NA LCS Quarter Finals preview: all eyes on TSM
The NA LCS playoffs will begin this weekend as the top six teams get set for battle. The best of five series between Echo Fox and Team SoloMid will start Saturday, March 30. On the following day, FlyQuest will once again revisit their rivalry with Golden Guardians as they faceoff in another hotly contested series to determine who will face the top two seeds. After the quarterfinal games, Team Liquid will get priority pick on who they face as an opponent.
For now, it’s time to take a look at how the action will unfold en route to this weekend’s games, and piece together how any of these four teams can mount a playoff run that takes them into Finals.
Team SoloMid vs. Echo Fox
Team SoloMid’s second half of Spring has been a thing of beauty. After looking noticeably shaky at the start of the split and still finding their bearings, TSM have finally found a winning formula with Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg leading the charge as a multi-pronged threat. Across the board, TSM have plugged up the holes in their game and have relied on their solid early game fundamentals to snowball their leads into late game with relative ease.
In this respect, TSM pose a major problem to Echo Fox because they remain so risk averse. Echo Fox have found success recently on the back of Lee “Rush” Yoon-jae’s return to form, but much of their advantages in their wins over C9 and Team Liquid came from uncharacteristic mistakes from their opponent. Echo Fox do very well when their enemies try to outperform them, but a seasoned team like TSM will not make those same mistakes in a bo5 series.
At this point in his career, Bjergsen remains a focal point for his team and the impact will not be waning anytime soon. he supporting cast he has now at TSM with Andy “Smoothie” Ta and Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen has given him free rein to focus on his own game, and his solo ability has flourished with that in his arsenal. For the first time in a long time, Bjergsen isn’t feeling pressured to bring his team to late game on a consistent basis.
When it comes down to making that clutch play to seal a final team fight, you can usually pick the team that has Bjergsen to win that bout nine times out of ten. Echo Fox still present their own bag of problems that cannot be taken lightly. As long as Rush doesn’t get Jarvan IV five games in a row, there is a good chance TSM walk away from this quarter final tie bloodied, but unbroken.
FlyQuest vs. Golden Guardians
In the second quarter final fixture of the week, two very parallel teams will take each other on as both rosters have had plenty of back and forth in Weeks eight and nine. FlyQuest started the season at record pace, but their rookie additions have slowed their progression a bit as the season wore on.
Even still, their veteran carries have had record seasons as part of their own team as Eugene “Pobelter” Park and Jason “WildTurtle” Tran really came into their own this year. Pobelter has had distinct praise from more than a few mid lane counterparts, and if there’s any distinct route for FLY to come away with a victory, it will be off the back of another great performance from the ‘Belter himself.
Golden Guardians had the opposite start to the season after their 0-4 start almost doomed them from contention altogether. In recent weeks, GGS have opted for hyper scaling team compositions that really take off in the late game. Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Matthew “Deftly” Chen have shown great prowess in this late game team fight meta.
From top to bottom, GGS do possess the more complete team on paper, but rookie players like Omran “V1per” Shoura should not be discounted simply due to his inexperience. When given the right tools, every lane on FlyQuest can match up adequately to their more season opponents. In the end, both series this weekend will give us something extra to cheer for.
Quarter final Predictions
- Team SoloMid 75% | Echo Fox 25%
- FlyQuest 45% | Golden Guardians 55%