Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 26th: LPL Playoffs

April 25th Recap:

LCK Finals: 2 - 9 (-7.88 units)

LPL: 4 - 8 (-1.291 units)

Live: 1 - 3 (+1.5 units)

Parlays: 0 - 1 (-1.31 units)

Futures: +7.67 units

Total: -1.301 units

T1 vs Gen.G (Net: +1.79)
Somehow managed to have such a poor finals showing that we ended up barely positive even considering out +7.67 unit futures hedge lock. Gen.G sort of just rolled over and died in this series. A few really uncharacteristic mechanical misplays in the first two games disrupted any sort of momentum Gen.G would have had. 

I gotta give credit to T1. They just show up when it matters time and time again with every single iteration of this roster over the years. Canna is a rookie and made a couple huge plays killing Bdd on the back of fights that looked to be going Gen.G's way. That kind of thing happened multiple times this series. Anytime something looked to be going Gen.G's way somebody on T1 just stepped up and outplayed a situation to completely shut it down.

It's a damn shame we're not going to get an MSI this year so we're going to have to wait until worlds to see T1 against international competition.

That's a wrap for the LCK season. I was more or less spot on about the top three teams. Afreeca crashed and burned, KT Rolster showed some veteran savvy to massively overperform, and DAMWON didn't fix any of their problems or they probably could have been a contender (I know they got 4th, they weren't good this season...). 

The biggest takeaway I have for Korea this split is that drafts were king. It's why APK with their lackluster roster was able to do fine and why the bottom teams remained bad. Any time the good teams lost it was an awful draft. IT was a very binary region much like North America. I'm not comparing the two in skill level just that they have that in common. It's going to be interesting to see the direction the bottom half teams decide to take for the summer. I'll have power rankings out in a few weeks.

EDG / FPX (Net: -1.791)

This was a bizarre series. EDG had a commanding lead in game two that they completely punted away at two separate fights one near dragon pit, the other a blind approach on baron. The baron play was just a bit unlucky, it appeared to me that they thought they were catching FPX mid recall and hoping somebody was already backed so they'd have a numbers advantage. It's a very headsy play and I liked it but FPX hadn't finished and was able to turn the fight. The dragon fight (Doinb Penta) was more jus approaching into Varus being extremely difficult. Honestly that champion somewhat defined both series this morning. Lethality Varus has this bad reputation for falling off but in this new dragon soul world I'm somewhat surprised more poke comps haven't been established world wide. 

EDG played mostly well in this series but FPX are just really damn good. This easily could have gone the distance or even turned into an upset. Aodi was outstanding and probably just earned himself a starting position here or on another team this year or next year.

FunPlus had a few things I'd like to see them clean up but I don't know what else to say, this team is good. They can pull a rabbit out of a hat in so many situations. They're great in set plays, great at trading resources, and great improvisors as well. News flash: FPX is good.


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(all lines are from Nitrogen unless stated otherwise)


LPL (China)

Futures Positions (post in link and on sidebar):

JDG to win Spring: 1.375 units to win 20.875 units

FunPlus to win Spring: 2.125 units to win 5.3125 units
eStar to win Spring: 0.1 units to win 25.0 units

Playoffs - Semifinals

TOP eSports +147 (+1.5 @ -163, +2.5 @ -535)
Invictus Gaming -208 (-1.5 @ +110, -2.5 @ +297)


TOP: 369, Karsa, Knight, JackeyLove, Yuyanjia
IG: TheShy, Leyan, Rookie, Puff, Southwind

Invictus are 13-2, 8-7 ATS
Invictus are 4-1, 1-4 ATS in their past five appearances as favorites

TOP are 3-1, 3-1 ATS as underdogs
All three TOP underdog wins were 2-0
(vs FPX, eStar in week 7, JDG week 4, their loss was to IG)

Everyone is sipping the JackeyLove Kool-Aid. EVERYONE. This is going to be an unpopular opinion but so much of TOP's success the past couple of weeks has so little to do with JackeyLove since he joined. Am I saying he's performing badly? Absolutely not, the dude's has like 800 DPM since re-joining the league. That's never a bad thing. He's a beast, one of the best ADC's in the league.... but he's not the  sole reason TOP are winning like it appears everyone seems to believe.. Normally I'd get all old man "get off my lawn" about the shrine level worship he's getting right now but when someone gets people this excited you're not going to change their minds. Power to you if you love him, that's all fine and good if it gets your jollies off, I just don't get it this ridciulous level of hype.

