Monday, February 1st Recap
BiliBili vs Royal Never Give Up (Net: +0.39 units)
Ultimately it wasn’t the reason they lost this series, but I’ve expressed concerns for Xiaohu’s champion pool depth over the couple of weeks citing it as a potential concern if teams decided to challenge it or apply more pressure to him. While BLG potentially laid the blueprint out on how to do that to the rest of the league, there are a few things to consider here. First, it’s not necessarily true that this Syndra top in game three wasn’t picked with purpose and reason. I could definitely see Syndra bulling our Gnar and this paying off. Second, it’s certainly possible that Xiaohu has more and is simply opting for comfort over those other things. Third, this could very well have just been a “panic” situation where they were under pressure and just made a choice.
Regardless, I’ll be intrigued to see how Xiaohu as well as other teams handle this situation over the next few weeks. The LPL is typically very slow to adjust to what other teams are doing with each of the teams tending to focus on what they do. It’s why we get to see teams like Spring 2020 eStar, who were good, but ran the same exact set play almost every single game for more than half the season before anybody even bothered to try to counter it. It’s just an interesting character wrinkle for the LPL.
BiliBili looked much better in this series and made some excellent draft adjustments for games two and three that helped them turn this series around after an abysmal game one. The poke comp as an answer to the weak engage + Aphelios in game two was a great adjustment and they executed it with full comfort which was impressive after the steamrolling they got in game one. Jwei looked confident in his debut. I won’t jump to any conclusions but if, in fact, Mark wasn’t sick and this was a legitimate audition, the extremely young rookie passed his first test. This was a difficult test against a veteran bottom lane on a great team and he handled everything with a lot of discipline and poise. Good on ya kid!
I’m not downgrading RNG for this because this potential pitfall is something that I’ve built into my perception of them arleady after seeing it already a few times this season. They’ll need to show that this isn’t a crutch and that they do it for a reason or I’ll remain slightly reserved. BLG appear to be rounding into form a bit. Sometimes they’ll have weird games but BLG have been a better team than public perception in regards to their underlying metrics so I’ve been a little higher on them than most even though they’ve had some really boneheaded performances.
Suning vs LGD (Net: +2.5 units)
This was, for lack of better terms, an absolute shellacking. Neither of these games were remotely close. LGD have a lot of issues to sort out but Suning are also beginning to round into form.
LPL Net Total: +2.89 units
Daily Net Total: +2.89 units
LOL Pro League (China)
Week 5 – Day 2
RareAtom +226 (+1.5 maps @ -152, -1.5 @ +526)
Team WE -303 (-1.5 maps @ +119, +1.5 @ -909)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +113 / under -145)
Kill Total: 26.5 (over -114 / under -114)
Kill Spread: +7.5 @ -116 / -7.5 @ -112
Team Kill Totals: 10.5 / 15.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over -102 / under -128)
(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number)
RA – Cube (2), Leyan (5), FoFo (9), iBoy (10), Hang (3)
WE – Breathe(5), Beishang (12), Yimeng (debut), Jiumeng (8), Missing (14)
Yimeng is getting the start over Shanks for this series. He’s no stranger to high level play with two seasons and over 100 LDL games but he hasn’t played a single LPL game. I looked into him more during the Summer when he was an option to replace the struggling Teacherma. He’s played a lot of Galio and Leblanc in the LDL but plays a little bit of everything. Rumble, Sett, Karma, Qiyana, and perhaps the most unique of the bunch, Diana. I forget who it was but somebody in the Discord this morning asked where I’d put him on a spectrum from Shanks to Teacherma and I’d say he’s more than likely closer to Shanks. Teacherma was pretty bad. The catch with that is that Shanks has been steadily improving over the course of the season and statistically grades as one of the best players in the league through four weeks. Obviously WE looked rough in that last series but it also looked like an overall down day for the entire team so I’ll give him a pass there.
RareAtom have had a rough go of it this season but I expect them to continue improving the longer Leyan is back in the lineup. RA haven’t had an easy schedule, they caught TOP off of back-to-back losses and JDG after losing two of their first three. BiliBili look like a competitive team as well. They whooped on Rogue Warriors and won a back-and-forth series with Suning 2-0.
The interesting part about this series is obviously Yimeng and how it changes the look for Team WE. After a bit of an up-and-down start, Shanks has impressed me. He’s not exactly blowing the doors off every game but he’s been a consistent performer for this team and that’s all they’ve needed since last year from this position. Can Yimeng deliver the same thing? I think we’ll get somewhere in the middle. Strictly from a numbers standpoint, if we assign a league average number to Yimeng the player-based model prefers RA in this lineup but it’s more about how you think he’ll impact this lineup.
I don’t typically put a lot of weight on substitutions unless there are clear and obvious things to point out and I’m not sure there is one here either. Yimeng could prove to be similar to Shanks or he could be worse. Perhaps the team will overcompensate in the draft. Maybe he’s just got nerves in his first LPL stage game. Maybe he absolutely kills it.
At this point in the season I’m still giving my prior evaluation some weight especially for teams that have continuity and the individual player model (which is currently using only this seasons data) agrees with me. These teams are likely closer than this. That said, the economy/objective model says there is a huge edge on Team WE in this spot. Their kill agnostic gold per minute, a metric that seeks to eliminate the volatility of high and low kill games to give a more accurate indication of a teams “true” economy, is the best in the LPL by a decent margin and they’ve had excellent objective control. Obviously winning helps.
