League of Legends Playoff Bracket Predictions: Spring 2018

Since the regular split of the North American and European regions ends after this weekend’s games, instead of my regular game predictions I’m going to predict how the playoff bracket will look after this weekend. The Korean league still has four series this week followed by their final week, though their results should be a bit easier to predict with King-Zone already clinching a first place finish. Since we have only seen best-of-ones in NA and EU, it’s too volatile to predict how longer series will go in playoffs, so I will only be predicting round one and two seeds for the relevant teams.

In case you’re new to LoLesports or unfamiliar with how the playoff bracket is determined, here’s a quick breakdown:

In North America and Europe, the top six of ten teams move onto playoffs based on their win-loss record after nine weeks of league play. The top two teams receive a first-round bye into the semifinals. While this year saw a return of best-of-one series in the regular split, playoffs will continue to be played in a best-of-five series, where winning three games will net you the victory and move onto the next round or a first place finish.

LCS Playoff Bracket
Example of playoff bracket in LCS regions (NA and EU).

In the Korean LCK league, only the top five of ten teams are seeded into playoffs, and instead of a two sided bracket it’s a ‘king of the hill’ bracket. In the first round the fourth and fifth place teams from the regular split face off, then the winner faces the third place team and so on until the winners face the first place team from the spring split. Round one is a best-of-three, and every following series is best-of-five.

LCK Playoff Bracket
Example of playoff bracket in LCK.

North American LCS Playoffs

NA LCS week 8
NA LCS standing after week 8 of the 2018 spring split. The top four teams have secured a playoff slot.

The major storylines most LCS fans are following are Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG’s chance to find a win against Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM and steal a playoff slot from them or Liquid. The difficulty with this scenario for Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG is that in order to match Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM and Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid’s record, either team would have to lose both of their games this weekend. The classic NA matchup of Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM and Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG could determine Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG’s fate, especially since Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG and Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid both play OpTic Gaminglogo std.pngOpTic, where both should be expected to win.

With Echo Foxlogo std.pngEcho Fox looking weaker in recent weeks, it’s also possible that the winner of 100 Thieveslogo std.png100T and Clutch Gaminglogo std.pngClutch could sneak past Echo Foxlogo std.pngFox and secure a first round bye, especially if 100 Thieveslogo std.png100T can also win their game against Echo Foxlogo std.pngFox on Sunday. If teams higher in the standings can pick up wins where expected, positions are unlikely to change, but any number of upsets could massively shake up the standings before the playoff bracket is set.

LCS Playoff Bracket2
My Predictions for the NA LCS playoff bracket.

To break down my choices, I examined the games to be played this weekend and also decided to stop sleeping on Clutch Gaminglogo std.pngClutch Gaming. Most of the teams likely to secure playoff slots have one game against another playoff team and one game against a team at the bottom of the standings. Since most scenarios would end in a 1-1 record after this weekend, most teams are likely to remain in their current position and we might already know how playoffs will play out. The team with the hardest schedule is probably
100 Thieveslogo std.png100T, who have to play Clutch Gaminglogo std.pngClutch and Echo Foxlogo std.pngEcho Fox. A win against either team should lock them in for a third or fourth place finish, though if they can pick up both wins or just against Clutch Gaminglogo std.pngClutch, there’s a chance 100 Thieveslogo std.png100T could move to second place. If Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid or TSM can pick up one victory then Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG can’t make playoffs, and while Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM has been steadily improving, Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid still struggles in games where they fall behind early. Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG still has to hope that either Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM or Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid will lose their other game if Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG can win both games, so their fate is unfortunately out of their hands even if they perform well.

League of Legends Champions Korea Playoffs

 

LCK wk8mid
LCK standing mid-week 8 of the spring split. Note that the top 3                   teams have secured playoff slots, but seeding is  not guaranteed yet.

The LCK is easier to predict playoffs compared to other regions, considering that
Kingzone DragonXlogo std.pngKing-Zone has locked in a first place finish, and the records for the other top teams makes catching up an ambitious task. There’s generally a two-game difference between most teams from second to sixth, meaning any team looking to rise in the standings has to hope the teams above them will lose while still picking up wins. The meme of “can SKT make playoffs” is still alive for LCK fans, and while they have a relaxed schedule remaining, facing KSV eSportslogo std.pngKSV, MVP and Kongdoo Monsterlogo std.pngKongdoo, ROX Tigerslogo std.pngROX likely only has to win one or two games to stay ahead of SKT1Logo std.pngSKT. ROX Tigerslogo std.pngROX has a similar lineup, facing Kongdoo Monsterlogo std.pngKongdoo, KSV eSportslogo std.pngKSV and JAGlogo std.pngJin Air, so SKT1Logo std.pngSKT has to hold onto the hope that ROX Tigerslogo std.pngROX will drop some matches even if SKT1Logo std.pngSKT can win two or three. For this reason, I’m predicting SKT1Logo std.pngSKT will miss playoffs for one of the first times in the organizations history. Even if SKT1Logo std.pngSKT did manage to sneak into playoffs, their roster would likely struggle against the top three teams, especially since KTRolsterLogo std.pngKT was able to defeat SKT1Logo std.pngSKT in both series, which KTRolsterLogo std.pngKT has normally struggled with since 2015.

LCK Playoff Bracket2
My predictions for the LCK playoff bracket.

Based on my predictions, and since Kingzone DragonXlogo std.pngKing-Zone has already locked in first place, I don’t think the standings are likely to change before the end of the season. Freecslogo std.pngAfreeca currently has a two game lead on KTRolsterLogo std.pngKT, and since they both play Bbq Oliverslogo std.pngBBQ and MVPlogo std.pngMVP, even if KTRolsterLogo std.pngKT wins the head-to-head match against Freecslogo std.pngAfreeca their positions are unlikely to change. As I said above, ROX Tigerslogo std.pngROX should be able to keep their lead over SKT1Logo std.pngSKT, denying them a playoff spot and playing in the round one best-of-three against KSV eSportslogo std.pngKSV, where ROX Tigerslogo std.pngROX could upset the current world champions. Looking further into the bracket, Kingzone DragonXlogo std.pngKing-Zone are still heavy favourites to secure a first place finish, looking like one of the most dominant teams across all LCK seasons.

NA LCS Week 9 Predictions

Winners in Bold

Saturday March 17

100 Thieveslogo std.png100T vs. Clutch Gaminglogo std.pngClutch

FlyQuestlogo std.pngFLY vs. Echo Foxlogo std.pngFox

Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid vs. Cloud9logo std.pngCloud9

Golden Guardianslogo std.pngGGS vs. Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM

Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG vs. OpTic Gaminglogo std.pngOpTic

 

Sunday March 18

 

Cloud9logo std.pngCloud9 vs. FlyQuestlogo std.pngFLY

Golden Guardianslogo std.pngGGS vs. Clutch Gaminglogo std.pngClutch

Counter Logic Gaminglogo std.pngCLG vs. Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM

Echo Foxlogo std.pngFox vs. 100 Thieveslogo std.png100T

Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid vs. OpTic Gaminglogo std.pngOpTic

I’m predicting Cloud9logo std.pngC9 to hold onto their first place position and secure a bye, though I’m going to go with Clutch Gaminglogo std.pngClutch for second place, especially if they can win vs. 100 Thieveslogo std.png100T. Echo Foxlogo std.pngEcho Fox and 100 Thieveslogo std.png100T are my picks for the third and fourth seed, and Team SoloMidlogo std.pngTSM and Team Liquidlogo std.pngLiquid should round out the bottom of the playoff bracket.l