Photo: Riot Games
This is it — the denouement, the grand finale, the moment where everything resolves. The last week of the LCS Spring Split is just hours away from happening, and there are only two games left to be played. For the teams that are looking to get into the playoffs, there’s no more room for error.
Teams can no longer afford to drop games seeing how attaining a spot as high as possible is of the utmost importance.
There’s a big difference between finishing third and, say, sixth. We’re eight weeks into the split, and things are finally stabilizing standings-wise. There was a ton of turmoil in the beginning, but we finally have four top-tier contenders that have locked in their spots in the playoffs — Team Liquid, Cloud9, Team Solo Mid, and FlyQuest.
There are two spots left and how this week will eventually resolve is completely up in the air. The four teams that are still competing for the playoffs are fighting tooth-and-nail to get in, but they’re incredibly volatile and inconsistent, and predicting how their games will go is downright impossible.
Betting this week is a thankless undertaking, but there’s still more than enough information available to form solid predictions. That said, betting this week will be noticeably more high-risk than before, and there are multiple games that could really go either way. It all depends on how each team prepares and how their week of practice went — something we rarely have in-depth knowledge of.
Without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the upcoming matches!
Golden Guardians vs. OpTic Gaming — To start the week off, we have a really solid and engaging clash between two mid-tier teams. These are your gatekeepers, your “middle-of-the-pack” contenders that are trying to make a name for themselves, and one can argue that they’re both relatively solid.
They’re nothing too exceptional, but when they get on the same page, when they manage to draft according to their strengths, they can go blow-for-blow with the very best teams in the region. They might not win the game, but they’ll come close more often than not. These inherent weaknesses, these bone-deep flaws are stopping them from attaining more success in the LCS, and even though being a mid-tier gatekeeper isn’t all that bad, it’s not what any of these players really want.
Both teams are fighting for the playoffs, although it’s important to highlight that the Guardians already have a slightly better win-loss tally, which puts them ahead of OpTic — and any other team for that matter. Having that extra win could become the most important factor this weekend, although it’s still too early to know for sure.
What we do know, however, is the fact that the Guardians also have FlyQuest lined up for Sunday which is a much harder match to win. With that in mind, we can fairly safely assume that they’re going all-in against OpTic Gaming, and winning that single match could propel them into the playoffs regardless of Sunday’s outcome.
OpTic Gaming, on the other hand, have both the Guardians and 100 Thieves. Both games are winnable, although nothing is secure — even against the worst team in the region.
This match is incredibly hard to predict, but we have to side with the Golden Guardians. They simply have more potential, and Froggen has been playing out of his mind over the last eight weeks of competitive play. He’s their biggest catalyst, and if they manage to get him a favorable match-up, and clean up their early game mistakes, they should, by all means, be able to take OpTic Gaming down.
That said, it won’t be easy nor one-sided.
Winner: Golden Guardians, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)
Team Liquid vs. Echo Fox — After a pretty stellar opener, things go downhill fairly quickly. Perhaps that’s a bit too harsh, but this is definitely the least engaging game of the day.
We have Team Liquid, the defending champs that have sole possession of first place, and a team that’s kind of fighting for the playoffs, but has an abysmal chance of going all the way.
Their last week was a pretty stellar one, but their first 2-0 week isn’t exactly indicative of their actual strength. A flash of brilliance is all they had, and they should get any benefit of the doubt against a team of Liquid’s caliber.
Hypothetically, Echo Fox do have a chance to make this somewhat competitive. Fenix has been playing exceptionally well, and the same goes for their legendary jungler Rush. They’re formidable opponents, but then again — Liquid is on a whole ‘nother level. They’ve been playing the best League of Legends in the region by far, and if they’re going to get challenged, it’s surely going to be by the likes of Cloud9 and especially Team Solo Mid.
Echo Fox, while volatile and fairly dangerous, simply don’t have the clean and calculated play that’s necessary in order to take the game. They might surprise Liquid, they might come out of the gates swinging and start off exceptionally well, but when push comes to shove, they should fall pray to the reigning, defending LCS champions.
We’re going with Team Liquid on this one, and even though it doesn’t look like a stellar match-up on paper, it could provide more action that a lot of people anticipate. There’s always a chance for fireworks when Echo Fox comes to play. They might outclass their opponents, or implode while trying. This will almost certainly be the latter, but it should be a fun watch regardless of the outcome.
