SGCL 2018: M1 Pick'em Guide (Week 1)08.06.2018

BY LEONARD 'OMO' LOH

For everyone's who struggling with who you should pick for this week's M1 Pick'em, we invited your friendly neighbourhood caster OMO (who managed to end at a Top 10 position last year) to share his predictions for this year's SGCL M1 Pickem!

Who’s Your Champ

‘A’ Division

Nanyang Polytechnic: 60% 

It would be hard to bet against NYP. In the new Singapore Campus League system, with players from the professional Singapore Legends Series circuit now being allowed to play in the collegiate league, elevating the level of competition, NYP has assembled a roster that looks practically unbeatable on paper. 

Look out for:
To qualify for the interschool stage, this NYP roster had to go through another NYP team that was practically identical to the NYP roster which won the entire Campus League in 2017 (but note that this was when professional players were still banned). With the Mid and Jungle duo from Resurgence leading the charge, NYP looks to be the team to beat.


Unbeatable?

Downsides:
However, this team isn’t perfect, with a wildcard like Alex ‘Shinsekai’ Tan playing an off-role (where his risk-prone playstyle could be heavily punished) and inexperienced players like Jerome ‘Seira’ Ong and Alan ‘Santarina’ Lim standing out as possible weaknesses that could be exploited as NYP head into the playoffs.

What if’s:
Interestingly, NYP does have roster moves it could make that would on paper make an unbeatable roster with Jervis ‘Scarletpetal’ Lam sitting on the bench after coming over from the aforementioned previous Campus League Championship team - perhaps NYP would consider starting him if they run into hiccups along their Championship journey, swapping Shinsekai into the Top Lane (his main position) or Support (where his experience and expertise can be put to use).


Questionable Bot Lane assignments

Temasek Polytechnic: 30%

If there was a team that could take down NYP, it would be TP with the pedigree of their players and finishing first in the Swiss format round robin over NYP to determine seeding, they have proved to be able to beat NYP (albeit in a BO1). Expect a rematch of the 2017 SGCL Grand Finals where we saw NYP going up against TP in a thrilling series. This time though, NYP have the bigger names on their roster and are the ones favored to take it all.

Look out for: 
While none of the pieces of this roster stand out as a strong 1-2 punch combination - there is a possibility of the pieces falling into place by the Finals (which TP should be able to make it to). Timothy ‘Ciela’ Lim, also from Resurgence is also a multi-time Championship winning ADC with Tan ‘Yone’ Jia Xuan and Wong ‘iNitrogen’ Jing Kai also having made deep runs into tournaments. 

Additionally, the whole roster except for Ciela has played together in the past other tournaments (albeit with iNitrogen as ADC).

Downsides:
While he’s made a name for himself as an ADC, this is iNitrogen's first foray into the Mid Lane and although he’s performed admirably so far - one has to question how he will fare against other more experienced Mid Laners especially on the bigger stages.

What if’s?:
If the places fall into place at the right time, this roster could take down NYP but that will be a tough bet with too many what if’s to realistically call.

Everyone else: 10%

Basically negligible chance for anyone except these 2 teams to take it all. Judging from the ranks and pedigree of the players, barring a drastic increase in skill levels or massive over performances from SP or RP - it’s down to NYP and TP.

‘B’ Division

Choa Chu Kang Secondary: 50% 

For the 2 time ‘B’ Division Champions, with Ashton ‘Babylife’ Tee being the only returning member, it would seem hard pressed for CCK to take the crown once again. However, it’s hard betting against Babylife in the ‘B’ Division (which I did last year and was proven wrong).

Look out for
It’s hard to think of any Mid Laners in the ‘B’ Div standing up to Babylife who has proven himself over the last 2 years (albeit with solid teams both times). This will be his first time defending the crown without any of his former teammates.

Downsides:
Unproven players beside the Mid Lane, any variance in performance can be expected which makes the ‘B’ Division a risky one to call.

West Spring Secondary School: 30%

The team I bet on last year for the ‘B’ Division ultimately fell short against CCK in the finals, with the supporting cast around star Jungler Jayden ‘Carac’ Ang not being sufficient to stand up against CCK led by Babylife.

However this time around, the cast around Babylife will also be questionable giving WSSS the chance to take the throne for themselves.

Look out for:
Carac is a player who has not only proven his mettle on the Campus League stage but also made deep runs into the local circuit and other tournaments and will always be a huge threat especially given the weak jungle pool in the ‘B’ Division.

