Play-In Stage Group Stage Futures:
- MAD Lions -175
- Team Liquid +140
- Papara SuperMassive +1400
- INTZ +2500
- Legacy Esports +3300
My favorite wager here is Liquid to win the group. I like MAD Lions and I’m not looking too much into their second half slump but the truth is this is a crew of rookies attending their first international event and getting their first taste of international competition since there wasn’t an MSI to warm them up this year. This team has outstanding mental fortitude and a wide array of strategies available to them. I’ll mention it again later but Western teams traveling East and getting to practice for a few weeks in a significantly higher quality practice environment (against good teams and superior solo queue) has helped elevate teams more than demoralize them. I could see MAD embracing this. To me this is simply about experience and consistency. I think it’s closer to a 50/50 who gets out of this group in first.
I’m also going to make a light play on the two wildcard teams I like with a split wager on both SuperMassive and Legacy. There’s a chance MAD are what they looked like in the second half and aren’t quite as dominant as the public perceives them to be. There’s also the chance that they just “aren’t right” on the international stage and we see some rookie nerves kick in now that they’re out of their comfort zone traveling for the first time. For this reason I like backing the wildcard teams, especially SuperMassive who have a lot of experience.
To Win Group A: Liquid +140 (2 units)
To Win Group A: SuperMassive +1400 (0.75 units)
To Win Group A: Legacy Esports +3300 (0.25 units)
- LGD Gaming -5000
- Unicorns of Love +1400
- PSG Talon +3500
- Rainbow7 +4000
- V3 Esports +6500
So LGD are obviously the favorite here but I’ll remind people that all it takes is one or two games in a four game group series and suddenly things could get weird. LGD are a team that have long bouts of inconsistency. They’re also a team that struggles mightily without a big early game lead even against bad and mediocre LPL competition. Interestingly they’re facing a collection of gamebreakers at the jungle position in this group as it’s the best player on almost every team (besides Talon). As good as Peanut is, this is exactly the kind of situation where I could see him facing off against the best player on most of these other teams and simply losing one of the early skirmishes he’s so adept at. Josedeodo, Bugi, Ahahacik and Kongyue are all studs within their leagues and a few of them have been looking excellent on the Chinese “super server” solo queue ladder.
I’m actually going to take a shot against LGD here. I think they deserve to be favorites here but -5000 in a four game group stage? Think about that. If LGD drop two games all it takes is one of these other teams taking care of their other foes. That’s all it takes…. I’ll take a taste of each of the dogs here it’s worth a shot for sure. LGD aren’t exactly a stable beast they’re a very poor fundamental team and these are the situations where a team like this can lose. I’ll be betting against them in every game in this group too likely at massive plus money.
To Win Group B: Unicorns of Love +1400 (0.4 units)
To Win Group B: PSG Talon +3500 (0.4 units)
To Win Group B: Rainbow7 +4000 (0.1 units)
To Win Group B: V3 Esports +6500 (0.1 units)
Total Exposure for Play-In Groups: 4 units
Play-In Stage Champion Specific Props:
I’d encourage you to take a look at the Patch 10.19 notes and read some material on it. If you aren’t as familiar with the game feel free to hit me up in the Discord for specific questions. I don’t think this patch is going to affect things as much as a lot of people do. This meta will be largely bred on what happens in scrims not what was nerfed or buffed in the patch. You can also listen to our breakdown of the patch toward the beginning of the show on Episode 76 of The Gold Card Podcast.
While I’ve dabbled in the champion futures markets before this is my first full-fledged dive and piece about them. These will be ONLY FOR THE PLAY-IN STAGE. I’ll mention full tournament concepts in my next piece. The play-in stage champion pool tends to be slightly different so I’ll be separating the two although you’ll notice a lot of parallels.
There’s a bit of an art to all of this. The books are essentially setting the markets for these by the most recent data which was on Patch 10.16 so we have to a bit of detective work and prognostication to determine a few things. First, which are the champions that are going to fall out of favor and why. Second, are there champions specific to the play-in teams that we need to keep an eye out for that might show up more than we think. Third, who are the new champions and do they supplant the previous ones or just reduce their presence (combined pick/ban rate).
