The LCS Playoff Fiesta is Just Getting Started

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The LCS Playoff Fiesta is Just Getting Started

My what a split it has been. From the beginning, the LCS wore the name “La Casa de Fiesta” as a badge of honor. At one point, there were two four-way ties, and as late as week 6 there was still a four-way tie. Now that we’re at the end of the split going into the last week, you, dear reader, will be pleased to learn that we have a three-way tie for sixth place. Not surprisingly, the fiesta is alive and well, and the ways it gets resolved are plentiful and exciting. We’re going to look at the five most exciting/probable scenarios for this weekend.

The Groundwork

Firstly, there are five teams whose fates have been confirmed. Yes, that means FlyQuest is guaranteed to go to playoffs. In contrast, 100 Thieves is locked out after a disaster of a split. In every scenario, FlyQuest makes it in, so all you green-and-gold fans out there can rest easy. That also means that five teams are fighting for fifth and sixth. But Major how can Clutch possibly still be in the running? Allow me to demonstrate.

Scenario #1: A Clutch Gaming Miracle

Let’s make one thing clear: Clutch needs an absolute miracle for this to happen. They will first need to upset both TSM and Cloud 9. This will give them seven wins. This is also the most they can do to secure their spot. The rest of what they need to happen sits on the shoulders of everyone else.

If they manage to beat TSM, they need OpTic, Echo Fox, and CLG to lose their first game of the week. Consequently, we would get the following standings.

Position Team Record H2H
6 OpTic 6-11 4-2
6 CLG 6-11 3-2
6 Clutch 6-11 3-3
6 Echo Fox 6-11 1-4


The exact positioning of each team is determined by their combined head-to-head against each other team in the tie (I had to read the actual rules to figure this one out). Most importantly, Clutch is now within striking distance of playoffs.

Here’s where it gets tricky though because there are actually two sub-scenarios. In scenario 1-A (creative, I know) Echo Fox wins against CLG on Sunday putting them in a tie with Clutch only. This, of course, assumes Clutch beat C9. Clutch would advance automatically since they beat Echo Fox in both meetings. In Scenario 1-B CLG beats Echo Fox on Sunday, which puts them in a tie with Clutch. This forces a tiebreaker match to be played.

This all assumes, of course, that OpTic loses to 100 Thieves and therefore has no stake in the tie. And yes, I realize that 1-B doesn’t really mean that Clutch goes to playoffs. However, it does mean we get more LCS. Now that was the easiest one to figure out, to be honest. The rest of them are super fun, so prepare for your brain to explode.

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Scenario #2: OpTic and Guardians

OpTic’s Saturday match against GGS is actually way more important than some may think. In the event that there is a tie between them, OpTic winning this game is enormous. Another assumption we’re going to make here is CLG beat 100 Thieves (sorry 100T, but the math demands it). In that case, we end up with a three-way tie for fifth. But what about Echo Fox? Well, they just lost against TL. They can still play spoiler to CLG, so don’t celebrate just yet. It’s important to note that this only happens if Clutch lose one or both of their games.

There are, once again, several ways to go from here. For this particular scenario, here’s how it plays out. OpTic beats 100 Thieves, putting them at 8-10. Second, Guardians would need to win against FlyQuest, but it’s more likely they’ll lose (let’s say they win so my brain doesn’t explode). Third, Echo Fox needs to beat CLG. If GGS win, then they are also 8-10, resulting in another tie. The rules are vague on where to go next, but luckily we don’t care at this point. Both OpTic and GGS made it, and now we’re happy…except for the CLG, Clutch, and Echo Fox fans.

Scenario #3: Echo Fox and Guardians

Comparatively, Echo Fox is not in as good a position as OpTic or CLG are. FOX plays Liquid on Saturday, a game they are likely to lose. The rest is somewhat out of their hands. First, OpTic needs to lose to GGS. This brings OpTic into a tie with FOX at 6-11. Additionally, Guardians are safe in fifth.

Now everything is in Echo Fox’s hands. OpTic are going to beat 100 Thieves unless something awful happens. Echo Fox, then, must beat CLG on Sunday. This brings us back to square one, with a three-way tie with each team resting at 7-11. The only way Echo Fox avoids any ties here is if CLG and OpTic lose to 100 Thieves, which would put FOX squarely in sixth. That’s super unlikely, though, so we’re better off ignoring that scenario. That means we’re stuck with the tie. There is also a possibility of just a tie between CLG or OpTic. The events of each are complicated, so suffice it to say those are possible.

Riot, in all their wisdom, has prepared for this particular scenario. They created a scoring system called Strength of Victory. The system assigns a point value to each position as shown below. Consequently, wins against higher ranked teams are worth more.

Position Points Position Points
1 5.0 6 2.5
2 4.5 7 2.0
3 4.0 8 1.5
4 3.5 9 1.0
5 3.0 10 0.5
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For the three-way tie, each team has a 2-2 H2H. As a result, to determine who plays whom for the ensuing two tiebreaker games the SoV is calculated for each team. Echo Fox’s SoV would be 17, pitting them against OpTic. If they won that game, they would need to beat CLG again immediately afterward. Their fate would be in their hands, provided they could win those two games. Maybe this one should be called “Echo Fox can allow themselves another chance to make playoffs.”

Scenario #4: CLG and OpTic (Guardians miss)

There is a possibility, however small, that GGS misses playoffs altogether. First, Guardians have to lose out, which would put them at 7-11. This would leave OpTic at 8-10. Similarly, CLG would also be at 8-10 if they can beat both 100 Thieves and Echo Fox, which I think they can do. This one is simple, and one that is honestly, entirely possible. It requires OpTic to clutch up and beat GGS, which is very doable for them. Sadly, though, it would mean that the Golden Guardians would end another split in disaster.

Scenario #5: The Five-Way Tie

Now before you all groan and yell at me, let me be clear: this is very unlikely. It requires Clutch to win both games, similarly to scenario #1. It also requires GGS to lose both games, something which is slightly more likely. OpTic, Echo Fox, and CLG must all go 1-1 for the weekend. At the end of Sunday, all five teams will have a 7-11 match score. Lucky for us, the rules are prepared for this.

It turns out that H2H score doesn’t matter at all here, only SoV. Given that Echo Fox and OpTic have the lowest two SoVs, they would play a tiebreaker game, and the loser would be placed in ninth. The winner would enter a mini-bracket with Clutch, CLG, and Guardians. They would then play through the bracket one expects typically, with the champion placed and runner-up placed in fifth and sixth respectively. Of course, we wouldn’t know exactly which teams would come out of this, but it would undoubtedly be the most exciting outcome.

Final Thoughts

Most of these scenarios involve GGS going to playoffs along with another team. In my opinion, their chances of going to playoffs go down drastically if they don’t secure a win against OpTic. There are also several other scenarios where Clutch joins OpTic or CLG or Echo Fox in playoffs and Guardians. Those, though, are weird and not nearly as exciting as these five.

How do you think playoffs are going to go? Is it one of these five or another, crazier turn of events? Let us know on Twitter, and check out our predictions for this weekend.

Major Castleman
Major has been an avid esports spectator who lives and breathes competitive gaming for several years. He has seen how games evolve over time, loves to think critically about professional gameplay, both to understand it and improve his own. He combines this with four years of professional copywriting to share his ideas and insights with the broader community.