After a spring season full of some unexpected twists and turns, the EU and NA LCS divisions concluded regular season play with the usual suspects back on top: SK Gaming finished their redemptive 2015 spring split atop the EU LCS — by far — while Fnatic concluded their maiden voyage with a radically altered roster with a solid second-place. Over in NA, meanwhile, Team Solomid finished with a clean first-place, while tie-breakers played out to determine who would be going to the playoffs, and who would get second-place and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The EU LCS, more stratified throughout the spring, didn’t throw up any major last-minute surprises. The troubled Elements team (the successor to Alliance) narrowly avoided having to play a relegation match, though they missed the playoffs thanks to a thumping from Fnatic that capped a lackluster season.
But the only real drama, at the very end, was between Giants Gaming and the MeetYourMakers team, whose season scarcely improved following a scandal in which a manager threatened to evict a player’s mother from her home. MeetYourMakers needed to win their tie-breaker to avoid auto-relegation, which would eliminate them from the LCS until 2016, at the very least. But a bad Baron attempt ceded Giants the game and put an end to MYM’s LCS career.
Things were much more exciting over in NA LCS, where the final day of the season was filled with important games with major implications. While Sunday spelled the end for the hapless Team Coast, whose 1-17 record was practically an achievement in itself, it was a do-or-die day for Team Liquid and Team 8, while Cloud 9 had to battle CLG for its spot in the playoff semifinals.
Team Liquid and Team 8 were vying for the last spot in the NA playoffs. Liquid, especially, had a troubled season that never quite lived up to expectations. Building from the strong foundation of the old Curse roster, they also augmented their roster with Chae “Piglet” Gwang Jin. who was AD Carry on the legendary SK Telecom T1 roster of 2013. But the results never quite lived up to the promise, and the team finished at .500 alongside Team 8, and only one could go through to the playoffs while the other would be left to wait for summer.
Their tiebreaker turned out to be one of the weekend’s best games, as they dueled for 45 minutes before Team Liquid were able to get a game-winning fight at Baron. They drew Team 8 into a battle at the Pit and ceded the Baron, but cleaned-house on Team 8 in the aftermath with four unanswered kills that left most of Team 8 on respawn timers for over a minute. With all day to do the job, Team Liquid smashed Team 8’s nexus and finally earned that playoff spot that had, at times, seemed so hopeless.
That cleared the way for Cloud9’s tiebreaker with Counter-Logic Gaming. The stakes were high for both teams as well: the winner would finish second in NA LCS and be guaranteed a spot in the semifinals. The loser would have to play an extra series in the playoffs and risk a low finishing position.
But Cloud9’s last minute surge, which had already taken them over the top of TSM in a hard-fought game early in the day, showed no signs of abating against a CLG team that has finally righted the ship after an ignominious couple years. Cloud9 took a pretty decisive victory over CLG and set themselves up for another potential finals meeting between them and their rivals, TSM.
The playoffs start this coming weekend, on April 4th, and will be broadcast on LoLEsports.com, while the EU Finals will take place in Madrid at the Palacio Vistalegre Arena.