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One Last Look: NA LCS Spring Playoffs 2013

The LCS Playoffs are behind us, and we now have a champion! Team SoloMid slugged through a season of highs and lows to come out as the champs in the North American Region. They crushed the burgeoning Cinderella story of Good Game University after decommissioning the upstart Team Vulcun in the quarterfinals. TSM walk off into the sunset with a cool $50,000 in their pockets. Their journey is not yet complete, and they set their sights on the Summer Season of the LCS.

How did we get here? The playoffs were ripe with upsets and startling turns. Juggernauts found themselves overthrown by new blood that barely avoided relegation to sneak into the postseason. Early season jokes became forces to be reckoned with, and the pro scene is changed forever by the outcome of this LCS block. HotshotGG of Counter Logic Gaming laid out an ultimatum to his team and fans: CLG will disband if they do not make it into the Summer LCS. Meanwhile, members of Team Dignitas shy away from questions regarding their predictability in games.

All of this was spawned by the two biggest upsets of the LCS. In the quarterfinal round Vulcun surprised CLG and defeated the titan in three matches. GGU dominated Dignitas en route to facing down TSM in the finals. Crushed, players and fans of both decorated teams tried to justify their losses, but the damage was done. CLG and Dignitas have been demoted to the Summer Promotion Series, where they will face teams greener than even Team MRN. While their legacies risk falling into oblivion, both Team Vulcun and Good Game University forged a status as serious contenders in the pro League circuit. The tides shift and the winds change, but the game goes on.

In the semifinals, GGU shocked the world by deconstructing the shuffled Curse Gaming lineup to surge into the finals. Vulcun, on the other hand, met their match in the one League leviathan to maintain their poise: TSM. Despite the upsets and expectations, each match in these playoffs came down to the last game of the series, proving just how formidable all of these teams have become. With contrasting demeanor, Curse and Vulcun walked out of the Rift carrying a generous cash prize and a guaranteed place in the Summer LCS. Curse held the first place spot for the majority of the tournament and finished in a tail dive that left fans anxious and wondering “what next?” Vulcun rose above and beyond expectations, marching off with the sun at their backs and a grand path toward future success illuminated before them.

GGU will carry on with a similar forecast. They fell just one game short of trumping TSM, but TSM’s experience proved to be the deciding factor. In a five game series, each team studies the nitty-gritty of their opponent’s strategies and tendencies. The winner dissects their observations and constructs an advantage to pull home a win. A stark pattern evidenced itself during each match in this series; TSM countered GGU’s strategies while GGU repeated what was previously successful. In their three wins TSM relied almost exclusively on Xpecial striking a devastating SonaSquare.png Sona Crescendo to freeze GGU in their tracks while the rest of TSM dumped their damage into the fray. During all three of those matches GGU never had an answer for Xpecial’s Sona, losing them the championship.

It is no surprise that GGU banned out Sona in both of their wins. Without suffering the AoE stun, GGU were able to utilize their high-damage champions from each match--DontMashMe’s TwitchSquare.png Twitch and ZionSpartan’s Kha'ZixSquare.png Kha'Zix respectively--to shift fights in their favor. The failure to recognize Sona as the key to TSM’s winning strategy cost GGU $25,000 and the chance to complete an impressive underdog story.

With an average of more than 150,000 viewers tuned in to each match of the playoffs, this LCS displayed to the League of Legends community the excitement generated by the pro circuit. Two new teams emerged as contenders for best in NA while two long standing teams face the prospect of disbanding. Hype continues to grow throughout the realm of social media, and the fan base will now have eight up-and-coming teams to become acquainted with as the Summer Promotion Series approaches.

In the foreseeable future, it appears that the League of Legends community can only speculate. Will TSM repeat? Can GGU and Vulcun cement their new-found status? Can Curse recover from the late season drama? Will CLG disband? Can Dignitas, compLexity, and Team MRN survive the Summer Promo Series? Stay tuned to find out!

Written by Joshua Pelletier
Edited by Derek Pronovost


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