Winter Bash 2.0 Week Five Breakdown!
There is only one match left for the competitors in the ICE Winter Bash 2.0 to secure a spot in the semi-finals. Most of the teams in both divisions have left themselves with a chance of qualifying for the next stage of the tournament. Now it is all up to the teams themselves to deliver – and hope that some other results work in their favour as well.
Division One: Group Two
JEEK Squad (WIT) vs. Same Gaming DIT (DIT) – MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
This is one of the matches that both WIT and DIT have been anticipating since the beginning of the competition, with both of these teams very familiar with each other. WIT will be entering this series on a high after an upset draw against Trinity, giving themselves the upper hand in the battle for second place. On the other hand, DIT struggled to a 2-0 victory against DCU. This is a worrying sign for DIT, as they be lacking the form needed to to get the match win that is required to advance in the competition.
Key Matchup: Yachty vs. bluebullberry. WIT’s support is having a standout tournament so far, being a crucial component in a duo lane that is challenging top-tier opponents. Opposing him is bluebullberry, whose recent performances have varied quite a bit. His contributions to the team in a leadership role are invaluable, but his individual play will need be cleaner to avoid falling prey to Yachty and Jeek in this match.
Prediction: DIT can still do damage, that is certain. Their last two matches cast real doubt over their chances, as the team has played below the standard expected of them. This may not be enough to challenge an in-form WIT team, and while they can likely snatch a game it’s a tall order for them to win this match as a whole. WIT 1-1 DIT.
Trinity Gankers (TCD) vs. UCC eSports (UCC)
With a loss in Game 1 against WIT last week, Trinity squandered their 100% record and their chance to secure their spot in the playoffs. They still sit atop the group, and just one game win in this upcoming match will guarantee their continuation in the tournament. UCC can also advance based on this result alone, however that will require a 2-0 victory against their Week 5 opponents. Given Trinity remain tournament favourites and still have a stake in this match, they will not allow UCC to fulfill their requirements so easily.
Key Matchup: h0wl vs. MoshiMoshiMe. H0wl’s individual resurgence in the latter half of the year hasn’t fully materialised in the Winter Bash, but he still is one of the top mids in Division 1 without question. He lines up against former teammate MoshiMoshiMe, who is now fully accustomed to the midlane and ready to surprise his Trinity opponent.
Prediction: UCC have exceeded expectations for this competition, now seeming like a credible threat in the context of the collegiate scene. It is unfortunate that their final test is against Trinity, the titans of the competition that have wrought havoc since the opening week. UCC have come far, but not far enough to take the victory they need from this match. TCD 2-0 UCC.
DC who?? (DCU) vs. NCI Black Panthers (NCI)
in fifth and sixth position, DCU and NCI are effectively fighting to avoid the bottom spot in Group A. This should be a fun series at the very least, and if anything the culmination of four weeks of progress for DCU. They came very close to taking a game (if not both games) against DIT, and may just be able to pick up their first win in their final match.
Key Matchup: Niallation vs. Slippee. Niallation saw a much improved individual performance in Week 4. The DCU top laner has had a rough campaign, but is seemingly learning from his trials. Slippee, in the meantime, has to to regroup his team after forfeiting their last fixture and try see if they can muster one last stand.
Prediction: In spite of all the negatives that have plagued NCI’s Winter Bash run, they still are a team of five good individual players. This can carry them a long way against DCU, but in my mind not far enough. DCU have enough upside at this stage that they can challenge the rest of the competition. DCU 1-1 NCI.
Division One: Group Two
MU Star Destroyer (MU) vs. Yargh We Am Pirates 2.0 (DIT)
Maynooth’s 2-0 against UCD last week will have come as a relief to the reigning champions, and the few slip-ups that occurred in that match were dealt with relatively easily. Needing one more 2-0 to confirm their position in the tiebreaker, DIT will be hoping to challenge in their final match. They have faltered against the strongest of Group B so far, and Maynooth’s overwhelming power may bring about a similar result for DIT here.
Key Matchup: Fallonov vs. Grindleballs. Fallonov is still the chink in the armour for any team willing to challenge Maynooth, although his recent matches have shown a lot more variety in his playstyle. Grindleballs will be hoping to prove himself against the Maynooth top laner, and round out his tournament with a strong showing.
