We kick off another week of esports action this Monday, the 11th of October with Michael Lee heading to Iceland for the League of Legends World Championships for all three of his best bets of the night.
2021 LoL World Championship
The 2021 League of Legends World Championship will kick off on Monday, October 11, with a banger, as the reigning champions, DWG KIA, take on the 2019 LoL world champions FunPlus Phoenix. Even though the balance of power in the LoL competitive scene shifts yearly, DWG KIA and FPX have kept their status as two of the strongest squads in the world.
It's way too early to start speculating who will win, and we have no idea how the meta will shift and how will it benefit or harm the leading contenders. However, it's hard to argue with the bookmakers, who have DWG KIA and FPX priced as two of the main favourites to lift their second Summoner's Cup.
DWG KIA are easily one of the top teams at the LoL World Championship. However, they're not as good as they were in 2020 when they won the whole thing.
They still deserve some respect as the Korean champions, but here it's worth noting that the level of play in the Korean league (LCK) isn't as high as it once was. Its prominent representatives in DWG KIA, T1, and Gen.G are all good teams, but it's hard to find any severe quality outside of that group.
Unlike LCK, the Chinese (LPL) league is far stronger across the board. The fact that teams like JD Gaming, Top Esports, Suning (2020 LoL Worlds finalists), and Team WE didn't event qualify for the 2021 LoL World Championship is a good indication of how tough the league really is.
And out of all the Chinese teams, FPX and Edward Gaming stood tall as two of the best. Obviously, you have to take into account the stylistic differences between the regions and how the teams want to play the game, but even with that in mind, it's hard to doubt in FPX.
2021 LoL World Championship
You don't need to be the best LoL analyst to know that Edward Gaming are a much stronger team than 100 Thieves. While this isn't fair to say, considering that 100 Thieves have never met with Edward Gaming, you must also realise how stronger the Chinese league (LPL) is than the North American league (LCS).
The individual talent in the LPL is much higher than LCS, which is a conclusion you can come to by comparing the region's success at the previous international tournaments. However, 100 Thieves give off an impression that they're not like other LCS teams and could emerge as one of the most successful NA teams at the LoL World Championship.
With Edward Gaming, you know what you're getting – elite-level players across all five positions. With 100 Thieves, you can't be exactly sure, primarily because this roster has a very high potential, but they can just as easily play terribly.
100 Thieves are far more volatile in that department, which isn't optimal. It certainly doesn't help that these opening BO1 matches of the tournament are already volatile and unpredictable.
However, volatility is something that, in most cases, benefits the underdogs. Edward Gaming should win this match eight times out of 10 purely off their individual talent, but I expect them to approach this match a bit more cautiously since they can't afford to lose.
This could result in a slower game where neither Team wants to risk too much. 100 Thieves will likely look for small openings to gain small edges and snowball to victory, while Edward Gaming will want to exploit 100 Thieves' mistakes and build slow leads.
100 Thieves have enough individual talent to put up a fight here, and since there's a good chance we might be in for a close, low scoring match, a bet on the outsiders with a kill handicap is a solid choice.
2021 LoL World Championship
I am not one to blindly follow the narrative of how the European league (LEC) teams are much better than the North American league (LCS) teams, but there is no denying that MAD Lions have looked much better throughout the season.
Team Liquid have plenty of talent in their Team, namely in the top lane (Barney "Alphari" Morris) and in the support role (Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in). However, I am very concerned with their ADC (Edward "Tactical" Ra) and jungler (Lucas "Santorin" Tao Kilmer Larsen), who did not impress me with their performances towards the end of the split.
I expect those weaknesses to be very evident in this match, especially since MAD Lions field very strong players in these positions. Also, MAD Lions' strongest players just so happen to be their top laner İrfan Berk "Armut" Tükek and support Norman "Kaiser" Kaiser, who are considered two of the best Western players in their respective roles.
To avoid sounding too biased, I would consider Aplhari a better top laner since he has shown higher highs than Armut and is also far more experienced. Still, with the "jungle diff", it's unlikely that Alphari will have a good time.
Other LCS teams have shown to the world a perfect plan how to defeat Team Liquid – play through the top side, shut down Alphari and watch Liquid struggle in transitioning to the mid-late game. Unfortunately for the LCS finalists, MAD Lions are more than capable of playing this way.
MAD Lions field better individual players and have the playstyle which counters Liquid. I wouldn't be surprised if Liquid somehow managed to gain an early lead, but it's essential to remember that MAD Lions were by far the best mid-late game team in the LEC.
There were numerous games where MAD Lions fell behind in the early game and were down by as much as 10k gold, yet they still turned the games upside down thanks to their immaculate Team fighting and solid movement around the map. I'm only telling that to explain why you might consider taking an in-play bet on MAD Lions (if Liquid gain early leads).
I expect MAD Lions to win, but since the current games are very low-scoring, I have to side with Liquid to not lose by more than seven kills.
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