LCS Spring Playoffs are now in full swing as we head into the end of the season for all regions. Cloud9 and Flyquest are the uncontested favorites, but all other teams are in an apparent parity. Round 1 has now come to an end and, although it was mostly business as usual, there were a couple of surprises.
Flyquest vs 100 Thieves
100 Thieves had an impressive end to their regular season run. The seven game winning streak to secure their place in playoffs and a third place finish was unexpected, but they didn't have to beat neither Flyquest nor Cloud9 in that run.
This series showed us that the streak wouldn't have even gotten started if they'd met Fly earlier on. A clean 3-0 sweep that look like just another day in the office for Spica and company.
Cloud9 vs CLG
This series was closer than expected. CLG could've won the first two games of this series, but faltered in the first one and, although they won the second, crumbled when C9 leveled up their play for games 3 and 4.
Cloud9 likely saved quite a few picks for the upcoming series vs Flyquest, but CLG still looked good, which just made their series against Evil Geniuses an even bigger disappointment.
Golden Guardians vs 100 Thieves
This series was an absolute mess. It looked like it was going to be a wash after GG completely threw game one, and felt like the classic Doublelift/Bjergsen playoff run where they beat the more inexperienced teams by the sheer amount of times they've been in this exact situation.
Yet, that is the opposite of what happened. Golden Guardians kept on punching back and looking frankly unaffected by the losses and the pressure. When the series culminated in game 5, it all looked over for them, until 100T completely choked an apparently unthrowable game.
A team lead by two of the most experienced LCS players of all time managed to throw a game where they had the gold lead, Infernal Soul and a better late game teamcomp with Doublelift on Jinx.
Credit where credit is due, though. 100T did throw the bone, but GG and especially Stixxay catched it with no hesitation. Excellent performance by GG's ADC.
CLG vs EG
This series was the biggest disappointment of the LCS Spring Playoffs so far for me. CLG gave us hope by fighting Cloud 9 so closely, only to look like a shadow of their former selves when facing EG.
The drafts were extremely one dimensional and lacked any sort of innovation. Dhokla played two games of Sion and one of Renekton although Luger looked completely broken in this series.
Evil Geniuses were allowed to run two Malphite/Ahri dive comps in a row, exploiting Luger over and over again. When CLG finally banned the combo in game 3, they looked completely checked out of the series and it didn't seem to matter.
On the other hand, Evil Geniuses looked great now that they're back in the studio and free of any sickness. Jojo looked especially crisp throughout this series. CLG weren't much of an opponent in this series, but I expect EG to quickly dismantle Golden Guardians in the next lower-bracket matchup.
Unfortunately, NA is extremely top heavy this split and the LCS Spring Playoffs will highlight this issue. There is a clear divide between Flyquest/Cloud 9 and the rest of the league. If Evil Geniuses maintain this form against stronger opposition, they might be a convincing dark-horse, and perhaps even a favorite for second place if Flyquest's issues return.
Evil Geniuses vs Golden Guardians should be as quick a 3-0 as EG vs CLG was. GG might be able to steal a game, but anything more than that would require a massive choke by the EG squad.
Flyquest vs Cloud9 happens later today and will likely be the first of two series between these top teams. This first one will still be extremely important, though, as whoever wins it automatically qualifies to MSI, without the danger of an unforeseen elimination at the hands of Evil Geniuses.
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