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North American LCS Spring Playoffs Previews

The first 10 weeks of Riot's inaugural LCS season has been a roller coaster ride. We've seen undefeated titans fall farther than anyone expected, and familiar faces ostracized by their teams. You watched Team SoloMid race to the top in the final week of the Spring season and laughed as NyJacky described his lack of experience against QuinnSquare.png Quinn.

The journey concludes here. The teams that started this season are a shade of who they once were; their identities twisted and molded by 10 weeks of battle on Summoner's Rift. Whether the change is for better or worse will be determined by upcoming matches. The LCS Playoffs are about to start.

The playoffs function like this: The top six teams from the LCS Spring Season are competing for $100,000 in prize money. First place wins a smooth $50,000, second place secures $25,000, third place takes home $15,000, and fourth settles for $10,000. Though ineligible for the playoffs, seventh and eighth place (Team MRN and compLexity) are automatically entered into the 12-team Summer Promotion Qualifier (SPQ). The teams that lose the quarterfinals in the playoffs are also dropped into the SPQ, and are forced to compete with eight other teams for one of the four spots up for grabs in the LCS Summer Season.

Quarterfinal 1: Dignitaslogo std.pngTeam Dignitas vs. Good Game UniversityGGULogo std.png

Head-to-Head Record: 3W-1L, in favor of Dignitas

Leaguepedia quill s.png Leaguepedia Staff Poll:

Dignitaslogo square.png Team Dignitas 83%

Good Game Universitylogo square.png Good Game University: 17%

The top side of the North American bracket features the #3 seed Team Dignitas taking on the #6 seed Good Game University. GGU’s struggle this season is no secret. Roster changes and stagnant play contributed to their 11W-17L record, barely beating out Team MRN for a playoff spot. GGU stumbled into a win against a weakened Dignitas in Week 9 when Crumbzz was unavailable to play.

With Dignitas back at full strength, GGU are in jeopardy of being dropped into the Summer Promotion Qualifier. Specifically, scarra poses a huge threat to Jintae in the mid lane. scarra has wildly outperformed his opponent in their matches, acquiring 813 CS vs. Jintae's 589 CS. Dignitas have shut down GGU's mid laner by banning his favorite champion, Twisted FateSquare.png Twisted Fate, every time they have met.

DontMashMe represents GGU's best chance to acquire a semifinal berth. The AD Carry is consistent against Dignitas with a 12/6/11 KDA overall while outfarming Imaqtpie by a small margin in their four meetings. GGU must build a strategy around DontMashMe if they are to succeed, or it could spell game over if he is left unprotected.

“But wait!” you exclaim. “ZionSpartan statistically matches up almost evenly against TheRealKiWiKiD. Zion's KDA is 2.73 (95/93/159) against KiWiKiD's 3.58 (91/72/167)!” Correct, dear reader, but we see a completely different story when looking at Zion's stats against Dignitas specifically. ZionSpartan has challenged KiWiKid three times and performed below expectations. His KDA is 8/10/12 vs. KiWiKiD's 14/9/14, and he was outfarmed in two out of the three games.

The anticipation for Friday’s events appears to be business as usual for Dignitas. All signs are pointing to an uphill battle on GGU’s end as each team fights for a semifinal spot and a clash with Curse.

Quarterfinal 2: Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.png Counter Logic Gaming vs. Team Vulcun Teamvulcunlogo std.png

Head-to-Head Record: 2W-2L

Leaguepedia quill s.png Leaguepedia Staff Poll:

Counter Logic Gaminglogo square.png CLG: 75%

Team Vulcunlogo square.png Team Vulcun: 25%

Let's be honest: Counter Logic Gaming have left us underwhelmed this season. For a well known team, they sit unimpressive and snug between the elite ahead of them and the new blood behind them. They refrain from rocking the proverbial LCS boat with high profile roster changes or risky champion picks and are consistent with a 13W-15L record. They're ol' faithful, a team expected to pull through when needed.

Will consistency be enough when they fight for their LCS lives against the scrappy Team Vulcun?

Possibly, as early omens indicate a win for CLG if the dynamic duo Doublelift and Aphromoo start rolling. Doublelift has been a phenom against Vulcun with a 17/1/11 winning KDA. In defeat, however, his 7/6/7 KDA fails to impress. Aphromoo is in a similar setting with 25 assists in CLG's victories but only 15 assists in their losses. Inciting this bot lane to top speed early is key to CLG’s triumph.

Vulcun's strategy is twofold. First, they must use their bans effectively. They've been crushed by CLG's AoE control compositions, and viewers should expect Jarvan IVSquare.png Jarvan IV,LuxSquare.png Lux,SonaSquare.png Sona,MalphiteSquare.png Malphite, or AmumuSquare.png Amumu removed from their grasp. Team comps with these champions have ruined Vulcun before.

From there, Zuna’s necessity to select a hyper carry is like that of a Kog'MawSquare.png Kog'Maw needing to feed. Vulcun's Week 6 comeback win against CLG featured a booming Zuna rending the opposition with a terrifying TristanaSquare.png Tristana, netting him an 8/3/3 KDA.

Vulcun are loose and unpredictable while scouting for early kills, towers, or both. They were outfarmed in their two wins against CLG as a result, but clearly the tactic is effective. Taking these risks may earn them the victory. Passivity could land them in the Spring Promotion Qualifier.

Both teams stand on a decisive precipice: win and secure a semifinal battle with TSM, or lose and fight another day. Will CLG, the old favorite, take the W, or will Vulcun, the spunky new-comer, surprise fans yet again? The result is unpredictable.

The trek to the top four summit begins with the quarterfinals on Friday, April 26 at 3:00 PM PDT and 6:00 PM PDT. See the semifinals get underway on Saturday, April 27 at 1:00 PM PDT and 4:00 PM PDT.

On Sunday, April 28 the third/fourth place faceoff begins at 1:00 PM PDT followed by the Best of 5 championship rumble at 4:00 PM PDT.

Written by Darin Kwilinski
Edited by Derek Pronovost

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