Historically, the Play-In Stage has had one champion that was at or near 100% presence and then a fairly large drop off to the next tier. Last year it was Pantheon who had 100% presence, 42 bans and 1 pick. In 2018 Aatrox and Urgot were both 100% presence each with more bans than picks albeit not as severe as Pantheon last year. In 2017 it was Kalista who earned the 100% with Sejuani, Jarvan, Galio, and Syndra not far behind (2017 was a weird year).
Top Five in ban rate position over the past three worlds tournaments by position
Top: 0 + 2.5 +1.5 = 4
Jungle: 2 + 0 + 0 = 2
Mid: 1 + 0.5 + 2.5 = 4
ADC: 1 + 1 + 1 = 3
Support: 1 + 1 = 2
This looks a little weird but hear me out. In 2018 we had Akali as a top/mid flex. In 2019 we had Pantheon as a three or four way flex. One thing you’ll find is that flexible champions almost always end up as high presence champions. Ryze, Gragas, Pantheon, Lucian, Lulu back when it was a solo or support is another example. Who are the flexible champions this time around? Well there’s a few.
Lucian and Akali are the most obvious ones and their markets are notably priced accordingly on the surface level. Pantheon is the other one that’s been picking up a ton of steam in solo queue and is a featured pick by a lot of the supports in this tournament as a way to index into physical damage to unlock the magic damage junglers which I’ll get to later. Sett is in this conversation too.
Akali was nerfed on Patch 10.19 but not by enough to really impact her play in a meaningful way. The players and teams that want to be playing her will do so regardless because they believe the overall impact she has is greater than her numbers. We’ve seen that through a number of nerfs and buffs. A lot of the teams at this tournament are high on Akali.
Lucian is a polarizing champion. He was also slightly nerfed but it’s not enough to impact the most important aspects of why he’s strong. As a matter of fact this nerf does next to nothing to him in the grand scheme of things. Given the buffs he received and priority we saw by the good teams in playoffs in most regions and the rise of potent magic damage junglers like Evelynn, Lillia, Karthus, and Gragas, he’s going to be a driving force in this metagame whether we see him or not. The thing with Lucian is that some teams think it’s incredible, some teams think it’s exploitable. Given that some of his macro counters, longer range champions like Caitlyn and Azir also took nerfs it’s just more reason for him to around. Team that don’t think it’s good won’t want to deal with how annoying it is and will likely ban it in an attempt to take some of those magic damage junglers out of the equation or at least force teams onto more niche picks like Irelia and Qiyana to fill out their physical damage profile.
Pantheon has emerged as a potent support pick that has some versatility to be flexed to other roles as well. In a similar vein to Akali and Lucian, a lot of teams might want to just ban it rather than work around to find counters to it. The champion is overtuned and extremely potent on limited resources as a damage dealer which makes him well-suited as a support that can bully level two and then roam in the early mid game.
To me, the entire metagame is going to revolve around this trio in some way shape or form especially in play-in stage. The question is how this impacts other things. I’ll be pairing these with a few other selections. for my positional tier list .
The following is not necessarily a tier list based on power but based on my anticipation of what will be a priority pick in this tournament. I have some bullish/bearish sentiments on these champions individually I’m simply trying to anticipate what the metagame will look like and see where we can extract value in the betting markets for these.
Anticipated High Frequency Picks by Role ( a / represents meaningful separation):
Top: Lucian, Renekton / Volibear, Camille, Shen, Gangplank, Urgot
Jungle: Nidalee, Graves, Sett, Lillia / Volibear, Lee Sin
Mid: Akali, Lucian, Azir, Zoe / Twisted Fate, Orianna, Sylas
ADC: Jhin, Ashe, Senna, Kalista, Caitlyn
Support: Bard, Thresh, Pantheon / Nautilus, Leona
With this in mind let’s take a look at MOST BANNED market.
I think Lucian is very likely to be the most banned champion in this tournament. It’s not only a nuisance but it’s versatile, a few of his big picture “counters” in terms of what make things difficult for him have been nerfed (Azir/Cait), and his three role flexibility and ability to unluck a lot of AP junglers just make him a prime candidate for killing multiple birds with one proverbial stone (ban).