Winner: Team Liquid, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)
Team Solo Mid vs. Clutch Gaming — This is where things get a lot more interesting. We have a clash between one of the best teams in the region, and a bottom-tier dweller that’s deceptively strong and capable. When Clutch Gaming come out to play, they’re arguably a playoff-worthy team.
They might not look the part, but they definitely have the mechanical prowess and team play that’s necessary in order to tango with the best teams in the region. The problem is, they’re as volatile of a team as they come. Clutch’s games are basically a coin flip. Will Huni tilt? Will Damonte be able to pop off? Will Piglet be playing a traditional AD carry or a bruiser/mage?
There are so many questions up in the air whenever Clutch Gaming steps foot on the LCS stage. More often than not, however, you can deduce their potential and overall strength after the pick and ban phase concludes.
But even with all of their immense potential, they’re up against a team that already reached their — a couple of weeks ago, as well.
Team Solo Mid are currently running rampant in the LCS, and have won eight of their last nine games. They’re the most successful team in the second half of the Spring Split, and are low-key considered the best team in the LCS right now. They’re incredibly versatile, highly capable, and exceptionally strong in every stage of the game. They can play any style, and we’re finally seeing an aggressive, playmaking Team Solo Mid — something that hasn’t existed since 2016.
Watching their games is an absolute must, and this one is no exception. It doesn’t matter who you’re cheering for, because Team Solo Mid have the potential to make the upcoming playoffs incredibly exciting and competitive. In that scenario, the viewers end up winning the most.
The perennial North American titans are looking to make quick work of Clutch Gaming. They already locked in their playoff spot and they cannot overtake Cloud9, nor lose out to FlyQuest. They’re third, and that’s final. That said, they want to create as much momentum as possible. Getting a dominant win over Clutch will definitely create a fair amount of hype before their Sunday clash against Team Liquid.
Winner: Team Solo Mid, 1.25 (odds @ Betway)
Cloud9 vs. FlyQuest — Arguably the most promising clash of the day.
We have a fight between two teams that are currently at the top of their game. They’re still a bit rough around the edges, but their potential is undeniable. How high they will eventually go remains to be seen, but we have to side with Cloud9 from the very get go.
They have more potential, but they’re also a fair bit more volatile. This tendency to go for the unexpected play gives them a higher ceiling, but there’s a bigger chance of failure as well.
FlyQuest, on the other hand, have shown some stellar play last week and are on a four-game winstreak. That’s surprising, seeing how it was a low-key resurgence, but they’ve beaten Clutch Gaming, Echo Fox, 100 Thieves, and finally Team Liquid.
That’s a solid run, and even though three of said four teams are below them in the standings, they’ve won all four games through well-rounded play. They’ve displayed why they’re a playoff-worthy team and have looked rather great in their wins.
In theory, this is a preview of a potential semifinal match-up. If FlyQuest end up fourth, they will be fighting against the Golden Guardians — most likely. Winning that Best of 5 would mean they get to face the second LCS seed — Cloud9.
We’re going with the boys in black and blue on this one, although it’s surely going to be a lot closer than most people expect. Cloud9 are exceptional, there’s no way around it, but they’re also vulnerable and they’re at times too aggressive and chaotic for their own good. FlyQuest can weather the storm — they’ve done it numerous times in the past, and this game should be no exception.
If they draft well, and play to their strengths (mid and late game team fighting), they should more than capable at going blow-for-blow with Cloud9. This is by no means an easy match to predict, and it can really go either way.
Regardless, we’re siding with Cloud9. They deserve the benefit of the doubt, even though their last week’s play doesn’t exactly warrant it.
Winner: Cloud9, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)
Counter Logic Gaming vs. 100 Thieves — To close things out, we have a clash between Counter Logic Gaming, and 100 Thieves — the worst team in the region. Not exactly a stellar clash that’s a must watch, but it has to happen regardless.
There’s not really a whole lot you can say about this one. It’s a must win for CLG if they want to enter the playoffs, although the odds are heavily stacked against them. For 100 Thieves, is match is completely unimportant and meaningless — which is why they’re fielding four of their Academy players along with Bang. They want to experiment and see where it takes them, as they should, seeing how there’s nothing left to fight for. Having four completely new players is a double-edged sword. On one hand, they don’t have the same experience and mental fortitude, but they bring a different kind of energy and potential.
