October 16, 2021

Atletifo Sports

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How every LCS team can win playoffs (from the most doomed to the least doomed)

It’s playoff week in the LCS and unlike other splits, there is no clear favourite to win the whole thing and any team can grab the big prize at the end. If you’re unfamiliar as to how, here is my opinion piece on how every LCS team can win playoffs.

DIGNITAS

Dignitas have a hard road ahead of them, with arguably the weakest solo laners in the whole tournament in Yusui and Fake God. Their shining lights are their botlane and support duo Neo and Aphromoo, and their star Jungler Akaadian who has been hard carrying this team for the second half of the split. I have no hope for Dignitas for as long as Fakegod and Yusui keep playing the way they are playing, and I feel  like unless Akaadian and Aphromoo have 20 rabbits they can pull out of their hats in the coming best of 5 matches, they’re not going to beat the top 5 teams.

PROS: Akaadian is a great jungler and can carry if need be, Aphromoo and Neo are solid, and if Yusui can carry with the huge leads he is getting, DIG can go far and have a slim chance of taking the whole thing.

CONS: Yusui doesn’t do anything with his leads, and FakeGod is a liability to this team and is dragging them down by not being up to standard vs the toplaners he has to face off against. They will be DIG’s downfall, as they have been time and time again. FakeGod more than Yusui in my opinion.

IMMORTALS

Immortals came into the playoffs from a 0-3 week, and they came into that week from a  3-0 week. They are by far the most inconsistent team in the whole tournament, but they have some good pieces. I’d argue that Immortals is the opposite of DIGNITAS, where the Immortals solo lakers are actually really good. I feel like Insanity is the most underrated player in the LCS right now and that Revenge is solid in the way FakeGod is not.

The jungler Xerxe has been good for the team playing Gragas and Rumble but he hasn’t left me impressed with his other picks, but I wouldn’t say he’s a liability. The botlane duo, however, are the most volatile out of all the teams. I have not seen higher highs and lower lows than Raes and Destiny, they will either carry your game with the gold hungry Draven or absolutely lose you the game by not gaining any lead whatsoever.

They have the capacity to turn it on and beat any team but when everyone is in playoffs mode I’m going to need to see something special from this team when they play DIGNITAS.

PROS: Insanity is amazing, and if they play around him they can go far. 

CONS: Revenge is inconsistent, Xerxe won’t lose you the game but won’t win it unless he’s on his pocket picks, and the botlane is a huge concern especially considering the talent they will have to go to to toe against. 

GOLDEN GUARDIANS

After replacing Solo with Licorice Golden Guardians and with ABlazeOlive growing more and more every game, Golden Guardians have become a solid team that you can’t ignore. Their midlaner is the star of the show in my opinion, pulling out picks such as Tahm Kench mid and Kalista mid and absolutely styling on the enemy team given the chance.

What I like about Golden Guardians is how versatile they are in terms of how they play, however their road to an LCS victory is probably the hardest of the lot, having to face a very angry Cloud9 in their first Best of 5 in playoffs, with it only getting harder from there. However, if GGS can beat C9, they can beat anyone in my humble opinion. Chime has been a solid support and Iconic has shown he can play off meta champs such as Zac and… well Zac to some degree of success.

Their botlane has Stixxay and Chime, who have been much better as the weeks have gone by, but to match up to C9 GGS are going to have to play out of their minds and really push themselves. I do not predict the series to go towards Golden Guardians but I do think they are not the weakest team in playoffs.

PROS: ABlazeOlive and Licorice have the capacity to dismantle C9 like Jensen and Alphari did, albeit to a much much lesser degree. 

CONS: Iconic has to seriously step up to be able to match up to Blaber, and Chime has his work cut out for him trying to stop Vulcan roaming and influencing the map like CoreJJ did, but if they can beat C9 I believe GGS has a good shot at that 3rd Worlds slot.

