North America League of Legends Championship Series:
Qualified Teams: Team Liquid
Teams Left in Contention: Clutch Gaming, Echo Fox, 100 Thieves, TSM, Cloud 9
Important Matches: NA LCS Finals, NA LCS Gauntlet
NA LCS Finals: Team Liquid vs Cloud 9
Team Liquid has already qualified for Worlds since they can get either 1st seed by winning finals or 2nd seed due to having the most points if they lose.
Cloud 9 has a lot riding on this series. If they win, they qualify as North America’s 1st seed going into Worlds, but they’ll end up in the Gauntlet if they lose.
100 Thieves’ future is also dependent on this match. If Team Liquid wins, then they’ll qualify as the 2nd seed, but if Team Liquid loses, they’ll be in Cloud 9’s position.
Team Liquid has looked strong this year, as expected, since they were a team created to win Worlds. Their team has a bunch of star power: Impact – the immovable top laner and Season 3 world champion; Xmithie – NA’s most tilt-proof jungler; Pobelter – 400 IQ domestic mid laner; Doublelift – arguably the best ADC in the west, and favorite to win the MVP award; Olleh – Rank 1 Support player on the ladder and beatbox extraordinaire. This team stomped through the spring split and they’re looking to win the championship again. While Team Liquid is a very consistent team with Impact, Pobelter, and Xmithie – the only threat they have is Doublelift, so all eyes will be on him since he’s the only true carry on this team.
Spring Split’s Champions: Team Liquid
Cloud 9 has been on a rampage in the second half of this split – winning the last 8 games after having gone five weeks without a win. This is heavily thanks to their coach, Reapered, who employed a very successful 7-man roster. The ability to switch between two different combinations of mid laner and jungler has thrown so many teams off balance.
In fact, this strategy might’ve saved Cloud 9 during their semi-final match against TSM; when they were down point game, Reapered switched out Jensen and Blabber for Goldenglue and Sven. The duo were carefully taking notes on how TSM played during the last three games and used this knowledge to secure a 3-2 win for Cloud 9.
From Last to Second: Cloud 9
The momentum of their win streak, along with both the talent and strategy of the 7-man roster gives them the slightest edge over Team Liquid.
The teams have all, but one, been decided. Either 100 Thieves or Cloud 9 will take the final spot in the Gauntlet depending on the result of the finals. Let’s get the following out of the way first: Clutch Gaming need to play out of their minds to get out of the Gauntlet. They have to play against TSM, Echo Fox, and Cloud 9/100 Thieves – all of whom are just better teams.
Now, let’s get into the more likely scenarios.
If Cloud 9 loses to Team Liquid during the finals, it’s hard to argue that they won’t take the 3rd seed. However, given that TSM gave them a run for their money in the semi-finals – there’s a possibility for an upset to happen.
If Cloud 9 wins the finals and 100 Thieves takes the final spot in the Gauntlet, then the strengths of the participating teams are more balanced given how weak 100 Thieves has looked in the past few weeks, especially without Cody Sun starting as their ADC. Under these circumstances, things get more exciting. If TSM maintains the form they had when they played against Cloud 9, I’d be tempted to give them the edge over Echo Fox – who they have beaten in the quarter finals – and over 100 Thieves if Cody Sun remains on the bench. If Cody Sun were to become the starter again, it could swing either way depending on which team decides to show up on that day.
The Old Guard: TSM
European League of Legends Championship Series:
Qualified Teams: Fnatic
Teams Left in Contention: FC Schalke 04, G2, Vitality, Splyce, Misfits
Important matches: EU LCS Finals, EU LCS 3rd Place, EU LCS Gauntlet
Third Place Match Up: Vitality vs Misfits
This match is extremely important to Vitality. If they place 3rd and Fnatic wins the split, then Vitality gets the 2nd seed to Worlds. Under any other situation, they’ll be heading for the Gauntlet. We’ll take a look at the
Misfits came into this split with a bang, having had 5 straight weeks of wins…until they started losing almost all their games in the second half. Until the quarter finals, they really didn’t look like a team worthy of playoffs. Thankfully, Misfits managed to shut me up by clean sweeping G2 in quarters. Maybe there’s hope for this team after all.
Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen: Misfits
As for Vitality, they had the polar opposite split: starting off weak, and destroying everyone in the second half. A lot of the credit has to go to the jungler they acquired mid-split: Kikis. I’m not sure what kind of miracle worker he is, but boy did Kikis save this team. Similar to what Amazing did for Shalke, Kikis did the same for Vitality (on a less extreme level).
Someone Lit a Fire Under Their Ass: Vitality
Despite Misfits’ revitalization during their series against G2, it isn’t enough for me to turn a blind eye to what happened during the second half of the Spring split: they literally fell apart. On the other side of the series is a Vitality that has only stumbled during semi-finals ever since they acquired Kikis.
The strange thing is: the only lane I can honestly give Vitality the clear advantage for is mid lane, yet I still think that they’re going to dominate Misfits. Unless Misfits decides to magically show up in the series against Vitality, it’s probably going to be a 3-1 win for Vitality.
EU LCS Finals: Fnatic vs FC Schalke 04
This is going to sound like you just read it because…it’s almost the same exact situation as the NA LCS.
Fnatic has already qualified for Worlds since they can get either 1st seed by winning finals or 2nd seed due to having the most points if they lose.
Schalke S04, our EU LCS second place counterpart, also has a lot resting on the finals. If they win, they qualify as Europe’s 1st seed going into Worlds, but if they lose, they’ll end up on a one way trip to the Gauntlet.
Fnatic looks so strong this year with the addition of Bwipo, who can be subbed in either top or bot lane. Caps has been playing one of his best years; marksmen are slowly coming back into the meta for Rekkles; and even if they don’t, Bwipo has doing great in the bot lane. Fnatic has basically two of the best carries in Caps and Rekkles, so teams need to watch out for both of them or else they’ll just take over the game.
The Kings of Europe: Fnatic
After a horrendous Spring split, Schalke 04 manages to fight their way to the finals. Amazing has been the missing piece to transform this team from an LCS team to a Worlds team. Nukeduck been dominating this split too – playing just as well, if not better, than Caps. Their rookie ADC, Upset, has shot through the roof this split, having tied in KDA with Rekkles, and having placed first in CS per minute.
Comeback of the Year: FC Schalke 04
It really looks like Fnatic and Schalke 04 share similar strengths. This is definitely a match to look out for and I would bet that this series will go to all five games. However, I’m going to say that Fnatic has the advantage over Schalke 04. Fnatic has been a team for longer, and the 6-man roster gives them an unpredictability factor. Despite what my head thinks, my heart will be rooting for my boys in blue!
Similar to the situation in NA, all but one team has been decided for the Gauntlet: either Schalke 04 or Vitality will occupy the last spot depending on the results of the finals and 3rd place match. If I’m being honest, the Gauntlet for EU looks heavily favored to either Schalke 04 or Vitality. Both of these teams have been looking fantastic lately and both have had quite the winning spree in the second half of the split. However, depending on the 3rd place match, I can see a world where Misfits upsets either of the two teams – Misfits has a talented roster, they just need to get a hold of themselves like they did when they swept G2. As of now, it’s going to be hard to confidently declare a victor.