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Thoughts of Bduhmana: Quarterfinals are here, and this is what Gekkou fans have been waiting for. All the games have been played, and everyone who has said they were the best has gotten their chance to prove it or be left without much to prove. But this is the playoffs. Emmit Smith said, “For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.”
For teams that have been at the top of the standings all season, this is their chance to continue doing what they do best just like every other series. This week, they need to focus on what they do best, so they can turn to Semis and Finals and turn those wins into best of five wins. For teams that have something to prove, this is where they can utilize everything they have learned throughout the split in order to create the upset needed to become champions of the Gekkou Division. Here are your up to date standings and some Quarterfinal matchups.
Your Platinum League Teams in order of Standings:
League of Dolphinz
First Place: !Rawr Lethal
!Rawr ends the season at the top of the standings, top of the tier list, and top of the fear list. They said at the start of the season that no one could match them, that they had the best toplaner in the game, and that they will win the championships. Throughout the season, they have had to be behind Monster Mash through a fraction of a margin in points-but they remained confident that they were better. This was the matchup Gekkou fans waited all split for, and !Rawr didn’t disappoint. In the best of three, they got creative in their draft and won just how they said they would. Greedee said, “Monster Mash is a really strong team, and their drafting in this series certainly left a lot to be desired. Our excuse for losing the first game is summarized by a quote from MrTaylabHD: the first game was a “warm-up game”. He stepped on the gas pedal after that.” Now they have first place and a bye to prepare for Semifinals. It will be up to them to continue to step on the gas while they prepare for the best of five matchups. Afterall, for a team that prides themselves on being mechanically better than anyone else, best of fives are the most challenging since they require endurance and stamina alongside these mechanics. It also gives them time to scout and prepare. This could also be an edge they can take advantage of in order to find themselves in the Finals and not just on the journey.
Second Place: Monster Mash
With Monster Mash taking their only loss of a series this season again !Rawr, they enter this bye week with time and confidence. With playoffs moving to best of fives, this gives this team a very advantageous head start against the rest of the competition because they have already been doing at the top of the standings all season through their ProDrafting and strategic influences throughout the gameplay. When people’s mechanics start to fail them, they can hype up their communication in the game and take advantage of that. And since they tend to best teams in ProDraft due to their intentionality around understanding each of the opponents, they already have a head start on not underestimating who they play. They just have to prepare for the endurance fight so that they can bring what they do best at the level needed to ensure they can beat anyone else in the Semifinals and look towards the Finals.
Quarterfinal Matchup: VBU Plat vs League of Dolphinz
This will be quite an interesting series, because both of these teams have found themselves close to one another throughout the season. However, VBU Plat has beaten most of the teams in this division except the top two teams. This is something I want to take note of as we head into the playoffs. VBU heads into the match up with the experience of a team that is winning, and if they can translate that into another win against a team they already beat a few weeks ago, then they are literally preparing themselves to become the best team possible to upset Monster Mash or !Rawr.
That being said, League of Dolphinz isn’t a team people should ever count out. This team is a team that will consistently work with their organization in order to do the best they can. Not only that, but this team has shown up throughout the split and had some promising games even in their losses. They will need to dig deep into what does work for them as a team, and start translating that into wins. This could be the dark horse of the Gekkou league, because (on paper at least) they do have the players to make a playoff run successful. And from the murmurs from crowd, it appears they have some really strong new players coming into the match up this week. Players that I have seen destroy teams in previous seasons of ZGG, so having a new threat or two is definitely a recipe for a good time in this week’s Quarterfinals. I want to see Dolphinz go beast mode for this win.
VBU Player To Watch: KÙUMA
When looking back at the team’s wins and losses, they tend to all win or all lose. That, to me, signals that my player to watch for this series is going to be the jungler. If every lane is capable of winning, and has proven they can hard carry as a team with comps that thrive in teamfight conditions, then it will be up to KÙUMA to ensure their team succeeds. Stick to what has been working well, and this game is theirs to win.
LoD Players To Watch: LeLei Lalena & howitzer Al
When looking back at the League of Dolphinz games, I noticed something-if botlane gets ahead, it is almost a win for their series. I also notice that this team is drafting in a way that is feast or famine for their team, because their solo laners are playing supportive champions. My hope is this team takes a look at their drafting and relieves some of this pressure in order to free up the jungler to put resources into their win conditions. By drafting stronger solo lanes that can hold their own, then it won’t matter if the draft is feast or famine, because they are intentionally utilizing this strategy in a way that is employable.
Quarterfinal Matchup: DoV Rocket vs Southpaw
I am so hyped for this Quarterfinal matchup. Southpaw has come into the league with a level of fierceness that no team can ignore, and they are taking on a team that has been beating everyone in the last few weeks to prove to the Gekkou fans why they were expected to be at the top of the standings all season. For DoV Rocket, they just need to do what they have been doing the last few weeks. They have found the ways in which their team is successful, have already beaten Southpaw and !Rawr in regular season, and now they just need to come at this matchup with that experience in order to head into next week (hopefully facing the team they already know how to beat).
For Southpaw, they just need to relook at why they lost against DoV Rocket. This is probably the best case scenario for them in this league, because they did beat them once in their previous series. If they already know their weaknesses, then preparing for this game is about stamina and ensuring they stick to the win conditions each game in order to outplay DoV when it matters most. Consistency will be key. Well, consistency and creativity. They have shown just how creative they can be by adding a 6th player, and I bet no one saw that coming. I am so glad to see it though, and I hope to see it this week.
DoV Rocket Player to Watch: Crésty, KOBEMN, and Paneer
Looking at the last round of games, I see some interesting roster changes that work. By bringing in this ADC, it has unlocked two midlaners to be drafted into games strategically. This clearly is giving them some positive results, because both Paneer and KOBEMN put up strong stats in different ways-KOBEMN has some crazy carry potential and Paneer has some amazing strong supportive style midlaners. All of which will work in a best of five to their advantage. Utilize this as a strength in order to ensure your teammates don’t get too tilted or burnt out in a best of five, and then capitalize on the reality that Southpaw might get tired or tilted and not have the same opportunity to give their teammates a break. Whoever said a sub was a bad idea has never seen just how strong a 6th player can be if utilized correctly, and I think DoV has it down.
Southpaw Player To Watch: Concerned Badger
Since DoV has the chance to sub out midlaners inbetween the series, it will be up to Concerned Badger to be the consistency their team needs in order to succeed. After looking at this solo laner week after week, I see a lot here that Southpaw can work with. I think now is the time for them to come out strong-put Concerned Badger on some of their best carry threats and make them need that extra sub. By coming out the gate strong and confident, they can potentially steamroll their team into winning the best of five before the other team can respond. Where endurance is key for some teams, stamina will be more important here. Concerned Badger will be in each and every game, and the strength to start strong and stay strong can serve their team better than having to fight through a potential sub to throw them off balance.