It’s time for the 2019 LCS Summer playoffs.
Ten teams competed in the regular season, but only six made it to the next stage. Team SoloMid, Clutch Gaming, Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, OpTic Gaming, and Team Liquid are competing for the 2019 LCS Summer title and the pass for the 2019 Worlds Championship.
It all starts in the quarterfinals where the teams will play two best-of-five series. Only two move forward while the other two go home early.
TSM and Clutch Gaming will clash in the first quarterfinals match of the 2019 LCS Summer Playoffs. Through the regular season TSM got the best of Clutch, but the story might change in playoffs. At the beginning of the split, it’d have been easy to predict TSM as the winner. Right now, Clutch Gaming has a real chance to win the series considering TSM’s issues.
TSM problems start in the jungle. The team tried different combinations and at this point is yet to find a jungler that works for them. Most recently, the team subbed in Mingyi “Spica” Lu who had a decent performance but nothing to set him apart from his peers.
The issues in the jungle affect the bottom duo the most. Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik and Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg can absorb the pressure and stay in the game with little attention from the jungler. It’s different in the bottom lane and the weak link is definitely Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen. The Danish bot laner has great moments, but he’s not consistent and is not a reliable carry for the team.
Where TSM is struggling, Clutch is thriving. Cody “Cody Sun” Sun is having a great season thus far. Clutch toned down the overly aggressive style and are truly working together as a team. That consistent improvement could give them an edge versus TSM.
The match between CLG and OpTic should a close one. Both of these teams have similar strengths. A jungler that can enable but also carry, a strong mid laner, a top laner that can absorb pressure, and a stable bottom lane.
CLG and OpTic are no longer underdogs. Throughout the season, the two teams kept up a consistent performance. It’s not about a single player improving or carrying the team, it’s a collective effort. However, this series could come down to the top laners and how much can they contribute to their respective teams.
Based on stats alone, Kim “Ruin” Hyeong-min is performing better and has a bigger champion pool than his opponent, OpTic’s Niship “Dhokla” Doshi. This potential win condition for CLG is clear, as they need to throw Dhokla off his game and snowball from there.
Two winners from quarterfinals move to the next stage. Team Liquid, as the number one team in the regular season, gets to choose their opponent. Based on the regular season and the current state of the teams, it’s likely that they will choose the winner between TSM and Clutch Gaming.
Cloud9 still has a long way to go before they can dream about the 2019 World Championship. This season has been all about consistency and whether teams can maintain it. It’s undeniable that Cloud9 is one of the most consistent teams in the LCS at the moment.
They are likely to go versus the winner between CLG and OpTic in semifinals. Out of the two, CLG is the team that could challenge Cloud9 in a best-of-five. The main strength for both of these teams comes from the jungle.
Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen and Raymond “Wiggily” Griffin can enable their teams and can carry. They are both aggressive players and are effective when it comes to tracking the enemy jungler. Cloud9 has an advantage over CLG in the form of a second proven jungler on the bench. Robert “Blaber” Huang is the wild card for Cloud9, as he can bring something new to the game if necessary.
Team Liquid is looking stronger than ever. Even when they pick an off-meta “troll” composition they destroy their rivals. In the semifinals, Team Liquid will play the smart game and go for the less challenging opponent, which in this case should be the winner between TSM and Clutch Gaming.
Without a doubt, Team Liquid is the favorite in this round. No matter the opponent, they will make it to the finals.
The 2019 LCS Summer Playoffs will come to an end on August 25 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. On Saturday two teams will fight for the third place, and the grand final will take place on Sunday.
This year, the championship points rules have changed. Third place grants 70 points and for some teams, it could be the difference between going home early and making it to the regional finals. Team Liquid, TSM, and Cloud9 earned championship points in the spring.
Clutch, CLG, and OpTic need to end up in third place or better for a chance to take part in the regional finals.
The winner will qualify for the 2019 World Championship and the second-place team will receive 100 championship points.
The title means something completely different for each of the teams in playoffs. A fourth consecutive title, a breath of fresh air, the first title in many years or the last hurrah before a big change.
The standings have major Worlds implications and the teams are bringing their A-games to the rift.