There are only three games left in the 2021 League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split, but the post-season picture has yet to come into focus. Heading into the final week of spring, only Cloud9 and Dignitas have qualified for the 2021 LCS Mid-Season Showdown.
Three teams — Golden Guardians, Counter Logic Gaming, and FlyQuest — have been mathematically eliminated from qualifying for the Mid-Season Showdown due to their respective number of losses in the Spring Split, but the remaining five teams — TSM, 100 Thieves, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and Immortals — will be playing musical chairs for the last four seeds. Let's take a look at the current standings in the 2021 LCS Spring Split and the matches that will take place in week 6.
|Counter Logic Gaming||4-11|
|2021 LCS Spring Split: Week 6|
|W6D1G1 — Cloud9 vs Counter Logic Gaming|
|W6D1G2 — Evil Geniuses vs TSM|
|W6D1G3 — 100 Thieves vs Immortals|
|W6D1G4 — Team Liquid vs Dignitas|
|W6D1G5 — Golden Guardians vs FlyQuest|
|W6D2G1 — TSM vs Immortals|
|W6D2G2 — Dignitas vs Cloud9|
|W6D2G3 — FlyQuest vs 100 Thieves|
|W6D2G4 — Evil Geniuses vs Team Liquid|
|W6D2G5 — Counter Logic Gaming vs Golden Guardians|
|W6D3G1 — FlyQuest vs Dignitas|
|W6D3G2 — Golden Guardians vs TSM|
|W6D3G3 — 100 Thieves vs Team Liquid|
|W6D3G4 — Counter Logic Gaming vs Evil Geniuses|
|W6D3G5 — Immortals vs Cloud9|
Based on the current standings and the final week of matches in the 2021 LCS Spring Split, let's try and predict which teams will qualify for the LCS Mid-Season Showdown, and specifically, which seeds each team respectively secures for the battle to represent North America at the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational.
6: Evil Geniuses
Evil Geniuses' first match of the week features its toughest opponent left in TSM. A win against TSM is certainly possible for EG, but the last time the teams met, Evil Geniuses was unable to pull far enough ahead in the early game before TSM's strong mid-game made all the difference it needed. Evil Geniuses has improved since losing to TSM, going 5-3 in its last eight games, but in the matchup, it's hard to say that the improvements have come in a way that would flip the matchup.
Due to changes in the meta and the increased frequency of Renekton bans thrown towards top laner Jeong "Impact" Eon-young, EG's aggressive early game has been toned down slightly. With an average GD15 522 gold higher than TSM's, EG's early game is superior, but the teams are similar in pace and the meta favors the individuals on TSM's roster, particularly in the case of control mage mastery between mid laners Tristan "PowerOfEvil" Schrage and Daniele "Jiizuke" di Mauro.
EG's 2nd opponent Team Liquid is no slouch either, but EG was able to take away the win when the teams met. However, Team Liquid is fresh off of a convincing win against first place Cloud9 and has won four of its last six games. EG will need to return to a quicker pace of aggression to get the better of TL, but the chance to win is more likely than the match against TSM. Fortunately for EG, its last opponent of spring is 9th place CLG, which should be a near-guarantee that EG finishes with 9 wins.
Evil Geniuses could potentially qualify for the sixth seed at 8-10, but Immortals threatens just one game back in 7th place in addition to a 2-0 head-to-head against EG. However, it is likely that IMT finds itself sidelined from the post-season along GG, CLG, and FLY due to being heavily disadvantaged against 100 Thieves, TSM, and Cloud9 in week 6. Expect Evil Geniuses to head to the lower bracket of LCS Mid-Season Showdown as the 6th seed.
Predicted as a bottom-tier team with the only full-North American roster in the 2021 LCS, Dignitas has exceeded expectations, to say the least. However, having overperformed and already qualified for the Mid-Season Showdown, DIG will come back down to Earth a bit and fall out of a top 3 position by the end of the Spring Split.
DIG's first two matches of week 6 are about as tough as it gets: LCS Lock In champion Team Liquid and current holder of 1st place Cloud9. C9 and TL are the only teams in or currently vying for a spot in the Mid-Season Showdown that Dignitas has been unable to defeat in its stellar Spring Split.
It may be in DIG's best interest to index entirely into preparation for the Team Liquid and FlyQuest matches, sacrifice any chance at the C9 match, and thus, have a potentially higher probability of securing a 2-1 record in its final three matches and with it, a post-season seed in the upper bracket. C9 can match dig's pace and intensity, whereas FlyQuest is inferior to DIG and Team Liquid's early game, while strong, is a bit less bloody than the C9 style.
Regardless of the approach DIG takes into its final week, losses to C9 and TL in a best-of-one format are more likely than not for the squad. Expect DIG to go 1-2 in the final week of the Spring Split to be one of two teams to finish 11-7. In this outcome, DIG would have to settle for a lower bracket spot as the 5th seed because the other 11-7 team would be the only team in the league to currently boast a 2-0 head-to-head against DIG.
4: 100 Thieves
100 Thieves will most likely end up with an 11-7 record in the LCS Spring Split and will secure the 4th seed in the LCS Mid-Season Showdown due to its 2-0 head-to-head against Dignitas. The reason is simple: 100 Thieves has the easier schedule. Immortals and FlyQuest are both teams 100 Thieves has already beaten this split, and should be able to once again. However, 100 Thieves will not repeat its victory against Team Liquid from the first round robin, which will result in an 11-7 record for 100.
