Eight weeks and 80 matches into the Spring Split and the NA LCS still doesn’t have a clear front-runner for the playoffs.
Whatever predictions the analysts had made went out of the window after week seven’s upsets. On week eight the surprises kept coming with unexpected winners and shock losers.
At this point it’s impossible to call the final standings ahead of the playoffs.
Seven teams are still in the race going head-to-head for the final playoff places. Every team already pictures themselves in Miami, but only six of them will actually make it.
From winners that are losing their pace to those who got their game together late, the Spring Split is full of stories. However, hard work and quality leadership will determine whether it’s a epic or a tragedy.
Who’s going to playoffs and who’s having an early vacation? We will know for sure on Sunday, until then we can only speculate.
Echo Fox – The fallen king
In the early stages of the split, Echo Fox showed dominance over the rest of the teams.
The roster promised great performances, especially with new top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon in the team. Joining the team just after finishing up at the World Championship, Huni’s performances haven’t disappointed.
Echo Fox seemed invincible at times, but a couple of teams snatched key points off of them.
They looked weak against Counter Logic Gaming on week eight, which left the audience wondering if their initial dominance was still there. They finished the week with two defeats and are now tied for first place with Cloud9.
Their final opponents are FlyQuest and 100 Thieves. Echo Fox defeated both teams previously. However, a changing Meta, coupled with their wounded pride, means that victory is not guaranteed.
Cloud9 – The eternal runner-up
Despite their good performances and clean games, Cloud9 have done little to excite the community. They seem to have been excluded from the general hype despite being one of the more popular teams in the league.
As one of the players put it, they are always the runner ups and never the winners.
The audience knows that Cloud9 will do well and the team has proved that during the split. The team has only suffered a few loses during the split. Even then, these losses came against some of NA LCS’s best performing sides.
They will be facing Team Liquid and FlyQuest on week nine. They defeated both teams in the previous weeks. If they manage to win both matches and Echo Fox loses one, they will qualify as the first seed directly to the semi-finals.
Clutch Gaming – A Cinderella story
Who thought that Clutch Gaming could be a contender for the first place? Not many believed in one of the NBA sides. However, Clutch Gaming have the experienced players and the resources to be on top.
After eight weeks they proved their potential, which leaves them in an interesting position.
Tied in third place with 100 Thieves, if they win both upcoming matches they are guaranteed to finish in the top three. However, depending on the results of Cloud9 and Echo Fox, Clutch Gaming could still take the top spot. However, their fate is out of their hands.
100 Thieves – Ready to steal the title
100 Thieves have been one of the most consistent contenders throughout the entire split. With many ups and a few downs, 100 Thieves is tied in third place with Clutch Gaming.
On week nine they will face Echo Fox and Clutch Gaming. None of these matches will be easy for them but winning is important.
Like Clutch Gaming, winning both matches will give guarantee them third place. However, the top spot is still in reach, so performing in week nine is extremely important.
Team Liquid – Emotional rollercoaster
Team Liquid is tied in fifth with TSM. This placing gives them a spot in the playoffs but it is a bittersweet situation for both the fans and players.
Team Liquid has one of the best rosters in the NA LCS. However, the victories feel sloppy and the defeats are painful to watch.
Before the Spring Split, based only on the roster, the analyst pointed Team Liquid as a clear contender for first. The reality is that this team of stars is struggling with the basics.
Their playoff dream is alive and kicking. However, they have a lot to prove to the fans and themselves.
The final week will not be an easy one for Team Liquid. Clutch Gaming and Cloud9 are the two teams to beat if they want to finish up in third place. These are the most important matches for this roster.
TSM – A last minute recovery
The beginning of the Spring Split wasn’t easy for the new TSM. Their roster had plenty of promise, but sadly it has fallen flat on its face.
However, TSM are slowly finding their rhythm. Week after week, they improve their game and the players are now confident on their synergy. They have gone from bottom of the board to be tied in fifth place with Team Liquid.
Nothing is set in stone yet. Week nine will be challenging one for TSM. They will be facing Golden Guardians and Counter Logic Gaming. Winning both matches will give them a pass to the playoffs and that is all they need at the moment.
Counter Logic Gaming – Still standing
No other story in the NA LCS is as exciting as CLG’s journey. The new roster started with shaky steps and many defeats early on in the split.
As one of the most popular organisations in the region, people expected CLG to be one of the top three teams. However, they fell to the bottom and stayed there until Vincent “Biofrost” Wang took control of the shot calling.
CLG’s destiny is now in their hands. Their final rivals will be OpTic Gaming and TSM this weekend and they must win both matches to keep their playoffs dream alive.
It’s a big ask, but if they do make it to playoffs they will prove that anything is possible in the NA LCS.