Between UOL and TSM, there is a clear favorite
With Team Solo Mid’s victory over G2 Esports, they have cemented themselves as the North American representatives to go on and face the European representative Unicorns of Love, who gained their spot after the losses from Fnatic earlier in the day. With both teams having a history of interesting matches in the past, and with UOL having quite a different roster from back then, it will surely be a battle for regional and personal pride, with everything going on the line. Let’s break down how both of these teams fared during the group stages, as well as their styles matched up against each other.
Unicorns of Love: Masters of the Unexpected
UOL have always been known to be experimental, as well as having odd situational picks that have worked unexpectedly. Within this group stage, they went 3-3 against North America with decent late-game calls and initiations, but looked extremely shaky during the early and mid-game portions of their matches.
Actually, scratch that. They’ve looked horrendous.
Let’s be honest, UOL have a mountain to climb. Their early game is a toss-up between poor to mediocre and is easily capitalized on by other teams. In terms of individual skill and communication, the only stand-out players would be Exileh and Vizicsacsi. With exceptional playmaking champions drafted for them every game that they’ve won, UOL still have a tough time making decent and proactive early game movements. Instead, they opt to bank on a late-game fight and push to end with their hopefully alive teammates. We have seen them scrap against TSM in their second day of groups, which saw them fight for most of the game, and only winning one teamfight to really swing it back into their favor. If UOL plan to win the series against TSM and prove that EU is the best region, they better have a much more solid game plan instead of “Pray for a teamfight win at 45 minutes”.
Team Solo Mid: Baby SK Telecom?
Since the beginning of the split, many people wondered how TSM would play throughout this split. Especially with the addition of DoubleLift back into the team, they were finally back to their winning teammates, but still looked shaky while testing out new compositions such as Galio Mid. Because of this, many had the assumption that they were weak and not at their peak, and would have a struggle against EUs top teams. What TSM brought was absolute domination through every single point of their games.
With TSM ending at 5-1 after groups, TSM look absolutely dominant. With clean play and solid calls, no one is able to doubt their strength and prowess at their current level between the NA and EU regions. What makes them so dominant, though, is their incredible flexibility to put the focus onto each different member of the team if the situation calls for it. Through all of their wins, we have seen Hauntzer, Svenskeren, Bjergsen, and DoubleLift all step up and carry the team through multiple fights, with Biofrost playing bodyguard to keep his teammates alive. The flexibility also stems from their experimenting into different playstyles, allowing for more diverse picks and compositions to counter any situation that comes at them. Combining both strong individual players as well as a diverse champion and composition playbook makes for an extremely scary opponent.
TSM 75% – UOL 25%
Although many would call upon past tournaments and international matches to showcase TSM’s ability to step up when it counts, I would give TSM the definitive odds due to their strength individually, as well as how clean their early game power is in comparison to UOL’s. This also does not cover the amount of international experience TSM has when it comes to Best of Fives. UOL’s main chance of winning the series is to continuously skirmish and fight with TSM throughout the game, not letting them rest or set up for their next engage.
Why this is so unlikely is because UOL would have to replicate this scenario on three separate occasions, while each game TSM grows to learn more about UOL’s playstyle, allowing them to adapt and overcome.
Photo credit: Riot Games