Counter Logic Gaming, for all their volatility and questionable roster choices, are still a solid team. We’ve seen glimpses of their potential, and they can do quite a lot when they’re all on the same page. They should, by all means, have more than enough synergy and strength in order to take down 100 Thieves. It’s not going to be easy, and it surely won’t be dominant and one-sided, but they should get the win regardless.
Whether or not they’ll get in the playoffs is a completely different matter. If they take down both 100 Thieves on Saturday and Echo Fox on Sunday then they’ll be able to lock down the last spot, but seeing how all three teams redefine the word “inconsistency” any time they play, predicting the outcome of this whole conundrum is downright impossible.
Winner: Counter Logic Gaming, 1.65 (odds @ Betway)
The last day of the regular portion of the split. After almost nine whole weeks of play, we’ve come to the very end. While one can argue that the best is yet to come, we still have five games left before calling it a day.
FlyQuest vs. Golden Guardians — To start the day off, we have an exceptional clash between two playoff teams. Now, even though both of these contenders managed to lock down a playoff spot, their ranking is still up in the air. This will be a clash to determine who finishes fourth, and if the Golden Guardians get the win they will be able to force a tie-breaker with FlyQuest and then lock down the number four spot.
That, however, is still ways off, so let’s focus on the match at hand. The Golden Guardians are entering this clash with a fair bit of momentum after they were able to outclass OpTic Gaming yesterday. Perhaps “outclassing” might even be an understatement. It was an absolute sub-twenty five-minute shellacking, and it was a testament to the Guardians’ potential and innate strength. They’re not perfect — far from it, but they’re trying to improve with each passing week and they’re finally showing their potential off. Perhaps most importantly, Deftly and Olleh demolished Arrow and Big in the bottom lane, and every single lane was winning from the very get-go. The Guardians drafted a very strong team comp and executed it to a tee. It was a commanding showing from a team many deemed a gatekeeper. Exceptional on all fronts.
OpTic couldn’t keep up with the pace and simply rolled over as time went on. It wasn’t an exhilarating game by any means, but it was still a great showing, albeit a passive, slower one. The Guardians needed this win and they closed things out in clean fashion, by the book.
FlyQuest, on the other hand, couldn’t keep up with Cloud9’s pace. They went even throughout the early game but for every small mistake they made, Cloud9 was able to capitalize big time. They got countered in the draft, and once they gave Cloud9 an inch, they basically lost all momentum. They’re exceptional when it comes to mid and late game team fighting, but they couldn’t even reach that point in the game.
This clash, however, is a different matter. The Guardians are no Cloud9. They’re nowhere near as proactive and dangerous, and they’re highly vulnerable and prone to making errors. We have to side with FlyQuest on this one as they’ve done more throughout the split, and they’ve made less mistakes across the board when it mattered the most. That said, this will by no means be a one-sided game. The Guardians have the tools to make this into one heck of a fight, and they will surely try their best to do so.
Winner: FlyQuest, 1.60 (odds @ Betway)
Counter Logic Gaming vs. Echo Fox — Next up, we have yet another intriguing clash and you wouldn’t think so on first glance. This is, without a doubt, the most important match of the day rankings-wise. The winner of this game gets a ticket to the playoffs, and that’s not a negligible thing. Far from it. Months of non-stop practice are on the line, and both teams are looking to make a statement and lock down that elusive spot in the top six.
Echo Fox are, however, entering this match as the obvious favorites. They’re coming off a stellar win against Team Liquid, they already beat Cloud9 last week, and they’re looking like a very synergetic, highly capable, deceptively strong team right now. They’re making it work, and with Rush being back to his dominant self, we’re seeing an Echo Fox that is far stronger than anyone had anticipated was possible.
Counter Logic Gaming, on the other hand, did just enough to beat a weakened 100 Thieves roster. It was a relatively meek performance, all things considered. They were up against Academy players, after all. One would expect a one-sided game, a display of skill and mechanical prowess, but it was nowhere to be found. They were reactive and passive against a team that had no reason to be there. In other words, the discrepancy between these two teams wasn’t that evident, especially not in the early game.
Predicting this match is a very thankless endeavor. Both teams are, realistically speaking, even when it comes to strength and potential. This is League of Legends, and a single decision in-game can make or break the game. Nuances always end up being the determining factor, and when two teams are so close in power it’s hard to predict anything with confidence. Sure, Echo Fox are entering with more hype and momentum, but that’s not enough against a veteran team like CLG. Or at least it shouldn’t be by default.
