Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses will meet on the Summoner’s Rift this Sunday, March 1, at 15:00 PST, for the second time this season. They have previously clashed a month ago, during Week 2 of the Summer Split, when it was Golden Guardians who came out ahead.
Team preview: Golden Guardians are sitting in a four-way tie at the fifth spot in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) standings with a solid 5-6 record next to their name. Although they are in contention for a playoffs ticket, Golden Guardians still have a lot to prove before we can talk about a final six appearance.
Golden Guardians have had an up and down season so far, which is mostly due to the fact that they have a lot of issues on their hands. One of the most notable being Golden Guardians’ poor mid-late game, as well as their inability to play their matches from behind. Numerous times before we have seen Golden Guardians grab a lead early on, only to have no idea what to close out the match in mid-late game.
That said, Golden Guardians started picking up steam in recent weeks and they continue to surprise with their performances as compared to the expectations everyone had for them. While they still have a couple of issues they need to work on, Golden Guardians are on an upward trajectory.
Player to watch:
While both Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer and Can “Closer” Çelik deserve to be mentioned, it was Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell on the top lane, who stood out for Golden Guardians in their Saturday’s win over Immortals. He had a phenomenal game on Aatrox and even had some individual moments, worthy of a highlight reel.
He ended the fixture with 19.4k damage dealt, 2/0/5 KDA, +19 CSD@15 and 640 DMG/M and rightfully deserved to be considered as the player of the game. Although he has failed to establish himself as one of the top laners in the league, Hauntzer will play a pivotal role for Golden Guardians in their clash with Evil Geniuses, as he is facing off against Colin “Kumo” Zhao, who has been struggling with his performances so far.
Evil Geniuses are currently holding onto a 4-7 record, which sits them at ninth place in the league, three wins above Counter Logic Gaming and one win behind the 5-6 four-tea-cluster at fifth spot.
The biggest problem with Evil Geniuses is the relatively weak performance of their sidelanes, which tend to struggle in the laning phase. Kumo is putting up one of the worst numbers out of all top laners in the league and often is the cause for Evil Geniuses’ defeats, as it was the case in their Saturday’s bout with 100 Thieves.
ADC Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and Support Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam are both proven players as they have played for some of the strongest teams in the world – Bang for SKT T1 (now T1) and Zeyzal for Cloud9. Out of all bottom lane tandems, however, Bang–Zeyzal are very weak in the early game, which can be explained. Bang, while an established ADC main has never been a lane dominant player, but was rather known for his strong teamfighting. Zeyzal was playing a similar role at Cloud9, where he did not put much emphasis on his lane and getting ahead early, but instead focused on helping other lanes early and later in mid-late game was the go-to engager for teamfights.
Where Evil Geniuses are strong, however, is their mid and jungle. Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro and Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen are the backbones of the team and their performance alone can make or break Evil Geniuses’ success.
Player to watch: As mentioned, both Jiizuke and Svenskeren are the main carries of their team, but for Evil Geniuses’ next fixture, all the spotlight will be on Jiizuke who will have to step up and deliver against Goldenglue. In Evil Geniuses‘ fixture against 100 Thieves, Jiizuke had a strong start and finished the bout with 5/3/2 KDA, making him the best performing player of the team. Unfortunately, he was not able to carry his team to victory, partially due to Kumo’s disastrous performance which allowed 100 Thieves to play through the top lane.
Jiizuke is one of the best-performing player on his team and at times looks like one of the best mid laners in the league. It’s safe to assume Evil Geniuses will look to play through the mid lane and if Svenskeren can help Jiizuke get ahead early, the Italian pro could cause some serious problems for Golden Guardians.
The first meeting between Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses happened back at the start of February when the two sides met during Week 2 of the Spring Split. In that fixture, the teams went back and forth in an extremely close match, yet it was Golden Guardians who secured a win with a cheeky backdoor.
A lot has changed since that match. Golden Guardians have started to play much more organized and consistent, while Evil Geniuses made some changes to their drafts, which made them a much more solid team overall. That is not to say that the teams fixed all of their major issues, however, which is why we can expect both sides to do their best to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses this Sunday.
Golden Guardians versus Evil Geniuses Betting prediction
Both teams tend to struggle with their consistency, which makes their fixtures extremely hard to predict. The fact of the matter is that most of LCS matches are won in the draft phase, and considering Golden Guardians and Evil Geniuses both had a handful of games where they drafted a suboptimal team composition, this bout can easily be seen as a toss-up.
Golden Guardians will enter this match as heavy underdogs, priced at 2.27 (Pinnacle), which might underestimate them a bit. Although it’s fair to assume Evil Geniuses will enjoy an advantage in the jungle, we would not be so quick to say Jiizuke will completely dominate Goldenglue in the mid lane. Although Goldenglue tends to fall off in the mid-late game, he has proven he can be a solid laning player, which should allow him to stand his ground against Jiizuke and prevent Evil Geniuses from playing through the mid lane.
In the bottom lane, we should be watching at an even matchup. While there are arguments to be made Bang is a better ADC compared to Victor “FBI” Huang, he will struggle to get ahead early, especially without the help of Svenskeren, who will most likely focus on the mid lane and helping Kumo survive at the top. Talking about the top lane, all the spotlight will be on Hauntzer. Due to Evil Geniuses’ weak top lane, all of their opponents should look to win their games via the top lane and that is exactly what we expect to see from Golden Guardians. Hauntzer had a very solid performance against Immortals and if he can translate the momentum into this match, Kumo will be in for a tough night.
The betting odds suggest Evil Geniuses should pocket an easy win here, which might be the case if Jiizuke and Svenskeren can get the ball rolling early, however, it’s hard to be overly optimistic with this team, considering their top lane issues.
There are arguments to be made for both teams, which suggests we might be in for another close match, as it was the case in their first meeting. Priced at 1.884, the +4.5 kills handicap on Golden Guardians seems like a very solid bet to take, although an outright bet at 2.27 provides us with a great longshot bet opportunity.
Prediction: Golden Guardians +4.5 kills – 1.88
Longshot prediction: Golden Guardians to win – 2.27