LCS Spring Split 2015 Playoff Preview – NA and EU

Phillip Costigan

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The playoff finals for the Spring split of the North American and European LCS are approaching, and the competition this year is, once again, absolutely fierce. In North America, old rivals Team SoloMid and Cloud 9 face off for the fourth final in a row. In Europe, Fnatic’s 5th straight LCS final sees them take on European LCS new boys Unicorns of Love after they shockingly knocked out regular season first seeds SK Gaming in a thrilling best of 5.

The prize on the line is a spot in his year’s Mid Season Invitational, where the best team from each region face off against each other in a tournament in Tallahassee, Florida.

North America:

Cloud 9 players Meteos & Balls with owner Jack
Cloud 9 players Meteos & Balls with owner Jack – image courtesy of Riot Games

Cloud 9 scraped into the 2nd position in the regular season during the last week of games with a win over Team SoloMid, getting them a bye into the second round. Now, after beating forever-fourth-placed Team Liquid in the semi-finals 3 games to 2, they will once again have to face off against their old rivals in the finals. TSM of course finished first in the regular season having already won an international tournament this year (IEM Katowice), and now they will once again have to conquer Cloud 9 in order to compete on the international stage.

TSM of course won the final of the Summer split in 2014, which is the last time these teams met in a best of 5 series. It marked the first time they were able to beat Cloud 9 proper, having been dominated in previous seasons. Now though they are the favourites, with the new addition of Danish jungler Lucas “Santorin” Larsen proving to be a revolution this season. Cloud 9 have not been playing particularly well, and were dangerously close to losing to Team Liquid after going 2 games down, before being able to pull back 3 in a row for the reverse sweep. TSM got through relatively handily after a 3-1 win over perhaps the most improved team in the LCS, Team Impulse.

This is sure to be, as always, an explosive finale to the North American LCS. We’ll see if TSM can continue their dominance of North America, or if the team with the longest stable roster, Cloud 9, can claim back the North American throne.

Europe:

Unicorns of Love - image courtesy of Riot Games
Unicorns of Love – image courtesy of Riot Games

Fnatic’s dominance over the European scene continued this year, despite replacing 4 of last year’s runners-up team in the offseason. Fnatic have been incredible this season, taking a team of 4 rookies along with veteran supper YellowStar all the way to the finals in thrilling fashion. They had a hard-fought series win over H2K, perhaps the most improved team in the European LCS and are definitely the favourites coming into the final. While most of these players are, as previously mentioned, rookies, the experience of YellowStar in these situations will serve them well.

The Unicorns of Love on the other hand are a surprise contender. They managed to beat favourites SK Gaming in a thrilling best of 5 series to show just how dangerous they are over a series. Their unpredictable strategies and clutch performances have seen them take down LCS giants in previous games, and they’ll be looking to do the same against Fnatic. Mid laner PowerofEvil has been the standout performer over the split, but don’t underestimate jungler Kikis’ ability to bring out the surprise picks like Udyr and Shaco in a best of 5.

This is perhaps the most exciting of the two finals, simply due to the sheer unpredictability of it. Fnatic are really, really good… but in a best of 5, Unicorns of Love are perhaps better. This will be an incredible match, so make sure you tune in on Sunday April 19th to see both finals on LoLEsports.com

 

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Phillip Costigan