Regardless, we have to side with Echo Fox on this one. They’ve simply done more over the last couple of weeks and they deserve our benefit of the doubt. That said, this isn’t going to be an easy game.
Winner: Echo Fox, 1.72 (odds @ Betway)
Cloud9 vs. Clutch Gaming — This is where things get a lot less interesting. Cloud9 have already secured their playoff bye, and they’re fielding their complete Academy roster against Clutch Gaming. This is exactly the reason as to why predicting this match instantly became a thousand times harder. We have enough info on both teams, but having that “X factor” with five new players starting could be a big upper hand. Or, conversely, it could fail on all fronts. Then again, it’s not like Clutch are able to play a perfect game from start to finish — there’s reason for doubt on both sides.
Because there are so many uncertainties regarding this match-up, perhaps it would be best to skip betting on it entirely. Anything can happen, and even Clutch decided to start with Piglet in the mid lane yesterday and Cody Sun as their starting AD carry. They held their own against a game Team Solo Mid in the early game, but bad decision making and sloppy team fighting eventually became their downfall once Team Solo Mid upped the tempo.
We’re going to side with Clutch Gaming on this one. They have more veterans in their starting five-man roster tonight and they should, by all means, be able to take down Cloud9. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Cloud9 Academy roster took Clutch down. It sounds ludicrous, but stranger things have happened and even their Academy team has a ton of innate talent within their
Winner: Clutch Gaming, 2.70 (odds @ Betway)
Team Solo Mid vs. Team Liquid — This is perhaps the only reason why you should absolutely tune in tonight and watch. A clash of monumental proportions. A fight between the reigning, defending champions Team Liquid, and a team that many deem as stronger — Team Solo Mid. This is potentially a preview of the upcoming LCS Spring Split finals, or at the very least a clash between two of the best teams the region currently has to offer. This is, without a doubt, the match of the day, and after seeing their first clash a couple of weeks ago, this is basically a must-watch.
Team Solo Mid has been playing some exceptional League of Legends over the last couple of weeks, and they’ve won eight out of their last nine games. That’s a seismic achievement by all means. They’ve only lost against Cloud9, but they had a stronghold on the game throughout its entirety until they made an egregious mistake in the late game. They’re the team to beat right now, and they’re entering this clash with a ton of hype and momentum. They have some of the best players in the world, they’re playing like a well-oiled machine, and they’re showing no signs of stopping.
Team Liquid, on the other hand, have looked relatively mediocre in their last couple of showings. It’s a strange sight, but they’re definitely slumping across the board. Their loss to Echo Fox yesterday was perhaps the most shocking, seeing how they were basically outclassed across the board by a team that had no business taking them down. Their jungler Xmithie was, perhaps, the biggest offender. His constant abysmal positioning cost Liquid any semblance of momentum they had in the game, and soon enough, it was far too late for them to do anything. Echo Fox are not a world-class team, but give them a big enough lead, and they’ll do what’s right.
This is such an exciting game because Team Solo Mid originally took Liquid down and gave them their first loss in 2019. Back then, Liquid was at the top of the world, and now, just a couple of weeks afterwards they’re playing even worse. TSM, on the other hand, never looked this good. So we’re siding with the perennial North American titans. There’s no way we’re betting against them this time around, however it won’t be an easy game. Far from it. Liquid is still an exceptional team, and they can go blow-for-blow with anyone on the Rift.
Winner: Team Solo Mid, 2.00 (odds @ Betway)
100 Thieves vs. OpTic Gaming — A pretty underwhelming way to close out the regular portion of the Spring Split. If you close the stream after TSM vs. TL, no one’s going to blame you. This is definitely an uninteresting game, and it’s not just because both teams are mediocre, but because there’s nothing on the line. Both teams are completely out of the playoffs and they have nothing to play for — not even bragging rights.
Regardless, we’re going with OpTic Gaming seeing how 100 Thieves will probably once again field their Academy roster. A team with Meteos, Crown, and Arrow should, by all means, be able to demolish a weakened 100 Thieves line-up. That said, it probably won’t be as one-sided as it should, and as everyone is expecting it to be.
Winner: OpTic Gaming, 1.45 (odds @ Betway)