Wednesday, June 9th Recap
FunPlus Phoenix vs Ultra Prime (Net: no action)
The action started early and often in this one with teams going for plays across the board and we had ten kills in the first. FPX got a little overzealous on a 3v2 dive top lane allowing Xiaocaobao to roam top and pick up two kills to clean it up to get his debut off to a solid start after being ganked by Tian a few times. We had ten kills in the opening nine and a half minutes in this one without a dragon. Gold stayed within a few hundred. Tian and Doinb tried to keep picking on Xiaocaobao wherever he went. UP were able to counterpunch a few times but eventually FPX started building up a sizeable gold lead from these picks. FPX used this 2500 gold lead to force a very early baron but they got a little overzealous and lost the fight pretty hard which allowed UP to pick up the baron and a gold lead off of it. Around the 36 minute mark UP got a little overzealous and returned the favor except at this point FPX were able to ace and end the game. This was a competitive but weird one.
Game two had a much slower start with the first action coming with an absolutely gorgeous bait setup by UP around the 8 minute mark to set up a first dragon and two kills in what ended up being a 4v2 unbeknownst to FPX. FPX managed to fight back in this one but Doinb got a little bit overaggressive warding a around the 16:30 mark which is where the gold lead ballooned in favor of UP and lead ot an eventual win. UP did a great job of pushing their advantages in this one and not just sitting on their lead. They used it to force an early baron, were constantly first to vision battles, and showed a lot of great things for essentially a brand new team.
Game three got out of hand pretty early off of some nice ganks by Tian and FPX picked up first blood, gold lead, herald, dragon, and tower and they were off to the races. FPX controlled this wire-to-wire.
Great opening showing from this new look UltraPrime roster against one of the best teams in the league. A lot of confidence.
Victory Five vs LNG Esports (Net: -1.71 units)
V5 had a lead in game one and the tempo advantage through the first ten minutes or so but LNG kept their farm numbers up and trusted in their Jinx scaling choosing to play this slow and steady. Pivotal point was a really close skirmish around the 1730 mark where LNG were nearly punished for their overaggression but Ale barely managed to live and got back into the fight to turn it into a really huge win. LNG ballooned this lead and won off of it.
Game two was a complete stomp that got out of hand early.
Was hard to really take too much from this. V5 were looking pretty good in game one but game two wasn’t close at all. Didn’t move the needle for me on either team.
Fredit Brion vs Liiv Sandbox (Net: -2.72 units)
Brion made a few very nice proactive plays early in this game including a surprise rotation by Hena and Delight’s Kalista/Gragas lane that helped boost an already winning mid lane matchup for Lava who had already picked up first blood on a nice gank from UmTi. Brion had a very impressive opening ten minutes and just snowballed their lead beautifully into a mountain soul in a 36 minute win in this one.
Sandbox tried to run the Jhin back again in game two. I can’t quite put a finger on it but it almost felt like with the ban setup they had in draft they were “forcing” themselves on to this unnecessarily but it’s always difficult to tell in the first series. Maybe they just think it’s very strong on this patch. This was a mushc closer game for the opening fifteen minutes with a lot of trades back and forth in kills and towers that resulted in a small Sandbox gold lead of 1000 gold or so but Brion picking up the first two dragons. The pivotal point in this one was at the third dragon, a fight that first looked like Brion would win off of an error in positioning by Summit, ended up being a very close ordeal and where Lava landed a TON of damage on his Akali and cleaned the fight up resulting in a 4 for 1, third drake, and the gold lead. Sandbox tried to make a 2v1 pick in the river shortly after but Brion collapsed quicker and flipped it into a baron that would help them eventually end the game.
There was a lot of good things from both teams in this series but Brion was just better on the day. Individual outplays all around. Lava looked like 2018 Lava and UmTi was excellent as always. Great start to the season.
T1 vs Hanwha Life Esports (Net: no action)
Game one of this series was fairly close with Hanwha trying a few really unique picks. Kogmaw+Braum bottom lane, Volibear mid vs Faker’s Nocturne, and a top lane Lulu into Canna’s Gwen. This had shades of the old “Juggermaw” protect the Kogmaw comps of days of yore, which is something we’ve seen a few times in the LPL already as well this season.
It started to feel like T1 were pulling away with a two drake lead and small gold lead but Hanwha were chippy and kept this close until a massive team fight win at the third dragon for T1 despite nobody on Hanwha actually dying. They got back onto the map quicker, punished Vsta and Deft as they were looking to set wards up for baron, turned it into a 21 minute baron and the game shortly afterwards.
Game two was just a complete stomping from T1 off the back of Cuzz’s jungle Diana getting a great opening gank top lane. Faker managed the Zoe as Lee matchup well and Cuzz just went nuts.
T1 look sharp.
Daily Net Total: -4.43 units
LPL Summer 2021
Week One – Day Four
I’ll be getting back into the more detailed data driven posts over the course of the next week once I get a feel for how much of it is going to apply in cases with a lot of roster changes which includes this one.
