LOL World Championship Play-Ins: September 28 (Worlds 2)
Christopher Troeh guides you through the League of Legends North American (LCS) & European (LEC) World Championship Play-Ins for esports DFS contests!
The second set of games on 9/28 are much clearer and obvious than the first: Team Liquid looks to collect their free win against last place ITZ, and Supermassive faces a LGC who they are stylistically favored against.
I referenced this very early in my play-in predictions: INTZ is the worst team at worlds. I’m sorry for being cruel, but the Brazilian representatives are clearly outmatched by every other team, even V3 was capable of at least securing one win, which looks unlikely for the Brazilians. A large factor in their lack of success is their poor jungler, Shini, and poor bottom lane. Tay is a relatively solid top laner in his own right, but only having competent solo laners is rarely enough to win a game, just look at IG in China (we miss you, TheShy). Meanwhile, Liquid’s bottom lane is one of the best in play-ins, if not the best. CoreJJ and Tactical fit excellently together, while micaO has been seriously underwhelming. Otherwise, I’d recommend Captaining KaKAO, since I think Babip will be crushed by a team that plays for their jungler.
Alternatives to consider: KaKAO ($10,500)
From a pure saving money perspective, I think Topoon is the best choice for top lane. Despite getting stomped by Impact, I think picking Sylas into a notorious tank player’s Ornn is trolling unless you seriously know what you’re doing. Topoon thrives on ranged match-ups, as indicated by his performance on Mammoth and earlier this year, and I think if Topoon ever has an opportunity to pull out something like his Neeko, it will be against Armut. I don’t think Topoon is a good player, but I don’t think Armut will be capable of punishing him, and I still believe that Topoon’s pool is good into weak side tank players: his ranged champions should be capable of denying them a safe early game. I don’t really want to recommend any other top laner, but I think Impact will beat Tay. Tay has been a pretty good player on ITZ despite their 0-3 record, but Impact looks like the best top laner in his group, so he’s a safe bet.
Alternatives to consider: Impact ($6,400)
I have no real reservations about this pick, Shini has been really bad on ITZ and a lot of ITZ’s early games have just went boom off of really bad jungling decisions. Shini had a singular good game against Shad0w’s Evelynn, which in itself is an abomination. Otherwise, his Nidalee was crushed by KaKAO, and his Volibear got outcleared by Babip. Broxah’s performance against Babip has lent me faith in his ability to crush inferior junglers, and I simply don’t have high expectations for Shini if Babip got crushed as hard as he did. For my secondary jungle pick, I’d recommend KaKAO, since I believe he will be the player, alongside their bottom lane, who will bring SUP victory over LGC.
Alternatives to consider: KaKAO ($7,000)
Tally is another “save” pick for other members on the team: I think Tally has a high amount of potential relative to his status as a wildcard mid laner. Babip and him showed up strong against ITZ, and it helps to a degree that ITZ’s best player is likely Envy. Tally has had to contend with a bottom lane not translating well to the international stage, but I don’t think he will be significantly punished by Bolulu as long as they navigate his pool. The worst case scenario is he will have to pick some sort of control mage, like Orianna, against Bolulu’s Vel’koz. Otherwise, Bolulu resulting to picking Lulu doesn’t make him strike me as particularly threatening, while I think Tally is capable of bringing LGC victories if the day is right. Otherwise, I wouldn’t really want to pick Jensen or Envy considering that Envy is the best player on ITZ, but I’ll give it to Jensen based on the fact that he, and Liquid, are currently playing very well, while ITZ is last in the group, I wouldn’t be surprised if ITZ and Envy have just lost hope and given up.
Alternatives to consider: Jensen ($7,600)
Zeitnot ($7,8 00)
Raes was really exciting in his ascent to OPL champion, and he showed a lot of promise as an ADC. I think he still may be capable of being the superior ADC on the day, but I ultimately have my doubts: his performance against ITZ made me want to remove the “W” key from my own keyboard. I still think he’s good, but Zeitnot played really well against both ITZ and MAD Lions. I do have a few reservations, since both games Zeitnot was on Senna, but he has been capable of showing up well domestically on picks like Caitlyn too. Overall, I have high hopes for Zeitnot and Snowflower, especially since Raes’s partner Isles has looked relatively bad in play-ins this far. If you haven’t picked up Tactical yet, make sure you do so now- he’s the most important player on the day.
