Risky Predictions For IEM Katowice (League of Legends)
Posted: Mar 02 2016
Another year, another IEM Katowice tournament amid a rather confusing and ever-changing LoL scene. Katowice always comes around during this odd, almost experimental time in the LoL season where teams are still trying to develop synergy and discover their identity. Somewhere in the official competitive LoL rules, it's impossible for any team to keep the same roster of 5 players for longer than 1 year. And the result is an always exciting, but reasonably volatile tournament that Moscow5/Gambit is no longer able to win.
Rather than pick obvious winners or losers, or pick the underdog for the sake of it, I'm going to make some unusual predictions for what we're going to see at this year's event.
1. Origen returns to form, sOAZ pulls a fast one
Everyone is currently under the impression that Origen is lost. They need xPeke...PoE has been a disappointment...Amazing is feeding...sOAZ is tilting. All fair comments to make at the moment, but if watching the early 2000's Lakers has taught me anything, it's that veteran players that have seen it all don't care whatsoever about the Spring Split. Yes, there are championship points to be had now to put you in better standing at the end of the split, but there's a reason guys like 'Peke and sOAZ always seem to play better when the stakes are high - and that's because they start trying their best. Origen do look lost, and sOAZ admitted they're scrimming brainlessly, but when the opportunity comes to perform internationally on a large stage, I'll still put my money on Origen over the relatively unproven other teams joining the tournament.
Does that mean I think they'll win it all? No, not at all, but this is how I see it playing out: OG lose a relatively close match against RNG, looking much better than anticipated and head into the loser's bracket with none other than TSM, relegated to the loser's match because they aren't allowed to beat a Korean team. With another opportunity to destroy an NA team, sOAZ puts on the carry pants and routes TSM with a champion he hasn't played in 3 years to get his team into the decider match against Ever, and eventually as far as the semifinals.
sOAZ later reveals in an interview that he played horribly the majority of this split just so it would be more humiliating to beat people at IEM and so it would silence all the trolls on his Twitter feed until the next time he goes 0/6 at 12 minutes.
2. No team sweeps
Heading into the semi-final stage, I think there will still be enough inconsistencies in every team that no one will be strong enough to perform a series sweep. That speaks to the relatively questionable play we've seen from the teams leading up to the tournament, but also the fact that finally we don't have an IEM where you can pick a team and assert that they certainly won't win a single game.
3. The MVP and the Goat
Picking an MVP usually means you have to pick the winning team first. As much I hate to fanboy SKT, I still think they'll be the best team in a series. However, the surprise will be their best player. With Bengi being sidelined for this tournament, SKT has brought in their jungler Blank to compete at Katowice. I predict Blank will look unexpectedly competent ,having a coming out party that makes fabled coach Kkoma question if he should even bother playing the obviously burnt out Bengi for the rest of S6. But then, returning to reality, Kkoma and the fans will realize that the relatively weak underperforming pool of junglers at this tournament doesn't suddenly make Blank a God, though he got to feel like one for at least a weekend.
Now, the most fun part of any predictions (for me at least) - which player is going to be made into a meme? Based on recent performances that make you wonder if this player has been abducted by aliens and had an imposter impersonating him for the past 3 months, my safe pick here is YellOwStaR. After revealing on TSM: Legends that he had flown from Germany to South Korea en route to the United States, I immediately knew something was wrong and suspicious. Why fly essentially twice the distance to get somewhere, ignoring the commercial flight paths people have been using for decades, to get to the US? Is it possible there's more to this story, and that Yellowstar has been compromised in some way? Perhaps he was abducted while connecting in Seoul by undercover North Korean agents, who had finally got around to smuggling a copy of Face-Off, giving them the infallible idea of surgically creating a doppelganger to send to the United States as the Supreme Leader's spy and inside man? That would explain why YellOwStaR has apparently forgotten how to play League of Legends since joining TSM, and would fast track him to his first ever goat award.