With the first five weeks of the Spring Split in the books, 100 Thieves find themselves sitting in 5th place with a record of 5-5. Although this position may be good enough for a spot in the back end of the playoff bracket, the Thieves will have to do a whole lot more if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs, or even possibly win a championship.
With two massive games this weekend against a dominant Cloud9 squad and an improving FlyQuest team, 100 Thieves has a chance to climb back over the .500 mark and turn around a season that has looked to be quickly slipping away.
After winning 4 of their first 5 games, the Thieves quickly lost 4 of their next 5. However, with eight rematches left on the table between now and the end of the regular season, the team has all the chances in the world to turn their season around against squads they’ve already faced.
If the organization has any desire to win the split, that turnaround needs to begin this weekend, beginning with a rematch of Week 2’s contest with C9. When the two teams faced off last month, the Thieves were absolutely pummeled by Cloud9, as the team was unable to destroy a single tower. By the time C9 reached 100T’s nexus towers, the gold difference had nearly eclipsed 20,000. With C9 potentially being a possible playoff opponent for 100 Thieves, it’s imperative that Neil “Prolly” Hammad’s squad not only learn from the mistakes of their previous beat-down, but adapt to C9’s game plan if they have any inclination of winning.
In this contest, the road to victory will run through top lane, as Chanho “Ssumday” Kim will have to take matters into his own hands as he boasts the most favorable matchup for the Thieves on Saturday. As Ssumday arguably serves as one of 100 Thieves’ strongest players, his counterpart, Eric “Licorice” Ritchie, might just be the weakest player on a C9 squad that is still packed with talent across the board. Although both players finished laning phase just about even with each other during their last meeting, there is still an obvious imbalance of power, and this matchup will still be a major focal point of Saturday’s game. If 100 Thieves can take advantage of top lane opportunities in the way that Echo Fox did last week, then coming out of Saturday’s contest with a win might not be as far-fetched as originally thought.
On Sunday, the Thieves face off against a FlyQuest team that seems to be on a steady uptick. Ever since the return of their mid laner, Yong-Jun “Fly” Song, FlyQuest has been looking more and more like a cohesive unit. However, the organization is hell-bent on trying out as many roster combinations as possible instead of sticking with a consistent five man squad. Therefore, it’s tough to predict FlyQuest’s game plan and how 100 Thieves can combat it.
However, no matter which team FlyQuest puts out on the rift, it’s safe to say that 100T’s solid squad of veterans is capable of stepping up to the plate and take home a win, although it won’t be easy, as Flyquest mauled the Thieves in their last meeting by a score of 12-2 in kills, and a gold difference of over 14,000 by the time the dust settled. However, despite the history between these two squads, 100 Thieves and FlyQuest are easily two of the most unpredictable teams in the entire NALCS. With FlyQuest holding a win over the heads of TSM, but also sporting brutal loss to OpTic, anything is possible. And with 100 Thieves boasting a win against Team Liquid, but a loss against Golden Guardians, anything is definitely possible.
If the season ever needed a turning point for 100 Thieves, it’s this weekend, as wins against two teams that previously had their number would be a major jumpstart for the organization. The time for early season adjustments has passed, the NALCS has finally entered the playoff push, and week 6 will be a defining moment for many teams, including the 100 Thieves. The team cannot afford to lose this weekend, as they must capitalize on a golden opportunity to step on the gas and pull away from the bottom of the pack, while simultaneously inching closer to the top of the standings. If 100 Thieves is able return to form and show off the winning prowess that they showed earlier in the season this weekend, then a playoff position should be all but locked up.