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Hello all, and welcome back to this week’s edition of Players to Watch!
It’s playoffs week! Whether you’re aiming for the title or just playing to not finish dead last in the Trash Bracket, fingers crossed I can lend a hand with some potentially overlooked picks that could be in for a big week.
Just a reminder in case you missed last week’s edition; the ‘banned’ teams have been tweaked for both leagues. Fnatic and G2 are now in the P2W Pool, with Rogue and MAD taking their spot due to them stepping up and being currently tied for first. Across the pond in NA, C9 still remain in the ‘banned’ pool, but are now kept company by TL, who have had a phoenix-like resurgence from Spring, finding themselves hot on C9’s heels.
Now, let’s have a look at last week’s results:
TOP: Wunder – 31.60 points
JUNGLE: Contractz – 48.08 points
MID: FEBIVEN – 33.28 points
ADC: Comp – 56.84 points
SUPPORT: Zeyzal – 36.12 points
UTILITY: Bjergsen – 48.32 points
On the eve of Draftbuff Playoffs starting, we finally broke 30pts+ on all players! Let’s see if we can do it again this week, and hopefully even better. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
TOP: Huni (EG, vs TAM & FLY this week)
Let’s start off with a spicy one, eh?
Huni has only recently re-entered the LCS with Evil Geniuses, after spending most of the split in the wilderness of Academy. $2.3m well spent! In all seriousness though, Huni might be just what Evil Geniuses need to ensure they get a good finish in Summer, and keep their Worlds hopes alive.
I’m a big fan of Kumo; he was featured on a Players to Watch earlier in the Split, and as I said, I felt it was a real shame he couldn’t break through to the main roster when he was on Cloud9. However, the staff must see something in Huni’s style of play, and to be fair, he is more consistent than Kumo in most instances. While Kumo is a very ‘feast or famine’ kind of player, Huni can be relied upon to be doing decently 90% of the time, even if he loses lane.
Last week, Huni posted a total K/D/A of 5/8/9, earning his owners a total of 35.34 points. However, the week before that, he posted up a total of 52.06 points; an impressive haul for a Top laner. This week, Huni will be matching up against TSM’s BrokenBlade and Flyquest’s Solo. This could be a tough week, but Huni has shown before that he can match up against the top teams in the league and come out victorious. This could be an interesting one to watch.
JUNGLE: Jankos (G2, vs VIT & FNC this week)
It’s not been the best split for G2, but Jankos has been one of the biggest underperformers on the team; it’s been tough to watch ‘The First Blood King’ flounder so much. However, I have faith that they will start to turn around their form just in time for the run-in.
Jankos has been largely put on tank duty this split, with plenty of games of Volibear and Rek’Sai. While he’s good at them in his own right, Jankos’ strengths lie in his playmaking potential and ability to target the back line on high-damage champions such as Lee Sin, Elise and Kha’Zix, which he has been starved of recently. As much as we all meme about his Lee Sin, he’s a very good Lee player. He just had a tough couple of games on the champion, and it’s had to be banned more as of late due to other new players in the league being just as proficient. Stick him back on some champs that can carry from the jungle, pairing it with some tanks up Top and in Support, and he’ll be back in action.
Last week, Jankos posted a frankly disappointing 3/11/11 K/D/A, earning 27.42 points. The loss against Schalke was unacceptable considering the talent in the team, but thankfully they managed to stem the bleeding with a comeback victory against Rogue. And guess what? Jankos was able to play a carry champion that game, and targeted the back line as he needed to. I think this week won’t be an easy one for G2 considering their form, but I have every faith they’ll pick up a vital 2-0 here to solidify their claim for a playoffs spot, and a shot at Worlds as a result.
MID: Special (XL, vs S04 & MSF)
This is shaping up to be a potentially dicey week for Excel, but Special could be a shrewd pick for some big points, and I can almost guarantee he’s looking for an owner in your league right now.
After a dreadful 0-4 start to the Summer split, Excel have really found their feet, and just in time for a playoffs push too. 4 wins in the past 6 games is nothing to sniff at, and provided they don’t completely drop the ball, I can definitely see Excel securing a playoffs spot. While credit should go to all of the team; Patrik has started to step up to the plate, Caedrel is looking much better than before, Kryze has started to look more like the dominant laner I know he can become, and Tore is as involved as ever in the team’s vital moments. However, Special is the one getting the spotlight this week.
Last week Special posted a K/D/A of 8/6/9 in games against SK and VIT, earning a pretty impressive 49.62 points in total. And this week, Special will be staring down the likes of Abbedagge and FEBIVEN. Schalke look to have finally found some form that isn’t abysmal, and a matchup with Misfits can always be a tricky affair. However, I get the feeling that Special will be an integral part in continuing XL’s good run towards a playoffs spot, so if you’re in need of a new midlaner, he might be worth taking a look at.