I’m also steering clear of totals and props because I want to see how the new patch and metagame develop a bit as well as which roster changes are positive and negative.
ThunderTalk (TT) Gaming +491 (+1.5 maps @ +138, -1.5 @ +1200)
JD Gaming -833 (-1.5 maps @ -179)
Map Moneyline: TT +336 / JDG -500
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -105 / under -123)
Kill Spread: +9.5 @ -116 / -9.5 @ -111
Team Kill Totals: 7.5 / 16.5
Time Total: 30:00 (over -104 / under -125)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: +167 / -221 (map), +230 / -315 (series), -149 / +116 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Model Suggested Play: TT +1.5 maps, TT series ML maps slightly stronger than series, over 2.5 maps
TT- Langx, Xiaopeng, Captain, SamD, Patch
JDG – Zoom, Kanavi, Yagao, LokeN, LvMao
It’s great to see Captain back. He was pretty good in the few appearances we saw from him early last season but this almost felt like one of those situations you see in traditional sports like hockey where you have a promising young goalie but not a particularly good team and you don’t want his confidence to be completely destroyed because they keep losing. Who knows if that was actually the motivation for TT or not but it’s nice to see him back either way he was arguably my favorite prospect coming into the LPL from the developmental league coming into 2021.
TT have a slightly new look moving to Langx in the top lane and a full Korean bottom lane with SamD and new support Patch. I think this team has the potential to at least get themselves out of the full on dumpster fire tier where I’ve got teams like OMG, Rogue Warriors, and V5 going into the season. I’m treating them similarly to LGD and UltraPrime, weaker teams that I actually liked the offseason moves for. Keep in mind, TT were actually one of the best early game teams in the LPL last season which is impressive considering their overall record but if you think about the current complexion of the game that bodes well for their prospects, at least on these current patches.
JDG unfortunately ran into an FPX buzzsaw in playoffs but had a somewhat underhwelming performance in their underlying numbers despite an impressive regular season record in the Spring. That said, the expectations are generally very high for this team so to say they were a “disappointment” would be a little bit too far in my opinion. JDG are a very good team but they have their flaws. For the majority of last season I thought they relied way too much on opponents fighting into them and sometimes struggled to engineer their own advantages. A lot of these macro issues improved over the course of the season which is good.
JDG are a very good team that is also one that is often overrated by the market. I don’t know if it’s prior results or the name brand, or that people really like the individual players but JDG are one of those pricey favorites that you really need to pick your spots on because you’re almost always paying a premium to play them and I rarely find it worth it to do so. More often than not I end up betting against them. That’s going to be the case here. The model is only using data from last season and not incorporating individual player data yet with all of the lineup changes. Strictly looking at priors for these two teams show that this is way WAY too pricey for JDG and a nice value on the underdogs. Combine that with the fact that I actually like the moves they made during this Spring to Summer transition and I’m quite bullish on my underdog position here. The game is also extremely volatile in general right now with flex drafts and a metagame that doesn’t appear to be solved yet. It’s also a meta that favors the style that TT play. I could see them snowballing an early game and think it’s more likely than not that they get at least a game here.
I’ll be playing the sides but the TT +9.5 kills spread isn’t a bad look either. JDG were 14-17 against an average kill spread of 6.3 as favorites last season and only covered -9.5 or greater kill spreads in 4 out of 11 attempts.
Map Spread: TT +1.5 maps @ +138 (2 units)
Moneyline: TT +491 (0.5 units)
Map Spread: TT -1.5 maps @ +1200 (0.25 units)
LGD Gaming +367 (+1.5 maps @ +104, -1.5 @ +1000)
RareAtom -500 (-1.5 maps @ -132, +1.5 @ -2500)
Map Moneyline: LGD +264 / RA -370
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -119 / under -109)
Kill Spread: LGD +7.5 @ -119 / -7.5 @ -109
Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 15.5
Time Total: 31:00 (over -103 / under -127)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: +205 / -276 (map), +324 / -432 (series), -115 / -110 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Model Suggested Play: none (miniscule edge on LGD)
LGD – Garvey, Shad0w, Xiye, Kramer, Mark
RA – Cube, Leyan, FoFo, iBoy, Hang
It’s going to be cool to see Shad0w playing in the LPL. It’s sort of a weird situation because I think he was generally overhyped as a player although it’s hard to blame people because he’s just a playmaker but he had a lot of issues that came to be exposed as well. However, that was in a very different meta than the one we’re currently in and I think this is one that he could thrive in. Xiye and Mark rejoined as well. This LGD organization is like that group of guys that can’t ever stop reliving their high school glory days and decided to let a new guy tag along… I can’t stand this organization but whatever this roster actually looks pretty decent besides Garvey so I’m treating them as “potentially a gatekeeper” more or less. I think they’ll be clearly better than the bottom dwellers but whether they take a step beyond that will be the question. They should be noticeably better than they were in Spring if they can keep any sort of roster continuity.
RareAtom play their second match in the opening four days but they handled business quietly against a bad OMG team in their opener and looked solid. RareAtom are never going to be a sexy team, they rarely completely blow teams out of the water, it’s just now the game that they play. Some people let this cloud their judgment. Don’t let it, they’re good.
