The first stage of the League of Legends Championship Series has concluded, and this weekend 12 of the LCS’ s 16 teams will compete in the Spring Playoffs for a share of a $100,000 prize pool ($50,000 for first place) and, for eight of these teams, a last-chance to avoid relegation.
The European division playoffs begin Friday the 26th at 2 PM UK / 9 AM Eastern, while the North Americans begin play at 11 PM UK / 6 PM Eastern. As usual, you can watch the streams live at the LCS website.
While the top two finishers in each division (Fnatic and Gambit for EU, TSM and Curse for NA) have secured the high seeds in the playoff bracket, the lowest two did not make the playoffs and their post-season will consist of a special relegation / promotion tournament where they will attempt to defend their place in the LCS. The unhappy losers in this case are the Giants (8-20) and Dragonborns (6-22) in Europe, and Team MRN (10-18) and compLexity (9-19) in North America.
The playoff and relegation picture is more interesting for the third place through sixth place teams. Any of these teams could come out of the playoffs with prize money, or sentenced to the same relegation tournament as their divisional cellar-dwellers. For teams like Dignitas (17-11) and CLG (13-15) in NA, or SK (17-11) and EG (15-13), this would be a tremendous comedown in prestige.
The first two teams to be eliminated in the playoffs will head to relegation, while the winners go on to face the first and second seeds. In Europe’s first round, SK Gaming plays Against All Authority while Evil Geniuses play the Copenhagen Wolves. For NA, Dignitas have to beat GGU while CLG must beat Vulcun in a best of three.
SK versus Against All Authority is the first European match of the tournament while Dignitas and GGU kick things off for the North American playoffs. The best-of-three format likely favors the more seasoned competitive teams, but the nature of the LCS means that all of these teams know each other fairly well at this point and nothing can really be taken for granted.