As the split winds down, and ten total games left, teams are fighting for more than a playoff spot. Worlds spots are up for grabs and many teams are looking to secure a chance to represent North America.
The NA LCS Week 9 games are going to determine not only who gets into playoffs, but the matches in the quarterfinals. Eight teams are still in contention and vying for championship points. To see the full schedule, check here. And the standings for the NA LCS are here.
The eight teams still fighting are:
Team Liquid (11-5) – 90 Championship points
100 Thieves (10-6) – 70 Championship points
Echo Fox – 50 Championship points
Clutch Gaming (6-10) – 30 Championship points
FlyQuest (9-7) – 10 Championship points
Cloud9 (9-7) – 10 Championship points
Team SoloMid (8-8) – 10 Championship points
OpTic Gaming (8-8) – 10 Championship points
With just a few games left, some of these games will matter more to the teams, with fans hoping to see their team go to Worlds. This article will be looking at the three most important games for teams looking to make playoffs and determine their seeding. Under each game will be the reasoning for its importance, what happened the last time these teams faced, and what winning will mean for each team.
1. OpTic Gaming vs TSM (Day 1, Match 3)
Both of these teams currently sit at 8-8, so edging out competition will provide security going into Day 2. This game is arguably the most important because if TSM do not make playoffs, they will not have enough championship points to compete in the Regional Gauntlet. If TSM don’t make playoffs, then this will be TSM’s first-ever absence at Worlds. For OpTic, this is their opportunity to make a miracle run and make Worlds by winning the split, or placing high enough to get into the Regional Gauntlet.
The minimum amount of Championship points a team can get is 30 Championship points, so TSM’s 10 points will most likely not be enough to make it to the qualifier. Although Clutch are out of playoff contention, they still have leftover points from their fourth place performance in the spring, so TSM would need to make playoffs to advance to the qualifier ahead of Clutch.
The last time these two teams faced was Week 5, Day 1, and was the last game of both team’s first round robin. TSM had drafted a Galio composition, with Gangplank top, Xin Zhao jungle, and Varus/Tahm Kench bot lane. OpTic had threat from a distance, with Jayce top, Viktor mid, and a Jhin/Braum bot lane with a Kindred jungle.
The game opened quick for TSM, securing First Blood bot lane, and then trading kills top lane. TSM rotated top with before Galio even had ultimate, and traded another kill onto Niship “Dhokla” Doshi’s Jayce, but Jonathan “Grig” Armao’s Xin Zhao died in the exchange. This would not be the last time TSM would collapse onto Dhokla.
Although TSM led the game in kills, OpTic kept the game close, and turned the tide at 29:03. OpTic took Baron Nashor as well as four kills to swing the game in their favor. Using Baron and the death timers of TSM, OpTic took multiple turrets, and eventually closed the game out in just under 33 minutes. Although TSM held the early lead, OpTic were able to outmaneuver the generally passive team to take the win.
If TSM Wins
Should TSM take the rematch against OpTic, it will really help them in pursuit of Worlds. Both FlyQuest and Cloud9 are 1-1 against TSM, and in a multiple tiebreaker scenario that could happen, the total head-to-head is used. For example, in EU Spring 2018, Misfits, ROCCAT, and H2k were vying for two playoff spots, but because of Misfit’s head-to-head being the lowest of the three, they were knocked out. If TSM end up in tiebreaker situations, beating each team might help them squeak into playoffs.
If OpTic Wins
An OpTic victory would basically take TSM out of playoff contention. OpTic is also 1-1 against Cloud9 and FlyQuest, and having a 2-0 above TSM would practically guarantee a playoff spot for OpTic. This would be the organization’s first playoff spot since they entered the LCS back in Spring.
It would mean a lot for this squad to finally make playoffs. This team brought in Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage from Misfits and Noh “Arrow” Dong Hyeon from Pheonix1 in order to make a contending team. Both these players have since performed well this split, with PoE playing 11 champions in 16 games. Arrow has brought out a pocket Draven pick twice this summer, and has even played Heimerdinger bot lane once. This squad disappointed many in spring, ending 5-13 and missing playoffs by a decent margin.
2. 100 Thieves vs Cloud9 (Day 1, Match 2)
These two teams sit one game apart and are fighting for a playoff bye. Cloud9 has had an insanely rocky season, with roster changes galore. C9 has implemented five different permutations of their roster, recently proving to bring success. Getting into playoffs and securing a first round bye will at least guarantee Cloud9 a spot in the Regional Gauntlet.
For 100 Thieves, securing another bye would show strength for the organization, despite the change in junglers in Week 4. The Thieves have gone 6-4 since replacing William “Meteos” Hartman for Andy “AnDa” Hoang. If 100 Thieves make the finals again, they will practically be guaranteed a spot at Worlds, either from winning the split, or having the most championship points.
So much has changed since the last time these teams faced back in Week 2, Day 2. Depending on what roster Cloud9 use, upwards of 4/10 players will not have played in the first match. This was when C9 were running Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer, Yuri “Keith” Jew, and Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen. Even some of the champions have changed, as Aatrox has had a full visual and game-play update.
