To say that this weekend’s playoffs were electric is a drastic understatement. With the potential to see the top two seeds (TL and C9) in the losers bracket looming in the air before game five of EG vs. TL, many fans and analysts were shocked.
With EG consistently underperforming relative to their incredible Lock-In Tournament form prior to the start of the Spring Split, many EG fans were excited to finally see a return to form in their best of five against TL.
On the other hand, C9 fans were left terribly disappointed as the All Pro top and likely MVP Summit and his All Pro jungler Blaber were absolutely decimated by the 2nd All Pro top Ssumday and his 3rd All Pro jungler Closer.
100 Thieves vs Cloud9
While two of the three analysts on the LCS panel predicted 3-2 and 3-1 for the series in favor of 100T, the other two, and many fans, predicted a similar scoreline in favor of C9. Regardless of who came out on top, the general consensus was that the best of five would go the full distance with a 2-2 tiebreaker to end it. No one, however, predicted the absolute stomp that 100T delivered to Cloud9.
The Thieves’ strategy however was quite noteworthy. Particularly, their automatic bans of both Gnar and Jayce to counter Summit’s unrivaled laning phase, forced C9 into an uncomfortable position. While Summit is known for his insane ability to blind pick and carry on the weak side, 100 Thieves focused heavily on dismantling him early.
Acknowledging the skill advantage FBI and Huhi have over Berserker and Winsome, the only potential for C9 to win fell in the hands of Fudge.
While he continued to lane and teamfight very safely, giving up very little to 100 Thieves, he failed to be particularly effective against Abbedagge. With limited options for Blaber to help his team, 100T were the definitive winners in all three games.
While C9 is an incredibly talented team, 100 Thieves have laid out a blueprint for the likes of EG and GG to try and take advantage of as the Loser’s bracket matches open this weekend.
Evil Geniuses vs Team Liquid
While it was undeniably thrilling to watch 100T 3-0 C9, it would be crazy to say that their series was more exciting that EG vs. TL. Coming in as the top team with a record of 14-4, only losing to GG; 100T; FLY, and C9, Team Liquid was the heavy favorite for a 3-0 sweep.
This was especially supported by the lackluster performance of EG the entire Spring Split. Despite securing the fourth spot in the standings by clutching up in the final week of the split, EG went 0-2 against all three of the teams above them (TL, C9, 100T). Citing their inability to perform against the top teams, all four analysts predicted an EG defeat either 3-0 or 3-1.
There was, however, one team that got it right. After swiftly defeating C9, 100T FBI was interviewed alongside his bottom side companion Huhi. When asked about their upcoming matches against the winners of EG vs TL, FBI had this to say:
“I think the matchup is actually closer than a lot of people think. Team Liquid and EG I kind of think are evenly matched.”
Similarly, 100T General Manager PapaSmithy had a similar response following the matchup where he stated that he agreed with FBI and thought the two teams played at similar skill levels and would go the distance.
While Inspired’s unique pathing was a large factor in both of their wins against TL, it was particularly notable in their first victory. At 15 minutes, the former LEC MVP had secured five assists and 100% kill participation against TL. The rest of EG played incredibly as well, with a fight over Baron lasting nearly five minutes as TL engaged and reengaged against EG’s relentless attempts at securing the game-changing objective. Eventually, TL relented after losing their jungler Santorin.
While that match was certainly electric for viewers, as it brought the scoreline to 1-1, their fourth game was far and away the most exciting. After drafting Graves; Ryze; and Lucian, EG opted to have Impact play Ryze, Jojopyun play Lucian, and Inspire play Graves.
While a Ryze hasn’t been played top in multiple splits and Lucian is not particularly popular in mid lane, the matchup seemed to be fairly unique; however, EG defied all expectations by opting to swap Jojopyun and Impact. This set up an incredibly favorable matchup in the top lane where Jojopyun’s Lucian completely countered Bwipo’s Gangplank.
This matchup went heavily in the favor of EG and forced the game to five matches. Although EG ended up losing, the most important takeaway from that best of five was undeniably the threat EG brings to the tournament.
While Team Liquid and 100 Thieves both have two weeks to practice and change their playstyles, TL’s performance here was particularly concerning. 100T, on the other hand, might just be the team to beat. It appears that they are no longer in a slump and are firing on almost all cylinders.
Regardless, the playoffs continue this weekend as C9 opens against on Saturday and EG faces off against FLY on Sunday. Be sure to tune in as you won’t want to miss who makes it to Round 2 of the playoffs.