Playoffs – Semifinals

TOP eSports +147 (+1.5 @ -163, +2.5 @ -535)
Invictus Gaming -208 (-1.5 @ +110, -2.5 @ +297)


TOP: 369, Karsa, Knight, JackeyLove, Yuyanjia
IG: TheShy, Leyan, Rookie, Puff, Southwind


Invictus are 13-2, 8-7 ATS
Invictus are 4-1, 1-4 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites

TOP are 3-1, 3-1 ATS as underdogs
All three TOP underdog wins were 2-0
(vs FPX, eStar in week 7, JDG week 4, their loss was to IG)

Everyone is sipping the JackeyLove Kool-Aid. EVERYONE. This is going to be an unpopular opinion but so much of TOP’s success the past couple of weeks has so little to do with JackeyLove since he joined. Am I saying he’s performing badly? Absolutely not, the dude’s has like 800 DPM since re-joining the league. That’s never a bad thing. He’s a beast, one of the best ADC’s in the league…. but he’s not the  sole reason TOP are winning like it appears everyone seems to believe.. Normally I’d get all old man “get off my lawn” about the shrine level worship he’s getting right now but when someone gets people this excited you’re not going to change their minds. Power to you if you love him, that’s all fine and good if it gets your jollies off, I just don’t get it this ridciulous level of hype.

That said, TOP have looked really good for the most part with him in the lineup. Sometimes a change like this just gives a team a certain confidence level or changes something from a chemistry standpoint that just “clicks.”  It’s tough to argue with that. Their ability to just outplay you individually at any given time is very potent in a league that doesn’t know a fight it won’t take. It’s what made Invictus so good for so many years… wait, I know that team… we’ll get to them in a second.

I thought the last series was the worst TOP have looked since JKL joined the lineup. Was it bad? No. It just wasn’t as dominant as the box score or highlight reel would show you. That’s something a lot of people don’t seem to understand. A lot of times, a highlight outplay is something that either had to happen because you screwed something up or shouldn’t have had to happen because you shoulnd’t be there in the first place. Frankly, the fewer highlights, the better even if it’s less exciting to watch, at least in most cases.

TOP had great drafts and basic game plans in their Team WE series. Shut the mid-lane down. Easier said than done but on paper it’s a pretty easy plan to execute. It helps that WE handed over Syndra twice, a champion that Teacherma’s pool simply cannot deal with and effectively pinned him down in two of the four games. I’d argue this lost them both of those games. I can’t really hold that against TOP but just keep in mind that it was a pretty “free” win and then WE not adapting after the first loss and running it back was questionable, at least in my opinion but I digress.

What concerned me was TOP’s implimentation of their game plan. For example, in game four WE had a very cooldown centric, early-mid spike team composition focused around the Camille ult+Galio ult combination with Aphelios and Camille split push as backup win conditions. TOP opted to go with strong outer lanes, the safe Corki scaling option in the mid lane, and a Lee Sin to help out their side lanes early. It’s a bit counterintuitive but having strong outer lanes is going to make it challenging for Teacherma’s Galio to find many options for plays which should dampen the effect that the “free” lane he gets to shove Corki in might have. This is all fine and good from a big picture standpoint but TOP has no way to reliably get onto the backline so they were going to have to get ahead early in this game or risk being outmaneuvered early AND outscaled late. So that’s the thought process you have to go through when heading into this game. I’d want to get bottom lane or top lane ahead prior to Galio getting six and beat WE to objectives to be able to utilize your poke.

TOP opted to go for double cull… You could argue that this accelerates them to their mid-game spike but it also completely neuters you in early fights and skirmishes as well as in lane for a lane dominant champion like Renekton. Also makes things extremely difficult for your Lee Sin who is looking to help bridge you to mid with effective early play. Why pick Lee when you’re not going to use it early… It was just so weird. You pick to do one thing and then surrender that things… it’s just odd.

Below is the draft.

I also thought that outside of game two where TOP just looked crisp as ever, that they relied a lot more on Team WE’s mistakes than they did plays of their own engineering. In other words, Team WE made a lot of unforced errors that TOP took advantage of. Perhaps this was part of their game plan and you can’t ever really fault a team for this but you can question whether or not those situations would even present themselves against stronger comeptition.

A few additional notes: Other than the Lee Sin I thought TOP had good game plans in this series but to me the fact that they relied on having to outplay a lot of situations is more of a yellow than a green light if you follow me. 369 didnt exactly have a great showing against Morgan (of all people) either.

Invictus… man this team. So IG have actually been more consistent LOOKING than they’ve actually been consistent this season which is really confusing. Their record is not indicative of how they’ve played. IG won a lot of games they should have lost this season is the short way of putting it. The thing is, they do this all the time and just rolled high this season. This team makes so many stupid mistakes so often that it’s infuriating given how immensely talented they are…. but they make it work. This team honestly looked like they were trolling at a lot of points this season. Almost like G2. They make you want to hate them and fade them as a bettor but they ALWAYS ELEVATE. IG have been much more “The Rookie Show” this season than in the past which is somewhat cathartic for me as I’ve been pounding the drum for him for years. Anyway…

The first time these teams faced off it was back in late March and it was still the Photic/Qiuqiu iteration of TOP. Game one was a fairly close endeavour with TOP utilizing the broken Senna+Tank bottom lane combination alongside Knight’s Leblanc before evneutally losing to Ning’s Zac and a Puff pop off game on Aphelios. Game two was a complete dismantling of TOP at the hands of IG. Obviously the situation is different now with TOP looking much better but I think people seem to forget that TOP actually looked pretty damn good after that winning five series in a row and 8 of their next 10.

I think you can probably tell already just based on my tone and the things I’m pointing out but I’m going to be on Invictus here for a few reasons.

First, generally I need a really good reason not to take a good closing line. I’m not opposed to betting into lost value if I feel strongly on a position but I need a good reason to. Obviously the lines in LOL aren’t as sharp as say the NFL but generally when you get more than 60 points of value on either side it’s a good thing. This line opened -260 earlier in the week and has been bet down/adjusted down and all over the place. Shop around for a good spot.

Second, TOP are very good but also overrated right now. I sincerely question whether or not people would be as hype on this team if they didn’t 2-0 FPX. Game one of that series could have gone either way, if FPX won and they 2-0’d or 2-1’d I feel like they wouldn’t be riding this hype train nearly as hard as they are. Other than that, 2-0’d eStar (somewhat impressive), and then 2-0 vs Victory Five (meaningless). People are reacting to the “turnaround.” When you combine going from a loss streak–>swapping in a super star–> going on a win streak including a win against FPX–>playoff win people get really amped up. I’m saying cool the jets.

Third, Invictus have the players to actually win individually against TOP. You could say that FPX do as well but I think IG have even stronger individual players. This will be a step up in competition individually as well as in overall pace of the game.

Fourth, Invictus have gotten to sit quietly and observe everything around them for a week now. We saw in the LCK this morning that that can be a detriment if you’ve got rust to shake off or aren’t riding the momentum but it can also mean that you can formulate good game plans like FPX did this morning with the Twisted Fate.

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