ADC: WildTurtle (FLY, vs 100T & EG this week)
Disclaimer: I would advise against picking up both Wildturtle and Huni, but I feel Wildturtle could also be in for a big points week here.
WildTurtle has been around the pro scene for 8 years now, and still manages to be a high-level ADC; that’s no mean feat. Despite being benched briefly for MasH early on in the split, WildTurtle has fought his way back in and has been outputting the performances to warrant his spot in the starting roster.
Last week, WildTurtle posted up 58.28 points with a total K/D/A of 9/3/10, which was pretty impressive considering last week they were up against TL and GG. This upcoming week, WildTurtle and the rest of Flyquest will be facing off against EG’s Bang and 100T’s Cody Sun. The match against Evil Geniuses will be a bit of a tough one for FLY; while it’s likely that both will still qualify for playoffs, EG are hot on FLY’s heels, sitting just one place behind in 5th. I expect this match will be very hotly contested, and I wouldn’t be too shocked if EG emerge victorious from this matchup. 100Thieves should not be completely written off, but they’re struggling to put together a tangible run of form right now; as soon as they have a good couple of results, they go and lose in near-spectacular fashion. It’s baffling to watch. I expect Flyquest will be the ones clearing house here and destroying the nexus, as opposed to a 100T victory, which would be surprising.
SUPPORT: LIMIT (SK, vs MSF & RGE this week)
SK’s redemption arc has been spectacular to watch; from holding up the foot of the table with Schalke last split to being a dark horse for a Worlds spot, it’s definitely been entertaining and has given me a lot to write about. While Crownshot, ZaZee and Jenax have been integral to SK’s snowballing skill and seeing the games out, we need to put some more respect on LIMIT’s name.
LIMIT is a spectacular Bard, who as a champion is really strong right now considering the number of enchanters that are present in the meta like Yuumi and Senna. Furthermore, LIMIT is also comfortable playing enchanters, and is also a dab hand at tanks like Nautilus and Thresh. Simply put, LIMIT can play whatever the team needs to work best, and is very flexible in his playstyle. This is undoubtedly a big reason why Crownshot has been able to command the Bot lane so much this split.
Last week, LIMIT posted a K/D/A of 2/5/23, earning an impressive 48.72 points as a result. And what’s more, the week before he notched up 80.66 points, further showing his prowess in the role. This week, SK could have a tough set of opponents in Misfits and Rogue, but we’ve seen that Rogue have some definite weaknesses, and I can see LIMIT looking to exploit any opportunities that Hans Sama and Vander allow him. Misfits are struggling for form right now, and while we shouldn’t write them off, I think it’s 65-35 in favour of SK gaining that extra 50 gold from taking out the Nexus rather than Misfits. LIMIT could be in for a very good weekend.
UTILITY: Upset (OG, vs MAD & S04 this week)
It’s slightly less likely that Upset is a Free Agent in your league right now, but if he is, he might be worth a look for this week.
This split so far has not been kind to Origen; they’ve struggled to find a good run of form, and a lot of the blame has been saddled onto the bot lane duo of Upset and Destiny, the latter of whom was benched by Jactroll. It’s looking more and more likely that Origen will not be claiming a Worlds spot considering the strength of the teams above them. However, don’t write them off. On his day, Upset can pull off some shock victories and some incredible points totals.
Last week, Upset earned a dismal 18.52 points from matches against Vitality and Fnatic, but there is a chance that they’ll bounce back with some big totals this week. The week before against Misfits and G2, Upset posted up 80.44 points, showing that despite Origen’s tough split, they can still rack up some big totals. This week’s matches are a mixed bag- MAD should close a game out against OG pretty easily, but if OG can exploit their (admittedly few) weaknesses, they could be in for a good game there. And while S04 are building up some form right now, I still think they’re a long way off from being able to compete at that sort of level long-term. I don’t know if they have much else left in the tank.
TEAM: Flyquest (vs 100T & EG this week)
When it comes to team slots, Flyquest are a pretty solid choice. The team as a whole is very objective-centric, and Santorin’s command of the jungle recently has allowed him to go nuts with Drakes and Heralds, and as soon as they win a big teamfight post-20 minutes, you can bet on them heading straight to the Baron pit. Their good results so far this season have meant that their lanes are pushing more often than not, leading to a lot of matches where they wipe every tower and inhibitor off the map.
Last week, if you played the Flyquest team, you would have got an impressive 39.00 points, thanks to them clearing 19 towers, getting 8 dragons, 2 Barons, 1 Elder Dragon and 1 First Turret. I can definitely foresee another big points week for FLY in their matches against 100T and EG, so if you’re in need of another team for your slot, you should definitely consider FLY.
Well, that about wraps up this week’s Players to Watch! Am I 200IQing it or is it more 2IQ? Let me know if you have any success with the picks- best of luck for your playoffs matches, and I’ll see you all next week!