While every match tomorrow in Day 1 of the ROG DreamLeague Season 8 Playoffs is a must-watch, most are likely looking forward to seeing the matchup of Natus Vincere vs Virtus Pro. Both crowd favourites, these two teams from the CIS region have become unlikely rivals over the past month. Although it’s too early to tell if the winners of this CIS matchup will decide who will go on to win the tournament, a win against their rivals this early on could give Natus Vincere enough of a push to make a deep run.
Natus Vincere vs Virtus Pro
— Natus Vincere (@natusvincere) November 30, 2017
The first time Natus Vincere swept Virtus Pro at the combined EU+CIS DreamLeague Season 8 Qualifiers, most considered it a fluke. After all, Virtus Pro had history on their side. Until that unlikely loss, the past eight Natus Vincere vs Virtus Pro matchups had ended in Virtus Pro’s favour. However, Natus Vincere have since proven that they now have what it takes to take down the CIS bears, as evidenced by their 3-1 win against Virtus Pro in the Grand Finals of the Adrenaline Cyber League LAN Finals.
Whether or not they can make it 3 in a row is the question now; losing to Team Spirit in the Galaxy Battles CIS Qualifier doesn’t really inspire much confidence.
Having said that, the smart pick here is to go for Virtus Pro. However, Natus Vincere is as good of a bet as any as well. Either way, make sure to avoid making a pick on kills, roshans, and map scores; you’ll never know what you’ll get when these two aggressive teams clash. But, if you do have to choose one, pick the total maps going “Over 2.5”.
Team Liquid vs Fnatic
Team Secret and Virtus Pro showed that the key to taking a series off of the reigning TI champions, Team Liquid, is to prevent them from winning the lanes AND not make too many mistakes. The latter is very important, because even if they lose the lanes, Kuro ‘KuroKy‘ Salehi Takhasomi and the 36K MMR stack has so much individual talent and chemistry to fall back on that they can almost always recover, often by capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes.
With Abed Azel ‘Abed‘ Yusop on their team and his evident chemistry with Djardel Jicko B. ‘DJ‘ Mampusti, Fnatic have a fair shot at shutting down of at least one of Team Liquid’s lanes. Unfortunately, though, that probably won’t matter anyway. Both Khoo ‘Ohaiyo‘ Chong Xin and Jacky ‘EternaLEnVy’ Mao are just too prone to overextending for Fnatic to hold on, let alone build a substantial lead against Team Liquid at any point in the game.
Being underdogs with such a talented lineup make Fnatic a tempting pick, but don’t count it. Instead, you’ll be better off going for a “Map Handicap” in Fnatic’s favour or Team Liquid going 2-1. Although both picks feel iffy, you could at least make bank off of them, unlike going for a series sweep or a series win in favour of Team Liquid.
Team Secret vs Evil Geniuses
We're headed to Sweden for @DreamHack, but we've got a highlight video of our Midas Mode journey to tide you over until games start!
— Evil Geniuses (@EvilGeniuses) November 30, 2017
Years ago, Team Secret vs Evil Geniuses was like today’s Natus Vincere vs Virtus Pro; everybody was lining up to see both teams go at it. Their matchup remains a must-watch, mind you, but much of the hype surrounding has now died out.
So far this season, Team Secret and Evil Geniuses have only met once and historically, both teams remain pretty even with an 11-9 series record in Team Secret’s favour over the past three years. Gauging which team will walk out with the win even becomes more difficult when you consider that the boys in blue have been so inconsistent this season. Most likely, the result of this series will most likely depend on which version of Evil Geniuses will show up tomorrow.
In any case, don’t expect a quick series between both teams as they typically prefer to wait for their cores to come online before going for a gg push. However, don’t think that they’ll let the game drag on for too long either. Instead, a safe pick on the games going “Over 37:00” and “Under 50.5” is your best option here.
Newbee vs Infamous
No offense to Infamous, but they stand no chance against Newbee. Especially not with Newbee having recently won the Perfect World Masters Minor and Xu ‘Moogy‘ Han playing like an absolute beast lately. This is going to be a massacre, unless Newbee chokes, which is highly unlikely as they’re probably gunning for a rematch against Team Liquid and hopefully emerge as the winners this time around.
Expect a series sweep in favour of Newbee with Game 1 likely ending “Under 36.5” minutes and Newbee winning the “race to 10 kills” and “race to 15 kills” in both games.