All of my statements are my opinions, they do not reflect the thoughts of Zero Gravity Gaming as a whole, community or staff. Zero Gravity believes in the ability of community driven content and so I produce this content for the enjoyment of the community. If you have any opinions or requests, you can contact me on Discord at Bduhmana#1590.
Thoughts of Bduhmana: Not since Capcom vs Marvel or DC vs Marvel have there been a more explosive crossover event…until now that is. This week, we have the best of the best from each gold division duking it out in an effort to prove they are the only team that matters. Regardless of whether they represent Ionia or Freljord, Noxus or Demacia-now is the time to prove they can destroy anyone in their way in order to be called champions of them all. It will be a battle of wills just as much as a battle of intellect or battle of the brawn, because there are multiple teams out here who have their own unique strategies and this meta hasn’t stopped any of these teams from climbing to the top with it. All that is left now is to put their best foot forward, and prove they can take out the rest.
Your ZGG Gold Ionia/Freljord Quarterfinal League Teams: In Order by Placement
Oasis Nails and Day Spa
The Comfy Cartel
Goon Squad Gamma
Feed the Nightmare
Pod of Dolphins
Matchup: Literal Monkeys vs. Oasis Maelstrom
How Literal Monkeys Win: Literal Monkeys doesn’t need me to tell them that they are the favorite in this matchup. They have gone out each and every week and proven why they are the best in their division. This includes beating the only other strongest competition for them in this whole playoff tournament. If I had to play a favorite for the title, I am arguing very strongly that Literal Monkeys has what it takes to secure the championship. Of course, they have to win this week first. What is their win condition? PacaPaul. I remember, back in the day, when I saw PacaPaul first on the Rift in ZGG. There was just something about this jungler that drew my attention. A lot of junglers in gold and platinum abuse their leads through tempo and objective control. What I love about PacaPaul is the opposite, actually. He gets his leads, beats his opponent, sure. But what makes this team so great is their adaptability from Questz and Just Bobo. They take turns playing a supportive role-they know when they need to be the playmaker and they know when they need to support their carries, and they all execute it flawlessly week after week. Other first place teams might get mad at me for this, but honestly: this is their tournament to win or lose. The only time I have seen this team lose is by their own missteps. So-until I see someone beat them outright, my money is on them (even if I can’t say it in the brackets because I make the content-yall heard it here first). That doesn’t mean they aren’t beatable. I do want to honor that they have weaknesses-but it will take the opponent’s intentionality around focusing those in order to dismantle the foundational strength this team has.
How Oasis Maelstrom Win: Oasis Maelstrom is somewhat of a dark horse in this playoff competition, and I am pretty sure a lot of teams have underestimated them. It is hard, sure-they got stuck going up against Literal Monkeys in the Quarterfinals. But that can be a blessing in disguise. Rather than a best of five, they get a best of three. And I feel fairly confident in saying this: they are also their own worst enemy just as much as they are their own win condition. Where Literal Monkeys understands each of their roles within the team in order to win game after game, I think the potential for Oasis Maelstrom to be similar in playstyle exists. What I noticed from their losses is that they very easily could’ve won. It all came down to ProDraft decision making that gave them losses, and that tells me they don’t truly understand either the meta or their team strengths. I think they need to put GFuel UwU in a position of power. When this midlaner has a champion that can playmake in a way that allows the rest of the team to follow up, the damage and destruction will be there. I don’t want to see supportive picks. I want this player to also be unlocked. Give them the picks they are most confident in and let them go. It’ll work. And if they beat Literal Monkeys, the rest of the bracket is theirs to take because Literal Monkeys has already beaten the teams Oasis would have to take out afterwards. I am not saying it will be easy-I am saying the opposite: this is the hardest matchup in the bracket. It is winnable, though. Dig deep and use that tenacity I have seen your team pull out when it needs most and play your game with the confidence you deserve when going up against Literal Monkeys. Be the dark horse.
Matchup: Oasis Nail and Day Spa vs. Feed the Nightmare
How NADS Win: Oasis Nail and day Spa may be the favorite for this matchup, and with good reason. In fact, I hope they use that ego towards their win conditions tonight against Feed the Nightmare. This is a team that seems to thrive when they want to destroy. Plus, Oasis Nail and Day Spa have been really consistent throughout their division-stacking up wins by farming champions and securing all objectives in ways that just choke out their opponents. If Warheads852 can control the tempo of the game from the start, then focusing their devastatingly good lanes seems to come naturally for this team. Especially when they get Classytrux ahead. This adc is a force to be reckoned with, and AintEZBngCheezy finds clutch engages that set them apart in lane phase from lower tier botlane duos.
How Feed the Nightmare Win: Feed the Nightmare for FTN to win. Pun is also the win condition here: Feed your botlane all your resources and you win. This requires Kappa to Krusade in a way that will allow him to also shut down Oasis Nail and Day Spa win conditions. The only time NADS has struggled is if their jungler doesn’t get early control inn order to support their laners. This is when they are most weakest, because they want to get their botlane ahead. Just DO NOT confuse this with inability to play from behind-it just is their weakest area that can be targeted. I know FTN is the underdog in this matchup, but sometimes being the underdog allows you to take the risks you need on the Rift-leave it all out there! Play your hearts out. Believe in the strengths that you very much have shown, and lean heavily into the playstyle that works for you.
