what was noise pretty quickly or you can find yourself sticking to your guns in a bad way.
I’m going to mention it specifically game by game but a few of these games had significantly worse looking results than the actual implications of said result. It’s critically important to differentiate between red flags in technique/process and the result of a game. We got a few very good examples of this on day one that I’ll go into.
In general, it’s about reacting but not overreacting. The broadcast and most social media plays into human emotion and makes you want to judge more on day one than you probably should but there are situations where you should adjust expectation for certain concerning characteristics. We’ll try to decipher those below.
DAMWON vs Cloud 9 Match #1 (Net: no action)
Cloud 9 got off to a pretty good start in this one and had a pretty big team fight composition that would outscale DAMWON in most situations. I also thought they had winning side lane matchups. They were set up well in this game and opened the game with first blood as well as a 4-1 kill lead but they never really had that large of a lead. DAMWON earned farming advantages more or less across the board and actually were only ever down by 200 gold at the worst. Still, Cloud 9’s scaling advantage had them in a good position. Khan in particular was just bodying the 1v1 matchups against Fudge in a matchup that’s usually pretty good for Gangplank if he can get a Sheen on his first back.
Around the 21 minute mark Fudge got caught trying to get vision in his own blue side jungle and then again around the 23 minute mark trying to get vision in the river for the dragon fight coming up in 90 seconds. It’s a dirty job and someone has to do it but these small errors were all DAMWON needed to really balloon this game out of reach building enough of a gold advantage for their poke composition to come on line.
Khan just took over this game on Gnar in a disadvantageous matchup and made a few of the key picks to set up the win for DAMWON. Really though the overall pound-for-pound individual advantage showed through in this as well with DAMWON never really losing in gold despite the kills and early advantages to Cloud 9. It’s extremely difficult to get any sort of substantial lead on this team and we saw that on display here.
Might be more interesting next time around but it’s hard to imagine much better openings for Cloud 9 than this one so maybe this was their best shot. Props on the draft, just a few small errors or they might have taken this.
Infinity vs Detonation FocusMe Match #1 (Net: +1.13 units)
This match looked like it was on the playoff patch and shows that sometimes comfort trumps optimal so you can’t always rely on teams to just play the new hotness.
Either way I liked the switch up to put the Akali top and the Renekton mid. Renekton should absolutely destroy Sylas in lane and despite all the hype from solo queue, Aria got himself solo killed by Cody’s Sylas at level three. This game actually stayed close though as DFM were able to continuously dive Buggax’s Gnar and get Evi’s Akali fed without any impactful counterpunches from Infinity. It looked like DFM had actually turned the corner but it turns out late game Sylas and an extremely tough to dive Whitelotus on Xayah just made things a little too difficult for DFM. Whitelotus was able to get SO MUCH damage off in these fights as DFM desperately tried to dive him so much so that it didn’t even matter that he died it effectively won the fight for Infinity.
Sloppy win but a win nonetheless. Concerning to see Aria with the early punt when he was such a key performer for this team but we’ll see.
Royal Never Give Up vs Pentanet.GG Match #1 (Net: -1.37 units)
I liked the idea coming out with a curveball in Fiddlesticks in the opener. I actually think he’s pretty good right now too so it’s not like they were picking a super low tier, fringe pick. That said, PGG gave up Rumble which is honestly just a big error on this patch given his quad role flexibility (can bot with Senna surprisingly well). They knew they were up against it in this matchup and were willing to gamble but I’m not sure giving RNG Rumble and Kaisa was a great idea.
PGG had a nice counter gank for first blood and opened up with first dragon as well but RNG’s first herald popped top lane really blew this game open and it got out of hand quickly from there with a 5000+ gold lead around the 20 minute mark.
This mostly went as expected. Not much else to say. I’m not hedging out of my positions for the rest of the tournament though. RNG were not a good against the spread team frequently trading lives for objectives but I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little less confident in that position moving forward. PGG looked outclassed today. I expect them to be better tomorrow.
