Brandon Sturak

Brandon Sturak

Brandon is a Niagara University graduate with a passion for esports. He writes about League of Legends and esports, with analysis and commentary on both. He is a founding member Niagara University Esports, the previous mid laner and current Head Coach for the NU Esports LoL team. Twitter @GhandiLoL

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LCS: OpTic Gaming's Rise to Playoffs

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OpTic Gaming is one of the LCS' newer teams, and though they've struggled to prove themselves in the league, they've finally managed to make their first playoffs appearance. Their first three splits in the LCS were rough, as they missed playoffs every time. Thus, no one expected much of them for the 2019 Summer Split.

But this was their breakthrough split. They started off on a strong note and burst through the competition in Week Nine to secure their first playoffs spot. OpTic's run through the split was completely unexpected by many analysts, so their rise is that much more exciting. OpTic's first Quarterfinals appearance is nearly here, so its time to review the team and preview their match against Counter Logic Gaming ("CLG").

LCS Summer Split

Photo via LoL Esports Flickr.

Because OpTic made no roster changes coming into the Summer Split, many thought they would have a similar lackluster performance like in Spring. But for the first two weeks, they defeated every opponent without dropping a game. Everyone was shocked to see this new, invigorated OpTic. The members were playing so much better, as individuals and as a team.

Once OpTic fought NA's top teams in Cloud9 and Team Liquid, their undefeated streak stopped. Their schedule got harder, so they did begin to drop some games. It became evident OpTic wasn't among those teams, but they kept moving forward regardless. They defeated the iconic NA team Team SoloMid ("TSM") twice and consistently beat other potential playoffs contenders. Despite this, the number of games they lost put them in a precarious situation moving into the last week of the split.

On the first day of Week Nine, they played their future Quarterfinal opponents, CLG. It was a rough game for the squad overall, but OpTic did stand up to them at moments in the first 20 minutes of the game. Their first match on Week Nine, Day Two was also a tough loss. But when it mattered OpTic turned up the heat.

There were two tiebreakers they had to play, the first being against 100 Thieves. This game was relatively close, but OpTic showcased fantastic team fighting that made the crucial difference in the later stages of the game. Their next match, this time against the Golden Guardians, was much more convincing for OpTic fans. They dismantled the Guardians at all points in the game and set up some impressive plays. Their proactivity was great to see, and the fact that they closed out their lead so cleanly bodes well for their upcoming match.

Team Strengths

Photo via LoL Esports Flickr.

It's clear to see where OpTic's greatest strengths are. The most prominent one is their jungler, William "Meteos" Hartman, who has consistently played at a high level for a long time. He's truly the rock for this team. His jungle pathing is quite intelligent and he can control the map in the early game. Because of this, he's better able to gank his lanes or set up winning skirmishes to get his lanes ahead. Even if he isn't constantly ganking, he almost always has the read on the enemy jungler. Meteos' impact is a major reason for OpTic's success.

Next up is Lee "Crown" Min-ho, OpTic's middle laner. The former World Champion has certainly lived up to that title with his play this split. He's the main carry player for the team, as he's adept at different, high-damage play styles. On picks like Corki and Azir he showcases fantastic team fighting skills. He's also great at the roaming/split push style champions like Twisted Fate and Taliyah. Crown's diverse champion pool and hard carry potential make him a threat for any mid laner to deal with, and OpTic will continue to rely on him in the post-season.

Lastly, Niship "Dhokla" Doshi has become a major player for the team in the past few weeks. He typically hasn't been known to be a strong point on the team, but judging from his recent performances, he's shown huge improvement. His Aatrox play is perhaps the most notorious, with whom Dhokla has devastated enemy laners and teams alike. But it's not limited to this one pick, as even in their loss against CLG he played a great Jayce game. If he continues to play to a high level, he can be the difference-maker this team needs.

Match Preview: OpTic vs CLG

Photo via LoL Event VODs on YouTube.

OpTic's Quarterfinal match will be against CLG, who have solidified themselves as a top team this split. Though CLG has slumped towards the end of the split, they still did defeat OpTic in the last week of the regular season and have a 12-7 record. Their peak form is terrifying to play against, as they defeated both Team Liquid and Cloud9 once each.

But that doesn't mean OpTic has no chance. They're fighting an uphill battle, sure, but if CLG continues to struggle OpTic is capable of capitalizing on it. CLG isn't as high-tempo as the other top teams, so if OpTic plays proactively as they did versus the Golden Guardians, they can take some games.

The main win condition for OpTic lies in the jungle and mid positions. CLG's mid-jungle duo (Wiggily and PowerOfEvil) is a strong point on their team too, so if OpTic can gain a lead here, it will go very far. But CLG's bottom lane duo of Stixxay and Biofrost is stronger than OpTic's Arrow-Big duo. They'll need to play safe, especially since its likely Wiggily will make repeat visits bottom. The top lane should be relatively even, so Dhokla's performance could swing the matchup either way.

All in all, this match is CLG favored, but OpTic has ways to succeed. Their match against CLG will be played on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. PST/ 3:00 EST.

For some more information on the playoffs, check out ESTNN's LCS Playoff Preview.


Watch the LCS here at ESTNN TV. For more information on the tournament, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Stay tuned here at ESTNN and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more League of Legends news, articles, opinions and more.

Featured image via LoL Esports Flickr.

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