Only two weeks remain in NA LCS regular season, and competition is fierce for the six playoff spots. As of this moment, each team is technically still alive in the playoff race, so in this series I will review how the teams are doing, what they need to work on, and explore the scenarios where each team could end up hoisting the championship trophy as winners of the 2017 Spring Split. First off, let’s consider our most unlikely of groups to make a run:
Team Envy (3-11)
This split, Team Envy has shown flashes of brilliance and spells of ineptitude in equal parts. Week 7 was a great example of that duality, as they dropped both matches by a score of 1-2 but looked dominating in the two games they won. Buoyed by amazing early jungle ganks from LirA, they managed to snowball the first game against league leader TSM and piled up 26 kills in a 33 minute win, but then TSM woke up and surgically dismantled them in games 2 and 3. They then faced fellow bottom-feeder Team Liquid and had a 5k gold lead in the decisive third game but gave it all back through a few sloppy team fights.When this team snowballs, they can be dangerous. But then again, given a large enough early lead most teams can be dangerous. The problem for Team Envy has been getting that early lead and keeping it through the mid game. They do have an active and skilled jungler in LirA who boasts the highest CS per minute of any NA jungler (5.8), but every other lane struggles so much that his jungle dominance doesn’t seem to matter. Even with a superstar jungler, the team still only manages 52% of first bloods. On top of that, in a meta dominated by mid laners, Ninja is averaging less than 3 kills per game and has the lowest kill participation of any starting mid-laner this split (58.2%). Apollo is an elite creep-farmer (8.7 CS per minute), but that’s about it. Hakuho has one of the highest kill totals at his position, but his position is support. Plus he balances that out with the lowest assist totals, so it might be most fitting to just label him the best support at kill stealing.
Simply put, there are not enough weapons on this team to be consistently successful. Top-tier teams learn to avoid LirA ganks in the early game and hold on for a later victory when Team Envy inevitably makes a misstep around a major objective or initiates an ill-advised team fight. If the snowball doesn’t get rolling for this team, after a while they just melt.
Path to the Championship
There is technically the slimmest of chances that Team Envy makes the playoffs. For starters, they would have to win their final four matches against Dignitas, Cloud9, EchoFox, and CLG. Not an easy task. Additionally, because of a tiebreaker rule I will explain in the next paragraph, they have to sweep each match two games to none. Put another way, if they lose even a single game for the rest of the Spring Split, Team Envy is out.
Not a position to Envy (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).On top of winning every game, Team Envy would also need Immortals to lose all of their matches, Dignitas to only win one match (the one against Immortals) and lose at least two of their other matches 0-2, and finally they would need Echo Fox to win no more than one match. If all of the above occurs, the NA LCS Spring Split would end with Team Envy sporting a record of 7-11, tied with Team Dignitas for 6th place and the final playoff spot.
Thus we have to look at the secondary tiebreaker rule, which reads as follows:“If Head to Head records are identical, winning percentage based on total games played will be used”
In the scenario above, Team Envy would have a winning percentage of .7826 (18-23) and Team Dignitas would have, at best, a winning percentage of .76 (19-25). Boom, just like that Team Envy would be your 2017 Spring Split Playoffs 6th seed, and at that point so many improbable things would have occurred that they might as well just win the whole thing. Honestly though, their best chance of winning the 2017 NA LCS Spring Split is for all 9 of the other teams to get caught in a widespread cheating scandal involving aimbots and performance enhancing energy drinks, causing Team Envy to be declared winner on a technicality. That is about the only way I see this Split ending with Team Envy hoisting the championship trophy.
Do you see the improbable happening with Team Envy? Let us know in the comments!