IEM Gyeonggi is just around the corner and it’s time to take a look at the matches that are ahead of us. The event seems promising so far. With new or revamped rosters making their debuts, it’ll be interesting to see how they do.
Samsung Galaxy vs Vega Squadron
Unfortunately for Vega Squadron, their run at IEM Gyeonggi is looking like it’ll be quite short. Samsung Galaxy is coming off of a 2nd place finish at the 2016 World Championship. Pushing SKT to five games, Samsung had an admirable performance and it’s very hard to imagine Vega Squadron is going to be able to defeat Samsung. If Samsung decide to take the event lightly and not prepare at all, Vega Squadron can pull off a miracle upset with a lot of effort. It’s important to note that they come from the CIS region which is the home of Albus Nox Luna, the first Wildcard to make it into the Quarterfinals of Worlds. In the LCL Playoffs, Vega Squadron took Albus Nox to fives games in the finals and had they won, they would have had the chance to qualify for Worlds instead. So while we shouldn’t fully count them out, Samsung are the clear favorites in the match.
J-Team vs Immortals
Both squads have something to prove after barely not making it to Worlds. In the LMS, J-Team was impressive during the regular season but failed to show up in the playoffs and the regional qualifiers. Similarly, Immortals had a dominant regular season in the Summer Split, only trailing behind Team SoloMid. But in the playoffs and regionals, Immortals also failed and could not qualify for Worlds despite being expected to do so.
J-Team have not made any huge changes, opting to use Achie over FoFo in the mid lane. Immortals on the other hand have entirely revamped their roster with only Pobelter remaining on the team. The biggest changes come with Flame (formerly on Longzhu and LGD) taking over the Top Lane while Dardoch (ex-Team Liquid) joins as the jungler. A top side duo consisting of Flame and Dardoch sounds very interesting and looks great on paper. Cody Sun (also known as Massacre) is going to be the new Immortals AD Carry, however, the team has not yet announced a support. It’s clear that Immortals is banking on home grown talent, only bringing in Flame as an import likely for his veteran status and ability to be a leader for the team. Dardoch has a reputation of being hard to work with, but it’s possible he will listen to Flame and respect him as a leader because of his reputation as a very good top laner.
With all of that said, J-Team should have an advantage over Immortals because they have much more synergy within the team. But if Immortals build up their synergy fast and just click well together, they can definitely surprise J-Team and take them down.
Kongdoo Monster vs Dark Passage
This one is also fairly obvious. Kongdoo Monster may not be an elite team in Korea, but they showed up big time at the 2016 KeSPA Cup, finishing 2nd behind the ROX Tigers. It’s safe to assume they will be able to handle Dark Passage. But in a Best of 1 scenario, you never know. IEM events have a reputation for being unpredictable, so betting on Kongdoo isn’t the safest choice in the world. Dark Passage does have better odds against Kongdoo than Vega Squadron’s odds against Samsung Galaxy, so if you see Kongdoo losing this match, try not to be too surprised.
Team Liquid vs Giants Gaming
In a similar fashion to the J-Team vs IMT match-up, both of these teams will be using revamped rosters. Liquid is bringing in GoldenGlue as their new mid laner, as well as superstar jungler Reignover. Meanwhile, in the AD Carry position, Piglet is returning. The new Team Liquid roster is looking promising, but in the case of TL that isn’t good enough. We’ve had instances before where Liquid rosters looked very good on paper but failed on stage. For Liquid, this event should be a test to see how well the roster plays together.
On Giants’ side, flaxxish is moving into the top lane, Mightybear joins as their jungler and Upset comes in as the new AD Carry. Flaxxish does seem like a good talent so the pick-up makes sense. Meanwhile Mightybear may be a surprising pick-up because of his lackluster performance on Vitality. But his performance seemed to be a result of poor synergy within the team rather than him playing poorly. Only Night and Hustlin remain from the previous roster, and it’s clear the roster was built around them, primarily around Night due to his impressive Summer Split performance.
It’s impossible to predict the winner of this match-up as both teams are revamped and looking to make a name for themselves. However, just looking at their talent on each roster, Team Liquid has the edge in that category and they are favorites by a little bit. But it’ll be no easy task for them. Both teams should use this match as a learning experience and grow from it.
IEM Gyeonggi does seem more exciting than IEM Oakland. With new rosters being tried out and match-ups that we thought we’d never see before, the event looks like it will deliver. The quality of the matches may not be too high, but it’ll be interesting to see if any team can upset the heavy favorites Samsung Galaxy and which new squad will synergize the fastest.