Other candidates here:
Akali +600 – Akali has mid/top flexibility and a lot of the teams at this tournament have prioritized playing her through good and bad patches for her. She’s extremely disruptive and at this level can run away with games in a hurry.
Nidalee +2000 / Graves +5000 – These are a few of my favorite selections for “value.” Nidalee has VERY LIKELY to be the most banned jungler in this tournament. More than half the junglers in this tournament are exceptional Nidalee players and she is the kind of annoying champion that teams ban because she can just run away with a game and closes off the options you have at the jungle position by forcing you to play fast clearers and demands lanes that can get priority. Graves isn’t quite as annoying but is arguably a stronger blind pick. Sett has the flexibility to be played in multiple roles so he’s definitely in this conversation as well amongst jungles but I think Nidalee and Graves are going to be the premier jungler bans.
“The Carry Supports” – Bard +5000, Thresh +3400, Pantheon +10,000 are all worth consideration here not only because of the players at this tournament but they’re a pretty clear step up in playmaking ability from the rest of the field including Nautilus and Leona. Pantheon also has a history of being near permanently banned at Worlds ANY time he’s been remotely relevant. He’s my dark horse here. Don’t forget he was banned in 119 out of 120 total games at Worlds last year (combined play-in and main event).
Renekton +5000 – All the memes aside, the Western teams don’t seem to place as high a value on this pick as many of the Eastern teams do and for that reason I think we could see more bans than you’d think on the croc simply because teams don’t want to deal with it. He’s the go-to blind top laner right now.
Volibear +15,000 – This one is just about the price. Volibear is a jungle/top flex pick and if we end up in a meta that revolves more around locking a save blind mid and counter picking top and support to get winning outer lanes then Volibear could become the de facto “stay open” selection for teams especially on blue side. I’ll be looking more to this as a presence selection than a ban selection but it’s worth a shot.
Especially in the play-in stage I don’t think we’ll see as many pure mid lane bans this year even though we typically do. With the ADC pool opening up a bit as well with Caitlyn taking a slight hit I don’t think teams will be incentivized to ban her although we’ll almost definitely be seeing her quite a bit. I think Lucian and Akali are far and away the leading candidates in this tournament for bans just in terms of the players and power level in the hands of world class players. That leaves us with sort of a limited ceiling for some of these other selections.
MOST BANNED (unless noted):
Lucian @ +200 (4 units) / most picked+banned @ +175 (3 units)
Akali most picked+banned @ +700 (1.5 unit)
Pantheon +10,000 (1.5 unit)
Nidalee most picked+banned @ +3300 (0.25 units)
Graves +5000 (0.25 units)
Bard +5000 (0.15 units) / most picked+banned @ +12,500 (0.1 units)
Thresh most picked+banned +6600 (0.25 units)
Renekton +5000 (0.25 units)
Volibear +15,000 (0.1 units) / most picked+banned @ +20,000 (0.1 units)
Total Exposure: 11.45 units
MOST COMBINED PICKED+BANNED CHAMPION
For a few of these I think there is a reasonable argument to be made to just play the most picked. Renekton, Volibear, Ashe, Thresh, Azir to name a few. There have been a few instances of the highest presence champion in domestic leagues but the highest presence champion is almost always a near 100% ban rate and rarely gets played so I’d just play the banned markets at better numbers when you see them. I split the difference on numbers that were off.
MOST PICKED CHAMPION
In terms of strictly most played I think you could make an argument for more or less anything. A few of these are a little weird. I think Azir is maybe the most glaring one to me in terms of an oddly priced market at +10,000 and Camille at +15,000 as well.
I won’t be playing any “most kills” or “most assists” markets for this tournament. It’s simply too tough to anticipate game script. I might end up playing a few for fun but hit me up in the Discord if you’re interested. They won’t be “official” plays. I probably missed a few things in terms of playing these out with more structure (like maybe a 50/25/25% staking plan on Banned/Picked+Banned/Picked) but given the time constraints I’m under this week and a long few days with little sleep burning that sweet sweet midnight oil I’ve got to pick my battles. I do think there’s probably a sharper edge there if you wanted to dive deeper on it or had the time to.
That’s all from me for now. If I have any updates I’ll let you all know via the Discord!
All odds in this article are via Nitrogen