The North American LCS has never been closer than it was in the 2017 Spring Split. In past years, there has usually been one team that could never find wins. This split, however, no team made for an easy matchup. At the same time, the Challenger Series has given rise to plenty of teams with LCS-level talent, and even some of the all time League of Legends greats.
With the competition rising in North America and a spot in the LCS being more important than ever, the path for teams in the promotion tournament has also gotten harder.
This year, the Summer Promotional tournament reflects that, as the bottom two teams in the LCS and the top two teams from the Challenger Series face off in a three-day, three-series gauntlet for the chance to play in the Summer Split.
The tournament will be held between March 31 and April 2 and will be following a double elimination format (meaning you have to lose two series to be eliminated). The first day, Friday, will have two best-of-5 matchups. The matches -- Match 1 and Match 2 — will be played simultaneously.
Day two’s matches — Match 3 and Match 4 —will also be played simultaneously. Match 3 will feature the winners of the first two matches, while Match 4 will feature the losers. The winner of Match 3 qualifies for the NA LCS 2017 Summer Split. The loser of Match 4 will be eliminated from the tournament and sent to the Challenger Series.
On the third day, the only series will be Match 5. Match 5 will be between the loser of Match 3 and the winner of Match 4. The winner of this series will also qualify for the NA LCS 2017 Summer Split, while the loser is eliminated and sent to the Challenger Series.
The NA LCS 2017 Summer promotion tournament is made up of four teams, two of which qualified for their spots through winning a hard earned first and second seed in the Spring Challenger series. The other two came out on the losing end of North America’s most competitive split ever, finishing in the bottom two.
The No. 1 seed from the Challenger Series is Gold Coin United. While the team is led by a squad of LCS veterans, including Lucas “Santorin” Larsen, Jaehoon “Fenix” Kim and Brandon “Mash” Phan, the name that will probably catch your eye is Korean legend Mingi “Madlife” Hong. GCU beat No. 2 seed eUnited in the Challenger Spring Finals.
Gold Coin United’s opponent in Match 1 will be LCS side Team Envy. While Envy struggled throughout the season, they did seem to have a bit of a resurgence toward the end — led by mid laner Geon-Woo “Ninja” Noh, despite still finishing last in the league. Also worth noting: Envy had one of the strongest early games in the LCS, even if they weren’t always able to fully capitalize on it.
Challenger Series second seed eUnited has a few more newcomers to the professional North American scene. Led by their bottom lane, eUnited finished first in the Challenger Series regular season, but couldn’t beat Gold Coin United in the playoff finals. EU LCS fans will recognize jungler Erberk “Gilius” Demir and mid laner Hampus “Fox” Myrhe.
Facing off against eUnited in Match 2 is Team Liquid, one of the North America's longest-standing LCS teams. After starting the season in last place through the first six weeks, Team Liquid made the decision to move their AD Carry Gwang-jin “Piglet” Chae to mid lane and bring in high-profile free-agent Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng to help keep their LCS spot safe. While Team Liquid didn’t manage a 7th or 8th place finish, they did manage a solid final three weeks of the season. With Doublelift sticking around for the Promotion Series, TL should prove to be one of the tournament’s toughest teams.
All times Eastern
Friday, March 31
Match 1: Team Envy vs. Gold Coin United, 6 p.m., NALCS1 — GCU wins 3-1
Match 2: Team Liquid vs. eUnited, 6 p.m., NALCS2 -- TL wins 3-1
Saturday, April 1
Match 3: Team Liquid vs. Gold Coin United, 3 p.m., NALCS1 — TL wins 3-2
eUnited vs. Team Envy, 3 p.m., NALCS2 — NV wins 3-1
Sunday, April 2
Match 5: Team Envy vs.
Gold Coin United, 3 p.m., NALCS1 — 9NV wins 3-2