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Kelsey Moser's LPL Roundup: the home stretch

by theScore Staff Apr 5 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of LPL / LPL Screengrab

The weeks go by quicker as matches begin to blur together. It’s down to the wire and playoffs seeding is all but decided.

A battle over Group B’s last playoff spot wages on even after Group A has been decided. Almost everything will hinge on the match between Oh My God and Vici Gaming considering that VG need to win this to avoid playing in relegations.

QG continue to spiral, Royal Club have begun experimenting with a new identity to go along with their new AD carry. EDward Gaming look more like the favorites, and LGD remain on their upswing, extending their series win streak by beating Team WE 2-0.

Top 3 Takeaways

1. Energy Pacemaker All can make it back to the LPL

The law of Energy Pacemaker is that they must play the promotion tournament. The team alternatively known as “Energy Promotion Always” have dropped once again to the relegation pit, unlike last spring they look like a team that can return to the LPL.

Huang "Crisis" Zhen takes games into his own hands and snowballs EPA’s early game out of control, leading me to wonder whether EPA actually think they’ll win games where they accumulate 1,000-2,000 gold leads in the early stages or if they expect to throw. A strong early game is a staple of LSPL teams who often play to win lane and carry through. EPA have the ability to do it against some of the top LPL teams.

Even if EPA return to the LPL, however, they likely won’t be a top team again. There’s just more to be said for them than either Masters3 or Hyper Youth Gaming, who also look to be scraping the bottom. If EPA can take out M3 in their final confrontation, they’ll have a much better chance to make it back this summer.

2. Oh My God, Invictus Gaming, and Vici Gaming are smart at times, but not good

Choi “DanDy” Inkyu’s shattered countenance as he held his head in his hands after VG’s loss to EDward Gaming spoke volumes. With two sets left, one against Oh My God, VG can hope for, at best, fourth place to scrape into the playoffs. They’ve been battling with OMG and iG for the coveted playoffs seed and things look bleak.

VG ran a smart Ekko and Bard composition against EDward Gaming and managed to add a Lulu to the mix. The amount of “just kidding” moments that filled the set hinted at VG’s strategic capabilities, but fumbles by Duan “caveMan” Deliang's Bard meant that VG’s skill didn’t meet the height of their ambitions. In more skilled hands, the composition could have easily shut down EDward Gaming.

Invictus Gaming have met similar stumbling blocks with intelligent drafts let down by their bottom lane. Oh My God have a slight advantage in that they have some ability to play around their weaknesses rather than trying to build them up with heavier map pressure games. DanDy said he prefers to gank the duo lane because it allows two players to get ahead instead of just one. So far, that hasn’t happened.

VG, iG, and OMG have all shown some of the better ideas in the LPL, but their execution never follows through.

3. I will not hype LGD Gaming

LGD defeated WE, the most threatening team in Group A following QG’s apparent collapse. They played a smart Azir and Twitch composition, and their traditional carries, Gu “imp” Seungbin and Wei “We1less” Zhen went home with MVP honors.

But I won’t hype LGD Gaming. They haven’t adequately shown they’ve rectified infrastructural flaws, and they’re still rough around the edges. Chen “pyl” Bo mentioned he is currently unable to play a style comfortable to him, and their new top-centric style may hinder them as they head toward Patch 6.6.

RELATED: pyl on LGD Gaming: 'we've been practicing lane swaps a lot in scrims, it has helped our communication'

I’m not falling for it, LGD.

Weeklies

Weeklies consist of two of the most concept-oriented series or games and two of the most back-and-forth and exciting games or series to watch for entertainment.

Concept 1: EDward Gaming vs. Vici Gaming Game 1

Vici Gaming’s Ekko-Lulu-Bard comp should have been impossible to deal with. The amount of disengage and re-engage this composition provides is terrifying. Unfortunately, caveMan’s Bard ultimates were often sloppy, and EDward Gaming could find openings for kiting.

Tong “koro1” Yang told press after the game that to play around this kind of composition, you need to be conservative with engagements and kite more. EDward Gaming waited for cooldowns to be burnt before going all-in and took the game.

Concept 2: WE vs. LGD Gaming Game 2

Who doesn’t love a Twitch comp? Gnar and Azir provide a heavy amount of disengage and terrain creation for Twitch to stay safe in close quarters. Kindred creates an easy in and out for Twitch’s stealth. Add a Thresh for an extra escape, and this composition had everything imp needed to make his favorite composition work in a hazardous meta.

imp told reporters after the game that he simply picked Twitch to counter the Lucian even though he hadn’t played it for a long time. The draft itself was really well-executed, and though LGD had difficulty fending off WE’s Ryze and Xiang "Condi" Renjie’s Baron steals, it’s a game worth watching to see this composition in action.

Bloodbath 1: Oh My God vs Invictus Gaming Game 3

Many players in the LPL seem to be of the opinion that Yu “Cool” Jiajun is only a threat when he plays Twisted Fate. Invictus Gaming took and chance and let it through in Game 3, choosing Viktor as a counter, but cool’s persistence and ability to travel around the map still proved annoying.

