(Image Credit: Piotr Drabik)
The ninth and final week of the North America Academy League 2018 Spring Season is finally here. Unlike the LCS version, the Academy League only has four spots available for playoffs. Cloud9 Academy and FlyQuest Academy share 1st place with a 12-4 record, and Team Liquid Academy holds 3rd place at a 11-5 record.
But the 4th place spot is up for grabs, and four teams have their eyes sey, ready to go to playoffs. And so the war begins.
Echo Fox Academy leads the pack with a 9-7 record, while CLG Academy is hot on their trails at a 8-8. 100 Thieves Academy and TSM Academy follow suit at 7-9.
If Echo Fox ends the week with a 2-0 victory, then they proceed to playoffs; however, if they have a 1-1 score and CLG goes 2-0, then they will tie with each other. To add to this chaos, if Echo Fox goes 0-2, CLG goes 1-1, and TSM + 100 Thieves go 2-0, then all four teams must play for fourth place. The last time we had four teams tie was back in Season 3, during Summer in Europe.
By breaking down Riot's 2018 Official Rules of the NA LCS & NA LACS, we can foresee what will happen in each scenario. Let's get to cracking.
The current standings: Head to head
It is important to note the head-to-head record each team has against each other.
Echo Fox Academy: 1-1 vs CLG.A | 2-0 vs TSM.A | 1-0 vs 100.ACLG Academy: 1-1 vs FOX | 1-0 vs TSM.A | 0-2 vs 100.A100 Thieves Academy: | 0-1 vs FOX.A | 2-0 vs CLG.A | 1-1 vs TSM.ATSM Academy: 0-2 vs FOX.A | 0-1 vs TSM.A | 1-1 vs 100.A
Echo Fox Academy has a great win-loss record against the other three teams while TSM Academy has the worst. However, Riot introduced a system called the "Strength of Victory Score", which is a point system to rank teams by points based on victories against the other teams. This does not affect tie-breakers too much, but it does reward the team with a higher SoV score by allowing them to pick either red or blue side during a tie-breaker.
This is the head-to-head records against the 1st-3rd team:
FOX.A: 0-2 vs C9.A | 1-0 vs FLY.A | 0-2 vs TL.ACLG.A: 1-1 vs C9.A | 1-1 vs FLY.A | 2-0 vs TL.A100.A: 0-2 vs C9.A | 0-2 vs FLY.A | 0-2 vs TL.ATSM.A: 1-1 vs C9.A | 0-2 vs FLY.A | 1-1 vs TL.A
CLG Academy has a better Strength of Victory score than the other three, but TSM Academy has a healthy score as well. Echo Fox Academy is not too far behind, but 100 Thieves Academy has a pitiful score.
FOX Academy will play against 100T Academy and CLG Academy will play against TSM Academy on Thursday. The results of these two games will determine the number of tie-breakers for Friday.
In this scenario, Echo Fox Academy will have to keep their one win advantage over CLG Academy by the end of the week. FOX.A will have to go 2-0, or 1-1 while CLG.A goes 0-2 by the end of this week. This can happen on Thursday if FOX.A beats 100.A and TSM.A beats CLG.A.
This is only achievable by FOX.A and CLG.A.
The two-way tie
In this scenario, Echo Fox Academy would have to go 0-2 to their Week 9 opponents. After that, CLG Academy would have to win one game and lose one game against their opponents (TSM Academy and OpTic Gaming Academy.) Alternatively, 100 Thieves Academy could replace CLG Academy by winning against Echo Fox Academy and Clutch Gaming Academy to tie with Echo Fox.
TSM.A cannot participate in this tie because they have a 0% win rate against Echo Fox Academy. This is only achievable by FOX.A, CLG.A, and 100.A.
The three-way tie
This scenario is exactly like the two-way tie scenario. FOX.A goes 0-2, CLG.A goes 1-1, but 100A or TSM.A goes 2-0. Alternatively, FOX.A goes 0-2, but TSM.A and 100.A go 2-0, allowing a three-way tie between the three teams.
If this scenario were to happen, either CLG.A, TSM.A, and 100.A would play against each other in the tie-breaker. According to the rules, two games will be forced to play. The teams with the two lowest Strength of Victory Scores will play one tiebreaker game. The loser of that game will be awarded the lowest standing being decided by the tiebreaker, and the winner of that game will play a single tiebreaker game against the team with the highest Strength of Victory Score. The winner of that second tiebreaker game will be awarded the highest standing being decided by the tiebreaker, and the loser of the game will be awarded the remaining standing.
Still with us?
The four-way tie
This is the most exciting scenario possible. In order for this to happen, FOX.A go 0-2, CLG.A go 1-1, and TSM.A and 100.A go 2-0. All four teams would have a 9-9 record.
In the four-way tie breaker, the teams will be randomly drawn into a Bo1 single elimination bracket. The winners of Game 1 and 2 will then face off against each other for 4th and 5th place, while the losers face off against each other in order to determine 6th and 7th place. The team with the higher Strength of Victory Score will choose which side of the map to play on.
The Spring Split started off with a bang after a bloody match between TSM.A and TL.A. All the middle of the pack teams were slow to start compared to TL, C9, and FLY Academy teams, but they all improved as a team as the split progressed. 100A Levi got his travel visa issues fixed by Week 5 and his team went from 3-5 to 7-9 fast. FOX.A had a great beginning, but really managed to find their footing after multiple poor performances in the middle of the split. TSM.A always seemed to control their games home. And CLG.A had a weak performance in the beginning but recently tore off a four game win streak, turning their 4-8 record to 8-8 in no time.
It seems fitting that a chaotic tiebreaker between these three or four teams could be a possibility to end this crazy debut season for the North American Academy League.
Follow the fireworks with us here at RealSport, and let us know what you think will happen in the comments below!