In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the teams in each group that made it into Division 1 of Nationals. Read on to find out my predictions for each game, as well as the winner’s and loser’s matches for each group!
Key: [S:1 = South Seed 1, N:8 = North Seed 8]
Game 1, UoS Fire (N:1) vs Reading is Hard (S:8)
UoS Fire finished atop of the North region with a stronger OMWP% 10-2 record, by starting off the final week in Group 2 and finishing with a win against U♿B. By doing so, they face Reading is Hard, who are the only team in the playoffs to hold an 8-4 record due to how open the last spot was in the South & Wales region. Just by seeding strength, I’d expect UoS Fire to be able to blaze past Reading is Hard, but that doesn’t tell the full story. Reading is Hard actually bolsters three D3+ players , making them a scary team in terms of snowballing potential. However, what UoS provides is one of the most well-rounded rosters in the NUEL, with all their players being consistent D5+ players who all flex a large champion pool, unlike their opponents. Although the upset would not be out of the ordinary, UoS fire have a significant advantage getting to pick choice of sides in deciding how they deal with the threats on Reading is Hard. I predict UoS Fire to win Game 1 and the Winner’s match for the exact same reason.
Game 2, Bristol Palace (S:4) vs U♿B (N:5)
Game 2 might be a closely contested affair as well. Whilst both teams don’t seem to have a singular carry, I wouldn’t be able to point out a singular weakness either. If anything, I’d point out the significant differences in the champion pools of the mid laners, with the UoB mid laner opting for more caster-based champions and ChenTang providing flexibility with safe picks such as the Corki or otherwise more high risk high reward picks such as the Vladimir. If the game stalls out, which I expect to happen, a pick such as Vladimir might be the key difference in a late game team-fight. I note that it also runs the risk of losing map pressure early which could cause an early snowball. Admittedly, Bristol Palace do not seem to play in such a risky manner, given that they were a top South seed for the entirety of the regular season, and I expect them to just be able to edge lower seed in UoB through a close and calculated game. On the other hand, the U♿B team has posted top wins vs sides such as “Best UK Mid”, by shutting down their priority carries. I predict they will do much the same to Reading is Hard in the Losers’ Match, but once again falter to Bristol Palace.
Winner’s Match, UoS Fire vs. Bristol Palace
Loser’s Match, Reading is Hard vs U♿B
Final Match, U♿B vs Bristol Palace
Game 1, Sponsored by Hyper Exe (S:1) vs Hullageddon (N:8)
Whilst Hullageddon on paper do not look like a weak team, the Exeter A team deserve all the respect they can get for completing a 12-0 dismantling of the South & Wales region. In doing so, I believe they will comfortably sweep this game provided they give the Hull team the respect they deserve for making it to the playoffs. Jeedos and his men should see the first game out and set themselves up easily for the Winner’s match by winning a simple Bo1, something they’ve done successfully for the past 4 play-weeks running. I expect no different in the winner’s match.
Game 2, Watt Puns Are Cringe (N:4) vs Prelude Gaming (N:5)
Game 2 seems to be about who can snowball and draft better based on their apparent strengths, with Watt Puns Are Cringe likely to be focusing on their mid laner and Prelude Gaming either focusing on the top lane, or levying their top lane pressure to creature pressure in the bot lane. The draft advantage will go to Watt Puns Are Cringe, who hold a higher seed and can decide what they think is the best approach to tackle Prelude in C. I expect the game to be a one sided affair, although I am not entirely sure which team will definitely come out ahead. Given the volatility of the Bo1, I would be inclined to pick with Prelude Gaming, who bolster the only Masters player in this group. Going forward, given that I expect the Exeter team to sweep this group, I believe that the Hull team can actually give a good fight to whomever loses Game 2. This is largely owed to the fact that they bolster a very consistent team in terms of elo and champion pool. However, what the two teams from Game 2 provide are much the same and more in that they do carry significant strengths, and I expect the loser of the game to do much the same. This would set up a rematch between Watt Puns Are Cringe and Prelude Gaming, in which I believe Prelude would win out again now having the draft advantage.
Winner’s Match, Sponsored by Hyper Exe vs. Prelude Gaming
Loser’s Match, Watt Puns Are Cringe vs Hullageddon
Final Match, Prelude Gaming vs Watt Puns Are Cringe