Despite this, OMG had a really hard time closing out the game. Song “RooKie” Eujin’s Viktor was unkillable in the late game, and he did his best to make cool’s backdoor attempts miserable and prevent OMG from getting an advantage in team fights.

Bloodbath 2: Royal Never Give Up vs EDward Gaming Game 1

I love Sivir and Sivir comps. Royal Never Give Up had a great one in this game. Maokai couldn’t get past Azir to touch Royal’s Sivir, and the team took Game 1 with strong flanks. More comps like this from Royal and less of whatever happened in Game 3, please.

MVP: deft

Let’s be honest, this award could have gone to either member of EDward Gaming’s bottom lane. Tian “meiko” Ye was almost always in the right place at the right time to disrupt the enemy team’s progress or engage the right fight. Kim “deft” Hyukkyu returned the favor by dishing out a ludicrous amount of damage, topping out at 40.5 percent of his team’s damage in EDG's final game against Vici Gaming.

deft played five games, and out-performed his opponents in nearly all of them, and coming through once again as EDward Gaming’s main carry the way he did last spring. EDward Gaming are often about Ming “clearlove” Kai lately, but this week was all deft. He’s definitely back on top.

“That’s so China” pick: Twisted Fate

While Twisted Fate sees play in other regions as a pocket pick for mid laners like Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, it’s well ingrained in the League of Legends Pro League's meta. Teams have touted Twisted Fate as a counter for Azir as it brings powerful wave clear and a stun to hold him down for trades. Most importantly, as RooKie said following the series in which TF was picked by both him and his opponent to counter Azir, “Teleport is very good against it.” Many times, Azir doesn’t bring Teleport, and it’s hard for Azir to deal with Twisted Fate’s ability to just ignore the lane completely and create pressure elsewhere.

With the popularity of skirmishes and picks in the LPL, Twisted Fate is a strong pick. Double globals continue to dominate the region, and Twisted Fate is right at home. The Chinese have decided more Azir means more Twisted Fate, so he’ll be porting around for quite a while.

10 series in 10 words or less

1. EPA vs. QG

Honestly just a mess.

2. M3 vs. Snake

Revenge of the swaps.

3. RNG vs. EDG

Don’t take Maokai into Azir.

4. OMG vs. iG

Oh My God know how to play around fights.

5. M3 vs. QG

Apparently Borisal plays more safely than Doinb.

6. EPA vs. Snake

Always first pick Kalista.

7. WE vs. LGD

These games didn’t need to be this long, thanks Condi.

8. VG vs. EDG

Good draft, bad execution.

9. HYG vs. iG

Enjoy LSPL, Hyper Youth Gaming.

10. RNG vs. OMG

NaMei falls behind in lane to look better in comebacks.

Standings Summary

Placement Group A Score Group B Score
1. QG Reapers 11-4 Royal Never Give Up 11-3
2. Team WE 9-5 EDward Gaming 11-4
3. Snake eSports 9-5 Oh My God 8-6
4. LGD Gaming 6-8 Invictus Gaming 8-7
5. Masters3 3-11 Vici Gaming 6-8
6. Energy Pacemaker All 3-12 Hyper Youth Gaming 1-13

Assuming Oh My God and Invictus Gaming lose to Royal Never Give Up and EDward Gaming, the most important match of the week should be between OMG and Vici Gaming. If Vici Gaming can also defeat Hyper Youth Gaming, the team that has thus far only won a single best-of-three series, a win over OMG would force a three-way tie for third place that will be decided by individual match records. Since Vici Gaming have had more 1-2 losses, their overall win percentage may end up being higher than OMG’s or iG’s, putting them in third seed. If Vici Gaming lose to OMG, however, they’ll drop out of the playoffs.

Royal Never Give Up have lost to Invictus Gaming once already. If this should happen again and EDward Gaming win their remaining series, this would force a match record tiebreaker for first seed into playoffs. It is expected that RNG will finish first in their group barring an upset, though both RNG and EDG should win their remaining matches.

In Group A, LGD Gaming are locked into fourth, but WE and Snake can both make a bid for QG’s spot by winning their remaining series. They play each other, Snake plays LGD Gaming, and WE plays QG Reapers. This battle for top seed could very well be close and exciting, as at the moment, QG Reapers’ sudden mid lane roster change has removed their team fighting prowess in addition to their already discarded double freeze strategy.

QG seemingly have nothing left to stand on. Zhang "Mor" Hongwei has said that the absence Kim “Doinb” Taesang’s communication has made their lane swaps even sloppier, and their team fight calls seem more indecisive. This will be a rough week for QG, but if they retain their first seed, they have more time to work out the kinks.

Energy Pacemaker All and Masters3 are tied for fifth place in Group A. They play each other directly, which should determine the final seeding for Promotion if LGD Gaming defeat Masters3 earlier in the week. EPA look like the better team at the moment, and they’ll fight M3 for fifth seed, which gives them more of a chance to return to the LPL next split.

Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.

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