While their European brethren panicked in a desperate attempt to change their fate before worlds qualification or inevitable relegation set in, North American League of Legends teams boldly chose to not make any moves at all. Then again, that’s hardly a surprise when you consider the current state of the league. Team SoloMid and Immortals are doing far too well to even consider touching their rosters. Cloud9, Team Liquid, and Apex Gaming have large Challenger teams from which they could draw substitutes in a worst-case scenario. Counter Logic Gaming has been slowly climbing the standings since a terrible start, while Team EnVyUs can attribute both its early success and recent failures to a camel-esque schedule, with all of the most difficult opponents lumped in the middle, while lower tier teams smooth the edges on either side. With the exception of bottom tier teams hoping to stave off relegation (and it’s hard to see a clear signing among the lower Challenger Series talent), there’s simply no reason to mess with one’s roster this late into the split.
Of course, having a solidified roster is quite different from having answered the important questions that lie ahead for each of these teams. The top two seeds may be sealed, but the battle for the third seed is as intense as ever, as both Team Liquid and Cloud9 have dropped maps against lesser teams due to poor decision making in the pick/ban phase, a mistake they cannot afford to make when the playoffs roll around. EnVyUs and Apex find themselves sliding down the standings now that teams have “solved” their respective paths to victory; the race to find a secondary win condition will define which of these teams gains a playoff spot and keeps their worlds hopes (albeit small) alive. Those who have strong stomachs may even find the race for ninth place captivating, as the level of talent in the North American Challenger scene ensures that getting an automatic spot into the double elimination round is very important if you don’t want to go full Dignitas.
This week will go a long way towards answering some of these questions as we enter the home stretch. In the meantime, Walter “Ceades” Fedczuk and I hope to answer our own question, such as “How to win value bets in a region where favorites almost always win?” It’s time to bring back the teasers and see where the gaps in Unikrn’s formula can be found.
On today’s episode of the Rough Drafts Podcast, Chase “RedShirtKing” Wassenar and Walter “Ceades” Fedczuk find themselves once again struggling to find value in a league where favorites consistently find a path to victory. Together, they discuss how Counter Logic Gaming found itself solidly back into the playoff picture, whether Apex or EnVyUs is most likely to bounce back, and how Liquid’s drafting concerns are holding back an otherwise talented team. They close with their smart money bets of the week.
Be sure to subscribe to the Esports Rough Drafts Podcast on iTunes to keep up with every episode here. And if you happened to leave a nice review along the way, that’d be cool too.
Go to Unikrn today to bet alongside all your favorite esports matches for the chance to win awesome prizes.