The NA LCS Playoffs are finally here! This weekend four teams enter the opening round and only two will emerge to face the top two seeds of Team Solo Mid and Immortals. Beginning Saturday Cloud 9 will take on Team Envy in a best of five game series for the a semi final berth and the right to face the second seeded Immortals. Following this match, Sunday will feature Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Liquid as the victor will face regular champions, TSM.
Cloud 9 vs Team Envy
The first match up features a David vs Goliath blueprint. Cloud 9, the seasoned veterans, come in at the third seed to face Team Envy, who are participating in only their second LCS split. Having won two titles in the LCS, Cloud 9 easily have more playoff experience. Team veterans Meteos and Sneaky lead the squad and land in the top 5 for KDA ratio across the LCS. The two times that these teams met during the regular season Cloud 9 made quick work of Envy, defeating them both times 2-0. In fact, the very first game Cloud 9 did not concede a single kill. In their 4 match ups, Cloud 9 jungler Meteos saw death only once. He has dominated this match up and we expect to see this again. Team Envy has struggled plenty in Champion Select as they have not been able to find any consistency in their line up. Cloud 9 have been able to take advantage of this and will likely do so again. Envy jungler Proxcin has struggled mightily in his match up vs Meteos as he has been continually out jungled. He will have to find a better method of river control without costing his lanes too much experience and gold as this has repeatedly lead to Envy’s downfall. Four matches: that’s all it should take for Cloud 9 to secure their semi final berth.
Counter Logic Gaming vs Team Liquid
Sunday’s quaterfinal features much more evenly matched oppositions. CLG and Liquid have both seen various ups and downs through out the regular season. Ultimately, this lead to their middle-of-the-pack record. While CLG maintains it’s 2016 Spring Split Championship roster, they have not maintained the same dominance. Team shot caller and support, Aphromoo has provided the only bit of consistency on the team as he looks to lead CLG to an opportunity to defend their title. Both of their regular season match ups ended with CLG edging out Team Liquid with a score of 2-1. Their confrontation in week 2 was highlighted by CLG’s comeback after a 1-0 deficit, due to Huhi’s elusiveness in the mid lane, only allowing himself 1 death. Meanwhile, for Liquid Fenix struggled to exercise his dominance at the mid lane role, allowing himself to be caught out chasing a kill several times. Just like their first match up, CLG was forced to dig themselves out of a hole to secure the victory. This match up featured more of a back and forth between the mid laners. This time it was Stixxay and Aphromoo who would win the bot lane duel and force Liquid to have a difficult team fighting phase in the final two games. If CLG can win their individual match ups, they should be able to control the river no matter what side they play from. I predict Darshan taking control of the top half of the map together with Xmithie to punch CLG’s ticket to face long time foe TSM. Team liquid will not be push overs however, as they will force CLG to go to a fifth game if they want to advance.