National Electronic Sports Tournament returns to our screens for the 3rd time in history with 8 of the best Chinese League of Legends teams fighting for lion’s share of ¥ 670,000 ($91,231) and a ticket for Demacia Cup 2019, which will be awarded to only the top two teams.
The NEST be played between May 24th and May 26th in Guiyang, China. It will feature 8 of the best Chinese teams, 7 of which had to fight their way through qualifiers, while it was Team WE who received a direct invite. Joining Team WE, we will see Bilibili Gaming, Invictus Gaming, JD Gaming, Topsports Gaming, Edward Gaming, SinDragon Club and Suning. Known as the region with highly interesting and action-packed games, which feature some of the strongest teams in the world, Chinese League of Legends never fails to impress and entertain its fans. And what better way to prove that than put 8 of the strongest Chinese teams in one tournament.
The first day of NEST will feature two one-sided matches when Invictus Gaming face off against JD Gaming and Topsport Gaming being put against Edward Gaming. While I do believe there is a possibility for an upset in Invictus Gaming v JD Gaming match, I would not feel comfortable betting against a team that has a lot to prove since they fell out of MSI in a disappointing fashion. Instead, we will look at a match between Team WE and Bilibili Gaming, who produced some interesting fights in previous encounters.
Team WE is coming into NEST after a rather disappointing defeat in the LPL Spring playoffs, where they lost to JD Gaming 1:3 in the first round. Interesting enough, Team WE defeated JDG 2:0 only 4 days prior (2:0), however failed to deliver when it mattered. Nonetheless, they have performed well in the group stages, reaching 5th spot with a 10-5 record, which was just barely below Royal Never Give up.
Their opponents Bilibili Gaming have had an up and down run in the recent matches. Looking at their LPL run, Bilibili Gaming started off strong, winning 7 out of the first 9 matches, however their run turned around in the last 6, where Bilibili Gaming won only once. That resulted in an 8-7 record, which was just 1 win away from reaching the playoffs. Overall their record was not that good, however we cannot look past the fact they have defeated the reigning World Champions IG in March and Royal Never Give Up (3:0) in NEST qualifiers at the end of April, which earned them a spot in the tournament.
The last time these two teams met was in week 8 of LPL, where it was Team WE who walked away with a close win (1:2). The match as a whole was a close one, and it looked like it could go either way. Bilibili Gaming won the first match, but failed to deliver in the next two, despite looking strong in game 2. Should they keep their heads cool and utilize the 5k gold lead, Bilibili Gaming would walk away victorious, however the nerves got the best of them and they "threw" the game.
Looking at previous games of both teams, it is Team WE who seem like more in-form team, however we must consider that the results of previous games are well over a month old, which does not paint a real picture of how well teams will perform now. Chinese league as a whole can prove to be one of the most unpredictable due to constant action and comebacks from teams, which is exactly what happened in March. Should these two teams meet again, I expect to once again see a close game. TW on one hand is a better team fighting team, while it's Bilibili Gaming who tend to be strong in early game, which means it will all come down to how quickly the match can end. With current meta, which favours fast games, it's Bilibili Gaming who seem to have a slight advantage, that is, if they do not "choke" once more.
Being a match that will put two equally strong teams head to head, we simply cannot ignore the high odds offered on Bilibili Gaming, who are currently priced at $2.20, which I believe is far too high. They are a team that can put up a good fight even against the best, and while they lost to TW in the lash h2h, the upcoming fixture will be a perfect opportunity for revenge.
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