With that said, I don’t think you can reasonably bet RareAtom here and justify it from a data perspective. The model makes this roughly a fair price (no play) and that’s using LGD’s awful Spring roster data. If you think they’ve made upgrades then it makes a lot of sense to take a shot on the underdogs here, especially given the overall patch volatility as well as the typical early season underdog bump. It’s just so easy to lose a game in draft right now with so many powerful flex picks, there’s just not a lot you can do about it sometimes except outplay it.
I’m not entirely buying into the “LGD are going to be good” narrative like a lot of people are. I think there are a lot of moving pieces here and there’s a reasonable chance that this is just a disaster at least early on. Having a full roster of veterans should provide some resilience to a true worst case situation but I’m not giving LGD the benefit of the doubt quite yet, this is just a numbers play. This would’ve been a fair price in Spring and I think they’ll be significantly better than that roster was even if they’re still not a particularly good team.
Map Spread: LGD +1.5 maps @ +104 (1 unit)
Moneyline: LGD +367 (0.5 units)
Map Spread: LGD -1.5 maps @ +1000 (0.1 units)
LCK Summer 2021
Week One – Day Two
Just like with the LCS and LPL, I’ll be getting back into the more detailed data driven posts over the course of the next weeks once I get a feel for how much of it is going to apply in cases with a lot of roster changes which includes this one. For the most part I’m also steering clear of totals and props because I want to see how the new patch and metagame develop a bit as well as which roster changes are positive and negative.
KT Rolster +131 (+1.5 maps @ -233, -1.5 @ +373)
Nongshim RedForce -169 (-1.5 maps @ +178, +1.5 @ -556)
Map Moneyline: KT +116 / NS -147
Kill Total: 24.5 (over -106 / under -122)
Kill Spread: +3.5 @ -105 / -3.5 @ -123
Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 13.5
Time Total: OTB
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: +152 / -195 (map), +197 / -262 (series), -170 / +133 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Suggested Play: Nongshim series moneyline
I mentioned in my LCK Preview article that I think the middle of the table is going to much more hotly contested this season after some truly disappointing seasons from the bottom half of the league and an overall lack of continuity for many teams including KT Rolster. That said, I think Gori could potentially be the biggest upgrade made by any team in the world this offseason considering just how much worse Bay was than the field at his position. Nongshim came into the season a tad overhyped, disappointed people and then managed to trip into the playoffs thanks to some fumbles by the other bottom teams. I think they’ll be significantly improved this season.
KT should also be improved if for no other reason than they’ve moved to what I thought their roster was going to look like going into the Spring season. It just took them awhile to make that transition for whatever reason. My only real concern with this team is that they played slowly to a fault. Whether that was by design or just because of the players they were using is hard to tell and we’ll find that out pretty quickly but I generally think KT are going to have to show us better early games or they’re just going to get run over in the current state of the game.
While I think KT will be better than last season, I think Nongshim should be the more improved roster and were the better overall team in Spring. I like a play on them as favorites here but no result would really surprise me.
Moneyline: Nongshim -169 (1.69 units)
Map Spread: Nongshim -1.5 maps @ +178 (0.5 units)
DRX +312 (+1.5 maps @ -108, -1.5 @ +776)
Gen.G -455 (-1.5 maps @ -118, +1.5 @ -1667)
Map Moneyline: DRX +222 / Gen.G -303
Kill Total: 23.5 (over -112 / under -115)
Kill Spread: +6.5 @ -111 / -6.5 @ -116
Team Kill Totals: 8.5 / 14.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -127 / under -102)
Eco/Obj Model Projected Line: +232 / -314 (map), +371 / -570 (series), +100 / -128 (+1.5 / -1.5 maps)
Suggested Play: none
This is actually a fascinating handicap. My initial reaction was to just slam the favorites. This metagame is picture perfect for a team like Gen.G who thrive on early action and their individuals are so talented and well-equipped for this sort of thing that I think for at least the early part of the season that they’ll be one of the best teams in the league. DRX are quite the opposite if you look at their entire body of work during the Spring split. This isn’t a team that was particularly adept at playing uptempo looks and they were not exactly eager to play them.
I think cvMax is actually the wildcard here. His teams tend to struggle in these sorts of situations but I also don’t want to totally disrespect the possibility that he reinvents this team or just has them playing better than they did in Spring (remember, their record was good but they were a highly fraudulent squad, not bad, just fraudulent).
I’m going with an art over science approach here (these are 0-3 so far this season across the globe). This meta is just perfect for what Gen.G like to do and this is a stylistic nightmare for DRX especially given the state of the game. It’s certainly possible that they’ve reinvented themselves and will be ready for this version of the game, they’ve had plenty of time but I’m going to trust my gut and take Gen.G here.
Map Spread: Gen.G -1.5 maps @ -118 (1.18 units)
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.
Check out The Gold Card Podcast and can find me on Twitter @GelatiLOL
(all lines from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)