There is only one week left in the North American LCS. Eight weeks of intense League of Legends action has occurred and almost all of the teams can still make it into the post-season.
Currently, there is a close race for these spots. The teams fighting for playoff qualification have similar records and its truly anyone's game. That is, of course, excluding two teams. The first is the exceptional Cloud9 roster who has managed to drop only a single game and secured their playoff spot a couple of weeks ago. The second is Counter Logic Gaming, who had a horrendous split. They're sitting at 3-13 now and are guaranteed to not make playoffs.
Other than that, it's possible for any team to claim a spot or drop it. With so much on the line, this weekend will be quite an important one for all the players and teams!
Though anyone can make it, there are three teams that are safe bets and will very likely make it in. The first is Evil Geniuses, who are guaranteed at least a tiebreaker. Even this is unlikely though, as it would require a long string of circumstances to happen perfectly. It looked shaky at points in the beginning, but with their five-game win streak, EG is looking like a strong playoff contender. Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro is popping off and Dennis "Svenskeren" Johnsen is on his MVP form, which bodes extremely well for the team moving forward.
The next team with a very good shot is Team SoloMid. Like EG, the last few weeks have been great to them and look to be on form. TSM is an organization with a storied history in the LCS and a legacy to revive. The team is looking much more consistent as a whole, but the real star of this team is Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik. He's had himself a fantastic split and is the best performing member on the roster. If they can keep playing through him, playoffs are only the first step in their plan.
Thirdly, FlyQuest is looking great moving into Week Nine and beyond. Since their introduction into the LCS, they haven't been a particularly big threat, but things look decent for the team this year. Last week, FlyQuest decided to substitute Colin "Solo" Earnest in the top lane in place of Omran "V1per" Shoura. It produced mixed results, but if this swap turns out to be for the better, FlyQuest can ride high. They've been near the top of the standings the entire split and can easily carry that momentum into the post-season.
Fighting for Fifth and Sixth
The remaining few teams are all fighting for the last few spots, but have various chances of success. The two that are almost guaranteed to make it in these slots are 100 Thieves and Immortals. The scenarios in which these two teams don't make it in are specific and overall unlikely. They've been the quintessential solid middle of the pack teams the entire split. As such, they appear to be a distinct tier over the bottom four teams.
Out of the bottom four, three have a chance to upset the apple cart with some miracle games and luck. These are Team Liquid, Team Dignitas and Golden Guardians. To be frank, none of these teams look great. This might be more expected for teams like Dignitas or Golden Guardians, but the biggest storyline from this split is Liquid's downfall. Sure, there have been quite a few unfortunate circumstances for them this split, but it doesn't excuse their poor play.
Out of these three, Team Liquid has the best chance, but it's still a long shot. They lost a winnable game last week and are now staring at a game versus Cloud9. They need to first win this game then get lucky with certain teams winning over others. Meanwhile, Team Dignitas and Golden Guardians technically have the chance to make it, but require 2-0 weekends and a laundry list of matchups to go in their favor to do so.
All said and done, there are six teams with overwhelming (or guaranteed) odds to clinch playoffs in Week Nine:
- Evil Geniuses
- 100 Thieves
As mentioned before, Team Liquid is the notable missing team from this list. Even disregarding the numerical odds, the team straight up looks like a bottom tier LCS team. None of the players are playing to their true potential, besides arguably Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen.
One through four is difficult to argue against, though the order may certainly change. Five and six deserve some explanation though. First off, they have the highest numerical odds to make it in. But with that aside, 100T deserves a spot for their improvement. Tommy "Ryoma" Le, in particular, showcased noticeable growth throughout the split. On the Immortals side, their controlled style is getting them some decent wins and their late-game shot-calling is excellent with their veteran players.
No matter what happens though, this upcoming weekend is an important one. All of the teams will play their hearts out, which sets the stage for many entertaining games. Make sure to tune in to the games live here at ESTNN's Esports TV!