Friday, May 14th Recap
DAMWON Kia Gaming vs Royal Never Give Up (Net: 0 units)
I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with DAMWON but this team is straight up playing disrespectfully. Sloppy facechecks, zero expectation of competition at objectives and vision leverage points, and quite frankly just a lackadaisical approach to general fundamentals and upkeep in game. Quite frankly it’s shocking. Under performing in a game or tournament can happen. I don’t put that past anybody, but what’s concerning here is that the one thing that you can consistently rely on DAMWON and other Kkoma coached teams throughout history to be is respectful and disciplined. If anything to a fault as that’s what has caused them issues over the years (being too respectful).
BeryL and Canyon have been arguably the two best players in the world at their positions over the past eighteen months or so but that has absolutely not been the case at this tournament. The phrase “running it down” comes to mind. I don’t want to make this all about DAMWON because RNG did a good job actually making the plays when it mattered and ultimately that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day but it’s painfully obvious to me that DAMWON are either not taking this seriously or simply aren’t prepared. Those that are nominating that they “weren’t tested domestically” or that teams just “rolled over for them” simply didn’t watch the LCK and quite frankly I don’t think this has anything to do with who or where they played.
Straight up, DAMWON are playing in their bottom ten percent range of outcomes. Quite literally they’ve had four of the bottom seven games I have on record (based on various metric percentiles) and if you extend to the PSG game, five of their worst ten games of 2021 at this tournament. You could either look at that as essentially a “must regress to the mean” situation or simply “they don’t have it this tournament” but I suggest you make that decision before the rest of this stage plays out. I’m personally going with the first but it’s really difficult seeing any high caliber team underperform to this level, you just hate to see it, it’s bad for the sport. Wake the hell up ….
MAD Lions vs Pentanet.GG (Net: -1.23 units)
This was honestly a bit of a “for fun” game for MAD. They were in full control the entire game and there really isn’t too much else to say here.
PSG Talon vs DAMWON Kia Gaming (Net: -0.17 units)
Yet another game that DAMWON probably should have lost. Talon had a great opening and simply botched their transitions. ShowMaker and had a couple of very sharp plays in this one off of some small mistakes by PSG and likely salvaged this game singlehandedly for DWG. If not for a steal and momentum swing I think PSG probably win this one.
Royal Never Give Up vs Cloud 9 (Net: -1.7 units)
Oooof… I feel for you Cloud 9 fans. Our kill spread got home here but RNG managed to win on a backdoor play with Wei stopping recalls off of a baited baron.
A lot of people are saying that Cloud 9 were going to win fights from here on forward but I don’t entirely agree with that. They chained together a few nice team fight wins between staggered flash cooldowns but one of the big issues with Malphite, as I discussed in The Esports Department Discord (free) is that Malphite late game against carries with flash up feels very underwhelming. Malphite against comps that are diving your backline? Also underwhelming because he wants to set up follow up rather than dive forward and be alone. IT was a little awkward.
Still this was a good showing by Cloud 9, Fudge got completely manhandled in lane but managed to stay relevant in this one which was impressive and they nearly beat RNG on Lucian and Kaisa, two of their primary comfort picks. Not many teams can say they’ve done that. That said, I did think RNG were going to win this game despite the momentum shift that “felt” like it was favoring Cloud 9. Again, keep in mind that with carry flash cooldowns up they were going to struggle to connect good Malphite ultimates.
Remember when everyone was having that existential crisis about the region and how they had to blow it all up and “NA is shit” etc after that DFM loss? Don’t hear too much of that now… don’t overreact folks.
PSG Talon vs Pentanet.GG (Net: +1.0 units)
This was a biblical beatdown. Doggo had two full items at 14 minutes or something stupid like that. Pentanet just can’t hang here.
Cloud 9 vs MAD Lions (Net: -1.0 units)
This entire game hinged on both teams thinking they had the better position in what ended up being a 3v3 top trio battle that just barely went MAD’s way by the slimmest of margins. MAD then did what good teams do and slammed the lead home in what looked like a lopsided game because of this blowout play early on.
Sometimes this happens. You get a big play early on that essentially ends the game on the spot and you’re simply playing out the remaining 20-30 minutes of the string out. Good teams have a way of completely ballooning leads and MAD did just that. Kind of a brutal beat for Cloud 9 fans today as they ended up 0-2 despite playing pretty well in the first one and VERY NEARLY outplaying MAD in what likely would have been a complete Cloud 9 stomping had that play gone the other direction.
Daily Net Total: -3.1 units
Couple really close calls on this card the knocked us into the red. Pentanet didn’t throw themselves at MAD nearly as much as I thought they would so MAD stayed under that total and our biggest play of the day in terms of weighting was RNG vs Cloud 9 OVER 30:00 which was just seconds off of happening thanks to the RNG backdoor blowing it out. Would have ended in the green on that win alone. Onto the next one.
