CET-WED Playoff Predictions: Round 1

With the playoff teams set in stone, the top 8 seeds got to pick their first-round opponents. Today, I’ll be looking at these matchups and predicting the results of this round, and will continue to do so for each subsequent round in place of the power ranking updates I’ve done thus far.

I’ve also reached out to the top 8 team captains to get a comment on why they picked the playoff opponents they did and will include the comments from the ones who responded. Other elements of the power rankings will still pop up in separate pieces, but without further ado, let’s get into the rankings.

The first number in brackets indicates a team’s place in the post-group standings, while the seconds shows their power ranking in the final update.

Darba (1, 1) — Crispy Bacon (15, 15): 2–0

Last five matches: WWLWW — LWWWL

Head to head: N/A

In what is one of the two more straightforward matchups of the round, I struggle to see a way for Crispy Bacon’s team to take a game off frontrunner Darba (much less take the series!), despite the progress they’ve had this season. It’s worth mentioning that, due to how matchups are generated in WED, Crispy Bacon’s team has only really played other bottom-half teams in the latter half of the group stage (with their only matchups against an eventual top 8 team being a first-week 0–2 against Kimer), and facing the arguably most threatening team in the division right off the bat will likely be a much different ballgame.

Top seed comment: “Well I asked my team who they wanna play in playoffs. 2 guys wanted Reddydas, 2 guys Crispy Bacon and one didn’t care. I chose Crispy Bacon over Reddydas cause they lost their last game and Reddydas team won their last 3 official games. We are the best team of this season and the only thing which can make these games close is this new patch.”

Severe (8, 10) — Joll (9, 8): 1–2

Last five matches: LWWLL — LLWWL

Head to head: N/A

This should, on paper, be the closest matchup of the round. This is in part because it’s obviously the 8th seed against the 9th seed, but I think Severe’s being the 8th seed team gives additional weight to this, because it means they’re the only team not to have a say in their first-round matchup. All seven of the higher-ranked captains skipped over Joll, and the implication of that is that Joll’s team is the strongest of the available options (though a more realistic conclusion might be that other teams wanted to avoid their unpredictability). While that might be debatable, I think they’re definitely one of the teams that can look towards the second round, and I’m giving them the edge in the matchup. With that said, I favor them only slightly, and I think this series as a whole is a very difficult one to predict; both of these teams are somewhat unpredictable, and I think a series between them will be highly volatile and ultimately dependent on motivation and effort, more than anything.

Kimer (4, 4) — Barg (12, 12): 2–1

Last five matches: LWWLW — WLLWW

Head to head: 1–1

Sticking to a theme of unpredictability, it’s hard to tell what we can expect out of this overhauled Barg team. With Waloo and Poly slotting in as the replacements for Drakesfjord and banebu respectively and only three matches played with that refreshed 5-player roster, any team going up against them will need to throw away any preconceived ideas about their play and drafting, and that can make or break teams in an elimination series. With that said, Kimer’s team is still one that has done very well throughout the season, and they have players who have historically done fairly well in elimination games. Add to that the fact that they’ve not had any roster shake-ups, so while they might’ve forfeited the 3rd place tiebreaker that might’ve gotten them an easier matchup, I’ll give them a slight edge here — even though they might be challenged by their opponents.

Holy Harry (5, 5) — Kalisdar (11, 11): 2–1

Last five matches: LWWWW— WLWWW

Head to head: N/A

For this matchup, I give a big edge to Holy Harry. I think that team makes a lot of sense in general, but the two specific elements of their team identity which I don’t think can be understated — especially going into playoffs — are their shotcalling ability with Harry and Dildawg, as well as the reliability of their win condition player in Xela. These are attributes that many RD2L teams lack, and while they have their weaknesses, these two things give them a consistency and stability that not many others can boast. With that said, it’s impossible to ignore Acid’s skill and ability to take over games, and all it takes to enable him to do so are a few small mistakes. However, I think Holy Harry runs a fairly disciplined unit, one which should be able to play around a player as intimidating as Acid, which favors them purely from a team matchup standpoint.

Top seed comment: “We had fifth choice and assumed that Crispy Bacon, Stl and Reddydas would all be taken as the first three. Out of the remaining teams I don’t believe there are massive differences in skill, but I felt that Joll and Kalisdar were the weakest of them. I put Kalisdar ahead of Joll for a few reasons: they had failed to 2/0 a single group stage series; the tilt factor seemed considerable in Acid; and they seemed to only have one win condition — namely give Acid a hero like Arc he can just takeover with. I am confident in my ability to plan and draft against that, but I would have been content with any team except for Barg given their unknown situation.”

