IEL SEASON 9 MASTER PLAYOFF PREVIEW

The Master Playoffs are finally here! This weekend, the very best of the Master teams will face off to round up the season.

The Playoff will take place from Friday (today) to Sunday and will be streamed on our Twitch. Make sure to tune in at 6 PM BST to catch the action!


GROUP A

Written by Brun and Matty

Reflux (Seed 2)

After a season of minimal roster changes and good results, Reflux were able to comfortably get first in their conference with a 13-3 record. Later in the season, Reflux released KingKong for Stat and I personally am unsure if this has drastically improved their roster. Reflux faced a plethora of mid-table teams during the latter of the season and were able to comfortably beat most of them however they were unable to pick up any sweeps and there was even a game 5 match. They also were swept out by a strong looking Auto Celerity. That being said, they are still a threat going into this season and I am keen to see how they will fare against top-end teams. Reflux are in the top 10 for a large amount of stats, including shots, goals and points.

Marmoan seems to be the standout player on this team, having the second-highest MVP rating with 91 and being the highest DSN at 1993. They are also top of many stats, including points, goals and shots (total). However, this may be bad news for the team as they have to rely on him almost too much. This makes sense as he is the top player on the team by a large DSN gap, although Rubenofski and Stat rarely appear in the top 20 of different statistics. Marmoan will be the make or break of this team. 

In the first round, they face off against the winner of Silverbacks vs Dexterity and they may struggle with this matchup as they will be less warmed up than their opponents going into the match. Confidence will be high from whoever wins the first-round match and Reflux will have to play to their best ability to beat either side, which I believe they will do and make the championship Sunday. 

Predicted Finish: 3rd/4th

Overture (Seed 3)

Overture has had a very good season, with no roster changes, finishing second in their conference with a 13-3 record. This team has only lost to Zero Fox Gaming, RL Ireland and Valor Esports (two of which are playoffs teams) meaning that Overture may be liable to wildcard spot teams and of course they struggled against first seed Zero Fox Gaming. Overture are first in shots and wins and are last in goals conceded and shots conceded. This means this team has defensive prowess but are a bit worse on the offensive end, as they are top in shots but not in goals. 

Psycho seems to be the standout player on this team, having a 2.3k MMR peak and being 16th in MVP rating. Although this is their best player by a large gap, Psycho does not seem to be super impressive stats-wise which could actually be beneficial to the team as they rely on Psycho less and have some incredible low DSN players in Wizard and JordyUnknown.

They face up against the winner of Skorch Esports vs Aardwolf Esports and they have beaten both of these teams in 3-1 victories so confidence will be high going into this matchup. That being said, will they be able to keep their heads cool and not turn that confidence into arrogance? 

Predicted Finish: 5th/6th

Aardwolf Esports (Seed 6)

Aardwolf have had a fairly strong season, culminating in a third-place finish in the Gamma Conference at the end of League Play, with 12 wins and 4 losses.  A shaky first half of the season saw Aardwolf end up at the halfway stage with five wins and three losses heading into the second half of League Play. However, the roster consisting of LuKee, Kingjs, xdBrunard_ and sub doink has found their form at this stage, and after losing their cross-conference series to Fidelity Esports, they would never look back, winning all of their remaining six series. This run included a 3-1 victory over No.1 seed Zero Fox Gaming, and so xdBrunard_ will be wanting his roster to push forward and make a deep run in the playoffs.

Their first opponents will be fellow Gamma Conference rivals Skorch Esports, to decide who gets to go through to face Overture in Round 2. When the two teams met in Week 4 of League Play, it was Aardwolf that came away with a narrow 3-2 victory, potentially giving them extra hope heading into this series. I believe that Aardwolf stands a good chance of heading through to Round 2 to play Overture to decide who makes it through to Championship Sunday due to their impressive form in the closing weeks of League Play. 

Predicted Finish: 5th/6th

Dexterity (Seed 7)

Dexterity had an 11-5 record at the end of the season, only just missing out on 3rd in their conference by being swept out by eMerge Gaming. Since Dexterity’s plethora of roster changes this season (Azza, Capra and Wlowns to Claud, Dooz and Wlowns) they have only lost one single series. Also, Mattymoomoo, the team’s sub has had an undefeated record meaning that if one of them is missing they will still be a tough team to beat. Dexterity have also only had one game 5 match this season and have had none with the new roster, meaning once they get into their stride, they are likely to cause serious problems and won’t have many close games. 