Clint Eastwood Kids GIF

That said, TOP have looked really good for the most part with him in the lineup. Sometimes a change like this just gives a team a certain confidence level or changes something from a chemistry standpoint that just "clicks."  It's tough to argue with that. Their ability to just outplay you individually at any given time is very potent in a league that doesn't know a fight it won't take. It's what made Invictus so good for so many years... wait, I know that team... we'll get to them in a second.

I thought the last series was the worst TOP have looked since JKL joined the lineup. Was it bad? No. It just wasn't as dominant as the box score or highlight reel would show you. That's something a lot of people don't seem to understand. A lot of times, a highlight outplay is something that either had to happen because you screwed something up or shouldn't have had to happen because you shoulnd't be there in the first place. Frankly, the fewer highlights, the better even if it's less exciting to watch, at least in most cases. 

TOP had great drafts and basic game plans in their Team WE series. Shut the mid-lane down. Easier said than done but on paper it's a pretty easy plan to execute. It helps that WE handed over Syndra twice, a champion that Teacherma's pool simply cannot deal with and effectively pinned him down in two of the four games. I'd argue this lost them both of those games. I can't really hold that against TOP but just keep in mind that it was a pretty "free" win and then WE not adapting after the first loss and running it back was questionable, at least in my opinion but I digress.

What concerned me was TOP's implimentation of their game plan. For example, in game four WE had a very cooldown centric, early-mid spike team composition focused around the Camille ult+Galio ult combination with Aphelios and Camille split push as backup win conditions. TOP opted to go with strong outer lanes, the safe Corki scaling option in the mid lane, and a Lee Sin to help out their side lanes early. It's a bit counterintuitive but having strong outer lanes is going to make it challenging for Teacherma's Galio to find many options for plays which should dampen the effect that the "free" lane he gets to shove Corki in might have. This is all fine and good from a big picture standpoint but TOP has no way to reliably get onto the backline so they were going to have to get ahead early in this game or risk being outmaneuvered early AND outscaled late. So that's the thought process you have to go through when heading into this game. I'd want to get bottom lane or top lane ahead prior to Galio getting six and beat WE to objectives to be able to utilize your poke. 

TOP opted to go for double cull... You could argue that this accelerates them to their mid-game spike but it also completely neuters you in early fights and skirmishes as well as in lane for a lane dominant champion like Renekton. Also makes things extremely difficult for your Lee Sin who is looking to help bridge you to mid with effective early play. Why pick Lee when you're not going to use it early... It was just so weird. You pick to do one thing and then surrender that things... it's just odd. 

Below is the draft.

I also thought that outside of game two where TOP just looked crisp as ever, that they relied a lot more on Team WE's mistakes than they did plays of their own engineering. In other words, Team WE made a lot of unforced errors that TOP took advantage of. Perhaps this was part of their game plan and you can't ever really fault a team for this but you can question whether or not those situations would even present themselves against stronger comeptition. 

A few additional notes: Other than the Lee Sin I thought TOP had good game plans in this series but to me the fact that they relied on having to outplay a lot of situations is more of a yellow than a green light if you follow me. 369 didnt exactly have a great showing against Morgan (of all people) either. 

Invictus... man this team. So IG have actually been more consistent LOOKING than they've actually been consistent this season which is really confusing. Their record is not indicative of how they've played. IG won a lot of games they should have lost this season is the short way of putting it. The thing is, they do this all the time and just rolled high this season. This team makes so many stupid mistakes so often that it's infuriating given how immensely talented they are.... but they make it work. This team honestly looked like they were trolling at a lot of points this season. Almost like G2. They make you want to hate them and fade them as a bettor but they ALWAYS ELEVATE. IG have been much more "The Rookie Show" this season than in the past which is somewhat cathartic for me as I've been pounding the drum for him for years. Anyway...