CLOUD9

Oh boy.

From dominating Spring Split, winning the final bo5 vs Team Liquid to having a crashing performance at MSI losing to a team that doesn’t even have a region, all the way to a 4th place finish in the summer regular season, and ending up being utterly dismantled by Team Liquid (who have only been together for 2 weeks), Cloud9 have had it hard, and the fans have let them know it.

Blaber and Perkz have fallen under the most criticism, and deservedly so as the Spring MVP Jungler cannot seem to adapt to new styles and the $11 Million midlaner seems to not even have the stats or gameplay to even crack the top 5 midlaners in playoffs right now. It’s as if Messi went to PSG and just became utterly terrible, this form is unacceptable for Perkz and Blaber and the two of them need to step up to the quality of their name if they really want to perform in playoffs.

PROS: Fudge, Zven and Vulcan are still solid, with Vulcan still trying to be proactive vs TL until the very end before they were knocked into the losers bracket. 

CONS: Solid isn’t enough to win it all, and Blaber and Perkz have had their skill fall off the face of a cliff, only a miracle run to rival TSM’s last year can save them now… wait…

EVIL GENIUSES

If you take the summer record only, Evil Geniuses have been the best team in the LCS in the regular season. Jiizuke has gone from a coinflip player to an MVP candidate of the split over any other mid, and imagine saying that at the start of the year! Impact has activated his playoff buff, as we all saw when he made FakeGod regret ever installing League of Legends on his parents laptop when EG faced DIG last week.

The Junglers Contractz and Svenskeren both slot perfectly in the team, and even the botlane of Ignar and Danny has an immense amount of carry potential, with Danny playing as if he was given 3 red bulls before and during the game and Ignar constantly finding perfect roam timings to surprise the enemy team. Realistically, I don’t have many teams pined to win it all but EG are one of them.

However, we have seen TL beat them in regular season by slowly choking them out and not giving them space to get back into the game with explosive plays, so they’re not totally indestructible as they also dropped a game to DIG in their bo5 (and then proceeded to dominate afterwards). All in all, Evil Geniuses are the real deal, and they’re here to take  a worlds spot and contend for the title, and I will enjoy their attempts, win or lose, as they play the most fun to watch style of League of Legends.

PROS: Every lane is solid. Every lane can carry, plus the 7 man roster means they can adjust their gameplan in a bo5 environment if need be. EG have a lot going for them, and their aggressive style can break the plans of any team that’s in their way.

CONS: The aggressivenes can also be their downfall. Jiizuke has not been a coinflip player at all during this summer, but we have seen his lows and they are low, so if he somehow manages to get there then EG are bound to lose. Danny also has had many unnecessary deaths after being overextended, and Ignar’s tendency to roam constantly could leave Danny at the mercy of stronger botlanes who would opt to go for a kill on him. 

100THIEVES

100T replaced their Midlaner Damonte with EU’s own Abbedagge, and at the start of the split they were amazing. The already top tier pairing of FBI and Huhi in the botlane, the solid ssumday in the toplane and the powerhouse that is Closer finally had a very good midlaner to help play around, and it did indeed turn the team from a playoffs contender to a worlds contender very quickly with the addition of Reapered joining the coaching staff.

However, in recent weeks 100T have been on a decline, coming into playoffs with losses to TSM and EG, which is not what you want for your form going into best of 5s. 100T have also had problems closing games out when they have a massive lead, leading to more risk of comebacks and more volatility when they could just grab the nexus way earlier than they do, and in a playoffs environment where everyone is ripping away any advantage they could take, where the stakes are higher, that inability to win in time before your opponent can come back will come back to bite you in the ass.

100T have had scrim time to hopefully fix this issue, and I hope it will lead to a banging best of 5 with Evil Geniuses but for now we can only go off their recent games, which haven’t looked good for them. It’s not all doom and gloom however, I still think FBI is the best botlaner in the LCS and Huhi has had an insane split, with Closer, Abbedagge and Ssumday pulling their weight the thieves could steal it all! Get it?

