Saturday, January 11, 2020

January 13th: LPL Spring Opening Day

LPL Spring 2020
Opening Day

Well here we are. Our first actual action of the actual 2020 season! No more pre-season tournaments it's the real deal! I'd direct you to check out our LPL Pre-Season Tier List episode of The Gold Card Podcast (wherever you can find podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean, etc). We dive pretty deep on each roster, our expectations both as an aggregated cast and individually. Basing off of a combination of these factors and expected trajectory for some of these squads I'm seeing a TON of value in our first set of matches!

For you new comers, I have a 1 to 5+ unit range which is a blend of confidence in the research, perceived value, and a little tiny bit of "gut." I know people hate that word in these parts but I've been at this for awhile and I'm willing to listen to it when it's telling me something fishy is going on. 


Monday January 13th, 4am Eastern

FunPlus Phoenix -230 (-1.5 @ +132)
Invictus Gaming +166 (+1.5 @ -181)

FunPlus are, and should be, the favorites to win the LPL Spring Split. Can you really blame anyone for that? This team not only added superstar top laner Khan from SKT but this current metagame is absolutely perfect for FPX. As a matter of fact I'd argue this metagame is significantly better for them than the Worlds meta was and they still dominated that tournament. There's always the chance of a championship hangover but we kept wondering where the "let down" games would be last year and they just never came. Maybe it's different now that they've been crowned but FPX are deserving favorites in this spot.

Invictus are a team I'm still fairly high on despite a wild offseason relative to their recent years. The new bot lane of Puff and Southwind (presumably...) should bring their chemistry from playing together all last year but are almost definitely a downgrade to JackeyLove and Baolan. It's looking like Leyan will get the start in jungle and while people tend to be down on him because "he's not Ning" he wasn't bad most of the year last year. And obviously stud solo laners TheShy and Rookie return. 

I don't hate the "hangover" angle here. While I have FunPlus #1 and in my S+ Tier and Invictus are in the next group of S Tier teams (I have them at #3). This is normally a spot I'd love the underdog in but I'm having some reservations about the new players getting acclimated. That said, you know Invictus have had this match circled ever since the schedule was made. Hell I'd argue they've had this match circled ever since they started offseason training. EVERYONE wants to knock off the former world champs! I'm going to place a light wager on Invictus here. I think that FunPlus are a superior team but when given so much time to prepare and given the extremely high variance of League of Legends in it's current form I'm going to be favoring underdogs early in the season, especially ones with so much talent. If the teams are even remotely close in talent I'm going to be liking the dogs until further notice when either the game changes or better teams figure out ways to push their advantages or recover from mistakes.

Moneyline: Invictus Gaming @ +166 (1 unit)

LNG eSports -162 (-1.5 @ +162)
LGD Gaming +120 (+1.5 @ -222)

LGD have a lot of mediocre players plus Kramer and, maybe, Peanut. I'm not quite as down on Peanut as a lot of people but to me this team has an extremely limited ceiling. They haven't brought in a lot of prospects or young players to try out it's mostly just recycled veterans. Sometimes, early in the season that can be a good thing because they're more comfortable with transitioning teams or teammates and are generally "are what they are" but in this situation I think they're just outclassed in all but the bottom lane. I have LGD #15 and in my D Tier

LNG added stud jungler Xx from TOP and Maple from Suning. While Maple, and really Suning as a whole, struggled last season, I can't help but think that a player that's been as good as he's been in his career still has something left in the tank and might have just needed a new coaching staff or a change of scenery. Whatever was happening with Suning last year just had a weird vibe about it. That team should have been much better.. I've digressed but I like the look of this LNG lineup A LOT. If you consider how strongly they ended the season, which included that stunning upset of Invictus in the playoffs as well as these additions, I can't help but think they'll be in contention for playoffs yet again. I have LNG #11 and in my B Tier.

So I just mentioned in the previous match that I'm going to be favoring underdogs given the generally higher variance present in the game right now but I included the caveat "if the teams are even remotely close in talent." I'm operating under the assumption that Maple isn't washed up but rather had a frustrating year last year. I'm talking about him a lot because, to me, he should outclass Yuuki OR Fenfen pretty badly in the mid lane if he's even a good portion of his former self. Even during his struggling last season we saw Maple put up the following performances against LGD:

Summer vs LGD Game 1: 
7-2-4, 344 cs on Sylas in a 35:42 min win vs Yuuki's 4-4-2, 236 cs Akali

Yuuki overextended multiple times but Maple was able to comb waves in a way to set up easy ganks for WeiWei's Xin. Maple dealt 14k damage second in the game only to SmLz's 19.5 and it was more than everyone on LGD.

Summer vs LGD Game 2: 
1-0-13, 210 cs in a 32:13 win vs Yuuki's 0-4-4, 243 cs Sylas

Maple didn't really blow this out of the water but bodied this lane pretty hard and really limited Yuuki's options.

Spring vs LGD Game 2+3:
Yuuki didn't play in these games but after a rough game one by Angel, Maple was subbed in and proceeded to go a combined 11-0-17 against Ian. 

I mention the games against Ian because, presumably, Lies and Kramer could still start and historically Maple has always completely owned LGD. They've received an upgrade to the carousel they had at jungle last season in Peanut (regardless of questions I think he's an upgrade) but Maple also has a new stud jungler to replace H4cker who was also good.

Overall I have LNG in the playoff conversation as a B Tier team while LGD are firmly in my D Tier as a definite non-playoff team. There is a non-zero chance this crew of ragtag veterans can do something but it'd have to be near their ceiling of play. I also think the game is in a great spot for the way LNG played last year and if this team is anything like that then it's even better. I'm laying the -162 with LNG even considering my preference for underdogs early in the season. I just think this team has significantly more talent and I expected this number to be closer to -200. That said, we're going to temper our wager due to early season rust, building of chemistry, and the overall variance of the game. Hopefully Kramer doesn't hard carry!

Moneyline: LNG eSports @ -145 (1.45 units)(5Dimes)

Spread: LNG eSports -1.5 @ +175 (0.5 units)(5Dimes)

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