Downsides:
The team as a whole did not show great macro or individual play in 2017, Carac himself did not put on the carry performance which some (myself included) were expecting from him. 

Everyone else: 20%

With the ‘B’ Division having many newer, younger players and unknown quantities, this proves to be a hard division to call besides the 2 frontrunners. Any team hasa chance to take it all if they find a way to make their roster click.


Once we're done with Who's Your Champ, it's time to delve deeper into the individual matches that will be happening over the weekend.

Saturday, 9 June

Current Odds: NP (84.68%) vs. ITE (15.32%)

Actually, a pretty close series to call on paper despite the overwhelming odds in favor of NP. With NP finishing 4th in the Swiss seeding rounds with a 2-1 record and ITE finishing 5th with a 1-2 record, these teams don’t seem too far apart in terms of overall skill and this match will come down to how the teams perform on the day itself at Gam3.Asia.

Matchup to watch:
Jungle

Lim ‘Insight’ Hai Jie vs. Marco ‘Penguinn’ Ngooi

With Penguinn being the core of ITE’s Campus League run last year, don’t expect much to have changed this time around with ITE living or dying by Penguinn’s flashy playstyle. A lot of this matchup should come down to how Insight performs against Penguinn and plays around his Top Laner of Henvin ‘887’ Hon who is expected to be the star performer from NP. 

Final call:

Play the odds with this one. Though NP should be slightly favoured to take the match, the odds are TOO overwhelming in their favor and I would advise going for a 2:1 in favor of ITE.

Current Odds: SP (87.77%) vs. NUS (12.23%)

This match should go in favor of SP who finished 3rd place in the round robin with a 2-1 win record going up against NUS in 7th with 1-2. With most of the SP roster having competitive experience going up against an inexperienced NUS roster who hover around Platinum to Diamond in Solo Queue (opting instead to focus on Flex Queue to practice their teamwork), expect SP to be a class above and be able to pull through victorious.

Matchup to watch:
Jungle

Tay ‘IceDestiny’ Leong Jie vs. Chew ‘ExWaifu’ Xing Kai

With IceDestiny coming off a Singapore Legends Series Championship win and a foray into the Garena Premier League, he should be a key part of SP’s victories and losses. Going up against ExWaifu who will be returning from the previous NUS roster, this matchup seems heavily skewed in favor of SP which should decide the map.

Final call:

Despite the odds already being heavily in favor of SP, I highly doubt they will lose this series, although I don’t expect a clean series, this should be a 2-0 in favor of SP.

Sunday, 10 June

Current Odds: TP 86.79% vs. NTU 13.21%

With one of the favorites to take the whole tournament in TP going up against NTU who finished bottom of the round robin at 0-3, this should be a straightforward match in TP’s favor.

Matchup to watch:
Bot Lane

Timothy ‘Ciela’ Lim vs. Lim ‘Jun’ Jun Rong

Jolene ‘Lustreless’ Poh  vs. Zachary ‘Zelestial’ Yeo

With the Bot Lane of NTU seemingly their strongest point (with a combined 600 LP, Challenger between the both of them), NTU’s chances seem to weigh almost entirely on their Bot Lane - which yielded disappointing results with their 0-3 record in the round robin. Going up against a local Champion in Ciela and the SGCL golden girl in Lustreless, they’ll have their work cut out for them for NTU to stand any chance.

Final call:

Expect a decisive 2-0 in favor of TP.

NYP 82.93% vs  RP 17.07% 

With NYP favored to win the whole thing, it’s only fair to expect them to take this series against RP. However, with Lee ‘AhBob’ Chen Ming (formerly known as Blaire) and Darren ‘Orca’ Goh returning from their 2016 SGCL Championship after getting more experience in the local scene during their time off, these 2 key players could prove a minor roadblock for NYP's run to the Finals.

Matchup to watch:
Mid Lane

Ken ‘Raven’ Goh vs. Darren ‘Orca’ Goh

With a Mid Lane match-up you’d expect to see in the Singapore Legend Series instead of the Campus League, their showdown in the Mid Lane should prove to be central to either team’s road to victory. Expect Jungle focus to also show in this lane with both Jungle - Mid duo’s having competitive experience together. 

Final Call:

Realistically, expect a NYP 2-0 over RP. Though there is a possibility for RP to take a game from NYP, I don’t think that their strengths align to exploit the weaknesses of NYP. With an inability to exploit the Bottom Lane of NYP, AhBob in the Top Lane taking over the game or Orca in the Mid Lane being able to take down or hold down Raven would be RP’s key to victory.