Alternatives to consider: Tactical ($7,600)
This is absurdly mean but Redbert may just be the worst player at worlds this year. He had one okay game of Bard against Isles’s Nautilus, but his Leona against Supermassive was laughable. Kaiser stomped his Alistar too. CoreJJ has looked spectacular in play-ins, and he’s one of the best supports at this stage alongside Kaiwing. He’s a former world champion against a wildcard player who is struggling against fellow Wildcards. If he’s dismantled this badly against Snowflower, I really don’t want to see what CoreJJ will do to Redbert. I’m sorry, but the choice here is obvious: CoreJJ all the way. My second pick is Snowflower, since I think Isles has been playing pretty poorly since entering play-ins.
Alternatives to consider: Snowflower ($5,400)
The two matches today are cut-and-dry in my book: Legacy hasn’t shown enough side lane firepower in order to assist their jungle/mid aside from miniscule leads in top lane by virtue of match-ups. Isles seems to be a pretty big liability on the international stage, and Raes isn’t playing to expectations. I expect Babip to be set behind due to the degree SUP play for their jungler, too. Stylistically, I think Supermassive will crush LGC. From a value perspective, they’re the better pick. However, I will be highly surprised if ITZ graduates the group stage with a single win after losing their first 3 matches, especially if they somehow manage to beat Team Liquid, who look like the best team in their group.
Alternatives to consider: Team Liquid ($5,600)
Tactical & CoreJJ
I’ve talked about these two before and I’ll likely have to talk about them a million more times, at this point I’m just trying to find creative things to say about them. Kaiser and Carzzy were no chance for the Liquid bottom lane, and they’re probably the most “complete” bottom lane out of all of the North American representatives, in the regard that neither are a liability to each other and they don’t have some sort of weird play style that could get exploited (see: FlyQuest). I just like seeing these two play together, they do well, they win. ITZ’s bottom lane is one of the worst spots on their roster too, so it adds up nicely.
Topoon & Tally
I like the Australian solo laners together because they’re each as cheap as dirt and both of SUP’s solo laners play for KaKAO, which leaves them open to acquire their own advantages independently. Topoon specifically can leverage his unique pool over Armut, who is typically stuck playing weak side, defensive top laners. Tally is simply mechanically better than Bolulu, and if LGC can prepare for SUP, it will at least be a close game, despite the fact that I believe SUP will win either way.
KaKAO & Snowflower
Before these two joined SUP, the team looked lost. These two are no strangers to the Turkish region, or even having each other as teammates. Jungle/support synergy is really important to a functioning team, and it helps having two players of the same nationality in a foreign country when it comes to fostering synergy. The Koreans of SUP are likely their best players (depending on where you’d rate Zeitnot) and are the driving engine of success for their team.
Top Picks: Tactical, Broxah, KaKAO
There is a world where it’s worth it to pick up Broxah as captain and KaKAO as jungler. I think Broxah simply has too easy of a game against Shini on ITZ, to the point where I think Wiggily presents him more of a challenge. On the other hand, I think KaKAO will simply enslave his laners so he can beat Babip senselessly. It helps that KaKAO has looked good recently, even against pretty good competition in Korea, he’s certainly on his form and Supermassive appear willing to facilitate anything he wants to do. Tactical is an easy choice, as micaO and especially Redbert have looked really awful on ITZ, and very exploitable for the Brazilian representatives.
Top Value: Tally, Topoon, Broxah
Like I said before, I expect LGC to lose, but I think their solo laners have stylistically favorable match-ups into their opponents. Armut and Bolulu exist to be sentinels of KaKAO, so Topoon and Tally should go relatively unpunished in the early stages of the game, especially with their champion pools. Topoon’s proficiency on ranged top laners should lend him a considerable advantage over the tank-based Armut. Broxah is just a solid choice since he’s playing against the worst jungler in play-ins, and he’s not even as expensive as the premium, team-in-one KaKAO