As the calendar turns to March, we’re entering the stretch run in each of the four major League of Legends leagues across the globe.
Just one third of the League Championship Series (LCS) season remains as teams struggle to earn a spot in the playoffs—or stay out of relegation. Across the Pacific the LoL Pro League (LPL) in China and SBENU Champions (LCK) in Korea returned after a week long hiatus.
In Europe and North America, the team at the top of the standings found itself challenged by two new contenders, while those slated for relegation fell deeper in the hole.
In Korea, SK Telecom T1 jumped in the standings thanks to winning their double-header against NaJin and CJ Entus. But the GE Tigers held strong at the top of the standings maintaining their undefeated clip.
The top performers in the LCS this week include Team8 jungler Braeden “PopoisePops” Schwark, whose two Rek’Sai games were good for a whopping 31 KDA. That helped move the squad out of relegation and into playoff contention. Cloud9 and Team Liquid also moved in the standings, gaining ground on Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming. Hai Lam’s 10 KDA on Zed pulled Cloud9 forward, while the return of Yuri “KEITHMCBRIEF” Jew looks like the perfect cure for what was an ailing Team Liquid.
The LCK saw an SK Telecom T1 mid laner take top billing, but not the one you might expect. The team used Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok in their series against NaJin, but they turned to Lee “Easyhoon” Ji-hoon against CJ Entus in a battle for second place in the league. Easyhoon delivered with a 25 KDA, an 11/1/2 Cassiopeia game followed with a 7/0/5 Lulu showing. While Faker might still be the best mid laner in the world, it’s Easyhoon that has the highest KDA at the position in Korea with an 8.4 KDA on the season.
Next week brings us another explosive set of games. In China, OMG takes on Vici Gaming and Star Horn Royal Club, with Edward Gaming in a tough bout against Snake. Korea will have two shots to finally knock the undefeated GE Tigers as Jin Air Green Wings and Samsung Galaxy take them on.
And in the EU LCS, all hell will break loose. The second of this season’s “el clasico” battle between league-leading SK Gaming and Fnatic is set for Thursday. Gambit Gaming and H2k, this seasons two cinderellas, will meet to decide who deserves to stay at the top. The defending champions Elements find themselves struggling to qualify for the playoffs, and they’ll need wins over Unicorns of Love and Copenhagen Wolves to get there.
The NA set may be the calm before the storm, though Team Impulse’s week against Cloud9 and Team Liquid will show if they’re contenders or pretenders. But that’s okay. There’s certainly no shortage of League of Legends.