The game went well for Eric “Licorice” Ritchie’s Fiora, securing First Blood onto Kim “Ssumday” Chanho’s Aatrox. The top lane would be an important lane this game for Cloud9, as Sven went top again to kill Ssumday. 100 Thieves secured a kill bot lane onto Keith, and had control in team fights and the bot side of the map. Licorice split pushing would be the main way that Cloud9 would try and stay in the game, and 100 Thieves would continue to fight their way through with Kai’sa/Braum providing consistent damage and Yoo “Ryu” Sangwook’s Vladimir providing burst damage onto Cloud9’s back line.
Cloud9 would try and keep their pressure up and allow Licorice to split push, but 100 Thieves could provide more damage with their composition. 100 Thieves took a second Baron Nashor at 33:54 and three kills in the ensuing fight, and were able to push for the win. Licorice ended the game 5/1/0, but was unable to overcome the damage coming from 100 Thieves’ team composition.
If 100 Thieves Win
Should the Thieves win the rematch, it would give them a 2-0 against Cloud9, giving 100 Thieves a good chance for another bye. 100 Thieves have also 2-0’d Echo Fox, and 1-1’d FlyQuest, so having another 2-0 record would nearly ensure a playoff bye, as ties are usually decided with head-to-head records. With the exception of losing to Team Liquid 0-2, 100 Thieves are looking good for a second place finish this split, should they win.
Ssumday has been working his hardest to make sure that 100 Thieves make it as far as they can. Not only does he have the highest kill-death ratio, KDA, but Ssumday also has the second highest KDA in the NA LCS at 6.3. Ssumday also leads top laners in kills at 62 for the split.
If Cloud9 Wins
Cloud9 have been fighting for a playoff spot since Week 4. All the roster shakeups did not pay off well in the beginning, but C9 is finding their strides. They are currently on a six game win streak, and if they can extend it to seven, would show that fans should trust the process. The seven man rosters that teams can bring to playoffs will help C9 develop multiple strategies when it comes to a best-of-5. The double duo of Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen/Robert “Blaber” Huang and Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer/Svenskeren will give C9 the ability to swap out and play different styles.
3. FlyQuest vs Cloud9 (Day 2, Match 4)
With how close Cloud9, Echo Fox, and FlyQuest are, the only matchup between the 9-7 teams for Week 9 is going to matter. Although it’s possible that these teams won’t be tied going into the second day, playoff positions and seeding is going to be determined on Day 2. Ending the regular season on a win will also help a team’s morale. As previously said, Cloud9 is on a six game winning streak, and if FlyQuest can break it going into playoffs, it might help their confidence.
FlyQuest also will need the Championship points to try and make a Worlds run. Much like OpTic, FlyQuest have no points going into the Regional Qualifier, and will need to beat out teams like Clutch, and possibly Cloud9 or TSM to take the third spot to get to Worlds.
These teams face Week 4, Day 1, and the C9 roster included Svenskeren, Jensen, and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi. Cloud9 had Dr. Mundo top, Gragas jungle, Orianna mid, Morgana and Pyke bot. FlyQuest had Jarvin IV top, Kindred jungle, Galio mid, and Lucian/Braum bot lane. C9 excels in wave clear and team fighting with a lot of crowd control. FlyQuest are looking to wombo C9 with their Jarvin/Galio combinaiton, with Lucian and Kindred providing damage onto the crowd controlled members of C9.
Cloud9 took First Blood at 5:38, with Svenskeren ganking top lane, and killing Lee “Flame” Hojong’s Jarvin IV. Not even a minute later, Lucas “Santorin” Larsen’s Kindred went mid again to kill Jensen. The game had many sporadic fights, with Cloud9 generally taking the overall advantage against FlyQuest. Once Cloud9 were able to wait out the Jarvin/Galio combo, they were able to reengage with Gragas and Orianna to clean up multiple kills.
At 26:51, Cloud9 were able to win a fight and take the Baron. Tristan “Zeyzal” Stidam had an amazing Pyke play, where he Bone Skewered Santorin’s Kindred back over a wall he flashed over for the kill. The game ended with Cloud9 marching into FlyQuest’s base and after taking all three inhibitors, finished the Nexus in under 31 minutes.
If Cloud9 Wins
Much like their first match against 100 Thieves, Cloud9 are looking to get as high in the standings as they can. A team that goes from 3-6 to 11-7 would make for an impressive front runner for Worlds. Beating FlyQuest could also get Cloud9 a number three seed if they cannot make the bye. Facing the lowest seed and being able to play whoever is the second place team would help C9 make it to another finals. Cloud9 has not been to the finals since Spring 2017 against TSM. As long as C9 get to playoffs, they should secure a spot in the Regional Qualifier to try and get to Worlds.
If FlyQuest Wins
Much like C9, FlyQuest’s last successful split was Spring 2017. The roster has changed multiple times now, so making playoffs again would mean a lot to the organization. Seasoned veterans like Jason “WildTurtle” Tran and Santorin, both who played on TSM, are looking to show that they still are top tier players and deserve to represent NA at Worlds. FlyQuest play Golden Guardians on Day 1, and had beaten them before, so securing 10 wins would help FlyQuest provide pressure on C9 to perform. FlyQuest hasn’t exactly stood out in the split, but a good playoff run would help drum up fan support and possibly another NA organization representing at Worlds.
Obviously, all these games matter to the teams, as playoffs and Worlds are at stake. Games like Counter Logic Gaming versus Golden Guardians clearly matter for prize money at the end of the split.
If you have any thoughts about which games are the most important for Week 9 and why, let us know on Twitter or Facebook.
Featured photo from lolesports.com
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