NALCS Regional Qualifier Recap

S. Samek

The battle for NA’s last spot at worlds is on. This is what went down in the past weekend’s regional qualifier.
Echo Fox met Clutch in the first best of five series. Echo Fox owns Clutch gaming going 6-1 against them all time.
Game one started off with Huni scoring first blood. Unfortunately for clutch that was as close as it got. This one ended an 11-2 stomp in 27 minutes. Lost had six kills with Kai’Sa to star for Echo Fox.
Game two looked a little better for Clutch However Huni and Dardoch formed a duo that couldn’t be stopped. The two had 13 combined kills, while Clutch only had 14 as a team. Echo extended the series led to 2-0 with the win.
This one was the closest of the three games. Yet it wasn’t close enough. Clutch lost a way too many towers, despite hanging in there in kills. A 3-0 in the Clutch base finshed it out as Echo Fox sweeps Clutch. Echo Fox just continues to own Clutch moving to 7-1 all time with the win.
TSM and Fox matched up next.
Game one was close for a little bit, but then TSM took over. Bjergsen and Zven led the way with a combined 13 kills in the victory.
Game two got ugly fast and often. TSM did everything right and rolled to an easy win. Zven added seven more kills to his series total, while Bjergsen and Hauntzer each had five kills in this game. TSM finished with 21 kills in the win.
Game three was more of the same. TSM took dragons and build up the gold lead l to 10,000 plus. Zven continued to dominate on Varus with eight more kills, giving him 22 for the series. Bjergsen chipped in six more kills to finish with 17 kills for the three-game set. TSM finishes Echo Fox’s season with the 3-0 sweep.
The finals were between the favorites to make worlds in C9 and TSM. This is a rematch of the summer split semi-finals which was won by c9 in five games.
Game one had TSM holding an early led. Yet C9 was able to battle back. Then C9 took a team fight at 32 minutes to allow them to finish the comeback.
Game two had C9 strike first. They then took this advantage and continued to get picks and held the kill led throughout the game. C9 looked to win after taking a baron at 35 and a half minutes, yet TSM defended and turned the attack toward C9’s base. It wasn’t enough of a counter attack as C9 took an elder dragon at 40 minutes and then an ace to finish off TSM. Jensen and Sneaky combined for 14 kills pacing C9 in the win.
Game three started with TSM taking an early advantage. Yet C9 stayed the course and rallied back. Ultimately, they would overpower TSM and finish the sweep. Jensen finshed off a fine series with a 7/0/6 game on Ryze to led C9 in the series clinching game.
C9 will represent NA at worlds with the win. TSM misses out on worlds for the first time ever.
Pretty good tournament. However, I think having all the series going three to nothing wasn’t very exciting. Yet I feel like the best teams won and the result wasn’t very surprising.

Best of luck to C9, 100 Thieves and Team Liquid as they all represent NA at worlds.

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2018 Summer NA Regional Qualifier Preview

S. Samek

 
The third spot at worlds for NALCS is being given out this weekend. This is done through a series of best of five matches called the reginal qualifier, or gauntlet.
I’m taking a look today at the four teams in the tournament and how each of them could win the tournament and advance to worlds.
The first team in is Clutch gaming as the fourth seed. They earned this spot after finishing fourth during the spring split. During summer split they struggled a good bit and finished 6-12, in ninth place.
They have the longest odds to make it out of the qualifier for sure. Yet I think that’s what gives them the best odds. It wouldn’t surprise me if teams sleep on Clutch and they possibly pick up an upset, or too. Climbing the whole ladder might not be realistic, but there is a chance. Though in order to have a chance to win you have to be in the tournament, which Clutch is, so they do have a small chance to go to worlds.
The third seed is Echo Fox. Fox is another story of two different teams. On one hand they can dominate with stars like Huni and Dardoch. Yet sometimes they look completely lost. Yet this team did come in third during the spring split playoffs and lost 3-2 in the quarterfinals to TSM during the summer.
So, while the most recent matchup may go the favor of TSM, I don’t think it spells doom if they do get a rematch with them in the semi-finals. It was a 3-2 win for TSM, which is pretty neck and neck so if a couple breaks go Echo Fox’s way its them advancing.
I think it’s going to be up to Dardoch and Huni to carry this team. They do have the star power to carry this team to the third seed. They just have to play hard and show up.
TSM is the second seed. Now TSM has history of making worlds and if they can’t win the gauntlet will miss out for the first time ever. There is a possibility of this happening. Yet they do have a good chance of winning. They did finish third after beating 100 Thieves in the summer playoffs. They have beaten Echo Fox prior to that. Yes, they lost to C9 in the semi-finals, but it was 3-2.

