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Snake Esports managed not to bungle a match against fellow bottom-dweller DAN Gaming on Saturday and slipped away with a 2-1 win during Week 8, Day 3 of League of Legends Pro League play in Shanghai.
It can't be stressed enough how easily Snake Esports (4-9, 11-22 match record) should've taken down DAN Gaming (4-9, 13-18) in this series, but both team have a proclivity for throwing games, and they both tried their best to do so.
Snake had a tremendous lead early in Game 1, as DAN drafted a siege composition focused around jungler Jeong "Karin" Soo-jong's pocket Skarner, which got summarily stuffed by Snake's disengage abilities. Snake had secured two Baron kills and scaled up into the late game but slipped at the final hurdle. DAN then took an Elder Dragon and a Baron kill before ending Game 1 in 48 minutes.
In what feels like a half-hearted compliment more than anything else, despite DAN's ineptitude, it did show a willingness to try new things throughout the series. If nothing else, picks like Skarner and Heal + Windspeaker's Blessing Lulu for support Wu "Cat" Yao in Game 2 were entertaining to watch, even if they didn't do much. DAN even threatened to win the series as it did a good job stalling Game 3 out despite Snake's colossal advantages heading into the late game for the second time in the series.
Despite its struggles, even with massive leads, Snake Esports is still hypothetically alive in the playoff hunt. The team needs to learn from what should've been a free win against a team that has lost eight consecutive series in the LPL.
Snake Esports' problems are manyfold: Jungler Le "SofM" Quang Duy relies on Gragas as a crutch, even when more powerful meta picks are available; mid laner Liu "Zz1tai" Zhi-Hao remains inconsistent as ever; and Snake's late game is practically non-existent. Still, a win's a win, and Snake will be happy to take all it can get at this late point in the Summer Split.
DAN Gaming's woes will likely continue Friday when it faces one of the league's best in EDward Gaming at 8 a.m. ET. Snake Esports gets a shot at EDward Gaming, too, at 8 a.m. ET on Aug. 13.