2 weeks down and most teams have played close to every other team, so we’re starting to get a clearer picture of how things might shape out. However, the next week is crucially important, clearing up some concerns about schedules. See an updated Power Rankings — as well as match previews for the week — after the break.
I picked Fnatic for the #1 spot because I know they perfom best under pressure. I was quite confident that they’d end up #1 after the playoffs even if they didn’t manage to have the top record in the season. They simply stand head and shoulders above the other teams in terms of skill, experience, uniqueness, and ability to improvise. However, I’d expected their record to be matched by Gambit Gaming at the very least: they have typically performed best under pressure, not during standard games.
However, they have leapt out to a 5-0 start. I think this is a bit of an unfair comparison, as they have not played against 2 of the top 4 teams at the moment: ROCCAT (the only other team to have beaten Gambit) and Copenhagen Wolves (the only team to have beaten ROCCAT). At the moment, the record of teams they have beaten is 11-20, not exactly exciting.
Their true test will come in the coming week, when they face off against their 3 main contenders: ROCCAT, Gambit, and CW. A loss to ROCCAT would lose them the #1 spot, while a loss to Gambit or CW would go a long way towards cementing those teams as contenders. Fnatic is also red side in all 3 games, and blue side has won 62.5% of the games in EU, including 7-1 in week 2.
I picked ROCCAT for my dark horse team, but even I couldn’t have predicted how wildly successful they’d be. I’d hoped for the #3 slot, under Gambit and Fnatic, but they have more than lived up to their expectations, beating Gambit and going undefeated but for a loss to CW.
This week, they play the last 2 teams they’ve yet to face: Fnatic and SK Gaming.
A win against Fnatic would be huge, establishing them definitively as one of the teams to beat in Europe. I think it would take more than 1 win over Fnatic to declare them the best European team, but it would go a long way.
Who expected to see Gambit in the #3 spot?
I was pretty convinced that the pecking order was Fnatic > Gambit > ROCCAT/CW > everybody else. Gambit has been strong and innovative for two seasons, and they’ve continued that this season, with EDward pulling out support Kennen and Darien playing Warwick top. They’ve beaten every team but ROC and FNC, and they lost to both of those teams on red side.
This week, they play against Alliance (the last team they haven’t played yet) and Fnatic.
Alliance has lost to every other top team (FNC/ROC/CW), so Gambit needs to pull off a win against Alliance, especially with the blue side advantage.
Alliance wasn’t looking good to start, dropping their first 4 games. But they also had a rough week 1 schedule, playing Fnatic, ROCCAT, and CW. I even recently used them as an example of poor synergy. Since then, they’ve beaten CW and MIL. They play Gambit Gaming and SK Gaming this week, and beating at least SK Gaming would put them in a position to make a push to avoid relegation.
SK had a hard schedule, to be sure, so their 2-4 record can’t be put entirely on that. But they also lost two games to Millenium, a team which has only beaten them. Either Millenium has their number, or they’re in a rough spot. Beating Alliance and SHC is basically a necessity for them at this point, and beating ROCCAT just seems unlikely.
Both of these teams just can’t get their act together.
SHC started well vs Alliance, and have lost to every team since. Their only saving grace is their tough schedule, with 1 loss to Fnatic and Gambit and 2 to ROCCAT, both teams we expect to beat every other team. They play SK Gaming and Copenhagen Wolves this time around; if they can’t beat them, it’s hard to place them anywhere but last place.
Millenium has had an equally hard schedule, with a loss to each of the top 4 teams, and 2 wins vs SK. They have a bye this week, so hopefully the time off will give them some time to work on their issues and come out strong in week 4.
I think Alliance is better than their week 1 showing, but I give this blue side win to Gambit Gaming, who should be hungry for a win after their loss to ROCCAT.
I feel like ROCCAT has the potential to go 1-3 or 2-2 vs Fnatic, and that means picking up the blue side win at some point. They are absolutely on fire, and are still a relative unknown who could catch teams by surprise. More detailed preview here.
Blue side remains a 62.5% advantage, and SHC has to win one eventually. SK Gaming is just the team for them to take down.
Fnatic will win this game for sure. Either they’ll have lost to ROCCAT and want a win, or they’ll need this win for a clean 1-0 sweep of every team.
I’m pulling for Alliance to move to 3-5 after this week, and take the #5 spot over time. Also blue side.
To be a top-4 team, CW needs to take home the easy wins, and this should be one.
If ROCCAT has just beaten Fnatic, their momentum will carry them. If they haven’t, they should be looking for revenge.
I’d like to see Gambit Gaming go 1-3 or 2-2 in this matchup. They already gave up a red side loss; it’s time for a blue side win.
Mattias “Gentleman Gustaf” Lehman is a big time nerd-gamer who has been involved in both SC2 and LoL. He has ranked as high as Diamond 1 in solo queue and Diamond 3 in arranged 5s.
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