LCS Championship Playoffs Round 2 Preview
The LCS Championships kicked off in the latter half of August, and the playoffs, true to form, have been as unpredictable as ever. There has already been one shock result – Cloud9 knocking top seed and form team Evil Geniuses down to the lower bracket. Team Liquid find themselves in the same boat, but their relegation to the loser’s bracket came at the hands of 100 Thieves.
At this point, predictions are almost impossible – but what’s guaranteed is a tight, hard-fought race to the top. There’s little to choose between the top three teams, and every contest from here on promises to be all-out war. The loser’s bracket is essentially a knockout, and only two of the four teams that play on Friday and Saturday will progress to the next round.
Despite starting out in the loser’s bracket, TSM can take a lot of heart from the way they’ve played so far. FlyQuest outperformed TSM throughout the regular season, ending with four more wins and a higher seed. The two teams met each other in the first round of the loser’s bracket, and a skirmish ensued. TSM took the lead, Tony “Instinct” Ng and Colin “Solo” Earnest leading the charge with 10 kills between them.
FlyQuest were suddenly shaken away, and they fought back to take a 2-1 lead with quick, one-sided victories wrapped up in under 27 minutes. FlyQuest needed just one more win heading into the fourth round, but TSM weren’t having any of it.
They beat FlyQuest 20 kills to eight, equalising the score. And finally, TSM won the series after a 42-minute slugfest. This isn’t the first time TSM have surprised this season, and they might be more hopeful of their chances against shell-shocked Evil Geniuses.
The loser’s bracket is incongruent with Evil Geniuses, reigning LoL LCS champions and top seed. Yet, that’s where they find themselves. EG, the strongest side of the regular season and overwhelming favourites to win the title were left reeling after a 1-3 loss to Cloud9, a result that sent shockwaves reeling through the community.
EG were completely outclassed in Game 1 after C9 established an early lead, set up by Robert “Blaber” Huang’s smart collection of key neutral objectives. Some brilliant maneuvering from Ibrahim “Fudge” Allami put C9 on track to win the next game as well, and left EG now staring down the barrel of a gun. The fourth game was the closest of the lot, with neither team able to take a clear lead.
After over 37 minutes of battle, EG pulled through. EG needed to win to take the series into the final game, but Cloud9 played a careful, cautious game to knock them unceremoniously down to the lower bracket.
Counter Logic Gaming
CLG slipped to the lower bracket after losing to Cloud9, a tight, evenly-matched contest between two sides determined to take it down to the final minute of the final game. It was touch-and-go, but Cloud9 squeaked through in the end. CLG’s series against Golden Guardians, however, raised a lot of eyebrows.
It should’ve been 3-0 in favour of CLG, but the 3-2 result between the fourth and eighth seed was practically unthinkable. They took a lead in the first game, but after that it went back and forth down to the fifth, the series decider.
Embarrassingly for CLG, it was GG who took the lead early on, claiming every neutral objective aside from the second Herald. Finally, “Palafaker” led the way in a fight at the 21-minute mark and his double kill secured almost 5,000 gold and gave CLG the lead, following which they were able to close out the game.
The new-look CLG is young, spirited, and unpredictable, proverbial dark horses that took the LCS by storm and provided entertainment and wonder at every turn. This has been a season to remember, and no matter where they end up seeding these playoffs, their takeaways from this split will be tremendous.
TL find themselves in the lower bracket after a 2-3 defeat to 100 Thieves. The last time these two teams met in the LCS playoffs, TL won the first two games before 100 pulled off a reverse sweep, winning the next three to knock TL to the loser’s bracket.
Now, almost the exact opposite occurred. 100 won the first two games, and were confident of sealing the deal 3-0. But now TL had their backs to the wall, and would not go quietly. Bjergsen gave TL an early game lead with his team fighting around the first Herald, and they built steadily from there to bring the series 2-1.
They secured an early advantage early in the fourth game by picking up all of the objectives on the map during the early game, and were on Soul point before the 20th minute. The teamfights were bloody but TL came out ahead, and it went down to the fifth game. But despite TL’s drawing first blood, 100 proved why they’re a class unit and closed out the series 3-2. TL will be rearing to have another go at them, but first have a tough ask ahead of them – getting past the unpredictable CLG.