EU LCS Week 8 Preview: The race for Playoffs
Two weeks, four games, one goal.
Two teams have already crossed the finish line for playoffs, the first being new LCS record holders Fnatic and the second being the Fnatic old guard with some new friends: Origen.
H2k’s Fnatic instigated collapse leaves them just one win away from a secured playoffs spot and the rest is where it gets tricky. The results of this week will likely clear up who will make what position but for now, the fourth to eighth place spots are all but fair game.
Games to watch:
Every Fnatic game until they lose:
Day 1- Fnatic (14-0) vs Roccat (6-8)
Day 2- Fnatic (14-0) vs Elements (5-9)
For the new LCS win streak record holders, last week was the hardest we’ve seen them pushed since the acquisition of Rekkles over Steeelback. Both H2k and Origen managed to grab an early hold over Fnatic, only to let it slip and never catch it back. However, Fnatic’s weaknesses were showcased once again. This marks the third week in a row we’ve seen this team pushed, first against Gambit in week 5, then the Giants in week 6 and now H2k and Origen in week 7. I won’t get ahead of myself here and say this week will continue the trend but to be honest who knows, if Roccat and Elements have been paying attention for the last three weeks it’s not too far-fetched to believe they have a chance to re-create Fnatic’s loss conditions.
Still, let us not discredit Fnatic as this is by far the strongest team in the west right now and quite possibly the strongest team to ever come out of the west. With first seed locked in for Fnatic, they are merely one best of five away from a guaranteed spot at worlds. Considering that to not make it, they need three best of five losses in a row and very specific finishes from H2k or the Unicorns, I think it’s safe to say they’ve already made it.
For those who are interested in the ludicrous conditions for Fnatic to miss worlds: I go into detail here
Day 2- Giants Gaming (7-7) vs Roccat (6-8)
This is the story of one team that no one expected at all and another that people expected too much from. It’s no longer relevant to keep calling Giants the underdogs and underselling their split performance, they’ve played like a solid fourth place team and preyed on the weaknesses of the other EU teams.
Despite being only one win away from each other, one of these teams is in the fourth seed spot for playoffs and the other is in the miss zone of seventh place. That shows the level of importance games like this hold for both teams, more so for Roccat who have Fnatic and Origen as two of their last four games. If not for a playoffs spot, a win here is needed to at least keep their LCS position safe and stay away from the promotion tournament.
Look to the middle this game as both mid laners have recently stepped up their game frequently becoming the heroes their teams have needed in dire times. But which of them will come out the better hero? Its Batman vs Superman, Pepiinero vs Nukeduck.
Day 2- Unicorns of Love (7-7) vs Gambit Gaming (6-8)
For the same reasons as Roccat and Giants, this game holds a lot of significance. A direct win against a playoff competitor is a coveted prize at this point in the season. However unlike the last two, these teams have championship points from spring that will go a long way to helping their race for a worlds spot. While the seventy points for UOL is a hell of a lot more significant than Gambit’s ten, every little helps.
Considering that UOL’s day one matchup is against what seems to be an SK in peril, Gambit can’t afford to let this game slip, considering their first game is against Origen. Gambit does however have the advantage of UOL’s roster change of Gilius for the recently departed Kikis. Even though the Unicorns have previous experience playing with the one-time-worlds-sub, it will be hard to pick up an LCS level synergy with him again in the space of two games.
If Gambit don’t pick up this game it will be tough considering that two of their last four games are against H2k and Origen, but luckily enough that leaves them in a similar situation to Roccat, another playoff spot contender. I smell another classic European tiebreaker. But I have faith in Gambit and Forgiven, after all at this point ‘you can either try to be the best or you can suck a cock.’
Special upset mention: Day 1- Giants Gaming (7-7) vs H2k Gaming (9-5)
Now, aside from their week one loss to Origen, H2k’s only losses this split have been to Fnatic and the team they face directly after tilting to Fnatic. If this trend continues, they should be in the clear to beat the Giants here. However if their Fnatic fuelled tilt fest hasn’t quite ended yet, it will prove to be very problematic against a team like Giants who have climbed the league punishing teams who aren’t quite ready.
Special Elements mention:
Remember my Elements theory from a while back? The one where they can’t hold a roster of five starting players for longer than four playing weeks? This will be the fourth week of their current roster: Jwaow, Dexter, Froggen, Tabzz, Nyph.
After this week, expect someone to be dropped, otherwise it’s a new Elements record!
Images courtesy of Riot Games' flickr page