Before the start of Week 8 of the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split, three teams had already qualified for the 2020 LCS Summer Playoffs. By the end of Week 8, the number of teams locked in for the post-season had doubled. Each team has only two games left in the Summer Split, and while six have qualified for the Summer Playoffs, no teams have yet been eliminated from post-season content, and by extension, the 2020 League of Legends World Championship.
Before the 2020 Spring Split, Riot announced a brand new playoff format for both Spring and Summer Splits in the LCS, introducing double elimination, removing Championship Points from Spring, and, consequently, removing the Regional Finals altogether. Instead, the top eight teams would attend the Summer Playoffs, rather than the usual top six, and the top three teams from Playoffs would represent the region at the World Championship. The top six teams from the regular season start in the winners' bracket, while the bottom two start in the losers' bracket, receiving no insurance from double elimination.
Let's take a look at how the 2020 LCS Summer Playoffs picture changed after Week 8, how the number of teams qualified for the post-season doubled, and what the serious shakeup atop the standings means for those teams.
The top three: TL, C9, and TSM
Heading into Week 8, Team Liquid and Cloud9 were tied for first place with TSM sitting just behind the two most recent LCS champions. However, Cloud9's struggles continued with its first 0-2 week of the season against Golden Guardians and TSM, the latter of which is now tied for Cloud9 for 2nd place.
Team Liquid went 2-0 to secure sole possession of 1st place with a 13-3 record, and TSM's Mid Laner Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg was awarded his 2nd Mastercard Nexus Player of the Week Award for this split. Cloud9 is 2-5 in its last seven games, but sits tied with TSM for 2nd place at 11-5.
TSM, Team Liquid, and Cloud9 are all locked in for a top six seed in the 2020 LCS Summer Playoffs, but none of the teams have clinched any specific seed. Heading into Week 9, the post-season byes awarded to the top two seeds in the first round are still up for grabs for two of the three teams in this trio.
Middle of the pack: FLY, GG, and EG
TSM, TL, and C9 were joined in the post-season conversation last weekend by FlyQuest, Golden Guardians, and Evil Geniuses; of which, the former two have also secured a seed in the top six. When Dignitas lost to Team Liquid last Friday, DIG became the second team alongside Immortals to have 11 losses in the Summer Split. At 8-6, the worst FlyQuest could finish would be 8-10, which, at the very least, would be a top 8 spot since both DIG and IMT had 11 losses by the end of Friday night.
FlyQuest decided to take things a step further and 2-0 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses this weekend. With 10 wins, there's simply no way FlyQuest can mathematically finish outside of the top six, giving them the crucial double elimination survivability not awarded to the 7th and 8th place teams in the LCS Summer Playoffs.
Golden Guardians has been nipping at FlyQuest's heels all summer long, and the Golden State Warriors affiliate continued to do so with a strong 2-0 in Week 8, including a dominant win against Counter Logic Gaming and an upset against Cloud9. GG's victory over Cloud9 punched the team's ticket to the post-season, and its win against Counter Logic Gaming was its ninth of the Summer Split, guaranteeing a top six seed for the LCS Summer Playoffs.
Evil Geniuses went 0-2 this week against TSM and FlyQuest, but managed to secure a post-season berth nonetheless. Because of Dignitas' 0-2 weekend, they are tied with Immortals for last place at 4-12. Since the worst EG can do is 7-11, the absolute lowest it could finish, tiebreakers and all, would be 8th place, which of course still qualifies the team for a spot in the post-season.
The losers' bracket fight: 100, CLG, DIG, IMT
This doesn't mean Dignitas and Immortals' post-season hopes are dashed, however. Evil Geniuses is guaranteed a spot in the post-season regardless of its results in Week 9, but the last two playoff spots currently held by 100 and CLG have not yet been secured. Both DIG and IMT are only one game behind CLG and two games behind 100 Thieves, so every match counts for these four teams in terms of qualification to the LCS Summer Playoffs and a chance to compete at Worlds 2020.
100 and CLG
For 100 Thieves to retain their playoff spot, they just need to win one game against either Dignitas or Evil Geniuses. Winning both games would give them at least a tie with Evil Geniuses for the sixth seed and playoff bye. If EG has an 0-2 weekend and 100 have a 2-0, 100 will eclipse them for that spot.
CLG is in a less secure position, sitting only one single game ahead of DIG and IMT. This makes Counter Logic Gaming's Week 9 particularly precarious. At 5-11 with Cloud9 and FlyQuest on the schedule, a 5-13 record isn't out of the question and would immediately end CLG's season should either DIG or IMT go 2-0. Of course, if CLG go 2-0 themselves, they will secure their spot no matter what.
DIG and IMT
For both Dignitas and Immortals to keep their post-season hopes alive, they have to simultaneously win at least one game and count on either CLG or 100 to lose games of their own.
To overtake CLG, both DIG and IMT require one additional win on the weekend to tie their record, or two additional wins to qualify cleanly. CLG is tied in the head to head with each team, so in the case of a matching record, they'd play out a tiebreaker to finalize the slot.
If CLG goes 2-0, DIG and IMT would have to surpass 100 instead. To do so, each needs a 2-0 of their own and an 0-2 from 100 Thieves. This is a more plausible route for Dignitas, who is tied in the head to head with 100. DIG would first have to beat Cloud9 on Friday, and if they do, they'd have to subsequently defeat 100 Thieves Saturday. Then 100 would need to lose to EG on Sunday which would leave them with a tied record and result in a tiebreaker.
Meanwhile, however, if Immortals is able to go 2-0 against Team Liquid and FlyQuest in its final matches alongside a 100 Thieves 0-2 weekend, they'd be in the same boat, but with much rougher waters. IMT lost both games in the head to head against 100, so they'd need at least a three-way tie to overtake them, requiring either a Dignitas 2-0 and/or a CLG 1-1 to force a three-way/four-way tie between them. If only IMT and 100 are tied for the final spot, there is no tiebreaker, as 100 would take the head to head.
Of course, if DIG loses to 100 Thieves on Friday, it will automatically qualify 100, leaving only the final slot available between CLG, IMT, and DIG themselves.
The advantage is certainly in favor of 100 Thieves and Counter Logic Gaming heading into the final week of the 2020 LCS Summer Split, but Dignitas and Immortals aren't out of the race yet should the stars align for the organization. More definitively, Dignitas managing to clutch out victories against C9 and 100 would significantly raise their chances to honor Clutch Gaming's legacy by keeping its Worlds hopes alive.
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