PROS: Botlane is top quality, playing through them will always lead to a good advantage and an easy route to victory in every match, plus Abbedagge has the ability to dominate his lane as he did in the start of the year, and Closer is smart enough to use those advantages to grab that win.

CONS: This is playoffs, and if you’re not able to close games out under pressure, if you draft weird things like Reapered tends to do, you have no safety net. This is it, this is where those problems should be fixed, and if 100T still have the same regular season woes then I cannot see them go far, which would be a waste because I think they’re quite good.

TSM

TSM TSM TSM!

The team that won it last summer after an insane miracle run through the lower bracket, the team that finished first in the regular season, and the team that people have had under a microscope for every game they played.

One could argue that TSM’s traditional style of “scale and win lmao” is still there in some of their games and that they haven’t shown the teeth needed to be top tier, however I disagree. I feel like the team work very well together, Huni drawing bans for his Nocturne even when it’s nerfed, Spica having an MVP calibre performance over the split,  and POE doing his trademark classic of playing well on mage picks.

The only issue I’ve had with TSM is their botlane, Lost and Mr 6 Million, SwordArt. SwordArt has received massive amounts of criticism for not being up to par and Lost has been touted as being too passive in lane and not having that “it” factor to pull the trigger in team fights and completely take over. I personally feel that SwordArt has stepped up this split, he has been very proactive on Leona especially, taking down TL, EG and C9 on his trademark Leona, Leona and Leona (with a hint of Rakan). That’s my issue with TSM, once SwordArt is off Leona his winrate is not nearly as consistent with other champions, and if he’s not doing so hot for TSM then their win condition simply becomes Spica and Inshallah.

I’m not saying TSM are bad, at all, I think they’re really good but if they want to survive in a best of 5 environment they need to make sure SwordArt is capable of pulling out picks other than Leona, make sure Huni stays consistently good, give POE champs he can play and make sure he isn’t banned out, give Lost the confidence to fully go beast mode, and if all else fails Regi needs to use that FTX money to pay for Spica’s back surgery if they somehow still wins.

PROS: Spica. Swordart on Leona. POE and Huni are great players.

CONS: Last playoffs they got perfect gamed by Team Liquid, who had a substitute jungler. That TSM factor of losing is always in their DNA. I hope it’s a good match from them.

TEAM LIQUID

Team Liquid’s biggest opponent this split have been themselves. From benching Alphari, to having Santorin get earworms squeezing his brain so hard that he couldn’t even look at a computer, to Jatt leaving in the middle of the split, it’s been hard. So hard, in fact, that TL had only played 4 games with their full roster in the whole summer split before they faced C9 in their first playoffs match. Turns out that’s all they needed.

Liquid showed a side of them we’ve never seen before, Early Aggression, Jensen absolutely going apeshit on every pick, Santorin being in the right place in the right time, Alphari absolutely gapping Fudge in the toplane no matter the match up, CoreJJ matching every roam Vulcan attempted to do and even pulling out the River Shen to everyone’s surprise and Tactical showing restraint and just farming to his hearts content and taking towers.

This is what everyone expected of this roster and even still I was blown away to see their synergy and skill in action. I think that whoever wins the best of 5 between TL and TSM has the highest chance of winning the whole thing, and I favour TL because I’ve seen nothing from the other teams that could match their level of skill currently. God I hope this doesn’t age badly.

PROS: The whole team is on the same page, everyone is top tier in their role, they can play through top, mid AND jungle, every laner has pocket picks they can pull out and the jungler is a nostradamus. Extremely hard to beat them.

CONS: Themselves. Only Liquid would take a 50-50 baron, or TP into 5 people and die, or have their own brain give them migraines forcing them not to be able to even look at a screen for weeks on end. Only TL can beat TL.