Preview to Play-ins playoffs of Worlds 2020

Play-ins playoffs of Worlds 2020 is set to kick off tomorrow with Rainbow7 vs LGD followed by Mad Lions vs Papara SuperMassive.

The play-ins have been a rollercoaster with a lot of upsets, disappointments and surprises. PSG.Talon and Team Liquid have already qualified to the Group Stages and now we await the two other teams that would join them in the Group Stages. The breakdown of how the playoffs are expected to go through my lens and power rankings to follow.

Playoff Format:

The playoff format for play-ins has been changed due to the withdrawal of the VCS teams. The restructured format has an elimination and qualification round. In the Elimination round, the 3rd and 4th seeds of the two groups will play against each other in a best of five series. The winner of the elimination round goes to play the 2nd seed of the opposite group in the qualification round. The winner of the qualification round advances to playoffs.

Elimination Round Preview

Four playoff series will be played in two consecutive days starting tomorrow with two playoff series each day. Each team has their distinct styles and comforts. That also comes with their weaknesses. This article will breakdown each team’s strengths and weaknesses and contrast them with their opponents.

Rainbow7 vs LGD Gaming

Rainbow7 is the team representing the LLA (Latin America League) in Worlds 2020. They finished the Play-ins group stages with a 2-2 record beating LGD and Unicorns of Love. This is a team that relies on their teamwork and team fighting mentality to get them wins.

They are +250 in gold differential at 15 minutes and +74 in gold differential per minute and rank 4th for both categories amongst teams in the play-ins in the play-ins group stage. Furthermore, they took about 3 dragons per game and 1 baron nashor per game. They are a team that wants to take fights in the mid-game, execute on it, and then take objectives and gain a lead.

LGD Gaming is the fourth-placed team representing the LPL. Their Play-ins record was 2-3 with wins against V3 esports twice of which one of them is in a tiebreaker match. They were considered a favorite to go directly into Group Stages but they have massively under-performed where other teams in that group exceeded expectations.

In all of their games, they have a massive gold differential of 2148 at 15 minutes which is ranked 2nd behind Team Liquid in the play-ins group stages. However, their gold difference per minute is just +17 which ranks 5th. They are a team that plays a very high octane early game where they have taken first blood in every game they have played in the play-ins. In contrast, they have faltered in the mid-game and gave away leads and lost games that way.

Key points to watch out for in tomorrow’s series:

  • Dragon percentage. LGD does not focus dragons often and are bottom 3 in that category whereas Rainbow7 is in the top half
  • Who wins the early game and can LGD snowball that lead or can Rainbow7 stall and punish LGD’s mid-game fumbles.

Expect a very competitive series where the teams will fight tooth and nail. Key players to watch from each team will be Josedeodo from Rainbow7 and Peanut from LGD.

Mad Lions vs Papara SuperMassive

Mad Lions are the fourth seed representing the LEC in Worlds 2020. They finished 2-3 in the Play-ins group stages winning against INTZ two times including the tiebreaker. They have also been underwhelming in the group stages of play-ins.

Papara SuperMassive is the team representing the TCL in Worlds 2020 and they finished 2-2 in the play-ins group stage. They beat the Mad Lions in a dominant fashion during the group stages.

Mad Lions underperforming is not an exaggeration. Their gold differential at 15 is -445 which is the fourth-lowest in the play-ins and their gold differential is -111. Their stats at Worlds have been subpar however they are a team that snowball fights a lot.

Papara Suppermassive have +5 gold differential per minute and +715 gold differential at 15 which is ranked 3rd in the list. They are a team that heavily relies on individual skill and then snowballs from the early game.

Key things in this game:

  • Can Mad Lions survive the early game from Papara SuperMassive? This game will be entirely predicated on whether Mad Lions have the ability to stop the bleeding and then use their aggressive mentality to pick advantageous fights.
  • Papara SuperMassive’s answer to the aggression of Mad Lions. Mad Lions pick a lot of fights regardless of circumstances and it will be interesting to see whether Papara SuperMassive can punish the Mad Lions for bad engages.

This will be a series that will be determined in the first two games. Key players to watch from each team will Humanoid from Mad Lions and KaKao from Papara SuperMassive.

Predicted Picks and bans

Now the key here will be the champions that are picked. Ornn will likely be banned in either one of the series and Orianna will have a strong presence. The ADC picks will be telling as well since there has been many different champions picked on that role. Jungle has also had a lot of diversity in terms of champion picks so expect that to not be any different.

Power Rankings

These are my power rankings for the matches going into playoffs

  1. Unicorns of Love
  2. Papara SuperMassive
  3. Legacy Esports
  4. Rainbow7
  5. LGD
  6. Mad Lions

Unicorns of Love belong at the top of this list with them playing exceptional in the group stage and they are a very unconventional team that finished at 3-1. Papara SuperMassive despite being 3rd in the group played one day of excellent games and when their early game goes according to plan, they stomp their opponents.

LGD and Mad Lions despite being favorites before the play-ins have shown no indication in the group stage of improvement. They have been subpar with their performances in the group stages and they have to change their gameplan or make significant improvements to get to the Group Stages of Worlds 2020.

Rainbow7 and Legacy Esports are more steady teams and they should be able to hold their own in their respective matches with their play style.

Predictions for Elimination Round

Based on statistics and watching how the teams played themselves and other opponents, we will predict that Rainbow7 will take the series 3-2 over LGD. LGD’s mid-game has been their weakness and almost all the teams in that group has managed to take advantage of that. However, LGD will put up a good fight and will force Rainbow7 to a game 5

For the Mad Lions vs Papara SuperMassive, we will predict that Papara SuperMassive wins by 3-1. we do not think Mad Lions can improve significantly in one day to match Papara SuperMassive’s aggressive early game and will fall behind in the early game.

Final Remarks

Mad Lions vs Papara SuperMassive have the biggest difference in terms of quality of play if we judge by the play-ins so far. Mad Lions will have an uphill battle in order to make it to the qualification round to face Unicorns of Love. Papara SuperMassive only has to stick to their style and force Mad Lions to fight them on their terms.

On the other hand, LGD vs Rainbow7 is a more evenly matched series. If LGD makes a lot of improvement, they will take that series to face Legacy Esports in the Qualification round. Rainbow7 needs to utilize the mid-game where LGD has look their worst and take an advantage there to close out games

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