The North American Challenger Series has concluded its regular season and four teams have moved on to the playoffs. The two teams that make it out of the playoffs will move to the promotion tournament to play against the bottom NA LCS teams. The NA CS playoffs will feature many experienced players with some names that many fans will recognize.
Gold Coin United (second) vs. Tempo Storm (third)
The first semifinal matchup in the NA CS playoffs will be between new teams Tempo Storm and Gold Coin United. Though these two teams are new to the challenger series, the players on the rosters are no stranger to competitive League of Legends. The series will feature seven former pro players between the two teams.
Tempo Storm is an organization esports fans may know from other titles, but this is their first time in League of Legends. The organization picked up a talented and experienced roster, surprising fans with the names they were able to sign. The roster is highlighted by Diego “Quas” Ruiz, Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek and Jamie “Sheep” Gallagher, who are all experienced pro players.
Gold Coin United surprised even more people when they were able to sign Korean star support player Hong “MadLife” Min-gi. The signing helped round out an impressive roster that included other veteran players, some who have even competed at Worlds. The team got off to a slow start, but won their final two series to rise to second place in the league.
The previous time these two teams played, they split the games and tied the series. Gold Coin United did look like the stronger team but collapsed in the second game to give the game over to Tempo Storm. Though they may not have looked as impressive, Tempo Storm was still able to earn a point from the series, showing their resilience.
I expect this series to go the distance in a close matchup between two talented rosters. I predict that Gold Coin United will win the series 3-2 due to the playoff experience of their players. Although Tempo Storm has experienced players, they do not have much playoff experience, while GCU has a wealth of it.
eUnited (first) vs. Big Gods Jackals (fourth)
The second semifinal also will see two new organizations taking to the rift in order to fight for promotion. eUnited features two veterans surrounded by young talent, while Big Gods Jackals highlights players who have mixed experience with some success.
eUnited is a relatively new organization that has picked up teams in multiple esports, and this year, they turned their eye to LoL. They brought in two European veterans in Hampus “Fox” Myhre and Erberk “Gilius” Demir, while filling out the rest of the team with younger players. Though Fox and Gillius may not have been the most successful players in Europe, the team has proved dominant in the NA CS.
Big Gods Jackals selected a team with some experience but not much proven success. Isaac “Pekin Woof” Marconis has been a star player in the challenger series for multiple splits and Big has brought in players from different backgrounds to round out the roster. Big had some good performances and some poor ones, showing their inconsistent play throughout the split.
The series between these two teams was played in the last week of the regular series, which should provide a good blueprint for the upcoming matchup in the playoffs. eUnited started off slow in both games but had a great mid to late game, which allowed them to take two game wins and the series victory.
I believe eUnited will continue their strong performance in the NA CS and win 3-1 over Big Gods Jackals. The team has never lost two games in a row to a team in the league and has put in great performances throughout the split. Big is a good team, but not at the level of eUnited for this split.
With my predictions, I see both Gold Coin United and eUnited qualifying for the promotion tournament with a chance to make is into the NA LCS. I expect GCU to beat eUnited in the finals due to the player experience on GCU. Despite eUnited being the strongest team in the regular season, GCU will not falter under the pressure of the playoffs and win that final matchup.
The playoffs start Wednesday, March 8, with Gold Coin United playing Tempo Storm. The next semifinal will take place the following day, while the final will be March 15. All games will be played on patch 7.4 and you can watch the action on lolesports Twitch and YouTube channels.
Who do you think will make it to the promotion tournament? Tweet us your thoughts @GAMURScom