by Tanner Kinney
Now, let me start by saying I wasn’t able to catch the games live for week four. So, despite being a true fraud, I will personally apologize for this week of analysis. I’d also like to issue an apology on behalf of anyone who bet on the teams that were expected to win, because no one could be expected to predict the absolute madness week four brought us. 100 Thieves got exposed sooner than expected, picking up no wins against teams they definitely should have beaten. Team Solomid and Counter Logic Gaming failed to capitalize on their upswing from last week, both taking losses on the first day. TSM only picked up a win on day two because, well, they played CLG. And finally, Clutch Gaming is starting to deliver on some of that promise they showed early in the season. It’s a shame there’s so much to talk about this week, because I don’t have time to cover it all. Instead, I’m going to talk about a couple of teams I haven’t really touched on in detail.
100 Thieves, caught and detained by local Guardians
Last week, I predicted that the 100 Thieves would start losing games and falling in the standings. Now, this was partially because I don’t think their roster can consistently deliver and partially because my friend is a big 100 Thieves fan and I wanted to rustle his jimmies a bit. I did not predict, however, that they would lose to FlyQuest and Golden Guardians. As it turns out, they really are 100 Frauds. I don’t know what’s a bigger story, Golden Guardians picking up their first win, or 100 Thieves losing to the Guardians. FlyQuest, at the very least, picked up their win off the back of a smart (at least, unique) draft and their new mid laner FLY Fly. The Guardians changed absolutely nothing other than having Locodoco get fired for disrespecting women. So, how in the hell did the predicted 0-18 team pick up a win against a team that, admittedly, looked like top of the table material?
Looking at the draft, I have absolutely no idea how GGS pulled through. With Camille jungle and Illaoi top lane pulled straight out of solo queue, versus a very meta team drafted by 100 Thieves, a better team would have won. For a while, 100 Thieves WERE doing well. Yet, with some insane play by Contractz on Camille completely outmaneuvering Meteos’s Sejuani, getting good flanks and counter ganks, and some really good teamfights from GGS, they jailed the Thieves before they could make their getaway. I’d give the win to Contractz, of course, because he really did step up, but EVERYONE from GGS stepped up their game. The team drafted, also, turned out to be incredibly smart by GGS, with the Camille countering the Azir pick. 100 Thieves also just seemed to be doing poorly this week. Meteos in particular is getting caught out and looking rather weak, with the bot lane not doing much better. It’ll be interesting to see whether GGS continues to do well, or goes back to the trash. I just hope 100 Thieves keep losing, because starting strong and then losing horribly would be appropriately Finchy of them.
Clutching onto victory
I think one of the teams I was most excited for was Clutch Gaming. EnVy last year, particularly in the summer split, was a team that at their best looked amazing and was fun to watch. At their worst they had trouble actually winning games. The age-old adage of the wise sage William “Scarra” Li applied to EnVy, “up until they lose, they are winning.” Clutch Gaming, the team bought by the Houston Rockets, not only had a funny dumb name in the preseason (Clutch City Gaming), but also were essentially EnVy but with upgrades in the top and mid lanes. They’ve had trouble actually pulling out wins, again, but are looking stronger than before. Now, in week four, they finally find success taking down both TSM and the #GREENWALL. Not exactly huge victories, but certain players have proven their worth and strength.
Take a look at their win against TSM. At first, it may look like Clutch won by simply waiting for TSM to outplay themselves (which they did). It also looks like Clutch should have lost from their abysmal level one play where Clutch failed an invade and got two members killed by TSM. TSM was racking up wins and tower kills, but failing to secure objectives like dragons or Barons. Why? Because our hero, the legend Apollo Price himself made ultimate plays, stealing key objectives from the lackluster looking Mike “MikeYeung” Yeung. Lira may not have looked good on Skarner (or in most of their games, really), but at least they secured objectives. And, let’s just say that Corki, Ezreal, and Gangplank picking up two Infernal Drakes shouldn’t have tipped late game team fights in favor of Clutch Gaming’s raw damage. TSM simply just can’t do anything with the leads they have. For Clutch, the (Apollo) Price is Right.
Games to Watch
OpTic Gaming v. Golden Guardians on Saturday at 5:00 pm EST
It’s a race to the bottom and OpTic and the Guardians are trying not to be the ones sitting down in the gutter. Both of them picked up wins in week four, but are still obviously the weakest teams in the league as of right now. For this match, I actually expect the Guardians to pull out another win. OpTic may have better players, but are playing like less of team than the Guardians. Plus, if the Guardians can pull out another smart draft, they ought to have victory secured.
Cloud 9 v. Echo Fox on Sunday at 5:00 pm EST
We are at the middle of the split! This means that rematches begin. In the first round robin, Echo Fox took the win over Cloud 9. Cloud 9, however, has shown huge improvement in taking down almost every other team and sitting at the top of the bracket. Will Cloud 9 continue their ascension or will Echo Fox pull them back to Earth? Probably the first, I believe in Cloud 9. I would be willing to say they are probably the best team right now.
Another week gone, and we are reaching the halfway point. That means it’s probably time for more power rankings. This season it seems they aren’t having a week break in the middle like they’ve had in the past, so that will be next week unless something insane happens—watch out for that. In terms of upcoming patches and whatnot, Zoe is finally getting substantial nerfs in patch 8.4. Plus, a quick word on the viability of new Swain: he sucks. I’ve yet to see, in high elo play, Swain do well. He lacks damage and tankiness despite having both. He’s basically a worse alternative to Vladimir. I doubt he’ll see play until his numbers get buffed. Finally, Kog’Maw nerfs have turned out to be very impactful, and the new top ADC’s are Tristana and Varus. Tristana in particular is insane, simple, and effective. She’s so good, even my duo (trash) friend can climb by playing her. I hope they buff other options instead of nerfing her though. Don’t do it Riot, don’t put ADC in the gutter. We can’t go back to the dark days. Never again. To end, one final phrase from scholar and super top laner Hashinshin: “fire the live design team.”
Images: YouTube, The Rift Herald
Tanner is a Film and Media Studies major and a Digital Media minor. His Neo Yokio review won a second-place CSPA Golden Circle award for the 2017 semester. He enjoys playing JRPG’s of any variety, regardless of how obscure and strange it is. Tanner is also the host of Byte at the Movies, the premiere movie discussion live-stream.