North America’s Worlds Scenarios:
Who is Joining TSM and Immortals?
North America’s Summer Split regular season has come to an end, and heading into playoffs there is little room for debate as to who the top two teams in the region are. Team SoloMid and Immortals end their seasons 17-1 and 16-2 respectively, leaving the disparity between themselves and the lower echelon of teams larger than NA has seen in recent splits. Immortals’ only two match losses comes at the hands of TSM in weeks two and nine, and TSM only dropped one match to Phoenix 1 in week eight. Over the course of the last two months TSM and IMT have proven to be consistently better than the rest of North America across all aspects of the game. As we move towards the post-season, it is expected of these teams to meet their standard of consistency and secure two of North America’s bids for the World Championship and leave everyone else fighting for the third.
As it stands, Championship Points from the Spring Split are as follows:
- Counter Logic Gaming: 90
- Team SoloMid: 70
- Immortals: 50
- Team Liquid: 30
- Cloud 9: 10
- NRG eSports: 10
The winner of the Summer Split wins the automatic first seed for Worlds, with second place receiving 90 points, third receiving 70, fourth receiving 40, and fifth/sixth each receiving 20.
One way to describe TSM’s dominance this split would be something to the effect of “oppressive” or “overwhelming”, minus one rogue loss to Phoenix 1 that looked nothing like the other 17 matches. Mathematically, TSM will go into playoffs 20 Championship Points behind CLG. Realistically, no other team has shown the individual skill nor stratagem to hang with Bjergsen and company on a consistent basis. This iteration of TSM is arguably the best in their history and for them to not breeze through playoffs would be a complete disappointment on their end. Regardless, if they were to somehow not win the Grand Finals, a second place finish would guarantee the second seed.
Huni, Reignover and company find themselves in a bit of an awkward position where Championship Points are concerned due to their third place finish in the Spring Split. Despite being the obvious number two team in NA, they go into playoffs with only 50 points, leaving the dynamic of their qualifying opportunities a little more difficult than that of TSM or CLG. Obviously, taking first place in playoffs would give them the automatic first seed, but if that fails then they do not completely control their own destiny for the second seed. There are three options for Immortals to clinch the second seed for Worlds:
- IMT place second AND CLG place fourth or worse.
- CLG place first AND IMT place second
- IMT place third AND CLG place fifth or sixth
Counter Logic Gaming:
Despite CLG’s season-long struggles and currently sitting in fourth place at 10-8, winning the Spring Split has put them in the most optimal position they could hope for while trying to get their bid for Worlds. If TSM are able to stay dominant and win the Summer Split, Immortals grab second, and CLG can place third, they would get the second seed for Worlds with 160 Championship Points over Immortals with 140. If CLG are able to take second place they would qualify as the second seed for Worlds despite any possible scenario due to 180 Championship points being more than any other team could accrue. In the event that Immortals win the Summer Split, TSM take second, and CLG third, TSM and CLG would both finish with 160 Championship Points, with TSM winning the tiebreaker due to more points earned in the Summer Split and forcing CLG to compete in the Regional Qualifier to try for the third seed.
CLG seem to know where they have faltered thus far, admitting that they have failed to support and work around mid-laner Huhi. With two weeks to prepare, CLG face off against Liquid in the first round of playoffs. With first or second place a necessity for them to qualify for Worlds without facing the gauntlet, they control their own destiny. To achieve second, CLG would have to take down TSM in a best of 5 in the semifinals, a feat they were able to accomplish during the Spring Split Grand Finals with almost identical rosters.
Cloud 9 has made a strong case as North America’s 3rd strongest team. They finished the regular season with their second consecutive 12-6 record and ride into playoffs on the back of a 4 match win streak. Meteos is back and once again playing like a top tier Jungler, and Smoothie has settled comfortably into the starting Support role. Despite regaining their form, Cloud 9 dropped out of the Spring playoffs in the first round and only accrued 10 Championship Points. This leaves C9 with virtually no options for a Worlds bid other than to take 1st place in playoffs or run the gauntlet. However, Cloud 9 is no stranger to winning with the odds stacked heavily against them. Last summer Cloud 9 placed 7th, where they would have to go through Gravity, Impulse, and Liquid in Best of 5’s to earn a spot at Worlds. Not only did Cloud 9 beat all of these teams, they reverse swept Gravity and Impulse after going down 0-2 in both series, and secured their trip to Worlds with a 3-1 series win over Liquid. Whether it is winning the split outright, or going through the Regional Qualifier Cloud 9 have a long road ahead of them, but are certainly poised to attempt a repeat of last summer’s success.
Liquid is a team with highly skilled individual players who have yet to cohesively find their identity. They currently sit in fifth place with a 9-9 record and no real sign of making a run into the playoffs. It remains to be seen if Piglet will rejoin the starting lineup for playoffs or if Fabby will remain at AD Carry. If the latter holds true Liquid is in danger of making an early exit as Fabby has consistently fallen far behind and stunted Liquid’s early game. TL has 30 Championship Points from their fourth place Spring finish and there exists only one scenario for Liquid to mathematically clinch the second seed:
IMT place first, Liquid place second, C9 place third, TSM place fourth. Liquid would have 120 Championship Points and TSM and CLG would finish with 110.
Despite this highly unlikely scenario, with the talent Liquid has and two weeks preparation, anything could happen. Expect Dardoch and Fenix to be put in a position to carry in every single match.
EnVY, the team that took Renegades LCS spot this split, comes into the summer with 0 Championship Points due to Summer 2016 being their inaugural split. This means, like Cloud 9, their only chance for a worlds bid is winning the Split or the Regional Qualifier. While this squad did show some promise early in the season, they have since fizzled out to finish the regular season 8-10. NV has failed to prove that they can compete with TSM, IMT, or C9. Look for NV to play spoiler rather than make an underdog run into the postseason.
My personal prediction for North America’s post-season plays out like this:
- Team SoloMid
- Cloud 9
This outcome would give TSM and Immortals the first and second seeds for the World Championships, sending C9, CLG, Liquid, and EnVY to the Regional Qualifier. I fully expect Cloud 9 to once again win the gauntlet and earn North America’s third and final World Championship berth.
Regardless of predictions, anything can happen and these teams will be giving it everything they have for the shot at competing on the International stage starting Saturday, August 13th. Enjoy the post-season, Summoners.
Written by JustZachWV
Edited by William “Williaf” Ferdinando
Featured Image provided by Rock, Paper, Shotgun