ROX Tigers vs M19
On paper, this one should be easy to predict right? A Korean team from the LCK facing off against a Wildcard crew. Anyone can easily bet on the Korean team to win. Except that’s not the case here as it’s not that easy to forecast the winner of this match. ROX Tigers have not been performing well in their region. They are in 8th place with two series wins and can easily fall into 10th place if Jin Air Green Wings and Kongdoo Monster start taking some matches from other squads. The ROX Tigers are one of the weakest statistical teams in the LCK, having the lowest early game rating and one of the lowest gold differences at 15 minutes. Their objective control is also very lackluster, being amongst the worst in the LCK.
M19, on the other hand, is the former Albus NoX Luna, the first Wildcard to make it out of Groups at Worlds. The only change in their roster is in the AD Carry position, with the team bringing VincentVega on board after aMircale’s departure. They did not look good in the Quarterfinals of Worlds against H2K but versus a weaker opponent such as the current ROX Tigers line-up, they definitely have a chance to win the fight. M19 is currently sitting at 4th place in the LCL with a 4-4 record. It will be a close match with both crews struggling in their own league but either team has a chance of winning. Especially considering that the first matches of the IEM Katowice 2017 LoL tournament will be Best of One.
H2K Gaming vs Hong Kong Esports
Quite a one-sided match-up. Hong Kong Esports have replaced Edward Gaming after the latter announced they would not attend the event due to visa issues. Considering how sudden the invitation is for HKE as well as their struggles in the LMS, it’s hard to think they will be able to stand up to H2K. They are currently tied for 4th place with two other crews, sitting on a negative 2-3 record. It’s not looking too good for the Taiwanese squad. Their domestic performances haven’t been too good and when looking at their statistics, they are a decent middle of the pack team. But being decent in the LMS will likely not be enough for them.
H2K have had some shaky games recently but they are still a top team League of Legends in Europe. Their early game is at an entirely different level from HKE’s. Their objective control is the best in Europe and their individual players are all performing at a good level. Jankos, in particular, has been looking amazing ever since Worlds last year and it doesn’t seem like he is slowing down. His early game impact continues to be really high as he is often the catalyst behind H2K’s ability to snowball their battles. It will definitely be a match-up where H2K are heavy favorites. Even in a Best of One it still seems unlikely that Hong Kong Esports will manage to take it.
Kongdoo Monster vs Unicorns of Love
Another fairly one-sided affair. Kongdoo is tied for last place in the LCK with a lousy 1-7 record. They’ve barely won any games and their stats as a squad are very poor. They are the weakest early stage guys in the LCK and their players are just not performing that well. Quite hard to imagine them taking down one of the Top 2 teams in Europe. It would truly be a miracle. It has happened before when Team WE (11th place in the LPL at the time) took down the GE Tigers (1st in the LCK at the time) in a shocking 2-1 upset at the 2015 IEM World Championship. It’s not like Kongdoo has 0% chance to win but it just seems very unlikely to happen. But then again that’s why we call it a miracle because it’s unlikely to happen.
Unicorns of Love have shown some glaring issues. In particular, their drafts just seem off sometimes. They are known as a team that likes to use weird pick and experiment sometimes but it can backfire on them. UOL is a weird crew because their stats aren’t that impressive. They don’t get big early game leads like H2K do and their early stages tend to be average. Objective control isn’t that great for them either. And yet they are still able to be the 1st place team in their group and have only dropped a series to G2 Esports. Their mid to late game decision making and massive fighting is quite good and it’s usually what ends up winning them most of their games. Against a squad like Kongdoo that doesn’t really specialize in anything and doesn’t have the strongest players, UOL should have a field day with them.
G2 Esports vs Flash Wolves
Easily the best, closest and most anticipated match-up of IEM Katowice 2017. The similarities between these teams is quite big. They have retained their rosters from last year for the most, with only NL being replaced on the Flash Wolves’ side in favor of Betty. Both squads are undefeated in their region when it comes to series wins, with Flash Wolves only dropping one single map and G2 dropping three. And most of all, both crews are crushing their region with methodical play. Neither team looks like they are destroying their opponents in-game but when it comes to winning their matches, they are just super consistent.
Predicting the winner is going to be hard. G2 has looked really solid but their bottom lane has shown a few weak performances here and there. On the other side of the coin, Flash Wolves look good domestically but they completely dropped the ball at Worlds in a group where they could have at least finished 3rd. But even against IMay, a team that they were expected to easily defeat, they just couldn’t do it and they finished in 4th place. Taiwan did not have a good Worlds performance as a region and if Flash Wolves was the best they could offer, it’s too hard to tell if they will be able to recover. Both teams have a lot of pride on the line in this Intel Extreme Masters tournament and they want to avenge their failures from last year. My gut feeling tells me G2 takes this one just because they will have a bigger desire to win, after failing at both MSI and League of Legends Worlds last year.
Thank you for reading this article and sticking around till the end. See you next time! Good luck!