The closest NA LCS split ever has come to an end, and after last week’s Promotion Tournament saw the two LCS teams re-qualify, it’s finally time for the 2017 Spring Split Playoffs.
While this split’s playoffs feature some of the stalwart participants of years past, like Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, and Cloud9, it also includes a host of new faces,. Phoenix1, FlyQuest and Team Dignitas have all either never been to playoffs before, or weren’t even in the LCS back in 2016.
The NA LCS 2017 Spring Split Playoffs kick off with the Quarterfinals on Saturday, April 8, with matches each Saturday and Sunday leading up to the finals, which will be held at Vancouver’s Pacific Colosseum.
Similar to previous years the playoffs will feature a series of Best-of-5 matches with the first and second seeds from the regular season receiving byes directly into the semifinals.
One change from the previous competitions is this year’s addition of dynamic seeding. What this means is that the teams will be re-seeded after the first round resulting in the number one seed playing the lowest remaining seed. For instance, if Phoenix1 were to beat Team Dignitas, they would automatically play Cloud9 because all other opponents would be a lower overall seed.
The favorite coming into the playoffs is number one seed Team Solomid. After a slow start as the roster adjusted to the rejoining of AD Carry Jason “Wildturtle” Tran, TSM has improved every week since, culminating in an impressive 15-3 finish to the regular season. Combine this with the meta shifting into the favor of Wildturtle, with damage coming back into the AD Carry role, and defeating TSM will be a tall task for the rest of their competition.
The second seed going into playoffs is Cloud9, whose split has gone down hill drastically over the last several weeks. In week one, Cloud9 seemed unstoppable, but since week seven they have struggled, frequently falling to teams that would ultimately place under them in the standings. It’s hard to say whether or not they will find success in the playoffs, but if they do it will likely come off the new found strength of carry champions that former World Championship toplaner Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong can play.
Coming into playoffs as the third seed is Phoenix1. P1 ended the 2016 Summer Split on an up note: the addition of Rami “Inori” Charagh at the end of that split saved the team from what seemed like certain relegation. During the 2017 off-season, P1 added Yoo “Ryu” Sang-wook and Noh “Arrow” Dong-hyeon, moving from a bottom half of the league team to the top half. But, the real corner turned in 2017 was when William “Meteos” Hartman joined the team, helping them make the jump to one of the league’s elite teams.
In fourth place is Counter Logic Gaming. To say CLG started the season poorly would be putting it mildly. However, as so often happens with this particular CLG roster, somewhere along the way — with a little help from the meta — they found their groove and started flying up the ladder beating the likes of Cloud9 and moving into a respectable fourth place. While the major questions for the team normally centers around midlaner Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun who, in the past has been the team’s weakest link, Huhi has performed well in the backhalf of the split ending up as one of CLG’s most consistent members in 2017.
The league’s fifth place team, FlyQuest, started the season as hot as possible, though it always seemed too good to last. After spending the first half of the split over-performing expectations the back half has been little more than harsh losses for the FlyQuest lineup. The silver lining coming into playoffs for this roster is the ever present advantages midlaner “Hai” Lam has as a shotcaller including his ability to, without warning, turn a game from certain defeat to a hard fought victory.
The final team in the playoffs this split, coming in at sixth place, is Team Dignitas. While there were around three teams that easily could have filled this spot it was well earned by Dignitas who proved to be the best of these borderline teams through the end of the split. The real change for the roster came with the sudden improvements from jungler Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun and AD Carry Benjamin “LOD” deMunkck around week 7 when they beat a hot CLG team. If these two can continue their strong performances, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Dignitas pull out an unexpected couple games in these playoffs.
All Times Eastern
Saturday, April 8
Team Dignitas, 3 p.m., NALCS1 — P1 wins, 3-0
Sunday, April 9
Counter Logic Gaming vs. FlyQuest 3 p.m., NALCS1 — FLY wins, 3-2
Saturday, April 15
Phoenix1, 3 p.m., NALCS1 — C9 wins, 3-0
Sunday, April 16
Team SoloMid vs.
FlyQuest, 3 p.m., NALCS1 — TSM wins, 3-0
Saturday, April 22 (third-place match)
Phoenix1 vs. FlyQuest, 3 p.m., NALCS1
Sunday, April 23 (finals)
Team SoloMid vs. Cloud9 3 p.m., NALCS1