The 2018 NA LCS regular season is over, but the fight for the final ticket to Worlds hasn’t stopped as four of North America’s top teams will face off this weekend in hopes of earning their way to Riot’s year end tournament.
Cloud9, TSM, Echo Fox and Clutch Gaming will all be entered into the NA LCS 2018 Regional Qualifier gauntlet in order of each team’s Worlds Qualifier points. The two teams with the lowest points, Clutch Gaming and Echo Fox, will face off first with the winner playing TSM in the next round and the winner there moving on to face Cloud9.
For Clutch Gaming, this tournament is a chance at redemption. A red hot end to the Spring Split helped propel them into playoffs and earn the points for fourth place, but everything that followed in the summer was less than ideal as the team finished in ninth place. If they can find that magic again and put together another run, Clutch could earn a trip to Worlds in its first LCS season, but that’s going to take a radical departure from the team’s last several months of play.
Echo Fox has a similar story to Clutch. Utterly dominant in the first split of 2018, the team quickly looked like one of the favorites in North America. However, a rocky Summer Split, complete with a few less than ideal roster choices made around the time of mages dominating the bottom lane, has left Echo Fox looking lost in their games more often than not, culminating in their devastatingly narrow loss in the first round of the Summer Split playoffs against TSM.
Speaking of TSM, the team will enter this tournament as the second seed, but expectations are actually fairly high for them. While the team has never quite managed to find its footing in 2018, the best TSM has looked was in the Summer Split playoffs where it almost managed to defeat Cloud9 and took a strong series against 100 Thieves, North America’s second seed at Worlds. Despite these expectations, TSM will still need to have its best games of the year if it wants to make it to the World Championship again this year.
Cloud9, the number one seed in the qualifiers, is undoubtedly the favorite to win this tournament. A strong regular season, despite a few early roster missteps, gave way to an impressive, if hard fought, playoffs. While Cloud9 have looked fairly good over the last several weeks of NA LCS play, they were stopped short of a championship in the Summer Split by the dominant Team Liquid — North America’s number one seed going into the World Championship. With that disappointment fresh in their minds, Cloud9’s roster, both subs and starters, will be eager to prove themselves and earn a ticket to the World Championship, especially since the team will only need one win to make it there.
Each of the three series in the NA LCS Regional Qualifier gauntlet will be a best of five and will be hosted in the NA LCS Studio in Los Angeles. The tournament can be seen on Riot’s Twitch and YouTube channels as well as at lolesports.com.
Friday, Sept. 14
- Echo Fox vs Clutch Gaming
Saturday, Sept. 15
- TSM vs Echo Fox
Sunday, Sept. 16
- Cloud9 vs TSM