Brainy Gonzo (2, 2) — Reddydas (16, 16): 2–0

Last five matches: WLWLL— LWWWW

Head to head: 2–0

I mentioned that the Darba series would be one of two straightforward ones — this is the second. While Reddydas’ run to get here is nothing short of commendable, I think there’s a massive, massive gap between these two teams, and I can’t help but feel like it’s going to show here. I just don’t think Reddydas’ team can really stand up to Gonzo’s across the lanes in general, but specifically in terms of their win conditions. I don’t mean to talk too much shit, but I’m genuinely surprised that they weren’t chosen by the first seed. I don’t have much more to say on this series, except I guess mentioning that if Gonzo’s team does drop a game, it’ll make for some hella interesting television. Streaming? Dota? Some hella interesting RD2L.

Debowy (7, 7) — Madsen (13, 13): 1–2

Last five matches: WLLWL— WWWLL

Head to head: N/A

Yes, yes, get your memes out of the way, Madsen’s predicting his team to pull one of the two upsets in the round. I’m well aware of how my bias might make the predictions worse, so I legitimately went out and talked to people to make sure it’s not just bias at play here. If this was a matchup against Maslyy’s team, rather than Debowy’s, I might be singing a different tune, but as it stands, I think Debowy’s team is really hurt by not having a natural midlaner. Sure, Takeshi might sometimes have a 24-kill mid Terrorblade game, but that’s not exactly the most reliable of gameplans, and I think this team’s weaknesses really shone when they lost two matches against Gains’ team in the tiebreaker (in pretty brutal fashion). My team obviously also has issues, but I think we’re coming off some games where we showed that we can win the hard games, which this series is likely to provide, so memes aside, I think we have a very real chance to take this match.

Top seed comment: “So that team was like in the middle on my list, but since we were 7th in ranking many of our preferred teams got picked before us. Basically it’s a team that wasn’t as weak as the weakest teams which we would like to face but also not as strong as the ones we wanted to avoid; I wanted to get either Stl or reddy, Stl teams looked pretty weak in tiebreaker games and I was told Reddy got carried by his standin, and besides that they are lackluster team. I wanted to avoid Laavi and Barg; Laavi because we scrimmed against them and it went bad, and Barg because PONPO seems to play way above his MMR this season.”

Play (3, 3) — Stl (14, 14): 2–0

Last five matches: LWLWL— LWLLL

Head to head: N/A

Stl’s team has shown that they’re capable of putting out some solid performances, especially when their cores have a decent game, but one thing their tiebreaker games showed was a lack of discipline and perhaps experience in late-game decision making. These are the exact qualities that I think a team needs in matchups against star players who can take over a match — and Play has very much proved himself to be one of those. This is why, despite missing their first pick carry player, I believe Play’s team will have few issues with winning this series, although I wouldn’t be extremely shocked if they were to drop a game if they get caught off guard by Stl’s team — while I can see a 2–1, I think a 2–0 is the likelier outcome.

Top seed comment: “Crispy Bacon was our 1st choice, Stl second. Overall they just feel like a weak team compared to ours — and we need that if we have to play with a downgrade standin for Denden this week.”

Gains (6, 6) — Laavi (9, 9): 2–1

Last five matches: WLWWW— WLWWL

Head to head: 1–0

Despite a loss to Harry in the 5th place decider, Gains’ team had some great games in the tiebreaker, winning the other three matches they played. One of those wins was against their playoff opponent here, and I’m fairly confident that they’ll grab the win once again. Gains’ team has the luxury of being able to rely on multiple players to put in work in rough games, and if they manage to shut Mikel out, their superior core duo shouldn’t have many issues. That said, we’re long past marking down consistent losses for Laavi’s team, and I’m sure they have something brewing to potentially catch Gains and the crew off guard, so I can realistically see them grab a game in the series, but I see Gains’ team ultimately taking the series.

Top seed comment: “We beat them in tiebreaker through sheer teamfight outplay, and we’re fairly confident that we can deny them from playing the heroes that they want to set their tempo around. So, it would bode well if we were to play them again.”

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