Rumble Stage – Day Two
Pentanet.GG +893 vs Royal Never Give Up -2500
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -112 / under -115)
Kill Spread: +13.5 @ -111 / -13.5 @ -116
Team Kill Totals: 5.5 / 19.5
Time Total: OTB
Ooof…. I mean there’s not really a lot of analysis to do here. 13.5 is an obnoxiously high kill spread. Maybe you take RNG team total unders? 19.5 is dumb. The thing is RNG are no strangers to running up the score so I think I’m just going to stick to the under 4.5 dragons or under 1.5 barons here, dragons have a better price.
Prop: UNDER 4.5 dragons @ -270 (5.4 units)
DAMWON Kia Gaming -286 vs Cloud 9 +230
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -118 / under -110)
Kill Spread: -7.5 @ -116 / +7.5 @ -112
Team Kill Totals: 16.5 / 8.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over +116 / under -152)
I mentioned it above but I simply cannot see DAMWON continuing to play as poorly as they have in this tournament so far and they’re still 6-2 despite playing the worst League of Legends I’ve seen them play all season. Cloud 9 are in good form right now but this is down from the -435 / +291 MSI Day One openers. I have a hard time not taking a piece of DAMWON at that price. It feels terrible given their form but just hold your nose and take the favorites and the under here.
Moneyline: DAMWON -286 (2.86 units)
Kill Total: UNDER 25.5 @ -110 (1.1 units)
MAD Lions +188 vs Royal Never Give Up -233
Kill Total: 27.5 (over -116 / under -112)
Kill Spread: +8.5 @ -108 / -8.5 @ -120
Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 17.5
Time Total: 30:00 (over -101 / under -128)
The Lions are in great form in this tournament so far but we’re a sliver of health away from a likely Cloud 9 snowball loss yesterday. Don’t overreact to the rest of the game or fantasy results, that game was over on that pivotal play. That said, MAD have been winning almost all of those in this tournament. RNG represent a step up in the level of competition though and will be the hardest challenge MAD have faced in this tournament. They’ve had a few suspect opening sequences in this tournament that I think people are forgetting about because of the flashy blowout wins.
This price would have been upwards of -450 or so before the tournament based on backward engineering the book futures prices. Suddenly it’s cheap. I do think RNG are going to eventually lose one but this is a surprisingly cheap price to pay for the favorites.
Moneyline: RNG -233 (2.33 units)
Cloud 9 -172 vs PSG Talon +136
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -114 / under -114)
Kill Spread: -6.5 @ +105 / +6.5 @ -137
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 10.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over +121 / under -159)
I know you’re tired of me preaching about Talon but this is essentially the same position I held before the tournament. I think these two teams are relatively evenly matched. I’ll take the dog. That’s not to take anything away from Cloud 9, I just have a lot more respect for Talon than the market does.
Moneyline: Talon +136 (1 unit)
Pentanet.GG +875 vs DAMWON Kia Gaming -2500
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -120 / under -109)
Kill Spread: +12.5 @ -114 / -12.5 @ -114
Team Kill Totals: 4.5 / 16.5
Time Total: 29:00 (over +155 / under -204)
4.5 is the lowest team kill total that I’ve ever seen handicapping League of Legends. It’s slightly juiced to the over or I’d take it on principal here, especially given DAMWON’s sloppy form in this tournament but I have a hard time seeing them losing this game. Even with a lot of breakdowns the individual talent gap is simply too much to overcome in this instance I think. These teams aren’t in the same galaxy even with DAMWON playing poorly. Under 12.5 towers is my play of choice here.
Prop: UNDER 12.5 towers @ -385 (7.7 units)
MAD Lions -192 vs PSG Talon +159
Kill Total: 27.5 (over -122 / under -108)
Kill Spread: -5.5 @ -103 / +5.5 @ -127
Team Kill Totals: 14.5 / 11.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -111 / under -118)
During the group stage this matchup was priced at -179 / +132 and -164 / +128. MAD certainly have looked the part and you could make a strong case that they’ve looked like the second best team in this tournament but as I’ve said, I’m rating Talon similarly to Cloud 9 and MAD Lions still regardless of the results. Talon have taken advantage of every lead they’ve been afforded in this tournament and anything could happen in that regard especially with MAD who have been running extremely hot on a their coin flip plays at this tournament. Perhaps a little regression both ways here in my mind. Give me the dogs. I’ll be avoiding derivatives because I could see this being a blowout either way off of some high leverage early scenario as we’ve seen A LOT in this tournament across the board.
Moneyline: Talon +159 (1 unit)
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)