Prediction: Maynooth will be hoping for a clean victory to keep on the path to playoffs. Even if the problems that have hurt them this tournament resurface, there is enough quality throughout the team to ensure a win in their final group stage match. MU 2-0 DIT.
UCD IT (UCD) vs. Trinity Rejects (TCD)
All credit to UCD, they were taking the fight to Maynooth in Game 1 of their previous match. If not for the quick thinking of their opponents to sneak away a quick baron, UCD may just have stolen a win from that series. However, playoffs for them are now highly improbable, even if they find victory this week. In any case they will need a win against Trinity to give themselves a chance, and Trinity are also in dire need of the series victory. They have the toughest match of the top 3 in Group B this round, and will be praying that they do not slip up on the banana skin set in front of them.
Key Matchup: Kevaman vs. Hawkens. Two of the strongest mids in the competition will butt heads to try keep their tournament hopes alive. Kevaman’s swap to mid has been a revelation for UCD, and he has pulled off play after play to lead his team through Group B. Hawkens is a stalwart opponent, and while not as out-and-out aggressive as some of the other mids in the competition, has been a good laner and a brilliant teamfighter.
Prediction: This is by far the most likely game in the group to be tied this round. UCD have grown as a unit, now with a focused style and a willingness to fight that can catch opponents off surprise. But I don’t think they’ve developed enough yet to steal a win from Trinity. Their opponents have shown they can deliver when it matters the most, and this series matters a whole lot to the Trinity Rejects. UCD 0-2 TCD.
The A Team (DCU) vs. Pentabyte ITC (ITC)
The final members of the Group B trifecta, DCU are currently in cruise control as the group stage finishes. One more win is needed, and ITC are next on the card for The A Team. A forfeit last week indicates some strife internally with ITC, which is not a good sign for a team that has endured so much already.
Key Matchup: cyber172 vs. Nerakai. Leading all AD Carries in KDA, cyber172 has been one of the surprise packages of the competition so far. His solid play serves as no detriment to a team of star players, actually rooting the team when things begin to go awry. Nerakai, on the other side, is one of ITC’s stars, shining in games even when ITC have been struggling to perform.
Prediction: DCU will be expecting nothing but a 2-0 here. They will be focused on the potential upcoming tiebreaker to determine who advances in Group B, and ITC are unlikely to deny them a position in that battle. DCU 2-0 ITC.
LYIT eSports B (LYIT) vs. Trinity Forced Meme (TCD)
LYIT’s tournament dreams were dashed last week with a 1-1 draw against UL, officially eliminating them from the competition. All they have now is to play spoiler against a Trinity team that failed to secure playoffs, having their own 1-1 draw with NCI. Needing just one more game to advance, they will be hoping to regain their momentum with a clean victory, and provide themselves with good seeding for the playoffs.
Key Matchup: ketsu zenmetsu vs. Alekhien. LYIT captain ketsu zenmetsu will be happy with his team’s first game victory of the tournament last week, after a bleak run prior. He may have more to cheer about as he lanes against Alekhien this round. Alekhien has been a key factor in teamfights, but had his struggles when it comes to lane, something LYIT will be hoping to take advantage of.
Prediction: After their Game 1 loss last week, Trinity bounced back with a vengeance and came away with a 22 minute victory. It seems as if their misstep was an isolated incident, and they should be ready to continue their dominant form in Week 5. LYIT 0-2 TCD.
UL Wolves (UL) vs. DCU Kawaii Spuds (DCU)
UL had the opportunity to set up a deciding clash here, but could not execute in Game 2 against LYIT last week. Just like their previous opponents, they are now playing for pride against a team who still needs to produce results to better their tournament standing. DCU will be irked that Trinity could not secure their playoff spot for them in the previous round. It is up to the Kawaii Spuds now, and one game win this week will be enough to guarantee a place in the semi-finals.
Key Matchup: Gavinwizard vs. Gharr. Gavinwizard’s carry play has brought mixed results, but he is a threat in the top lane if not dealt with appropriately. The job of keeping him in check this week will be assigned to Gharr, who will be thrilled to return to his role after substitutes forced him into the jungle position for their previous match.
Prediction: DCU have shown they can come up strongly against the weaker opposition in Group A. Rested after a bye week, and taking experience from the recent RAID tournament, they seem perfectly set to book their spot in the next round here. UL 0-2 DCU.