Pentanet.GG vs Unicorns of Love Match #1 (Net: -1.8 units)
This one got away from Pentanet really early and Pabu had a few extremely suspect decisions on the Kindred. Pentanet couldn’t line up any good Ornn+Rumble ult combos either. UOL just got too big a lead too early so it’s tough to really take much from this one either. UOL didn’t exactly play this close out very cleanly but they were so far ahead it didn’t matter.
Istanbul Wildcats vs paiN Gaming Match #1 (Net: -2.7 units)
So this game was a good example of why getting too wild can get you in trouble. This game was effectively over early with Wildcats jumping out to a massive gold and tempo lead with money on their carry with a 2v2 first blood for HolyPhoenix and Farfetch in the bottom lane. IWC blew out a 3000+ gold lead in the first 12 minutes of this game and looked well on their way to a decisive win. Starscreen also won multiple 2v1’s on Sett. It was looking completely over as the lead kept ballooning into the 20+ minute range before the Wildcats go way WAY overzealous trying to punish a check on baron vision and dove into a fight where Tristana and Darius were able to get some resets going. Pain erased a huge chunk of the gold lead, beat IWC to the next dragon and suddenly we had a game on our hands.
IWC tried to pick and overextended Tinowns in the top lane around the 28 minute mark, blew Rumble ult (critically important) and Pain intelligently took the fight knowing the key cooldown was down and punished with the won fight and baron. This got a little sloppy at the end but Pain had broken the base open with all three inhibitors which is always tough to come back from. IW nearly aced them defending the game ending siege and nearly picked up ocean soul off of that fight if not for a clutch steal. From there Pain picked up another baron and closed this out.
This is an example of what I was talking about in the intro. Not looking at the result as much in some cases. It’s absolutely worth noting that the Wildcats punted this away with overzealousness and that we should give props to Pain for hanging tough and picking their battles but for all intents and purposes this game was over in the first ten minutes and this was a tremendous throw. Stage jitters, nerves, overexcitement, it happens. I’m not looking too much into this one. Istanbul was the right side and I’ll be on them again.
Side note: I’m not always a fan of these bloodbath, clown fiesta games but the unique flavor you get to see from some of these wild card representatives is one of the big pulls to international competition so enjoy it when you get it.
MAD Lions vs PSG Talon Match #1 (Net: -2.0 units)
PSG Talon had a GREAT opener in this one and were on en route to what looked like a three quadrant jungle advantage. Would have been a nice start, by no means game over but definitely puts the pressure on Elyoya to throw a hail mary pretty early or risk falling massively behind. PSG Talon knew he was on the bottom side of the map and HAD to make a play just based on process of elimination or so I thought… seemed obvious. Doggo would get caught doing I have no idea what in bottom river KNOWING Elyoya had to be in that vicinity. Understanding and playing to your win conditions is important but equally important, sometimes more so, is knowing what your opponent needs to do to win. In this situation you need to understand that the only option Elyoya has after that opening is to hard force a gank or risk falling behind. You know he’s going to be looking for it. Don’t give it to him….
MAD Lions seem to always get away with this stuff, they did it in a handful of LEC games this season too. To me, this isn’t one of those situations where you can say “oh well Vince, they deserve credit for finding the play to get back in” because this is entirely on your opponent not identifying the situation. I’m being critical on MAD Lions because I think this team could be special if they can clean up these early situations and openings. I don’t like teams that rely on enemy error to win, especially if they’re more than capable enough as a team to not have to put themselves in that situation.
All this said, one of the things MAD does really well is blow open games on a mistake like that. That’s what good teams do. I don’t want to disrespect that but it’s just frustrating watching this team get gamed early and the one obvious thing for the enemy team to NOT do always seems to happen and not because MAD are forcing the error out either.
I’ll be on Talon again (not heding), I won’t be adding to my position as it’s already substantial but this is one of the few situations where I lost value not getting ahead of it. Let it ride and we’ll see how this goes next time. Hard to really take much from this one because of that dumb mistake but props to the Lions for the punish.