I think they can play all their competitors tough and won’t be an easy out in this tournament. That and Bjergsen is still one of the best mid lane players ever, so they do have a star to carry them if need be.
The top seed is Cloud 9. The runners-up from summer split have to win just one best of five to go to worlds. Like TSM, C9 would miss worlds for the first time if they don’t win the tournament.
Yet C9 is on a pretty hot streak this summer, even with the 3-0 loss to Liquid in the finals. They also lost to Liquid 3-0 in quarterfinals during the spring. Liquid isn’t in the gauntlet so it doesn’t matter.
They did beat TSM in the semi-finals, so why can’t they do it again if the matchup does come to that. I don’t see why the should fear TSM if they matchup again for the finals.
The seven-player rotation has worked out pretty well for C9’s run to the finals of the summer split. This is an advantage C9 has that no other team in NA does. However, I think it’s showing that theres lineup inconsistencies that they need extra players to fix. I think you do need to have some faith in your starters, especially if your starting an all-pro in the middle lane like Jensen, or the rookie of the split in Blabber.

C9 has a solid lineup that can take them to world’s if they trust it, conversely, they could show the issues that plagued them early in the split and stay home from worlds.
I’m taking C9 to advance to world’s though. TSM is a good team, but I think the summer semi-finals results is duplicated by C9

Eu LCS 2018 Summer Finals

S. Samek

The EULCS concluded the summer split with the final two bets of five matches. One champion was named and was a third-place winner.
Let’s start with the third- place match between Misfits and Vitality.
Game one had the Misfits striking for first blood. That was an advantage that they ended up leveraging into quite the lead. In the end it was a big enough led to put the bunnies up 1-0 in the series. Hans Sama carried Misfits with a nine-kill performance on Xayah.
Game two was quick and boring. A very one-sided contest. In fact, it took just 22:23 to decide a winner, shortest of the summer split in terms of game time. Vitality scored a 12-2 kill advantage as they just stomped Misfits to even up the series.
Game three was a similar story. Vitality just kept the foot on the gas and refused to let go.
Game four was more of the same. Attila and Jiizuke led the attack as Vitality finshed off the misfits three games to one.
Fnatic and S04 met in the finals. So4 showed zero fear in game one against the defending spring split champions. They scored kill after kill and finshed off Fnatic to take the first win of the series. Upset had five kills to lead So4’s offensive efforts.
Game two was a battle. S04 held the early advantage. Yet Fnatic pushed and pushed and came away with a victory.
Game three was similar to game two. So4 held the lead and Fnatic pushed all the way back to seize victory. Rekkles shined with nine kills on Kai’Sa in the win.
Game four was neck and neck. It was even in kills and gold till about 25 minutes in. Fnatic found a couple plays and once again it was Rekkles leading the charge. His quadra kill gave the highlight reel an addition and cemented the Fnatic win.
This marks Fanatic’s seventh EU championship. They also earned the number one EU seed for the world championship.
Team Vitality will join Fnatic at worlds with their consistent finishes during both splits.
So4 will receive the number one seed for the reginal tournament. Misfits will have to climb the ladder, being seeded fourth and last in the tournament. They face off against Splyce, with the winner to get G2.

2018 NFL Pick Them Week 2

S. Samek

Week 1 record 11-4-1

Picks for week 2.

Ravens @Bengals
Panthers @ Falcons
Colts@ Redskins
Texans @ Titans
Eagles @ Bucs
Chiefs @ Steelers
Dolphins @ Jets
Chargers at Bills
Vikings at Packers
Browns at Saints
Lions at 49ers
Cardinals at Rams
Patriots at Jaguars
Raiders at Broncos
Giants at Cowboys
Seahawks at Bears

NALCS 2018 Summer Split Finals

S. Samek

This is it the finals of the 2018 NALCS summer split. Let’s break down the third place and finals match.
100 Thieves and TSM met for third place.
Game one saw Rikara in for 100 Thieves at ADC. The thieves started the fun scoring first blood almost 17 minutes into the game. TSN held on tight until the 31-and-a-half-minute mark. That’s when 100 scored an ace and took a baron to get a huge power spike. It would be more than enough power to take base and a 1-0 led in the series. SSumday was the player of this game with seven kills and six assists for 100 on Gangplank.
Cody Sun came into game two for 100. Much like game one game two was slower paced to start, while ramping up in the mid game. Also twinning game one was the play that swayed the game. TSM this time was the beneficiary of a baron powerplay that was used to push toward the victory. Bjergsen’ s 4/1/4 Vel’koz was the notable player in this series evening game.
Game three went back and forth until one play broke it open. Much like game one 100 Thieves found a baron 31 minutes in and pushed toward the base. They then won a fight in the base to secure victory. Ryu was the heavy hitter in this one with a 4/2/6 on Malzahar.

