Predictions for round one of the 2020 LEC Summer Playoffs

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13 August 2020

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Screengrab via Riot Games.

Unlike their Western counterpart, Europe is using a six-team playoff format for the 2020 LEC Summer Playoffs. We’ll be going through every round one match-up and making a prediction on the outcome. Rogue, G2, MAD Lions, Fnatic, SK Gaming, and Schalke 04 all made playoffs, seeded respectively off of championship points. Although MAD finished second in the regular season, G2 still seeds above them due to G2 winning the Spring Split. Schalke and SK will be seeded into the lower bracket.

(5) SK Gaming vs (6) Schalke 04

Head-to-head: 2-0 in favor of SCHalke 04
Odoamne begins his path to Worlds with Schalke, a tournament he hasn’t gone to since 2016. Image via riot Games.

SK and Schalke 04 (S04) will start things off this week on Friday, August 21. Both teams enter in a do or die situation, as being instantly seeded into the lower bracket gives a team very little wiggle room.

SK finished the Summer Split 9-9, mostly off the backs of great play from rookie mid-laner ZaZee as well as a breakout split from the bottom lane duo of AD carry Crownshot and support LIMIT. ZaZee and Crownshot make up for over 55% of their teams damage, giving jungler Trick the room to play Sett and place top-laner Jenax on takns such as Sion and Ornn. The team also has a 62.2% dragon control rate, the highest in the LEC and very good for a 9-9 team. The team also has a -20 gold difference per minute (GDM), which is about right for a .500 team.

S04 is, without a doubt, the most exciting team in the league right now. Dare I say, they are the best team in the league in terms of current form. The team rattled off seven wins in a row, and some of they being very convincing wins. The team received help from Misfits and G2 in order to make playoffs, but they deserve to be here. Jungler Gilius, since being subbed in for Lurox, has been a revelation for the team. His 73.7% kill participation (KP) is highest in the league in his position for any jungler that’s played over ten games.

Twitter may have you think that Gilius solo-carried this team to playoffs. Spoiler: He didn’t. All four other members really stepped up, with mid-laner Abbedagge and the bottom lane duo of Neon and DreamS having MVP caliber second half of the splits.

The game changer in this series is still Gilius. We’ve seen him have the best performances of his career as of recent, but it’s still Gilius. Historically, Gilius has gone red hot, then ice cold in the span of a few weeks. S04 should look to secure Lee Sin for him in order to push an advantage over Trick, a jungler that’s shown a habit of playing tanks.

This is a very close series. With that being said, S04 and SK go to a full five game series here. In that pivotal fifth game, S04 pulls ahead and wins the series 3-2, sending SK out of playoffs after a promising split. S04 survives for another week.

(2) G2 Esports vs (3) MAD Lions

Head-to-head: 1-1
MAD Lions meets G2 once again in the playoffs. Image via Riot Games.

G2 and MAD met in the Spring Playoffs two times, in the first round and in the lower bracket semifinals. MAD took the first series by the score of 3-2, with G2 having the last laugh in the semifinals and beating MAD 3-1. In a state of déjà vu, the two European giants will be facing off again in the first round.

Both teams are extremely close in terms of stats. They have about the same GDM and kills per game. One stat that G2 leaps ahead of MAD is their gold difference at fifteen minutes. MAD sits at +152, which isn’t very high for a team seeded highly. G2 is at +614.

That says more about play styles, as G2 will play aggressive in lane in order to jump out to massive early leads. The mechanical skills of all five players allows them to do this, especially with mid-laner Caps who is a clear MVP candidate. AD carry Perkz and jungler Jankos have had down splits, with Perkz especially having questionable positioning on champions like Senna, Aphelios, and Ashe.

There’s also a massive difference in form entering playoffs. G2 is on a six game win streak, where MAD is entering 2-4 in that same time-frame. MAD has stumbled recently, mid-laner Humanoid especially made some puzzling decisions in the convincing loss to S04.

If there’s one series to watch this weekend, it has to be this one. Shad0w going against Jankos, two remarkably aggressive junglers, will be exciting. The bottom lanes have some of the mechanically best players in their position, with MAD’s support Kaiser having a diverse champion pool and one of Europe’s premiere talents.

In an extremely close five game series, G2 continues their form and beats MAD 3-2, moving ahead in the upper bracket. Caps decides the series and continues to perform like the best player in Europe.

(1) Rogue vs (4) Fnatic

Head-to-head: 2-0 in favor of rogue
Rekkles has cemented his place as a legend in European League and is still looking for more. Image via Riot Games.

Rogue has already confirmed a spot at Worlds, and at the very worst would have to play in the play-in stage at Worlds. The team finished first, beating MAD in the final Superweek of play and leaping ahead of them. Fnatic, on the other hand, are on the outside looking in.

Fnatic had, by their standards, one of their worst splits as an organization. The team finished 9-9 and the memories of Fnatic competing for first and second place seems like a distant memory. Every member outside of AD carry Rekkles and (sometimes) jungler Selfmade unperformed this split. Mid-laner Nemesis, after having a string of good splits, looked like he didn’t have a firm grasp on the meta at the start of the split. Recently, Nemesis has turned his game around seemingly. That’s great news for Fnatic, as the Rekkles show won’t carry this team to a lot of wins against Rogue.

Rekkles finished the split with a 7 KDA and having hte largest damage share on his team. His 77.5% kill participation is very high for that position, but mostly can be attributed to him playing Soraka and Senna, two champions with global ultimate abilities.

The real kicker in this team comes in the form of support Hylissang. It’s basically expected at this point for Hylissang to die a few times in the most bizarre positions and ways. Top-laner Bwipo is in the same boat, as his play in losses is a glaring weak point on the team.

Rogue are basically the polar opposite of Fnatic. Every member performed very well this split, with Inspired finishing with the highest KDA for all junglers and VandeR looking like he could be the best support in Europe. VandeR, coupled with Hans sama, have created one of the most fearsome bottom lanes in Europe. Hans sama looks like the best Aphelios player in Europe, but the champion has been nerfed recently which may force him onto Senna, Ezreal, Jhin, and Caitlyn.

The Swedish solo lanes in Larssen and Finn have also performed well through the split. Larssen specifically challenged Caps and Humanoid for the best mid-laner in Europe at certain times.

The one way that Fnatic could look to win this series would be by playing through the bottom lane at all times. Leaving Bwipo on an island on a tank and having Selfmade focus all efforts on getting Rekkles ahead and in a position to carry is their path to victory.

The chances of that happening are very little though. Rogue are able to piggyback off of Inspired ganking and getting lanes ahead early, evident by their 61.1% first blood rate in the regular season. Through that, Rogue sweeps Fnatic 3-0 and sets themselves up for an exciting match up against G2. Fnatic moves to the lower bracket to face Schalke and looks to keep their Wolds hopes alive.

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