Everything You Need To Know About LEC Playoffs
For those of you not familiar with the system, the playoffs follow the regular season of the LEC. Of the ten teams in the league, only the top six can advance to playoffs. There the teams battle it out in a double-elimination bracket to determine the top four, who will then get a ticket to China for Worlds 2020. The two unlucky teams who are knocked out are sent back home. Of course, the higher a team places, the more prize money they get too.
Teams and Seeding
With the regular season over, the six teams heading to playoffs are Rogue, G2, MAD Lions, Fnatic, SK and Schalke 04. These teams are determined purely by the standings in the Summer Split, and standings in the Spring Split do not influence entering playoffs.
Spring does, however, influence seeding. Playoffs seeding is determined by 'Championship Points' earned over the year. Teams in both Spring and Summer were awarded points proportional to their final standing. Summer also has more points on offer than Spring; the winner of Spring received 90 points, while the winner of Summer received 140 points.
The points earned from both splits are then combined for each team's total. The higher your total points, the higher your seeding. This way, Summer performance has more of an impact on getting to Worlds, but Spring is not entirely pointless either.
If you're wondering why Origen aren't in playoffs since they have more points than Schalke 04, that's because the playoffs spots are given only to the top six of the Summer Split, and not based on points.
The LEC Playoffs has a slightly complicated format called Double Elimination. As the name suggests, this means that to be eliminated a team must lose twice rather than once. This only applies to the top four teams in the winner's bracket though. The bottom two teams start in the loser's bracket, meaning they have only one path to the top - winning every series. This is why seeding is so important because the bottom two seeds are at a massive disadvantage. One is guaranteed to miss Worlds based on Round 1, and the other must then continue to win against the higher-seeded teams to make it to Worlds.
The top seed, Rogue determine the matchups of Round 1 of the winner’s bracket. As the top seed, they chose to face the fourth-seeded Fnatic, leaving G2 to face MAD Lions. The winners of these matches will battle it out in the Match 5, and the winner will advance to the finals.
The losers of Round 1 still have hope though, as they then drop to the loser’s bracket. Of the two losers, the one with lower seeding will play in Match 4, while the other plays in Match 6. Making it to Match 6 guarantees a spot at Worlds, only making seeding more critical. The winner of Match 6 and loser of Match 5 then meet in the semifinals to determine the other finalist.
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So Who’s Going To Worlds?
With how close the LEC has been so far, it’s tough to predict who’s going to make it and who won’t. As the first-place seed, Rogue is the only team that has already secured their spot, as a loss in Round 1 puts them in Match 6 and the top 4 automatically.
Fnatic, on the other hand, must beat Rogue in Round 1, or they will be guaranteed to drop to Match 4. Here they must win, or face elimination and miss Worlds for the second time in the organisation’s history. With how shaky Fnatic’s performance has been this split, it’s hard to put faith in them against Rogue, and they have an 0-2 record against Schalke 04 this split. Things don’t look good for Fnatic, but then again, they have always pulled through in the past.
The biggest story of this split has been Schalke 04’s miracle run to playoffs, going on a seven-win streak from 1-10 to 8-10. In the process, they have beaten all of the top seeds apart from Rogue at least once, so in the case that they beat SK, their chances are quite good. They’ll likely end up facing either MAD Lions or Fnatic in Match 4, and with a recent victory over MAD and a 2-0 record against Fnatic, the dream of going to Worlds could come true after all.
First, though, they need to beat SK. SK, while not the flashiest or most hyped team, are very good at playing around Crownshot. When he gets fed and his team peels for him properly, even the top teams have fallen before SK. This split they also have a 2-0 record against Schalke, so they may even be able to end the miracle run at the first step.
MAD Lions and G2 seem like favourites behind Rogue, and it’s difficult to say who will come out on top. MAD, while extremely dominant early in the split, have been showing cracks in their armour. Contrarily G2 has been recovering from their slump, and if they can return to their peak form, it’s hard to imagine any European team going toe-to-toe with them.
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When And Where To Watch
All of the matches can be watched on the official League of Legends esports site, or streaming platforms like Youtube and Twitch. The first-round games take place over three consecutive days from August 21 to 23, and later matches will be announced after their completion. The Playoffs should be wrapped up by September 6, when we’ll finally know which of our teams are going to represent Europe at Worlds 2020 in Shanghai.
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