Game four was the most dominating performance of the series. TSM struck early and often, not losing a single man in an easy win. Grig had three of TSM’s nine kills with Camille. Mithy also looked strong with a 100 percent kill participation in the form of nine assists on Braum.
Game five was a bit of a slugfest. The kills were tied at 10 30 minutes into the game. TSM once more found an ace to be able to be able to gain the advantage. The advantage would be enough as TSM claims third place. Grig had a good game finishing with six slots in both kills and assist once again on Camille.
TSM gets the second seed in the reginal gauntlet. 100 Thieves would have to wait to see if they could get to worlds until after the finals match. A team Liquid win would send 100 as NA’s second representatives.
C9 and Liquid did battle in the finals. Liquid looking to win both splits this season with a victory. C9 looked to end an amazing comeback to the summer season by taking first place and earning a spot at worlds.
C9 struck first blood around four minutes into the game. Then the match went back and forth for a while. Then Liquid secured a pair of team fight wins to put Liquid up a game to zero in the finals.
Game two saw C9 putting Goldenglue and Svenskeren into the game. It didn’t make much of a difference as neither player made much of an impact. Team Liquid had control of this one pretty much the whole time and netted 27 kills in the victor. Doublelift had 11 kills, while Pobelter chipped in eight of his own to provide the star power for Liquid.
Game three featured the return of Jensen to the mid lane for C9. Yet like the prior substitutions, they didn’t mean much. Team Liquid started out with the first five kills. That lead would only get bigger as once again Doublelift and Pobelter stepped up to secure the series win and championship for TL. Licorice did have four kills for C9 in the game three loss, yet it wasn’t quite enough.
Disappointed this series only went three games. Yet C9 just didn’t show up to play. Liquid on the other hand shows why they are the best team in NA and deserve a shot at worlds.
100 Thieves should send TL a thank you note, as they get a spot in worlds with the liquid win based on championship points.
C9 has to face the reginal gauntlet for a spot at worlds. Yet they hold the top spot of the bracket so its not like a huge run is needed for C9 to make worlds.
Can’t wait to see the gauntlet. Yet for now congratulations to Team Liquid on the championship.

2018 NFL Week One Pick Them

S. Samek

Wow has the year gone fast. As a result, football season has returned to us once again. With this return comes the return of Hammer Down Pick Em. Let’s see how well I do this year have finishing at 162-89 for regular season games last year.

Picks are in bold.

Falcons at Eagles
Bills at Ravens
Jaguars at Giants
Buccaneers at Saints
Texans at Patriots
49ers at Vikings
Titans at Dolphins
Bengals at Colts
Steelers at Browns
Chiefs at Chargers
Seahawks at Broncos
Cowboys at Panthers
Redskins at Cardinals
Bears at Packers
Jets at Lions
Rams at Raiders

2018 NALCS Summer Split Semi-Finals

S. Samek

It’s the NALCS summer split semi-finals. With a chance to win the split and go to world’s theres a lot at stake. So, lets jump in to see what went down.
First up was a match between two of the most storied and well revered teams in the LCS TSM and Cloud 9.
Game one was a back and forth battle. The highlight play that swung the game was a 3-0 team fight into a baron for TSM at 34:35. Then a couple more kills was able to seal the win for TSM at 36:00. Bjergsen went 9/2/1 with Akali to standout for TSM.
Game two was another close one. Yet throughout the game C9 was able to put pressure all over the map and it ultimately led to C9’s victory to tie the series at one apiece. A 6/2/3 Varus from sneak provided the star power for C9.
Game three started fast and furious. Zven scored a quadra kill to put TSM out to a running start. The led was more than enough as they held off C9 to go ahead two games to one. Zven finished with 10 kills in the win.
Game four started with C9 making some changes. Goldenglue and Svenskeren substituted in for C9. The changes worked as C9 was able to tie up the score with a win.
The final game was similar to game two. TSM had a kill advantage while C9 would take all the towers. A team fight went the way of C9 at 23 minutes as the comeback would be completed.

 

100 Thieves and Team Liquid squared off in the second semi-final. 100 started Rikara in place of Cody Sun at ADC for the match.

 
Game one was a slow standoff. Yet 100 would change the pace with a couple kills and an elder dragon. This would be enough to take the early led in the series. Ssumday’s performance on Gangplank stood out with a 5/1/6 stat line.

Games two and three were the same story. Slow starts and methodical picks. These would both be taken by Team Liquid. Pobelter had five kills in the game two win, while Doublelift had seven kills in game three to pace Liquid into taking a two to one series led.
If it isn’t broken don’t try and fix it. That’s exactly what Liquid did in game four. They kept the pace slow and methodical. Xmithe and Doublelift shined in this game with nine kills between them.
C9 and Team Liquid will meet for the championship of the summer split. It’s a matchup of a great turnaround from early season, against the champions of the spring split. We should see some fireworks in this one.