PLAYDAY 8 RECAP
Round 8 saw some interesting map choices, results and scorelines. Everyone expected Vodafone Giants to beat GiFu, nobody expected the scoreline to be as close as it was. Everyone expected Penta to lose heavily, nobody (but me) gave them a chance! G2 did what was expected of them and NaVi absolutely crushed Vitality, putting their success down to the acquisition of a new analyst.
The league, therefore, looks as follows;
Giants, Empire, NaVi and G2 are the only teams that can now secure their place in Japan with their own performances (by winning every game). Vitality now need to rely on other teams to beat those in and around them due to the head to head rules.
PLAYDAY 9 PREDICTIONS
VITALITY vs CHAOS
Both teams took a bit of a beating last playday - with Chaos seemingly in a real pit of despair recently. If they don't sort it out, Penta will be breathing down their throats before long.
The available map pool for this fixture is - Bank, Border, Coast, Kafe and Villa. With Chaos having played Clubhouse and Vitality having played Consulate last week so both of them are banned.
Expected Chaos bans:
Bank - Chaos don't like it, banning it 6 times this season
Villa - Chaos have banned Villa the previous 4 PL rounds, maybe it is to do with their current issues and co-ordination that they don't want to play this map.
Expected Vitality bans:
Coastline - Similar to Chaos, Vitality tend not to go to Coastline. They did venture there once this season having played V Giants there, however I don't expect them to let it through this time
Border - Chaos have a relatively abstract way of playing Border, focusing heavily on holding CCTV most of the time. Whilst Vitality do play border (they beat G2 there earlier this season), they probably wont want to go there if they can avoid it.
Expected played map
Kafe - I don't know an EU team who doesn't like Kafe. Won't be a surprise to see Kafe tonight.
I predict Vitality to bounce back and take this comfortably tonight, compounding Chaos to more misery.
G2 vs EMPIRE
Game of the day - for some reason the production game of the day is always the second match, for me this is the second match and also definitely the game of the day. Well well well, didn't Penta cause quite a stir in the top 4/5 last week by drawing with Empire - the damage was done - the coveted 2nd place spot was blown wide open. Empire took a gamble by going to Kafe IMO, using the fact they played it last week as a free ban vs G2 this week. G2 will be looking to tick another one off the list tonight, closing the gap between them and the teams above them. The map prediction is the hardest here, as both of these teams quite happily play all of the available maps (apart from Empire on Villa..)
The available map pool for this fixture is - Bank, Border, Coast, Consulate and Villa. With G2 having played Clubhouse and Empire having played Kafe last week so both of them are banned.
Expected G2 bans:
Bank - G2 have been struggling with IGL/Communiciation issues. I see them trying to take out maps that need a lot of roam clear/co-ordination
Consulate - Empire are a very, very proficient team on Consulate. I'm not saying G2 aren't, but Consulate has a very systematic, methodical playstyle that suits Empire better.
Expected Empire bans:
Villa - Banned 7/8 times this season, would be 8/8 but Vitality banned it before Empire could in wk 1.
Coastline - I think if you ask Empire if they want to play Border or Coastline, they choose border. Wouldn't be surprised to see Coast played though.
Expected Played Map:
Border - both teams competent on this map, drawing on it last season and having very close games generally on it.
I expect this to be close, 7-5 either way or a draw would be where most people sit.
NaVi vs GiFu
GiFu were perhaps the most surprising team on Monday, their initial play style was confident and aggressive, taking the right peeks with the right crossfires etc. V Giants were super rusty by the looks of it. Statistically - GiFu are 91% going to be in relegations, realistically thats near enough 100% confirmed. They are so far behind that they may aswell treat these matches as ranked games now, hide their maps they wanna play on in the BO3 relegation and have a bit of fun whilst they are still a PL team.
NaVi on the other hand, are high flying, hoping to put a strong result here and keeping an eye on results elsewhere, could be sitting level with Empire on 18 points if G2 win.
The available map pool for this fixture is - Bank, Border, Clubhouse, Kafe and Villa. With NaVi having played Consulate and GiFu having played Coastline last week so both of them are banned.
Expected NaVi bans:
Bank - Banned every time its been available this season.
Kafe - I expect NaVi to ban Kafe, even though its available. They should be good enough to beat GiFu on any other map they play and playing Kafe tonight would give V Giants 1 extra ban next week. Banning it tonight forces V Giants to ban it next week.
Expected GiFu bans:
Villa - I don't see GiFu having/needing the co-ordination here to play a strong team like NaVi.
Border - banned every time its available, needless to say I don't expect that to change given how good NaVi are at Border.
Expected played map:
Clubhouse - best of the rest.
I see this being a fairly simple night for NaVi.
PENTA vs GIANTS
Penta caused a good old upset last week - although I wasn't surprised. Penta seem to somehow have Empires number, they beat them on Oregon last season, nearly beat them on Bank this seaon and then drew with them on Kafe. The H2H is really quite close all things considered.
Giants looked lacklustre - against any team but GiFu they would have been 5-1/6-0 down at the split. Hopefully they've scrimmed well and feel fresh.
The available map pool for this fixture is - Bank, Border, Clubhouse, Consulate and Villa. With Penta having played Kafe and Giants having played Coastline last week so both of them are banned.
Expected Giants bans:
Bank - banned every time they could, only times they couldn't is when the other team hate bank more and that team banned it (NaVi and Chaos).
Villa - Similar situation, they ban whenever available, only choosing to take GiFu there.
Expected Penta bans:
Consulate - they've struggled there recently, won't be a surprise to see Penta ban that. Especially given the previous meeting between these two there.
Border - Giants are so strong there, its usually been an insta ban for opponent teams vs them.
Clubhouse - Clubhouse is a solid map and I expect a good game should we go there
I think Giants will be turning Clubhouse into Dubhouse tonight;
Let me know what you think in the comments below!