The Mid-Season Cup is here. Playoffs members from China’s Pro League (LPL) and Korea's LCK will battle it out against each other in a four-day event. Here is a look at some picks from the opening day’s action on Thursday.
Top Esports (1.48)
Top Esports finished the LPL placed fourth with a 11-5 record. They quickly picked up pace in the postseason, showing their unrelenting spirit en route to the final. They were eventually beaten in the grand final 3-2 by JD Gaming. That will provide them with so much confidence and momentum going into this Mid-Season Cup. They beat WE 3-1 and Invictus Gaming by the same margin in the playoffs.
Damwon Gaming don’t quite have the same level of skill that Top Esports possess. Damwon are a determined team but passion alone might not be sufficient against one of the best League of Legends teams in China. Damwon Gaming were steady in the LCK this season, finishing the regular season with a 9-9 series record. I’d back the skill and fluency of Top Esports in this opener.
FunPlus Phoenix (2.22)
T1 are Korean champions. So understandably FunPlus Phoenix start this game as underdogs, albeit only slightly. FunPlus Phoenix had a good season in the LPL spring split. They finished third, winning 12 of their 16 series. They also won 27 of 40 games they played in the regular season. They had a strong combination of Doinb and Lwx leading their offense. That prowess won’t change.
The only question is whether they can close out an expectedly tight game against the might of T1. T1 were also quite close to FunPlus in the regular season of the LCK, finishing with a 14-4 season record in the spring split. There isn’t a lot that separates these two teams. The bigger payout is not only tempting, it’s not entirely unlikely.
T1 are too strong for Damwon Gaming. At least on paper, there isn’t much doubt about that. Damwon Gaming won one of two series against T1 in the spring split of the LCK. But on the big stage, it seems unlikely that T1 will slip aware that it could prove fatal. Damwon Gaming don’t have the same level of depth in resources and personnel as T1, which should prove to be quite a crucial factor in this game.