We preview the first match of the lower bracket of the LCS playoffs with Golden Guardians taking on FlyQuest.
The LCS playoffs roll on tomorrow with the first of our matches in the lower bracket. Unlike the games from this past weekend, there will be no second chances for the teams that lose these contests. It’s win or go home for the next two days, so let’s take a look at the first of these matches between Golden Guardians and FlyQuest.
Golden Guardians (8-10)
As much as the Golden Guardians were (rightfully) crowing on social media about how they defied all expectations to go from a projected last-place team before the season to now being a playoff team, there does have to be a bit of internal relief. Golden Guardians were basically an afterthought throughout the season, never once getting above the .500 record mark. They also do not have a winning record against any of the playoff teams and now they’ll have to face one of the stronger teams.
Golden Guardians have been a very well-balanced team throughout their season. No one player has stepped up to put the rest of the team on his back, but they have built a team without a lot of easily exploitable weaknesses except for one (which we will get to in a minute).
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FlyQuest joins us from the LCS playoffs winner’s bracket taking their second chance at redemption after falling to Evil Geniuses in the first round of the playoffs. Although the 3-1 series makes it seem close, the truth is that FlyQuest was outclassed in that series from start to finish. With only days between that series and this one, they’ll have to shake off that rough performance quickly to prep for their next opponent.
The two teams split their season series in 2020, going 1-1. In the first game, FlyQuest dominated from start to finish, particularly in the bottom and mid lanes. Mid laner Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage went 5/0/4 on Fiora and the bot lane duo of Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Lee “Ignar” Dong-geun made short work of the Golden Guardian’s bot lane, especially then-support Yuri “Keith” Jew who ended the game 0/5/4 on Thresh.
On the last day of the season, the two teams met again, this time with FlyQuest fighting to clinch the second seed in the LCS playoffs and Golden Guardians fighting just to make the playoffs. In this game, GGS came up huge. Mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer and ADC Ian Victor “FBI” Huang posted identical 3/0/6 scorelines and the team finished off FlyQuest in 27 minutes to make it into the postseason.
While I said that Golden Guardians built a team without any real weaknesses if there was to be one I would have to put it on Goldenglue in the mid lane. Although he has had some incredible pop-off games on Zoe, he’s also had some absolutely atrocious performances as well.
He’ll face perhaps the best mid laner in the LCS in PowerofEvil, who has proven that he can completely dumpster Goldenglue in this matchup. To be fair, Goldenglue has shown that same ability in their last meeting but if I was a betting man I’d put my money on PowerofEvil to take control of the matchup.
Prediction: FlyQuest wins 3-1
That difference in the mid lane should be enough to propel FlyQuest to an easy series victory. Even though they have their own questions in the top lane, I don’t think the duo of Hauntzer/Closer is designed to take advantage of that. Hauntzer tends to play more stable top laners to survive and Closer is usually taking care of Goldenglue in the mid lane (which he’ll likely be doing again here).
That largely eliminates Golden Guardians’ best win condition for this series, to set behind whichever top laner FlyQuest puts out (my guess is it will be Solo after the dismal performance by V1per last week). As long as FlyQuest can keep their side lanes stable, I think they have an excellent chance to win this series.