Claud seems to be the standout player on the team, with the highest MVP rating, most goals per game and saves. That being said, the other two players on the team have somewhat close stats to Claud which shows this may be one of the more well-rounded teams going into playoffs. This team is the second-highest in average speed per game, so are definitely one of the faster teams. However, this may lead them more liable to mistakes which other teams may want to take note of.

Dexterity face off against Silverbacks in the first round, which will prove a tough match for both sides and could go either way. If Dexterity are able to win this match, they will go up against a strong Reflux who finished second seed. I predict that Dexterity will fall in the second round to Reflux.

Predicted Finish: 7th/8th

Silverbacks (Seed 10)

Silverbacks finished with a 10-6 record at the end of the season, claiming 6th in their conference. Despite their roster changes, (Jacksean, Ducky and Demize being replaced by Draaikolk, Spdz and Bn) this team has done very well. This roster started out very well after beating Galamo Esports and Shaman Esports in sweeps and taking Auto Celerity to game 5. Although, they were beaten by Shadow Esports in the later weeks. Silverbacks are seventh in assists and have the third-highest shooting percentage. This means they are quite a team play heavy team which could be a good or bad thing for the team as it may make them liable to counters but also could work out in some interesting plays. 

Draaikolk seems to be the standout player on this team, being third in MVP rating which is incredible for a lower-seeded team and someone who has only played in IEL for a few weeks. They also have the highest amount of assists per game. This shows that although Draaikolk may not score most of the goals, he most certainly creates them and will be the player to watch out for on the team. 

They face off against Dexterity in the first round and then Reflux in the second if they manage to beat Dexterity. I believe that they will get knocked out by Dexterity but have a very good chance at succeeding through the lower bracket and may get their revenge there. 

Predicted Finish: 9th-12th

Skorch Esports (Seed 11)

Coming into the Playoffs with a measly record of 9-7 is Skorch Esports. They had an up-and-down campaign during League Play, going 1-5 against other Playoff teams, only beating the 12th seed who are in Playoffs due to other teams dropping out. Needless to say, it’s looking bleak for Skorch though you never know what could happen in the Playoffs.

In their first game, they face Aardwolf Esports which looks to be a tough game on paper. If they manage to win, they face Overture.

Predicted Finish: 9th-12th

PREDICTIONS

Predicted by Matty, Brun and Wlowns


GROUP B

Written by Wlowns and Matty

Zero Fox Gaming (Seed 1)

The best franchise in the league and the top seed of master Zero Fox Gaming have managed to win 14 games which is tied for 2nd across all teams in all divisions only beaten by a 15-1 Zero Fox Gaming Challenger side. They are also one of only 3 master teams to not concede over 100 goals and because of this feat along with their scoring they have the next best goal difference in the league with 55.

Zero Fox Gaming have seen a few players come and go this season as Crusher was replaced late in the season for Kephi who then was replaced a week later for Rizle. Zero Fox Gaming now have the 4th best player in the MVP standings with Rizle and Kie not far behind in 9th place. But Milne is close to top 20 in most major categories himself making him a valuable player for the entire season and Tburger is also not far off the same feat as Milne is in this regard so Zero Fox Gaming have good coverage.

For this team they await the winner of Galamo Esports/Aster before they can get themselves going, they should be able to bring league play form over to playoffs and will go over to qualify if they win this game. Should they see a surprise exit from upper early on they will play the loser of Auto Celerity/Valor Esports.

Predicted Finish: 2nd

Shadow Esports (Seed 4)

Shadow sit 2nd place just above Auto Celerity in the Alpha Conference and have the best win% out of any 12-4 team sitting at 66.67%. They have since been on a great streak and have not lost a single game since week 4 getting 5 sweeps along the way and 4 of the wins were against wildcard spot teams or above.

Their team had one change throughout the season and that was getting Capra in and replacing Bryn. Goldie jxffa and Robomac have all stayed with the team from the start, even more impressive is the fact that all of their main players are in the top 45 coming in for the MVP standings sitting 28th, 38th and 43rd respectively.