Matchup: Imperial Ignis vs. Goon Squad Gamma
How Imperial Ignis Win: Imperial Ignis doesn’t really have weaknesses. Their team has a lot of experienced players who know how to step up in the playoffs, and I suspect that Azurexfire will be the voice this team needs to ensure they win against Goon Squad Gamma this week. This especially works well when IMPL Phoenixfire gets unlocked to help Azure get ahead early and often. What I love about this team isn’t that Azurexfire is this dominant laner that destroys everyone in their path, but rather that this team knows to trust the shotcalling and it shows in the synergy and efficiency on the map. The tempo of this team is rarely matched in their division, and they know who their win conditions are and how to abuse it. Ultimately, their win condition for this week against GSG is to just play the way they play. They don’t lose if they just play their game their way.
How GSG Win: Goon Squad Gamma have shown their potential to sweep playoffs time and time again (even if it wasn’t consistent during the split). Their win condition, you ask? Their confidence. When they go into a game determined, the results are sweepingly obvious across all teammates. They know how to ensure their botlane duo gets ahead, the other players know how to efficiently run leads into objective control and shut out games. They are, essentially, their own worst enemies, because when they start to fall behind in tempo or lose an objective, it becomes much more difficult for them to win from behind. To ensure they keep tempo is to rely on two things: 1. Play to your strengths and play to them confidently. Do not worry in the moment and lose the opportunity to take your leads when you have them 2. Steal the tempo in jungle first, so that it cannot be translated into jg/mid fights. Afterall, your strength is in the botlane so you just want to ensure your midlaner stays safe. That isn’t to say you focus your Prodraft solely on this powerhouse midlaner (many have tried-many have failed). Just focus on you and add the intentionality around getting ahead early in order to keep the momentum you need.
Matchup: Goon Squad Sigma vs. The Comfy Cartel
How GSS Win: Goon Squad Sigma does what Goon Squad Sigma does. That is honestly it. I will write more, because I am sure their opponents want to know how to beat them-but if Goon Squad Sigma just repeats what they normally do every single game-they sweep this. I love their playstyle. I love watching it and I love writing about it. There is this easeness to their synergy: they know their strengths, they know how to start strong in Prodraft. Okay,okay- you are right-people DON’T ever prodraft correctly against this team-but they know how to punish that, too). If I see the best botlane duo in this division get their infamous picks, ThatDeckerGuy will punish you again and again…and again. And again. I cannot stress that enough. That being said, I am really confident with this botlane: BaaMmm and ThatDeckerGuy understands their role on the team so well that getting leads early or playing from behind are just different ways to win the game. So just let them do them. It’ll work.
How The Comfy Cartel Win: You know, I honestly could almost write the same thing for this team. I say almost, because their won condition is to play the Comfy Cartel way. They have found the perfect balance of their playstyle: they understand their individual roles for the team and the shotcalling and leadership that happens on this team is so clearly why they can win ahead or behind. Plus, people give Feathers champions Feathers will absolutely destroy you with. I get it-no team wants to put 5 bans toward a toplaner. And when you do, Feathers picks a tank and destroys you with their shotcalling-I get it. It is hard to ProDraft against a team that has such a strong shield. That being said-that is the win condition for this team. As long as this team relies on what they know and continue to execute with their communication and shotcalling, I know each and every player (subs included) know how to step up and win. Unless they fall into the trap of not respecting their opponents in ProDraft. If that happens, I know who advances. So: just do you, Comfy Cartel. Show everyone why you were underestimated from the beginning and steadily rose to the top by beating everyone you needed to get there.
Matchup: Airport Speedrun vs. Poro Snaccs
How ASR Win: Airport Speedrun understands what it is they need to do to destroy their opponents, and they rarely have to ever step out of their comfort zone to do it. They may have lost their primary jungler who helped ensure their win conditions, but Banana Bread XD easily knew how to step into that role and ensure they kept their tempo, they kept their leads, and they heavily punished them. If they can do that tonight: just play the Airport Speedrun game and control the game from the jungle, then they win. They sweep. What I also love about their new rendition is their flexibility in their team comps. It’ll make it much more difficult for Poro Snaccs to target in ProDraft, and allows them the ease of switching up their champions because their win condition is most reliant on how they play, not who they play.
How PS Win: Poro Snaccs is a new team that came into this split with the understanding that they were going to grow as they played. This obviously means they are the underdog in this one, but it doesn’t mean they should be counted out just yet. If Poro Snaccs focuses less on reactive playstyle and digs deeper into the strengths on their team-they have win conditions. They have very strong players who have shown they can get leads and win with them. They just aren’t consistent with that confident playstyle and their teamfights have shown that. What do they need to do then? STOP playing the game someone sets the tempo for-and, instead, trust in themselves. If they understand their role before the play, they can execute. The potential has always been there-it has always been execution. Play your game. Trust yourself. Win one lead at time, one objective at a time, then one game at a time. That is how Poro Snaccs can win: Believe in yourself and the rest will follow.
