Quick Game Previews for League of Legend Worlds Knockout Stage
Posted: Oct 14 2015
Moving onto the most exciting part of the tournament, we can finally put behind us the somewhat embarrassing and disappointing showing from NA teams this year (Why you do this, CLG?) and look forward to some quality LoL series. Below I briefly discuss what to watch for, how I think the matchups will play out, and my hopefully sound predictions.
Quaterfinal 1: Yoe Flash Wolves vs. Origen
Has anyone ever returned to grace as quickly as xPeke? We joke about how he gets a Worlds buff, but EU LCS playoffs xPeke and Worlds Group Stage xPeke aren't even remotely the same player. Of course, he hasn't had to be amazing because Niels has really proven to be one of the most exciting new talents and is very capable of hard carrying games on seemingly any ADC pick.
Ultimately I think Flash Wolves' seemingly low strategic approaches will hurt them against Origen. They seem to only succeed playing a variation of protect-the-Jinx, and unless they can prove that they can have NL match Niels' impact on another champion that doesn't require babysitting, they will have a tough time keeping up. On top of that, Soaz has received a bit of criticism overextending and tilting when camped, but Flash Wolves tend not to focus enough on top lane, and thus won't have the opportunity to punish his boldness. When unchecked, I think Soaz is a monster in top lane capable of playing virtually anything. Without a lot of help, Steak is going to have a long series.
I see YFW pulling out 1 game, probably game 1 or 2...Origen 3 - 1.
Quaterfinal 2: SKT vs. AHQ
Ziv has really been a joy to watch as someone who doesn't have enough time to follow LMS, but Marin is simply unstoppable right now. This would be an unbelievable underdog upset if AHQ can take this series...But that about sums it up. It's just not believable. AHQ are outclassed at all positions even if Faker doesn't play, although apparently it seems he will be starting this series. I hope I'm wrong, but I can't imagine AHQ even taking a game off the Season 3 champs. While SKT has been known to start off slowly, I can't imagine them letting Westdoor get fed off his bot lane roams in 3 different games. Even that possibly wouldn't be enough to win a single game.
I do enjoy watching Mountain, however. He will be someone to look out for to see how he responds to Bengi and SKT's tremendous map control. SKT 3-0.
Quaterfinal 3: Fnatic vs. Edward Gaming
The first truly interesting matchup in quarterfinals is the one I'm personally most excited about. This series has a chance to be a complete bloodbath, with each teams being lauded for their ability to come back into games with their excellent team fighting. On top of that, it seems these two teams have polar opposite strengths: Fnatic is at their best when they focus their resources into the top side of the map, whereas EDG have the most success when Deft and the bot lane gets rolling.
My hope is that the teams don't lane swap as I'd love to see Deft/Meiko against Rekkles/YellOwStaR, though it appears that Fnatic favors their fast push strategy and we likely won't get matched lanes unless they have Huni in a super favorable matchup with AmazingJ.
Overall this is a tough series to call. Will PawN show up like he did this time last year, or will he get outclassed by Febiven? Will Clearlove take over the series and reaffirm why everyone thought he was perhaps the world's strongest jungler? I personally think in a series with nearly equal talent, the team with the better jungler wins, being able to have a greater impact on the map and control the pace of the game. Both of these teams love to fight and fight often, so I expect some truly epic bloodbaths in this series, but with EDG edging them out in game 5...EDG 3-2.
Quarterfinal 4: KT Rolster vs. KOO Gaming
This is the series with perhaps the most variance in my predictions, primarily because of KOO's inconsistency. While KT has looked very strong and coordinated throughout the group stages, KOO has had flashes of brilliance and other questionable moments. It's important to note, however, that KOO had a significantly easier group with a struggling CLG and Wildcard team to face, whereas KT was in perhaps the most difficult group and still looked strong throughout.
While both midlaners have had their struggles throughout the year, Smeb vs. Ssumday is looking to be one of the best top lane matchups we've seen this tournament. If the teams play standard picks and strategy, it would seem to favor KT since they have more consistently shown good team fighting and map movements. However, KOO always seem to have a trick up their sleeves, and I think they'll quite desperately need some tricks to win 3 games against KT, most likely during the draft phase.
I can see KOO cheesing themselves to a victory, but otherwise I'm more confident in KT's ability to win a series...KT 3-1.
That wraps up our summary of this weekend's games. Look out for the semifinal preview we'll be doing the following week when we find out if I'm a prophet or an idiot.