Parlays: 0-1 (Net: -1.0 unit)
Daily Total: -7.74 units
Blown out by the huge punt by IWC in that game and just barely missed on a few kill spreads. Rough opening day but plenty of tournament to go.
Adjustments for Day Two
I was curious about how the new metagame would play out and despite a bunch of unders landing on day one I’m going to give it a little more time than just day one to see if it was just nerves and these teams will loosen up or if it’s actually going to remain this way. If I end up losing too much value then so be it but I could easily see tomorrow’s games having a lot more action with the first game jitters all shaken out.
In terms of sides, I’m not hedging out of anything yet. Just in general I tend not to overreact to day one in anything but if there was a team that I’d consider adjusting it’d be Pentanet. My plays on Pentanet were mostly just numbers so it doesn’t really change my betting positions however this team does look way outclassed and there’s a chance they just don’t have a good read on the meta based on the two drafts we saw so far. I’m willing to give it another day but they’re the only team that’s really on “dumpster fire alert.”
Group Stage – Day Two
Pentanet.GG +893 vs Royal Never Give Up -2500
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -122 / under -105)
Kill Spread: +13.5 @ -120 / -13.5 @ -109
Team Kill Totals: 6.5 / 19.5
Time Total: 29:00 (over +178 / under -238)
I’ve already got some Pentanet +11.5 here and as bad as it feels I think I’m going to add on now that we’re getting another two kills on the spread more or less for free (moneyline is roughly same). Winning by more than 13.5 doesn’t happen very often even in these super lopsided matchups. Plus there’s a chance RNG clown around a bit. That or this will just be a quick and quiet win.
Additional Picks Added:
Kill Spread: Pentanet +13.5 kills @ -120 (1.2 units)
Unicorns of Love +504 vs Royal Never Give Up -833
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -112 / under -115)
Kill Spread: +10.5 @ -115 / -10.5 @ -114
Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 17.5
Time Total: 30:00 (over +128 / under -167)
No picks added. See Day One post.
Gillette Infinity +887 vs DAMWON Kia Gaming -2500
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -111 / under -118)
Kill Spread: +11.5 @ -103 / -11.5 @ -125
Team Kill Totals: 6.5 / 17.5
Time Total: 29:00 (over -114 / under -114)
I’m tempted to play these spreads. DAMWON have no issue with winning a game 9-2 but I just have a gut feeling we’re going to see them play with their food a little bit here.
No picks added. See Day One post.
Detonation FocusMe +369 vs Cloud 9 -556
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -119 / under -109)
Kill Spread: +9.5 @ -122 / -9.5 @ -108
Team Kill Totals: 7.5 / 16.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -104 / under -125)
No picks added. See Day One post.
Istanbul Wildcats +277 vs MAD Lions -385
Kill Total: 28.5 (over -105 / under -122)
Kill Spread: +10.5 @ -127 / -10.5 @ -102
Team Kill Totals: 9.5 / 18.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -130 / under +100)
Lost a little value on this one as it’s not a +10.5 kill spread up from the 8.5 where I bet it. Going to add another.
Additional Picks Added:
Kill Spread: Istanbul +10.5 kills @ -127 (1.27 units)
paiN Gaming +197 vs PSG Talon -263
Kill Total: 27.5 (over -112 / under -116)
Kill Spread: +9.5 @ -132 / -9.5 @ +101
Team Kill Totals: 9.5 / 17.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -119 / under -110)
I give props to paiN for battling back but it took a pretty tremendous throw by IWC or this would have been a lopsided shellacking. I think there’s a reasonable chance that paiN don’t win another game the rest of the tournament so I’m not even going to back them on the kill spread here. I’ve already got a PSG moneyline position.
No picks added. See Day One post.
I believe in accountability. For years I’ve tracked all of my picks publicly. 2021’s selections will be via this spreadsheet but it isn’t updated until AFTER the games have started. The Esports Department subscribers get the first look.
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(all lines from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)