OpTic Gaming vs Cloud9
For our first match of the day, we have a rather exciting clash between Cloud9 and a resurging challenger -- OpTic Gaming. Now, this match might not seem all that important, but it actually carries a whole lot of significance in the grand scheme of things.
One on hand, we have Cloud9 who are currently ranked third -- just one win behind Counter Logic Gaming. They want to tie CLG and potentially overtake them in the standings so that they actually lock down a playoff bye. Finishing in the Top 2 is incredibly important as it gives you an immense strategic edge over the rest of the opposition. The fact that you get one whole week to chill, recharge your batteries and come up with a solid game plan is invaluable, to say the least.
While their Summer Split run was far from perfect, they still have a chance to reach the Top 2 and, by proxy, cement themselves as one of the best teams the LCS has to offer. Not getting a bye is not the end all be all, but it's does provide a team with a momentous upper hand and is absolutely worth fighting for.
On the other hand, we have OpTic Gaming -- a team that is currently tied for sixth place with Clutch Gaming and the Golden Guardians. Now, that, in particular, is quite troublesome, to say the least. They've been a top-tier team throughout the entire split basically, and even though they had a drop in performance mid-split, they are still one of the better teams in the region. They are, however, quite rough around the edges, but there's more than enough potential within their five-man roster. When they get on the same page and start as well as they can, they're definitely a playoff-worthy contender -- something that was proven time and time again by their fantastic level of play and surprising synergy. Not to mention their stellar three-man core.
This game is, in a way, do or die. They don't want to leave anything to chance and losing here would definitely be a painful blow, especially after all they've done, and after all the progress which they've made. They're not entering this game with much hype, seeing how they're on a three-game losing streak, but we've seen them bounce back in a matter of hours and return to form. The fact that they traded blows with the second-placed Counter Logic Gaming yesterday only goes to show just how strong and capable they really are.
Not reaching the playoffs at this point would, for a lack of a better word, be disastrous. They deserve it, as well, and not because of any allegiance, but because they really have higher highs (and are mostly more consistent) than Clutch Gaming and the Golden Guardians, but because they didn't react and adapt in time, things are bound to go down to the wire.
Will they step up? Will they upset Cloud9? It still remains to be seen, but they definitely have a chance, especially after seeing them yesterday.
In the end, however, we simply have to side with Cloud9 on this one. They are too flexible, mechanically gifted and at times unhinged in order to drop this one. They might not play their best League of Legends at this point in time, but they're a dangerous adversary that can tango with the best of them. They need every win they can get and seeing how they're so close to securing a playoff bye, you can expect the vintage, all-in kind of Cloud9 to step foot on stage and dominate.