The first time these teams faced off it was back in late March and it was still the Photic/Qiuqiu iteration of TOP. Game one was a fairly close endeavour with TOP utilizing the broken Senna+Tank bottom lane combination alongside Knight's Leblanc before evneutally losing to Ning's Zac and a Puff pop off game on Aphelios. Game two was a complete dismantling of TOP at the hands of IG. Obviously the situation is different now with TOP looking much better but I think people seem to forget that TOP actually looked pretty damn good after that winning five series in a row and 8 of their next 10. 

I think you can probably tell already just based on my tone and the things I'm pointing out but I'm going to be on Invictus here for a few reasons.

First, generally I need a really good reason not to take a good closing line. I'm not opposed to betting into lost value if I feel strongly on a position but I need a good reason to. Obviously the lines in LOL aren't as sharp as say the NFL but generally when you get more than 60 points of value on either side it's a good thing. This line opened -260 earlier in the week and has been bet down/adjusted down and all over the place. Shop around for a good spot.

Second, TOP are very good but also overrated right now. I sincerely question whether or not people would be as hype on this team if they didn't 2-0 FPX. Game one of that series could have gone either way, if FPX won and they 2-0'd or 2-1'd I feel like they wouldn't be riding this hype train nearly as hard as they are. Other than that, 2-0'd eStar (somewhat impressive), and then 2-0 vs Victory Five (meaningless). People are reacting to the "turnaround." When you combine going from a loss streak-->swapping in a super star--> going on a win streak including a win against FPX-->playoff win people get really amped up. I'm saying cool the jets.

Third, Invictus have the players to actually win individually against TOP. You could say that FPX do as well but I think IG have even stronger individual players. This will be a step up in competition individually as well as in overall pace of the game.

Fourth, Invictus have gotten to sit quietly and observe everything around them for a week now. We saw in the LCK this morning that that can be a detriment if you've got rust to shake off or aren't riding the momentum but it can also mean that you can formulate good game plans like FPX did this morning with the Twisted Fate.

Breaking Bad He Cant Keep Getting Away With This GIF - Find ...

Fifth, my gut. I know it's taboo to say gut in handicapping but I don't ignore it. Invictus are a frustrating team because honestly, they get away with murder and people think they're gods because of it... but so have TOP recently. I hate them both. There's also the angle that Invictus seem to always elevate to their competition. Something just tells me that Invictus show up here and remind everyone why they were first place even with all their issues this season. Guys, TheShy has more or less been feeding the entire season and this team still went 15-2 and 28-11 in games... that's ridiculous! 369 is also just coming off of a rough performance against Morgan and the jump from Teacherma to Rookie is a pretty drastic one. 

Overall this is mostly an overrated/underrated play combined with Invictus actually having a ton of upside that we haven't seen this season. TOP are everyone's hot new side piece. Invictus are one you keep going back to (although they've got their drama and side pieces too)... ok that analogy got weird. The point is, Invictus have been relatively poor compared to what we'd expect from them and still dominated the LPL and I think people just seem to have forgotten that amidst the distraction of TOP's hot new run and the reintroduction of JKL. 

My position on this match isn't going to be large but I'm going against the numbers and going with Invictus. For a team that's as reliant on outplaying individual lanes as TOP have been, Invictus are exactly the type of team you don't want to see on the other side. They aren't going to be able to rely on acruing advantages that way like they have in most of their wins recently.

Moneyline: Invictus -185 (1.85 units)
Spread: Invictus -1.5 maps @ +118 (0.5 units)
Prop: Exact Invictus 3-1 @ +300 (0.25 units)

Map 1:
Kill Total: UNDER 30.5 @ -105 (1.05 units)

Map 2:
Kill Total: UNDER 30.5 @ +100 (1 units)

Map 3:
Kill Total: UNDER 30.5 @ -101 (1.01 units)

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