League of Legends: Into Playoffs

It’s over. After nine grueling weeks of LCS action, it has finally come to an end for both Europe and North America. The regular season is now over, each team having varying success. Some teams were instantly relegated, others will fight for their spots, a few held their LCS position for next split, but the top will be vying for playoffs and for the coveted World Championship seeds. While there are predictions already making rounds about what teams will do the best at playoffs and then at Worlds, there do seem to be some clear cut favorites, especially from Europe.

The North American LCS ended in a jam packed day full of 12 games. There were multiple tie breakers, and everything wasn’t as set as it was over in the European LCS. The regular season standings for the NA LCS:

1. Team Liquid: 14-5

2. Counter Logic Gaming: 13-6

3. Team Impulse: 13-6

4. Gravity: 12-7

5. Team SoloMid: 11-7

6. Team Dignitas: 10-8

7. Cloud 9: 7-12

RELEGATED:

8. Team 8: 6-13

9. Enemy eSports: 4-14

NO LONGER IN LCS:

10. Team Dragon Knights: 3-15

courtesy of lolesports.com

courtesy of lolesports.com

For the teams that ended up playing 19 games instead of the usual 18, it is because of tie breakers played the last day of the split of the split. This applies for both NA and EU. The regular season standings for the EU LCS:

1. Fnatic: 18-0

2. Origen: 12-6

3. H2k: 11-7

4. Unicorns of Love: 9-9

5. Roccat: 9-10

6. Giants Gaming: 8-10

7. Elements: 7-11

7. Gambit Gaming: 7-11

RELEGATED:

9. SK Gaming: 6-12

NO LONGER IN LCS:

10. Copenhagen Wolves: 4-14

courtesy of lolesports.com

courtesy of lolesports.com

Playoffs is the same for both regions. The top 6 teams from each region will be attending, entering a 3 round bracket. Matches played will be in a best of 5 format. The 3rd – 6th teams compete in a quarterfinal round, and the 1st and 2nd team automatically enter the semifinals. Winners of the semifinals will head to Madison Square Gardens (NA) or Stockholm (EU), and will play for the top seed of their region at the World Championship. The winner of the finals will enter straight into Worlds.

However, playoffs is not the only way to enter Worlds. Each region is allowed to bring 3 teams and playoffs covers two spots. The third is to play through the regional qualifiers, which depends entirely upon a teams Championship Points. These are points that are earned based on performance between the two splits. The higher the points, the less games a team has to play to get to Worlds. This is especially important when looking at North America because the 7th place team, Cloud 9, holds the second most points in the region, which gives them a good shot to run the regional qualifiers gauntlet and still get the third seed.

With playoffs and the regional qualifiers run down, it’s worth it to look at a couple of teams that are competing for the Worlds seeds. The most impressive – and widely considered the best team in the west – is Fnatic, who remained undefeated throughout the regular season. Their success is only reinforced by their performance at the Mid-Season Invitational, where they went in as underdogs and performed above and beyond. And they only look better since then. They’re favorites to win the first seed for Europe, as well as have a very strong showing at Worlds since this new Fnatic roster seems to have all the strengths of the old one and none of the weaknesses.

fnatic

Looking towards North America, there are several interesting teams. It’s enough to mention that this is the farthest CLG has gotten since Season 2, and despite all odds, they are, in fact, not “donezo” just yet. TSM is also an interesting team to look at, considering their track record. They’re notoriously good at best of 5s, often dropping the first game before destroying the rest of the series. Their regular season was unimpressive, the team coming under constant criticism throughout. Going into playoffs, many are expecting to see the TSM of old that only seems to get better throughout the series.

Cloud 9, as mentioned above, will be running through the regional qualifiers to try and snag the third seed for Worlds. Bringing star mid laner and primary shotcaller Hai out of retirement and putting him in the jungle has seemed to fix many of the teams communication issues. Without his re-introduction it was possible they would have been relegated due to their performance prior. They are favorites to take the regional qualifiers, and they have the points to do it.

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