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Thoughts of Bduhmana: With playoffs just beginning, there is only one thing one everyone’s mind: winning. Jose Altuve said, “You know that in the playoffs, everyone starts from zero. No matter what team you have to face, if you want to make it, you have to get through two rounds against very good teams that are going to be hot.” There is no longer a moment of shoulds-this is the moment you will. You will have to prepare for a best of five for Semifinals, so it will come down to how to close out Quarterfinals to get there. You will need to create a team unity that can push through all challenges in order to find yourself in the SemiFinals next week. After all, working eight weeks just to leave in the Quarterfinals is not on anyone’s list-but someone has to win and someone has to go home. It will be up to the remaining teams to prove who really deserves to call themselves champions. And with that, here is your Yasogami standings and Quarterfinals matchups.
Your Platinum League Teams in order of Standings:
Goon Squad Epsilon
PacaPaul & Pacapauls
First Place: Imperial Gaming
Imperial Gaming gets a bye week in order to prepare for Semifinals. This feels quite fitting for this team, because they have won the last four weeks of games within each series. Not only that, they are winning without taking a loss in their series. It is safe to say, for now, that this is the team that everyone else needs to watch out for. If they can use this time to scout this week and prepare themselves for the semifinals, then they come into that series with a slight advantage over the rest. Afterall, a bye week in playoffs is only useful if you use it. I have seen teams throughout ZGG past’s not fully utilize this opportunity to both scout and prepare, and I watched teams that should have won games fall flat because they didn’t see the hard work and changes that came from teams that had been underestimated. Plus, when a team has multiple flex picks, comfort picks that have to be banned by opponents, and a group of teammates that have built a really strong synergy together, I see Imperial Gaming going into Semifinals with confidence.
Second Place: OTA Storm
OTA Storm has won the last three weeks of the season, including taking out a team that was considered one of the top tier teams in the league in the process. This puts them in quite the placement, because now they get to sit back and scout this week in order to best prepare for who they will face in Semifinals. This is a team who has shown consistent improvement throughout the split, and having this week to prepare will only serve as a strength-they already know who they perform well against and who they need to pay more attention to if they end up playing against them. Now it will be a chance to regroup, stay strong, and continue to dominate on. This is their chance to prove they have been undersold as a threat in this league all along. They clearly can beat top contenders, so no team should be underestimating them anymore.
Quarterfinal Matchup: Crosspoint Origin vs PacaPaul and the PacaPals
This best of three is going to come down to employing different strategies depending on the team. For Crosspoint Origin, they want to focus on doing what they do well consistently throughout the series. Crosspoint has so many creative drafts (shoutout to the Irelia Senna last week), know how to play from behind, and know how to close out games once they get leads and item spikes. This game won’t be about whether or not they know how to do this, but whether they can do this consistently do this each game so they can close out this series cleanly. Especially if they want to end up in the most favorable of match up for themselves next week if they win. Afterall, not many people are wanting to go up against Imperial Gaming, and having a longer series would most certainly peak the interest of IG. They know how to play cleanly, so today’s games should focus on doing just that.
That being said, this is Quarterfinals. This is the put it all on the line series. PacaPaul and the PacaPals have three games to put everything they have learned from this season into potential. And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot you can learn from a difficult season against difficult teams. If PacaPaul spent their time learning about the strengths and weaknesses of Crosspoint, then they have a chance to target them in a way that will give them the advantage. That is what they what: to draft in a way that gives them winning lanes. They want to start strong, free up their jungler to make plays or out jungle, and go into objectives with more control than Crosspoint. This about focusing on fundamentals and doing it as cleanly as possible. And then do this again for a couple more games. Plus-who doesn’t love an underdog story, and if this team can take out Crosspoint, then this will definitely become an underdog story that goes down in the history of ZGG playoffs…
Crosspoint Origin Players To Watch: Aero Xross & Sinplistic
This duo has shown the most interesting botlane duos throughout the split, which makes them my players to watch this series. I mean, can you even ban them out? Can you plan it out? I mean, they can outplay for lane dominance, outplay for scaling champs, and outplay with unique duo picks. I have yet to see them really struggle throughout the season, and I am excited to see what picks they have waiting for this matchup. I want to see them cleanly close out any chance for a win this series, and prove to the rest of the teams left that this is a team to fear, because this is a botlane you cannot fully prepare for.
PacaPaul and the PacaPal Player To Watch: QuestForIons and PacaPaul
Looking back at some of the matches, I notice the rising of a PacaPal star, and that is QuestForlons. If PacaPaul can get QuestForlons ahead early, then that can free himself up to then focus hard on the botlane in order to shut down this deadly duo. Just imagine a game where Quest is constantly threatening and pressuring to a point where it forces Guster Posey to have to answer, so PacaPaul can start taking objectives off the map. The fundamentals are here. Now there just needs to be a strategic play towards capitalizing on what is working well.
Quarterfinals Matchup: Inner Logic vs Goon Squad Gaming
This is going to be quite the series to watch this week, because both teams have proven themselves throughout the season. For Inner Logic, they have proven themselves by beating Goon Squad Gaming, PacaPaul and the PacaPals, and OTA Storm during the split. They still have to prove themselves, though, because they have lost to Crosspoint Origin and Imperial Gaming. As of right now, I can safely say they are one of the strongest teams in the league but it will be up to them to prove that tonight. If they can stick to what has been working for them this week and take out Goon Squad Gaming, then they can spend the following week preparing for Semifinals. Their win condition will depend upon them playing to their strengths and working hard to close out games through them. No reason to try anything new-just play the Inner Logic game to their very best and show they have what it takes to take on the top tier teams.
If playing to their strengths is the win condition of Inner Logic, then I would say Goon Squad Gaming’s game plan is to create an upset-which they have already proven they are capable of doing just that. They took the series against OTA Storm, PacaPaul and the PacaPals and then took a win away from Crosspoint Origin series. Their team isn’t a team to just brush over, because they are a team that can take a best of three and utilize the endurance factor to their advantage. If I were GSG, I would want a clean set of games this week, so they can build towards fighting for a full best of five or best of four next week, because it can create weaknesses that they know how to capitalize off of. Push the boundaries by never giving up and play for the long game. It is winnable even if they have yet to beat Inner Logic yet. Even if they didn’t win last time around, playoffs are like a clean slate for this team. I want to see them use it.
Inner Logic Player To Watch: Tommy2Time
If needs to win through top, then Tommy needs to 2 time this lane in order to ensure they make that impossible for them to do so. Tommy2Time has already shown they can win lane with champions that are also disgustingly good in flanks and teamfights. If they can secure a pick that does both-plays lane well and can affect a teamfight, then this will be a strong way to free up time for other players on their team to get ahead. Especially since Tommy2Time’s team likes scaling champions elsewhere on the map. Create the early game pressure, shut down the opponent’s win condition, and secure game changing plays to ensure the scaling champions dominate the rest of the game. Easy, right? If Tommy has already done it once, then they can do it again, right?
GSG Player to Watch: Master Siomai
When I relook at their last games, I want to see Master Siomai get a carry champion. When playing against !Rawr (someone who prides themselves on having the best toplaner in the league), Master Siomai played a fantastic game and showed they can be a carry threat. This is a strategy that I see as currently being underutilized. I want to see GSG to ProDraft to their strengths, and this looks like an easy way to do that. Especially since this meta wants solo lanes to get ahead early, so the focus can be shifted to objective control or focus on botlane turning their conditions into realities.