This article was written by our amazing Community Member Max. Go give him a follow on Twitter!
Welcome back ladies and gents, to Max’s Players to Watch! We had a pretty good week last week, all things considered. Let’s break down the choices from last week:
TOP: Kumo – 20.96 points
JUNGLE: Santorin – 55.74 points
MID: Humanoid – 45.42 points
ADC: Tactical – 37.74 points
SUPPORT: Tore – 25.48 points
TEAM: Evil Geniuses – 31.00 points
UTILITY: Larssen – 55.46 points
Overall, not a bad result! Kumo and Tore are the only ones to be sub-30 points, but their positions aren’t often known for massive points. Let’s use this one as a bouncing point to get that full 7/7! Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.
TOP: Alphari (Origen, versus RGE and VIT this week)
Despite a shaky start to the split, Origen look to be a definite contender for top 4 this split, and a Worlds spot as a result. While Nukeduck and Upset can definitely throw their hats into the ring for being a big part of this, it’s important to not overlook the contributions being made in the Top lane. Alphari is another of those players that is dependable, and will hardly ever lose you the game, and his prowess on tanks and bruisers such as Aatrox opens up a lot of playmaking potential for Upset and Nukeduck, and he seems pretty at-home on Kayle too, meaning as long as Origen can stall to the late game, Alphari is bound to rack up some kills.
Last week Alphari posted up 41.84 points, with a K/D/A of 3/1/11 in games against leaders MAD Lions and bottom-of-the-barrel Schalke 04. Not massive, but respectable. This week OG have a difficult week to predict; I imagine their match against Rogue will be hotly contested, but I expect Alphari to flex his experience over Finn, and soak up plenty of jungle pressure. Vitality started off looking hot-to-trot, but have cooled off significantly. However, they shouldn’t be understated, lest you fall the same way G2 did. It is a matchup of veteran Top laners in Alphari vs Cabochard, but the better carry potential from Origen makes me lean towards Alphari and Co winning this one as well.
JUNGLE: Shad0w (MAD Lions, vs MSF and S04 this week)
Shad0w looks the business. The MAD Lions jungler declined an offer to join EDG at the start of the year because he ‘didn’t like how hands-on they were with players’ and that paid off massively for MAD- they have a top 3 jungler, along with top 3 of pretty much every other role too. Nobody could have predicted just how well MAD adapted to the LEC, and barring any major crises or unforeseen events, they’re a shoe-in for a Worlds spot.
Last week owners of Shad0w were laughing all the way to the (fantasy) bank, with him notching up a K/D/A of 2/2/15, grabbing 42.36 points on the way. Considering they were up against some stiff competition in Rogue and Origen, and being put on Volibear/Ivern, Shad0w showed he should still be feared, even on champs that aren’t Lee Sin.
This week Shad0w and the Mad Lads face off against Schalke 04 and Misfits. Their match on Saturday against Misfits might cause some drama- MSF look much stronger, and are looking to find their stride after some shaky gameweeks. A 2-0 week last week will help with their confidence, but I expect MAD Lions to show their quality here. And as for Schalke… well, even though it’s only a 10-team league, I imagine Schalke would somehow find a way to finish 11th. The only risk here is that MAD might finish the game too quickly, meaning they can’t pad their stats. Shad0w is a definite ‘must-pick’ if he’s still SOMEHOW a free agent in your league.
MID: PowerOfEvil (Flyquest, vs EG and TL this week)
No matter how you try to escape, you cannot be rid of the EU mids.
PowerOfEvil always seems to be a strong pick-he will post decent K/D/As even when Flyquest lose, and he has yet to post a week this split that went below 58.00 points. PoE is a perfect mix of quality and consistency, and he is behind a lot of Flyquest’s success in the past year.
Last week PowerOfEvil posted a K/D/A of 8/1/11, netting his owners a tidy 63.00 points. While one of these matches was against the arguably average Golden Guardians, most of his points came against CLG, who at the time were tied with FLY for second. PoE isn’t afraid of the big matches, and his points show this.
This week PowerOfEvil comes up against EG’s Jiizuke and TL’s Jensen to continue the battle for 2nd. Both of these matches will be tough for FLY, and while they aren’t underdogs in either game, they’ll easily fall should they underestimate their opponents. While EG looks great, they’ve been shown to be beatable, and provided they can get a good counter pick for PoE into Jiizuke, they should see this one out. TL could well come out to surprise us, but they’re still not nearly as good as they were last year. Jensen is a great laner, and while TL fans should be getting hopeful of pushing for playoffs and maybe a Worlds spot, they still have a way to go, and I feel FLY’s more stable and practiced team comp will come out on top.
ADC: Doublelift (TSM, vs GG and CLG this week)
It’s nice to see Doublelift getting back to his old self.