They will be playing the winner of Auto Celerity/Valor Esports and they know Auto Celerity as they got beat by them in league play 3-2 very early on. I think if Auto Celerity end up getting the rematch against Shadow Esports the result will be more or less the same with Auto Celerity sending Shadow Esports down to lower to face either Galamo Esports/Aster

Predicted Finish: 3rd/4th

Auto Celerity (Seed 5)

With three-time playoff contender Bope joining Season 7 Master Champions Serve and RonJayy on the same roster, it would have been hard to see how this team could be stopped at the start of the season. However, two surprising defeats in Week 1 left the roster on the back foot heading into the rest of the season, but Auto Celerity found their form quickly, winning the next five series in succession. A narrow 3-2 defeat in Week 4 in the hands of Fearless Esports left the team with five wins and three losses heading into the second half of the season, where the true potential of the roster would be revealed. A win over RL Ireland in their cross-conference series would mark the start of a remarkable run that saw Auto Celerity win seven of their eight remaining series, only falling to Aster in Week 6. The most impressive of these wins would have to be the 3-0 sweep of Alpha Conference leaders Reflux in the final week of League Play, leaving them in a great position heading into the playoffs. 

In Round 1, they’ll face the 12th and lowest seed Valor Esports, who only qualified due to other teams failing to confirm their playoff places. Having no prior experience of their Gamma Conference opponents, Auto Celerity will be approaching the series with the optimism that they will be able to advance through to Round 2 to face Shadow Esports for a place in Day 3. 

Predicted Finish: 1st

Galamo Esports (Seed 8)

Galamo Esports managed a good record in Alpha Conference and ultimately ended up placing 4th in their side trailing Auto Celerity, Shadow Esports and Reflux.
During the season they managed to score a total of 160 goals which is the 4th best record in the league total, and they also managed 4th for shooting% showing their good offense during the entire season. Since week 5 they have also managed to 3 sweep and another 3 3-1 wins, and in most recent memory they lost to both Silverbacks and Reflux but managed to win against wildcard spot teams eMerge Gaming and Bad Karma Esports in the same period.

The team they have stuck with from start has been Jiggi, Josh and Velocity who have managed this good record from start to finish. And that could be down to the scoring of Velocity and Josh, they have totalled 105 goals between them and as a result are both in the top 20 scorers of the season. Velocity also finds himself at the top of assists this season giving 52 assists combined with his 53 goals, this means he had 18 more assists for the season then both Jiggi and Josh who ended at 34 respectively.  For these stats Velocity is number 25 in the MVP standings for the season and will be looking to do much of the same in playoffs.

Going up against Aster in the first round will be very interesting as the teams previously played this season where Galamo Esports came on top sweeping Aster as recently as week 6. This game will go much of the same for me and I think Galamo Esports win 3-1 this time around, winning that game would send them to play Zero Fox Gaming who will look to continue their orgs great 100% final day representation in the lower 3 leagues. I do think that Zero Fox Gaming will make that happen as Galamo Esports would have to be on their absolute best from start to finish for this game and I can see Galamo Esports going to game 5 but coming short

Predicted Finish: 7th/8th

Aster (Seed 9)

Aster, like Galamo Esports, got 11 wins during the season in the Alpha Conference this time around. Despite this Aster doesn’t show a great statistical favour for goals for with 151 or goals against at 122. And it does not change with any other stats as they sit around top 10 in most major categories for the season, but they have the very best shooting% in the league at 35% As for their result this season they only managed a single sweep across the entire season and against the teams at the top they won 4 games and lost 4.

The team has seen slight changes with sp77ch and The Lizard joining their team and it has looked to make a positive impact for Dwis and Kos because sp77ch is currently 15th in the MVP standings. He has scored 44 goals racking up 35% of his shots, along with this he is number 18 in assists at 33. Kos has also been up there in goals being there from the start and contributing 48 goals total.

Their Saturday fixture will be against Galamo Esports who they played week 6 and lost 3-0. They will be looking to make justice for that loss, but ultimately I think they will be sent down to the lower bracket early on here in a 3-1 defeat. From there on they will be awaiting the loser of Shadow and Auto Celerity/Valor Esports depending on the results of B2 and B4.

Predicted Finish: 9th-12th

Valor Esports (Seed 12)

With possibly the worst record ever in the Playoffs is Valor Esports who have somehow snuck in with a record of 8-8 finishing as the 16th overall seed in the league. They have really been given a second chance to do well in the Playoffs, but it on paper it doesn’t look like they will be able to make much of that chance. If they do manage to win any games, it would be truly spectacular as this is the ultimate underdog story.

In their first game, they face Auto Celerity who are among the teams tipped to go the distance and win the championships. If they manage to surpass the giants of Auto Celerity, they will face another giant in Shadow Esports.

Predicted Finish: 9th-12th

PREDICTIONS

Predicted by Matty, Brun and Wlowns


FINAL BRACKET PREDICTIONS

Predicted by Matty, Brun and Wlowns

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