When 100 Thieves beat Team Liquid earlier in the spring split, the heist squad was doing everything that made it a forced to be reckoned with early in 2021. Top laner Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho remained rock solid in the top lane, and mid laner Tanner "Damonte" Damonte was put on heavy roaming champions to play towards the bot lane as the team's primary focus.
100 Thieves began to struggle as its style became less and less favorable in the developing meta, and after 12 games, Damonte was benched in favor 100 Thieves Academy mid laner Tommy "ry0ma" Le. So far, ry0ma has shown a solid level of individual play on the scaling control mages that are prominent in the mid lane meta, but it hasn't necessarily resulted in a teamwide improvement yet. 100 Thieves have announced that ry0ma will also start in the final week of the Spring Split.
Furthermore, Team Liquid's stumbles in the first half of the split are no longer hamstringing them in the same way. In its loss to 100 Thieves, TL's composition spoke to its lack of understanding of its own identity at the time. It would be a shock to see Team Liquid draft a composition like this again, and since finding its identity, the team has only continued to improve while 100 Thieves has struggled to adjust to the meta changes in the second half of the split.
A 3-0 week is not out of the question from 100 Thieves, but if last week is any indication, another week of practice with ry0ma in the starting lineup should result in steps of improvement, but not leaps, leading up to the Mid-Season Showdown.
3: Team Liquid
Team Liquid comes into week 6 with something extra to prove. Since winning the LCS Lock In, the team has shown top form during the Spring Split but not on a regular, consistent basis, which has resulted to a 9-6 record. To many teams, being almost guaranteed for a post-season qualification would be reason for encouragement, but TL has set the bar high as individuals and as a team, and it will be looking to prove it has returned to its championship contender form.
Team Liquid's matches against Dignitas, Evil Geniuses, and 100 Thieves should do just that. Dignitas, who Team Liquid defeated in the teams' first meeting, has continued to improve and threatens to tie its head-to-head record with TL. TL and DIG have been the two strongest teams in the second half of the Spring Split, and securing the 2-0 head-to-head would prove Team Liquid is no longer stagnating or losing its footing.
In contrast, 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses, who both triumphed over TL earlier in the split, have had a much tougher second round robin than the first. Evil Geniuses is 3-3 in its last three games and while showing flashes of brilliance, has struggled to find consistently.
100 Thieves identity crisis' and subsequent ry0ma substitution means it is not the same team that broke TL's ankles around the map earlier this year, and while TL has grown to solidify its identity throughout spring, 100 has had to pivot.
Team Liquid can qualify for the LCS Mid-Season Showdown in a multitude of scenarios that don't require a 3-0 weekend, but a 12-6 finish would show how strong the team is headed into the post-season and secure the 3rd seed in the upper bracket
In being tied for 2nd with a 10-5 record, TSM can join Dignitas and Cloud9 in the post-season qualification circle by keeping its destiny in its own hands with a single win. Fortunately for TSM, it has the easiest week 6 schedule of any team in a post-season position. TSM isn't just currently at a higher level and standing than its final three opponents in Evil Geniuses, Immortals, and Golden Guardians — it's also undefeated against all three.
ults in a best-of-one format should be taken with a grain of salt, but the nature of TSM's wins against the trio of opponents is indicative that the trend will repeat itself. Evil Geniuses will be hungry for a win against TSM to significantly increase its chances at post-season qualification, but TSM dispatched of EG in less than 30 minutes in their last meeting and its rate of improvement has been higher than EG's in all aspects.
Immortals also fell in under 30 minutes to TSM, and the longest lasting opponent was Golden Guardians at 33 minutes, who has gone 1-11 following its loss to TSM and is currently on a six game losing streak. Qualifying for the 2021 LCS Mid-Season Showdown is practically a given for TSM, it's just a matter of seeing how high they can climb before securing a seed.
It may seem obvious to put Cloud9 at the top of the standings. The team has been in 1st place for the entirety of spring, after all. However, after tough losses to TL and TSM last week, rumblings of concern around a potential stumble from Cloud9 with the post-season fast approaching.
C9's losses to TSM and TL aren't troubling in a vacuum. Both matches were very long with many back-and-forth momentum shifts, and Cloud9 was clearly experimenting in the draft with picks not yet seen in 2021 like Caitlyn, Viktor, and Gangplank. C9 is clearly experimenting to ensure it does not stagnate after a dominant spring like the organization's 2020 roster did, and a very narrow loss to TSM well past 40 minutes isn't much cause for concern looking towards the post-season.
The nature of Team Liquid's win over Cloud9 was similar to TSM's, but the trend it falls into is where things become worrisome for C9. C9 narrowly lost to TL 3-2 in the LCS Lock In finals, and then was trounced by TL in the first round robin. C9 had many a chance to win its most recent bout against Team Liquid, and to have victory snatched by the jaws of defeat in the fashion it was could be detrimental to the team's mentality in future matchups against the Lock in champion.
This is all to say that of any team in the LCS, C9's week 6 matches are by far the least meaningful. With the combination of the spring and summer splits, every win counts regardless of qualification for the Mid-Season showdown, and rather than covet its 1st place position, C9 should use the opportunity to continue to test new picks and diversify its game plans against the lesser opponents of Counter Logic Gaming and Immortals.
C9 may return to a more solidified, familiar game plan against the likes of Dignitas on Saturday in an effort to retain 1st place in the 2021 LCS Spring Split, but aside from that match, expect C9's focus to be entirely on the post-season to ensure that its recent losses against other top teams are a blip on the radar screen instead of something far more concerning.