Matchup: Agni Kai vs. Revolution Esports
How Agni Win: Agni Kai may have had some turnover since playoffs, but that doesn’t mean anything when this team has surely proven that the players that remain are the players that will dominate these games. Quite the opposite. I think their move away from the !Rawr org actually boosts their advantage in this playoffs. This isn’t shade on !Rawr, but more of a compliment to the players who have won week after week. Jg isn’t ruined isn’t just a good jungler-they are a phenomenal jungler. They know how to control pathing, punish other junglers, and use those leads to ensure their team gets the leads where it counts. Supportive style junglers weren’t really in the meta when this team was abusing them, and now the meta has greatly shifted in their favor and I love it. I want to see them just play their game and abuse this meta shift and sweep the playoffs. Why not? They can…
How Revolution Esports Win: Revolution Esports is an interesting team to go up against Agni Kai for a multitude of reasons. First off, I think Revolution has the most volatility out of their entire division, and that hasn’t been a bad thing. I think what makes this team so great is their ability to trust in one another. So what looks like volatility is actually more their finding their communication and synergy. When they do this, then win. Doesn’t matter if it is the top tier team or the last place team-they just win. Their win condition has never been about the opponent, because they have yet to meet their ceiling and the potential to reach it is there. If they go into tonight prepared: ProDraft ensuring they get the picks they need in the jungle to ensure they have early control where they need, then they can win through their strongest members of the team. But it starts with ensuring their jungler gets what they need in ProDraft. Please, please prioritize your team comps around that and the rest will follow. They don’t need meta-they need comfort. It works too easily not to trust it…
Matchup: TFF Aftershock vs. Pod of Dolphins
How TFF Win: TFF Aftershock have been a joy to watch throughout their division. They take risks that most teams in their division don’t-and those risks pay off tenfold almost every week. They are also one of the only teams that have ensure 2-1 victories, they beat teams that previously have beaten them, and they adapt well in this meta and within this split. They really are one of the most balanced teams out of all four divisions, and that is their win condition for tonight. Their strengths are their flexibility: their teammates know when they can carry, and the rest of the team knows how to support those carries. Whether they need to play around that disgusting Morde that S10Survivor has, let Neko4205 run you over withDiab0lu5, or they beat you through Alumyn and School Girl Lux-they know when and how to execute it all.
How Pod Win: Pod has their own win condition, and I think it is actually their humbleness and their eagerness to grow which has made them so strong this split. They mentioned from the beginning of the season that they knew they were a team that needed to improve, they are flexible with growing through their challenges, and their strengths have become really clear throughout their wins and losses. They have what they need to succeed. The carries put up good stats and damage. I really just think the jungle meta change has given them a few setbacks, because Anderson Cooper is a fantastic jungler who knows how to be the carry the team needs. So maybe they just ignore the meta. Maybe, instead-they rely on what they know. Their solo lanes are strong-they know how to stay even and can even get ahead with some help, and their botlane duo so close to understanding their power and potential. I really think it comes down to giving Anderson Cooper whatever champion they feel most confident on, and then just letting them lead the team to victory. Sometimes a shift for the meta is a chance for pocket picks, just sayin…
Matchup: egirl Sensations vs. Final Esports
How egirl Win: How doesn’t egirl Sensations win is the better question lol Okay, okay-I will do my writing job instead of fanboi’ing over here. But-I will still fanboi while I do it. It is so much fun to watch this team destroy the stats, destroy the opponents, and leave nothing for their opponents as a win condition. Mayhem and destruction follow this team, and I think they love it that way. What makes this team so much fun is that their win condition is their playmaking. It isn’t a player, persay (**cough cough** okay-maybe it is Adorate Luna and catwp, **cough cough**). I would also argue that as good as those two players are at playmaking, the entire team knows how to go in. And they go in well. They don’t just beat you in teamfights-they are efficient with prepping and they are seamless (it appears, anyway) with their synergy once they get there. And then they just steamroll after that.
How Final Win: Now where Final Esports strength is in their playmaking, I would argue Final Esports strengths are in their decision making. This team understands what they need to and they get gold so much more efficiently than a lot of their opponents they have taken on this split. What is more? They do it through the jungle. When you have a jungler who devastatingly gets heavy leads and then shares it with their carries, their opponents just can’t compete with that. They choke out everything: the enemy jungler, all objectives basically, and then they close. They are a closer type of team-but how could you not be when Bªtman is that strong… There is no reason for them to be scared of a first place team, because they know how to beat first place teams-even if they haven’t shown it yet. Just follow the leader and let the leader lead you to victory. If Bªtman can remember to team up with SpecialEIV and use their leads to get INDUCED ahead-it will be disgusting.