As we mentioned last week, Doublelift had his most-phoned in split ever in Spring. He was right to get benched for Tactical and then eventually traded. However, Doublelift is looking to silence his doubters, who have been all too vocal lately, and he’s on his way to doing it. TSM are 4-2, tied for 2nd in the standings, and that guy in ADC has been at the forefront of TSM’s resurgence and push for Worlds spots.
Last week Doublelift had a brilliant week, notching an overall K/D/A of 12/6/10 along with 1 First Blood, earning 68.68 points in the process. This is a difference of only 1.22 points compared to the week before, with equally stiff opposition. This week, TSM face off against Golden Guardians and Counter Logic Gaming to continue their push for 2nd. Doublelift’s experience should come in handy here- he’s vastly more experienced than emerging GG bot laner FBI, and I expect him to flex this experience and rule the lane again. Stixxay and Smoothie may not be as smooth as FBI and Huhi, but Doublelift knows Stixxay’s play style inside and out, having matched up against him countless times in the past, with Doublelift usually coming out on top. It should be another, if slightly smaller, win for Doublelift here.
SUPPORT: Labrov (Vitality, vs XL and OG this week)
This could be a risky one, but Vitality’s schedule this week means he count be worth a punt.
Vitality have looked a completely different team this split. Nji coming in, along with Milica and Labrov, has rocketed this once bottom-barrel team into a fight for playoffs, and possibly more. And it should not be understated just how much Labrov has improved the bot lane; no longer is Comp having to play safe and await the next tactical int from Jactroll; he can actually play aggressively, and Labrov has the champion pool, along with the macro, to enable him.
Last week in games against Misfits and SK Gaming, Labrov notched a K/D/A of 0/3/17, getting a very respectable 31.96 points. Coming up this week, Labrov and the rest of Vitality will face off against Excel and Origen to keep their playoff hopes stoked. Origen will be a tough ask; they look very good, and Upset is a bot laner to be feared. However, Vitality showed in Week 1 that they have the quality to take down top opposition, and Origen isn’t out of their reach in the slightest. Excel are languishing near the bottom of the table, and while they may have had a 1-1 week last time round, their habit of throwing in the mid game could mean some big chances, and big points as a result, for Vitality players.
TEAM: Misfits (vs MAD & G2 this week)
Okay, this one is even riskier than Labrov, but if you get this one wrong, it won’t be the end of the world, and Misfits could make the upcoming week a positive one for them.
Misfits haven’t been as good as they should be this split so far; Perhaps it’s some team cohesion, perhaps the meta doesn’t favour them, perhaps it’s the team choices. However, they looked to have gotten back to their old selves with a tidy 2-0 last week, and this week Misfits face a potentially weakened G2; Perkz is sitting this week out due to stress, and P1noy is subbing in at ADC. While G2’s quality is still superior to Misfits in most positions, a full-strength and on-a-roll MSF will have a fair deal more momentum than G2 coming into this week. The matchup on Saturday against MAD Lions will be tough; they seem to execute Misfits’ playstyle, but better, and they’re deservedly on top of the standings. However, this split has been one of upsets so far. Who knows?
Plus when Misfits are winning, they usually end up sweeping all towers and inhibitors, and Razork is incredibly active in the jungle with regards to Dragons and Barons. They could pick up some nice points this week; it’s a big ask, but they have momentum on their side.
UTILITY: ZaZee (SK Gaming, vs FNC and RGE this week)
Since joining SK before the start of the Summer split, ZaZee has looked a vast improvement in the mid lane compared to Jenax, who has been having a great time up Top. While SK has arguably been the Crownshot show a lot of the time, ZaZee’s performances in Mid are not to be overlooked and enable Crownshot to play as aggressively as he has been.
While ZaZee didn’t have the hottest week last time round, he still posted a K/D/A of 5/4/7, earning 36.98 points. Considering one of these matches was against G2, that’s pretty respectable points-wise, and in previous weeks he’s earned 50.14 points and 42.36 points. He’s an underrated points earner.
This week could be an interesting one. I would normally say a match of SK and FNC would be a clear Fnatic victory, but Fnatic is a team in free-fall right now. Nothing is clicking for them, and if they don’t sort it out soon they’ll miss out on Worlds. Normally after a tough week, Fnatic would come out the gates and absolutely batter a team the next week, sort of like Manchester City when they drop points. However, they haven’t been doing this; instead, they’re rolling over and seemingly throwing in the towel. A match against Rogue could be juicy- these two teams are both competing for a shot at a Worlds spot, and while I expect Rogue to edge SK, anything can happen in the LEC this split.
That about wraps it up for this week on Picks to Watch! Am I 200Iqing this, or completely inting it? Let me know, and stay tuned for next week’s edition! See you then.