This just feels like a weird spot to me. Individually, RareAtom have been performing like a significantly better team than they’ve been thus far and I can’t help but think that that pays off at some point. I also don’t know exactly how Yimeng will impact this Team WE squad. It’s also potentially a case of RareAtom being “hungrier” needing as many wins as they can get and Team WE potentially looking ahead to a showdown with JDG later this week.
Admittedly this is a bit of a “gut” handicap more than a scientific one but I’m going to take a small position on RareAtom. Individually they’re performing well beyond their overall record, they have had a stronger overall first 20 minutes in terms of differential statistics than Team WE and I could see them jumping out to a lead in this one. I also just think they’re going to start hitting their stride a little bit.
The model likes favorites team total overs/underdog unders but given the fact that I think RareAtom are live here I’m going to stay away from that. I’m also not entirely sure how Team WE are going to play, stylistically with Yimeng in the lineup so I’m just going to abstain from the derivative markets for now.
Map Spread: RareAtom +1.5 maps @ -152 (1.52 units)
Moneyline: RareAtom +226 (0.5 units)
Map Spread: RareAtom -1.5 maps @ +526 (0.25 units)
Victory Five +312 (+1.5 maps @ -109, -1.5 @ +740)
EDward Gaming -455 (-1.5 maps @ -118, +1.5 @ -1667)
Total Maps Played: 2.5 (over +134 / under -172)
Kill Total: 25.5 (over -114 / under -115)
Kill Spread: +7.5 @ -110 / -7.5 @ -119
Team Kill Totals: 9.5 / 16.5
Time Total: 32:00 (over +100 / under -130)
(Individual player model positional ranking in paranthesis, living number)
V5 – Langx (13), Weiwei (7), Mole (6), Y4 (15), ppgod (17) (AVG Rating: -0.026)
EDG – Flandre (11), Jiejie (9), Scout (4), Viper (2), Meiko (16) (AVG Rating: +0.207)
Langx returns to the starting lineup for V5 after three matches off as V5 tried out Aodi and prospect Invincible who was… much less than “invincible” in his debut.
In many ways this is a tale of two styles; early game snowball vs disciplined macro game.
If we could bet first half or first quarter in League of Legends, V5 would be our best friends! They rank third only to TOP and FPX in gold differential at 20 (right next to RNG) and almost all of their pre-20 rate metrics are in the top five in the league. The catch with V5 is that they are heavily reliant on getting ahead early. In many ways they aren’t any different than the team we saw in the Summer, excellent at their craft but once you take them off their game they struggle.
EDG prefer to play a much more controlled, prototypical “Korean” approach to the game; minimize mistakes/risk, prioritize consistent economy, and think big picture. They’re in the elite tier of kill agnostic gold per minute and gold differential per minute and rate around the middle of the table in overall objective control and economy otherwise. EDG don’t have a single below average measurement besides herald control. They’re just a rock solid macro team with great individual players that are experienced and intelligent enough to take advantage of that.
To many people this feels like a slam dunk EDG spot, especially with V5’s TERRIBLE loss to ThunderTalk this weekend but as handicappers it’s critical not to overreact to one match or any small sample. V5 were trying out a rookie top laner, TT played up, and frankly V5 looked like they just had an off day. It happens and it shouldn’t cloud your judgement. V5 have been slightly better than their record from a rate statistics perspective. EDG have also faced one of the easiest schedules in the league having already played three of the four worst teams (TT, OMG, LGD).
This is an interesting matchup. Fire vs Ice. As the underdog I almost always prefer fire in this spot. I also think we’re getting a very good value to back Victory Five as underdogs here. They’re exactly the type of underdog team you want; extremely polished in the early game and more than capable of running over any elite team. It says something that teams know what they’re going to do and still struggle to stop them most of the time. There’s also the chance that this is a potential “let down” spot for EDG after winning five in a row against a soft schedule.
Early vs late take early props on the underdogs when they’re there. V5 are very much an “open handed” team. Everyone knows what they’re going to do so it’s just a matter of how teams choose to combat it. Most teams try to stabilize around the third or fourth drake and turn the game from there. I could definitely see EDG doing that. V5 first props are VERY appealing here. First tower, First herald are the best values and correlated.
Another way to attack this would be V5 kill spreads and EDG team total under. Both present value as well. EDG have an average margin of victory of 7.9 kills and that’s against soft competition. They’ve also only gone over this team total of 16.5 in about a quarter of their matches this season.
Map Spread: Victory Five +1.5 maps @ -109 (1.635 units)
Moneyline: Victory Five +313 (0.75 units)
Map Spread: Victory Five -1.5 maps @ +740 (0.25 units)
UPDATE: I wrote about taking first herald and first tower and forgot to add them to this. My bad.
Prop: Map 1 V5 first Herald @ +126 (0.5 units)
Prop: Map 2 V5 first Herald @ +126 (0.5 units)
Prop: Map 3 V5 first Herald @ +126 (0.5 units)
Prop: Map 1 V5 first Tower @ +126 (0.5 units)
Prop: Map 2 V5 first Tower @ +123 (0.5 units)
Prop: Map 3 V5 first Tower @ +118 (0.5 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.
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(all lines from Nitrogen unless noted otherwise)