2023 LCS Spring Playoffs Preview: Cloud9 vs. CLG and FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves

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2023 LCS Spring Playoffs Preview: Cloud9 vs. CLG and FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves

The first game of the LCS Spring Playoffs will be played this Thursday, March 23. 

LCS won’t be taking any break between the regular season and playoffs as teams are back in action this week. The regular season has been an exciting one, with every team except the bottom two coming into the last week with a realistic chance of making it into the postseason. And despite all the inconsistencies throughout the season, the final table wasn’t all that surprising.

Coming into the LCS Spring Split, all of the Upper Bracket teams were highly rated in power rankings, maybe with the exception of CLG as some expected them to be left behind as the other teams powered up. Two big surprises this season were probably Evil Geniuses’ late-season slump and the Team Liquid project failing, although the former can be explained by the COVID problems they experienced in the last two weeks. And now for playoffs, EG is sitting in the Lower Bracket, along with Golden Guardians, waiting for the first best-of-series to get played.

Cloud9 vs. CLG

There really isn’t an easy matchup among these four Upper Bracket teams, but CLG might be one of the teams Cloud9 dreads the most. They have been a really tough matchup for them ever since CLG started to rise up last Summer. During Cloud9’s dominant championship run last split, CLG was the only team that took them to the full five games, almost managing to derail their playoffs completely.

We even saw how CLG can win against Cloud9 during their last regular season game in which CLG blew them out of the water with a dominating early game from Juan “Contractz” Garcia. And that part is the most crucial thing between these two teams. Cloud9 has become one of the most aggressive teams in the LCS ever since EMENES joined the roster, ending multiple games before or around 25 minutes. Stopping them from getting early game leads is the number one objective for any team playing C9. On one of his good days, Contractz is one of the best early game junglers in the league as he showed time and time again in his last two splits.

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c9 lcs 2023 week 8
Cloud9 poses onstage after victory during week 8 of the 2023 LCS Spring Split at the Riot Games Arena on March 17, 2023. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

Of course, this doesn’t mean CLG can win if they have a good early game, which they even don’t consistently this Spring. Cloud9 is still one of the scariest teams to face in a 5v5, especially if they drafted a comp that can play around Kim “Berserker” Min-cheol. The young ADC is having his best regular season performance this split and is a big candidate for the MVP award. CLG bot lane didn’t really impress with their 2v2 laning and considering Cloud9 bot lane’s biggest disadvantage is getting less and less relevant as Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen started to play more melee supports, there are a lot of opportunities for Berserker to carry.

FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves

FlyQuest and 100 Thieves games are quickly becoming one of the most hype matchups in the LCS due to the Lee “Prince” Chae-hwan and Peter “Doublelift” Peng connection. During a preseason interview with KORIZON’s Ashley Kang, Prince said he started playing ADC because of the North American legend. The two players even had a moment after their first game where they swapped jerseys during an emotional moment for Prince.

But the young player’s reverence toward Doublelift hasn’t stopped him from dominating the Thieves in the regular season. In the two games FlyQuest won over 100 Thieves, Prince got a staggering 25 kills while only dying once, and even that death was him diving Nexus turrets for a Pentakill attempt.

Of course, that was then and where these teams are is a lot different going into the LCS Spring Playoffs. After their disastrous mid split, 100 Thieves promoted Erlend “Nukeduck” Våtevik to the head coach role and they seemed like a different team in the last couple of weeks. They dropped picks like Varus and Heimerdinger in favor of more scaling duos like Xayah/Rakan, and while they are still reliant on Doublelift for late game carrying, the rest of the team started to step up a lot more. Closer especially looked much better on his classic picks like Lee Sin and Viego, which will be important if he needs to match Spica.

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doublelift 100t lcs week 8
Peter “Doublelift” Peng of 100 Thieves poses with Mastercard Player of the Week statue onstage after victory during week 8 of the 2023 LCS Spring Split at the Riot Games Arena on March 17, 2023. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

We said 100 Thieves has been trending upwards and it feels like the for FlyQuest. They haven’t shown the same dominance they did in the first round robin stage when they started with their big win streak, neither as a team nor as individuals. VicLa is prone to making some head-scratching mistakes and Prince hasn’t hands-diff’d other ADCs for some time now. Not to say Prince still isn’t the best, or at least one of the best, bot laners in the league but he is not dominating. There can be many reasons for this, but the most obvious is the change of support. Switching from the Korean-speaking Kim “Winsome” Dong-keon to Bill “Eyla” Nguyen has affected both Prince and the team. It’s not that Eyla is bad but the team doesn’t seem as coordinated with him as they were with Winsome.

Still, it would be very hard to consider 100 Thieves as the favorites over FlyQuest. Bo5s are a different beast compared to Bo1s, and 100 Thieves didn’t show too many styles during their playoffs push. FlyQuest is a team that can get early advantages and can punish the bot lane dependent scaling comps of the Thieves, or they can match them in style as Prince is one of the ADCs in the league who can out-carry Doublelift.

LCS Spring Split Playoffs Schedule

  • Thursday, March 23 – 2:00 PM PST // 22:00 CET
    • FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves 
  • Friday, March 24 – 2:00 PM PST // 22:00 CET
    • Cloud9 vs. Counter Logic Gaming

Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

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2023 LCS Spring Playoffs Preview: Cloud9 vs. CLG and FlyQuest vs. 100 Thieves
Rohat Dicle Kılınç
Rohat is a writer mainly focused on the League of Legends esports scene, and an LCS hopeful.