After one of the most unexpected NA LCS Splits in the last several years, the playoffs are finally here.
Team SoloMid will, once again, enter the tournament with the first seed, but Immortals, who didn’t even qualify for the playoffs during the Spring Split, have surprised the entire league to enter as the second seed. Meanwhile, seeds three, four and five are incredibly talented teams that each have clear flaws from the season they will look to overcome in the playoffs. Finally, Team Envy, who took the sixth seed in the regular season, are a team with all the ingredients for success and seems right on the cusp of putting everything together.
With so many teams on the brink of greatness, and two top teams that, while great, are far from unbeatable, this NA LCS playoffs is likely to continue the theme of the regular season, where any team was just one small mistake away from an upset.
The NA LCS Summer Split playoffs will follow the standard LCS playoff format. The third and sixth place teams will play each other in a quarterfinal match up, along with the fourth and fifth place teams. The winners of those matches will go on to play in the semifinal matches against either the first or second seed, who had byes for the quarterfinals.
Following the semifinals stage of the playoffs the winners will move on to the Finals with the losers playing in the third place match. The winner of the Finals will automatically qualify for the World Championship.
All series will be best-of-fives.
Team SoloMid don’t lose playoff series in North America very often, and they have literally never missed out on a Finals. This, and the fact that they have started looking better and better every week of the regular season makes it hard to bet against them coming into the playoffs this year. If TSM can keep up with the meta shifts, and keep playing with the impressive coordination and team fighting they have played with recently, it’s hard to imagine anyone getting the better of them, at least until the finals.
Perhaps the only team this year with a clearer sight of first place than Team SoloMid is Immortals. During the off-season, Immortals made a move that few thought could work when they traded jungler Joshua “Dardoch” Harnett, for Jake “Xmithie” Puchero. Turns out, someone over at Immortals had an idea of what they were doing. Puchero has been a perfect fit for Immortals and exactly what they needed to pull together the disparate talents on their roster. The one thing left for this Immortals team to prove is that they can succeed where previous incarnations have failed and actually win in the playoffs.
Counter Logic Gaming may be the hardest team to quantify in the North American LCS right now. On the one hand, they have a brand new rookie jungler who has only started for the team for the last three weeks of the season. That’s a tough sell when they are heading into the playoffs. On the other hand, Omar “Omargod” Amin has looked good in most of the series they have played, and the exceptions to that have centered more on issues with the team than with Amin himself.
There is not a more inconsistent team in the North American LCS than Cloud9. Depending on the game, they could either look like one of the top teams in the league, or you could wonder how they ever got to playoffs. Much like the rest of their Summer Split, Cloud9’s playoffs run is going to come down to just how well midlaner Nicolaj Jensen can play, and whether or not he can give his team a meaningful lead. If teams camp and shut down Jensen, it’s hard to imagine this particular Cloud9 roster being successful in this tournament.
The slightly healthier version of Cloud9 is the Summer Split Team Dignitas roster. The team relies heavily on the success of Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho, but the truth is there are a lot of players on Dignitas who can help set him up to succeed, and just as he did previously on FlyQuest, AD Carry Johnny “Altec” Ru, is quietly one of the most consistent and effective carry players in the league. Ru’s always a threat to take over the game, no matter what team he is on or how they are doing.
The 2017 Summer Split version of Team Envy isn’t like the previous ones. What was once a one-man show for jungler Nam “LirA” Taeyou has become a bit more ensemble focused. With the addition of midlaner Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer and the new found consistent carry abilities of AD Carry Apollo Price, Envy have gone from a team with only one way to win to one that has a little dynamism. During the split, this didn’t quite turn out to be enough to push them into the elite teams, but during the playoffs, it isn’t hard to imagine them taking a better team by surprise and taking them down in a best-of-five.
All Times Eastern
Saturday, August 19
Cloud9 vs Team Dignitas, 3-1
Sunday, August 20
Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Envy, 3-2
Saturday, August 26
Immortals vs Counter Logic Gaming, 3 P.M., 3-0
Sunday, August 27
Team SoloMid vs Team Dignitas, 3-1
Saturday, September 2
Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Dignitas, 3-0
Sunday, September 3
Team SoloMid vs Immortals, 3-1