NA Playoff Preview
NA Playoff Preview
By Jack “NeoIllusions” Ho
Starting on Friday, April 26, the NA LCS Spring Playoffs begin. For three days, six teams will compete for entry into the second half of the Split. The four teams who advance to the Semifinals will be safely through to the next season while the two losing teams from the Quarterfinals will have their last shot at the summer season via the Summer Promotion Qualifier.
Securing their Place in the Sun
Head-to-head record: DIG 3-1 GGU
The first matchup on Friday is between third seed Dignitas versus sixth seed Good Game University. For much of the regular season, Dignitas hovered safely around first and second place in rankings. It wasn’t until Week 10 where they posted a disappointing 1-4 result that the team fell to the third seed – a bad time to falter when TSM resurged with a perfect 5-0 that week. While some of DIG’s rustiness could be attributed to Crumbz’s absence during Week 9, DIG needs to prove that it’s overcome the disarray from Super Week and can return to form from the regular season.
Good Game University advanced to the Split Playoffs by the skin of its teeth. Ending the season with a record of 11-17, they finalized sixth seed by just one win over the seventh ranked Team MRN. Since the debut of its new Support in Week 8, DayDreamin, GGU rose from last place to net a 7-3 record in the last three weeks. GGU will want to show that the final weeks of the regular season were growing pains and the players still have much more to bring to the table.
Head-to-head record: CLG 2-2 VUL
As one of the oldest established North American teams, fourth seed Counter Logic Gaming has been plagued by inconsistency all season long. Despite maintaining its top four position amongst the NA’s old guard, CLG is the only veteran team that fell below the .500 mark. If its success during scrims is any indication, CLG’s teamwork and communication is still there. It still remains to be seen whether or not the players will bring a unified, cohesive CLG to the postseason.
Like GGU in Week 8, fifth seed Vulcun introduced its own new Support with Bloodwater. During Super Week, Vulcun finished with a strong 4-1 record, including victories over Curse and Dignitas. Having secured a win against each of the four veteran teams this season, Vulcun has the ability to play at the highest level. The issue is consistency and if they can continue their success from Super Week.
Playing With Fire
Starting on Saturday, the winner of the DIG v GGU Quarterfinals will have the opportunity to face off against Curse. Both Quarterfinal teams ended the season with a 1-3 head-to-head record against second seed Curse. One advantage both Quarterfinalist team will have is the very recent roster change for Curse. Right after Week 10, Elementz decided to part ways and now Curse will have to rely on its substitute, Rhux, for the remainder of the Playoffs. It will be exciting to see how well Curse adapts to this sudden change. If Cop and Rhux are able to mesh well before this weekend, Dignitas and Good Game University might be up for a challenge.
A Chance to Get Even
On the other side of the bracket, the winner of CLG v VUL plays first seed TSM Snapdragon. As only one of two NA teams to go 5-0 in a Super Week, TSM is playing with a very hot hand. Since the addition of WildTurtle to its ADC position, TSM has had a noticeable improvement in its engagements over team objectives and focus fire during teamfights. With a winning head-to-head record against Vulcun and CLG, TSM is no doubt going into the Semifinals feeling confident.
Leading the Pack
Not only are teams vying for a place for the summer season, but teams are also competing for the grand prize of $50,000, with second, third and fourth winning $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 respectively. The grand finals will be a best of five while all other matches of the Spring Playoffs will be best of threes. Tune in Friday for the opening barrage between Dignitas and Good Game University at 3:00pm PDT (24:00 CEST). Come watch to see which NA team will enter the Summer Season with a stride!
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