LoL Spring Playoffs round-up
It was another week of big storylines in the LoL competitive scene this weekend. SKT triumphed over KSV as Thal and Blank came up big to capture the victory for their team. Fnatic and G2 looked in top form as they advance to face each other yet again in the finals. And in NA, a new banner will be hoisted next weekend in Miami as TL and 100T get set for a star-studded affair.
Down, but never out
SKT came a long way this split as they clawed back from the depths of relegation to place in the playoffs with a 9-9 record. The uncharacteristic season started to turn around as they found their footing against typically weaker opponents. It’s been a year of development for the three-time World Champions as they’ve adjusted Thal and Effort into the line-up. All year long, Bang has been the most reliable player on SKT as his KDA’s and team performance have remained at career-high levels with differing support players.
In the series against KSV, it was all about Thal in the Top lane as he made CuVee think twice about giving him a counter lane position, dominating CuVee with his flex Cassiopeia. Of all the factors that might have led SKT to victory that day, no analyst would have guessed Cassiopeia top as the secret weapon. SKT had a master stroke in champion select in Game One as they picked up Kai’ Sa and Cassiopeia and played to their strengths. While KSV came back in Game Two with a sufficient late game comp. Thal’s cutthroat instincts in Game Three gave his team the edge as he put the league on notice with his new pocket pick.
Heading into Round Two, SKT will need more of that same brilliant strategizing to truly get the better of kT Rolster over the course of the series. From top to bottom, kT Rolster has been more consistent and focused than SKT throughout the season, but this roster has shown the ability to choke under pressure against Faker-led teams, and this may be another scenario where SKT does continue their cinderella story.
Veterans face off
North America’s LoL scene was flipped on its head last weekend as the two most winningest organizations were ousted in the quarter-finals. In this new era of franchised LCS, high-tier veteran squads of proven players have made their way to the top as Team Liquid and 100 Thieves fight to win it all.
100 Thieves looked a little shaky throughout a series that saw Febiven and Solo have rather exceptional performances that frustrated 100T’s players at times. Over the course of a 70 minute Game Five, Ryu and Aphromoo looked a little out of sync with the rest of their team as CG was able to capitalize on their failed sieges. Ultimately it was a case of crisp teamfighting and solid execution at the hands of Ssumday and Cody Sun that lifted 100T ahead and gave them the win.
Team Liquid made no bones about their match-up with Echo Fox as Impact proved once again his versatility in the top lane as he drew enormous amounts of pressure over the course of the series. When Team Liquid is at its best, all five members are working in tandem to help gain advantages. No other team in NA can execute the 4-man bot dive quite like TL at the moment. Impact seems to get a buff every time he enters playoffs and Xmithie is playing solid as ever.
The only problem that could affect the series in Miami is the tragic news affecting Doublelift over the course of the weekend. For the sake of his privacy and consideration to his family at this time, there will be no discussion on the incident. For more information please visit Doublelift’s Twitter feed for his own statement on the matter.
New squads, same results
It was a year full of changes and reimagining in Europe as G2 underwent massive roster changes. After continuing as the lone survivor of the 2017 roster, Perkz has buoyed this new-look G2 in the early stages as his consistency found them success in the regular season. As the playoffs wore on, the multi-pronged threat of G2 from bot and top started to show as Wunder and Hjarnan have put together magical performances when it matters.
This new threat from G2 has taken a lot of the pressure off of Perkz shoulders heading into the finals where he will need all the relaxation he can get against Fnatic. Fnatic may very well have the best carry duo in all of EU & NA at this very moment. The duo threat of Rekkles and Caps this season has been too much for most teams to bear. Caps put on a clinic with his Swain in the series against Vitality, and Rekkles has proven his danger on his encyclopedia of champions he cycles bot lane.
The only question mark for Fnatic heading into the final will be Bwipo in for the injured Soaz in Top Lane. While Bwipo is no slouch, he will need to be on an extra plateau when he faces off against an in-form Wunder that is looking to do damage. This may be the time what Bwipo tries to exercise some flexibility in the Champions he can use. His tank play has gotten him to the show so far and kept him in the race, but if he really wants to help his team positively he will need to not just neutralize the threat of Wunder, but become a problem himself.
Regardless of outcome, the stakes couldn’t be higher for either team as they both look to make good on the changes they took this off-season and lift another trophy. For Rekkles and co. this title is about setting the tone and taking that torch of success into MSI. For Perkz and G2, this title is about proving the doubters wrong and forcing Europe to recognize them as the big dogs in town.