Predictions for first round of the 2020 LCS Summer Playoffs

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12 August 2020

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Screengrab via Riot Games.

The new eight-team playoff format that the LCS is using this Summer Split means a more expanded playoffs – and more predictions to be made. We’ll be going through and making predictions for each round one match set to be played over the course of the next few days. Team Liquid and Cloud9 will not see any action this week, as both teams secured bye weeks. FlyQuest, Evil Geniuses, TSM, Golden Guardians, Dignitas, and 100 Thieves will all be in action as the playoffs kick off on Thursday, August 13.

(4) TSM vs (5) Golden Guardians

Head-to-head: 2-0 in favor of TSM
The Danish mid-laner isn’t done yet. Imagevia riot Games.

TSM and Golden Guardians (GGS) will kick off the festivities this Thursday, August 13. The fourth and fifth seeds respectively, both teams hope to start strong in their quest to make Worlds.

TSM had an up and down beginning of the split, marred by inconsistent play from both Broken Blade and Spica. Through that, Bjergsen shined as the clear MVP of the team throughout the split. TSM did see a turn in fortune as Treatz was substituted in for Biofrost, going 6-2 with the Swedish support. While the team did finish Summer strong, their stats say otherwise about the beginning of the split. Their -231 gold difference at 15 minutes alongside their 53% dragon control rate is relatively low and could be punished by the aggressive FBI/huhi bottom lane in combination with Closer.

GGS finished the season at a respectable 9-9. That 9-9 record came off strong individual play from all five members, especially Closer and FBI. The team was able to jump out to quick leads, evident from their +922 gold difference at 15 minutes. While the team does have a clear path to victory with Hauntzer being left on an island, Closer focusing on getting FBI/huhi ahead, they’re exploitable. GGS struggled mightily closing games out, having the longest average game time for any LCS team at a bit over 36 minutes.

The only way GGS comes out on top of this series is serious exploitation of Spica by the hands of Closer. That might be the only role that GGS has the upper hand on with TSM, apart from an argument to be made in the top lane. FBI and huhi, while they did have a strong split and great stats in lane, aren’t comparable to Doublelift/Treatz.

Off the back of Closer, GGS is able to take this series to four games, but loses 3-1. Bjergsen proves to be too much to handle for GGS and continues on his dominant run in the mid lane. This would put TSM into a match up with either Team Liquid or Cloud9. GGS heads to the lower bracket where they’ll face Dignitas later in the week.

(3) FlyQuest vs (6) Evil Geniuses

Head-to-head: 2-0 in favor of FlyQuest
Huni will look to boom instead of bust in his series against Solo and FlyQuest. Image via Riot Games.

FlyQuest and Evil Geniuses (EG) enter the playoffs in two completely opposite forms.

FlyQuest comes into playoffs hot, going undefeated in the final three weeks of play with a convincing win over Team Liquid. Top-laner Solo continues to be one of the best players in the LCS, as well as extremely underrated by most. His stats rank near the top for top-laners and continues to show proficiency over tanks like Ornn and Maokai. MVP candidate jungler Santorin also saw an increase in level of play once Sett rolled into the jungle role, showing that he is probably the best Sett jungle player in the league.

EG is ice cold. The team needs to rally around something coming into playoffs with a 3-7 record in their last ten. The outlook for EG prior to the start of the split was positive and they could’ve competed for a first-round bye. However, the team replaced a struggling Jizuke with Goldenglue, a side-grade at best, as well as putting in Huni for Kumo in the to lane. Huni has looked like he did on Dignitas last split, which is sub-optimal. The team has been buoyed by individually strong performances going game-to-game. Goldenglue, Bang, and Huni have all had their moments in wins. It’s not good enough though, as the team has a very low 47% dragon control rate, as well as an abysmal 35% baron control rate.

The real linchpin this series is in the bottom lane. Bang/Zeyzal versus WildTurtle/IgNar will decide the series. Whether or not the EG bottom lane can punish WildTurtle while IgNar sets up his tent mid lane to help PowerOfEvil is extremely important for the EG game plan. The top lane is worth keeping an eye on, as this could be Solo’s coming out party in a best-of-five series.

FlyQuest should come out of this series unscathed though. Through strong play from all FlyQuest members, they win the series in a quick 3-0 and move on to face one of Team Liquid or Cloud9. Evil Geniuses moves to the lower bracket to face 100 Thieves.

(5) Golden Guardians vs (8) Dignitas

Head-to-head: 2-0 in favor of Golden Guardians
The student and the master will look to make waves in their first playoff appearance together. Image via Riot Games.

Trying to make this one sound like it could be competitive may prove to be a bit tough, as eighth seed Dignitas aren’t the most inspiring team.

The new LCS playoff format introduces a seventh and eighth seed, leaving only two teams out of playoffs. Expanded chances at Worlds is the reasoning behind this change. Whether it be a good idea or not, Dignitas is still here. At 5-13, the team beat CLG in a tiebreaker to make the lower bracket. This was mostly lead by strong play from their bottom lane duo of Johnsun and Aphromoo, who seems to have undergone a career revitalization. The 13 losses means glaring holes though. Mid-laner FeniX has a limited champion pool, as well as top-laner V1per being easily exploitable when he’s not on Riven. The team has a -131 gold differential per minute, but you can’t expect anything better from the lowest seeded team in a eight team playoffs. Jungler Dardoch is also the epitome of a coinflip player. Not good for a jungler, look at Razork in the LEC for a prime example.

Golden Guardians, as you can expect, are better everywhere. The only place that Dignitas can look to win through would be in the bottom lane, but even then the GGS bottom lane is much stronger in macro and skill than the Dignitas bottom lane.

GGS wins in a convincing and rather dull 3-0 over Dignitas, sending the lowest seeded team out of the playoffs and into the offseason. Please Dignitas, build around Johnsun. He’s so good.

(6) Evil Geniuses vs (7) 100 Thieves

Head-to-head: 1-1
Ssumday leads a young roster into the lower bracket. Image via Riot Games.

This is, without a doubt, the closest hypothetical series here.

100 Thieves comes in with a 4-5 record to show in the second half of the split. That’s about where you’d expect them to hang at. The team did beat Cloud9 and Evil Geniuses in that stretch though. Top-laner Ssumday is the heartbeat of the team, being at the top of almost every stat in his respective role in the LCS. He is the ultimate example of consistency on really bad teams. Substituting in Contractz and Poome for Meteos and Stunt respectively has also proved beneficial, as both have already surpassed the veterans they replaced in multiple stats.

The team, for how disastrous of a start they had, still ended up in playoffs (albeit in the lower bracket). 100 Thieves does take roughly two dragons a game, while having a 50% control over barons taken in their games. That’s respectable considering they went under .500, but also worrying to think that they lost with so many baron infused gold leads.

The path for 100 Thieves to win almost any series is simple: Get Ssumday on a carry, draft Galio or any other supportive mid-laner for Ry0ma, and pray.

Due to EG’s glaring weakness in the top lane, and suspect play from everyone else on the roster, 100 Thieves takes this Bo5 in a thrilling 3-2 scoreline, securing them a match against Golden Guardians. EG just has too many plugs to fill in a sinking ship. Svenskeren looks like a shell of his former self when he won MVP on Cloud9, the bottom lane will play too passive in lane, and the solo lanes consistently look like a raging dumpster fire. EG drops out of the playoffs after barely making the upper bracket in the first place.

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