While both the NA and EU LCS leagues are entering their final ‘Super Week’, the playoffs are already starting for the OGN Hot6ix Champions Summer. The Group stages were as exciting as ever, as storied teams exceeded expectations, and upstart hopefuls broke into the scene, this summer certainly did not disappoint. The increase in invited teams amped up the competition and when the dust settled eight teams remained. The teams still alive all have the skill to make a run in the playoffs, but which team will ultimately hoist the trophy remains to be seen. Every game is sure to entertain and below you’ll learn more about each of the quarterfinal matchups.
CJ Entus Blaze vs. KT Rolster Bullets
The first quarterfinals matchup features two veteran teams in the Korean (and World) scene. Blaze enters the match as the top seed from Group B, while Bullets represent the two seed from Group D. In what may be the best first round matchup of the playoffs, these two stacked teams will seek to avoid a first round departure at all costs. Blaze claimed the one seed after defeating Chunnam Techno University in a tie-break game, after ending group stages with 1 win and 2 ties. While they avoided a round one match against sister team CJ Entus Frost, they received a very tough draw with Bullets. Bullets' inSec, the former All-Star jungler, has been performing well in the top lane, even against the likes of Shy. He will get another chance to prove himself in top lane as he faces off against Flame, who is widely held as one of the best top lane players in the world. Another clash of titans will take place in the mid lane where Bullets' Korean All-Star team representative Ambition will take on Ryu, who is second in mid lane KDA through the group matches. Both teams play with extremely fast paced, tower pushing styles, but have varied champion pools. The picks and bans portion of each game will be a chess match in and of itself. Once the teams finally make it onto Summoner’s Rift, prepare yourself for some of the best League of Legends matches you have seen.
CJ Entus Frost vs. NaJin White Shield
Frost comes into this match after a dominating Group stage performance. Hailing from Group D and representing the one seed, Frost has only dropped one game this summer. Inversely, White Shield made it into playoffs by the skin of their teeth, as they shut out Incredible Miracle 2 2-0 to take the point advantage they needed to edge their way in. Both teams are touting new rosters this summer and it will be interesting to see how each lineup reacts to the pressure of the playoffs. Frost has the advantage in experience and expectation, with veteran players like Shy and MadLife to lead the way, while White Shield will have to improve on their less-than-stellar group stage performance in order to have a chance against heavy favorites Frost.
SK Telecom T1 vs. Jin Air Falcons
T1 once again put on a show during their group stages. Undefeated in group play at 6-0, T1 enters the match as the Group C one seed. The Falcons earned their spot by defeating both Xenics Storm and Xenics Blast in decisive 2-0 sets and will represent Group A as the two seed. While able to sweep both Xenics teams, Falcons struggled with top tier opponent MVP Ozone, dropping both games, but now find themselves with another chance as T1 is certainly a top tier team. All five of T1’s starters are ranked within the top five on their respective KDA leaderboards, including Piglet who holds the third AD carry spot. Faker has also been playing phenomenally in the mid lane and will be a tough matchup. None of the Falcons have posted strong enough KDAs to make the leaderboards, but their cohesion plays a big role in whether they win or lose games. The Falcons will have to try to gank and make strategic picks in order to throw T1 off their dominant laning phase in order to come out with an upset victory.
MVP Ozone vs. Chunnam Techno University
Ozone returns to the playoffs once again, but in a very different light this time around. During the spring, Ozone was seen as one of the weaker teams heading into the playoffs, but this summer Ozone boasts the second best record. Coming off a very impressive group stage in which they lost only one game (which came after they had already clinched first in their group), Ozone earned the one seed from Group A. Their opponent will be the up and coming CTU squad, who made it out of one of the closest group stages this summer. After losing the Tie-Break to Blaze, CTU claimed the two seed in Group B and the opportunity to knock the defending champions out before anyone else gets a chance. The “green squad” will have to function like a well-oiled machine in order to dethrone Ozone. While Ozone’s imp hasn’t put up the crazy numbers he did last spring, he is still a force to be reckoned with and Dade has picked up whatever slack existed without a second thought. After a dominating performance in the spring grand finals against Blaze, Dade has obliterated his competition and boasts the highest mid lane KDA. Mata joins Dade atop the leaderboard at first for support. CTU has proven they each have immense individual skill, with Raccoon, Riris, and Wolf all notching their names on the KDA leaderboards during the season. Whether they can play an entire series on the level required to beat Ozone remains to be seen, but if they pull it off it could be their turn to make an ‘Ozone-esque’ playoff run.
The playoffs kick off August 7th (3:00 PDT, 6:00 EDT, 12:00 CEST, 19:00 KST) with the first matchup between Blaze and Bullets. With more on the line than ever before, every team will come into the playoffs well-practiced and ready to prove their worth. Will we see another Cinderella-story run like MVP Ozone in Champions Spring, or will one of favorites impose their will and claim the trophy? Be sure to tune in throughout August for all rounds of the playoffs, ending with the Grand finals on August 31st. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to watch the games live, be sure to catch the VODs or check the Leaguepedia website for updates. Regardless of outcome, you are guaranteed to see some of the most talented players in the game and arguably the best played League of Legends in the world.
Written By Scott Kleinklaus
Edited by David Spitler
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