Rogue vs SK Gaming
The days of uncertainty continue, although it's important to note that things have somewhat stabilized in both the LEC and LCS. There haven't been any mind-boggling upsets just yet, which means teams are on their best behavior, with everyone drafting comfort picks in an attempt to close out the season strong. Dropping games at this point is downright unacceptable, especially against teams that are similar in ranking. There are just a few games left to be played and the margin for error is non-existent. A single win or defeat can become the determining factor between reaching the playoffs or waiting things out on the sidelines.
And what a long and excruciating wait it'll be. January of 2021 feels exceedingly distant, especially in today's pandemic-related climate. Either way, you can expect teams to fight for every inch of the Summoner's Rift which should, in turn, make for a spectacular photo finish, especially in the LEC where six teams are separated by just a single win.
What absolute madness.
This time around, we have Rogue vs. SK Gaming. On paper, this is a fight between a team tied for first place (with a staggering eleven wins and just three losses), and a team tied for third. Had someone told you that Rogue and SK Gaming would've ranked so highly coming into Summer, you would've probably laughed them out of the room and with good reason. But Rogue have quickly solidified their spot at the top. They're not perfect, but they're playing some darn good League of Legends. There's just no weak link, with everyone carrying their fair share of the weight. Larssen has been performing as a Top 3 (at worst) mid laner in a region stacked with mid lane talent, and their veteran bottom lane has stepped up immensely in every sense of the word. They're aggressive, confident, and have a deceptive amount of mental fortitude and resilience. They fight from start to finish and the way they demolished Fnatic yesterday was definitely a statement -- they're the real deal and they're here to stay. They laned better, team fought better, and had a more precise read on the minutiae of the game and its state at every moment. It was a beautiful display of skill, mechanical talent, and a baffling amount of trust in each other.
Granted, there's certainly a couple of things that could be exploited. Larssen isn't equally as impactful on all meta champions, and giving him Azir is like surrendering in and of itself. Likewise, Inspired has a somewhat meager champion pool and Finn's aggression often gets the better of him. Still, if shutting them down were so easy, a team of Fnatic's caliber would'be surely found a way to capitalize and get the win -- but they didn't. Rogue have earned our respect and they're only going to improve even further as time goes on. Right now, as things stand, they're a shoo-in for the World Championship in China, and that, in itself, is surprising in every way, shape, and form. It's well deserved, however, and a change in the LEC status quo might be happening right before our very eyes.
SK Gaming, on the other hand, is quite a formidable team. It's surprising, even. They don't look like one, and we could dissect their weaknesses and inherent flaws to no end. But, when they get going, they're a force to be reckoned with, in no small part because of their incredible coaching staff and immaculate preparation. ZaZee is a Top 5 mid laner even though he's been playing on the LEC stage for just a couple of months, and Crownshot is still as talented as ever, although he's a fair bit less capable when not on his now staple Ezreal. SK are not the kind of team that'll roll over and surrender even if they're at a deficit, and they're unexpectedly proactive regardless of the state of the game. They know the odds, but they're not phased in the slightest. In fact, they revel in their inherent underdog status. Still, the fact that they're tied for third tells us they shouldn't be regarded as an underdog any longer.
On paper, they have all the right tools to not only compete with Rogue on even footing but perhaps even get the win. They are no slouch and are well-equipped for the task at hand. That said, Rogue are -- at their best -- on a completely different level. They make fewer mistakes, they have more carries and weapons to work with, and all of their members are performing above expectations at the moment. Again, SK will certainly make this into a highly competitive affair, but Rogue should, by all means, be able to get the win.