LCS Summer 2015 Finals: Setting the Stage
The League Championship Series, Riot Games' competitive league for their extremely popular game, is finally reaching its end with the LCS Summer 2015 finals. Next weekend, the top four North American teams will play at Madison Square Gardens in New York City while the European teams will play at Hovet Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. What can we expect to see at this event and more importantly, who will come out on top and attend worlds?
In New York, long time rivals Counter Logic Gaming and Team SoloMid will face off for first place. This is the first time that CLG has reached the finals, their only player to ever see the big stage previously was ZionSpartan who played against TSM for the LCS Spring Split 2013 championship on team Good Game University. On the other hand, TSM has seen every single NA Regional final since even before the existence of the LCS. Of the five previous LCS finals they've played in, the team has managed to win three of them, obviously holding the record for most North American titles.
In the regular LCS season, Team SoloMid actually beat CLG both times they faced off. Historically, TSM has also come out on top in all LCS bo5 matches against them. Can CLG change history and finally beat their nemesis or will TSM continue their superiority over them?
Playing for third place is Team Impulse and Team Liquid. TIP was knocked out 3-0 by CLG and already came into the postseason extremely weakened. Just prior to the start of play-offs, their mid laner, Xiao Wei Xiao, was suspended and subsequently banned for elo boosting and attempting to sell a Riot issued account. They instead played with Gate, a former challenger league player for team Vortex. TL was defeated 3-1 by TSM with their downfall largely being attributed to their pick/ban phase.
Team Liquid is also 2-0 over their opponent in the regular season, winning two critical games over Team Impulse. Will Gate overcome the odds and become the mid-laner that his team needs or will they give TL an easy win?
Team SoloMid has already locked in their position for worlds. No matter who wins, they are guaranteed to have the most circuit points, giving them the opportunity to walk freely to the event. Should TSM win and Team Liquid take third place, TL will also auto qualify as they will have the second most points after TSM (who, in this scenario, would qualify through winning the play-offs instead of by points). If this happens, despite coming in second place, Counter Logic Gaming will have to play through the Gauntlet.
This gauntlet features every team that currently has circuit points that did not play in relegations this split. Teams will be seeded based on how many points they have, the two lowest ranked teams will play each other with the winner going on to play against the third lowest team and that winner going on to play the fourth lowest, etc.
Will CLG finally be able to attend the World Championship after a two year hiatus? Will TSM continue their reign of the best team in North America? Find out on Sunday, August 23rd at 4pm EST and catch the third place match at 6pm EST the day before.
Over in Stockholm, we have another long term finalist playing against a newcomer to the big stage. Fnatic, who finished the regular season undefeated, will be matching up against Origen, a newly qualified team for the LCS. Although this is the team's first split, you shouldn't mistake them for rookies. Four of the five players were on previous LCS teams at some point of their career, two of them were even on the last iteration of Fnatic's roster! Fnatic have also been involved with every LCS final in their region and they've managed to win all but one. Three of these four victories were played with Soaz and Xpeke, who are currently on Origen. Can they rise up and beat their former organization or will Fnatic continue undefeated?
Competing for the bronze medal are the Unicorns of Love and H2k Gaming. UoL were 3-0'd by Fnatic, but them even reaching this point in the play-offs was seen as a surprise. Just like with Team Impulse they lost one of their best players just before play-offs. Kikis, their jungler, choose to step down due to not enjoying the current state of the team. He was temporarily replaced by Gilius (who actually had his spot taken by Kikis in the first place) but the team eventually brought in H0RO to complete their roster. H0RO, a Korean jungler, played for the now relegated Meet Your Makers team before joining the UoL organization.
After 3-0ing Giants Gaming, H2K went on to play Origen. They were 3-1'd, putting them in this match against UoL. H2k's mid-laner, another Korean player named Ryu, actually played with H0Ro for a short time on team Millenium. Millennium attempted to qualify for this season's spring split of the EU LCS but failed to make it in. How will these former teammates face off and who will come out on top?
In similar fashion to Team SoloMid, Fnatic has already qualified for the world championship. Should Fnatic win here, Origen will have to play through the gauntlet due them not playing in the Spring Split. It is mathematically impossible for them to advance purely based on circuit points. In this situation, it is likely that Unicorns of Love will take the circuit points position due to their second place finish in the last split of the LCS. However, if H2K can win their match up they will secure the qualification due to their third place finish over SK Gaming also in the previous split. There is potentially a lot riding on this third place set, and it seems to go in H2K's favor as they were 2-0 over UoL in the regular season.
Can Fnatic continue their dominance against the rest of the European scene or will the new team seize the title? Find out on Sunday, August 23rd at 11am EST and also watch the bronze medal match at the same time the day before!
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