The race for a playoff spot is beginning to take shape. Sitting in the sixth and final position is the perennial power of Cloud9, with a two game lead and a record of 6-6. As the final three weeks play out, can anyone catch outmuscle last split’s finalists for the final slot?
After an excruciatingly close loss to Team SoloMid in the Spring Split Finals, Cloud9 entered this split as a clear favorite to finish near the top of the standings.
While they have received MVP caliber play from their star mid laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and a much-improved split for jungler Juan Arturo “Contractz” Garcia, Cloud9 has found themselves in a slump that has put them on the edge of missing the playoffs.
With a two game lead and only three weeks remaining, Cloud9 fans likely still feel confident in their chances of holding onto the final spot.
With the disaster that is Team Liquid four games behind, there are really only three teams who could threaten to overtake Cloud9 in the final weeks; Echo Fox, FlyQuest, and Phoenix1.
While only two games behind Cloud9 in the standings, Echo Fox should pose little threat to the Spring Split finalists. Winning only two of their last ten series, Echo Fox has seemingly sabotaged their chances in recent weeks by experimenting with different roster combinations, even substituting star mid laner and team leader Henrik “Froggen” Hansen.
Unless there is a dramatic turnaround almost immediately, Echo Fox should pose little threat to Cloud9.
After their top four finish to the spring split, FlyQuest appeared to only have increased their strength with the addition of former TSM AD Carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran to their roster.
Instead, FlyQuest has struggled to find their footing and slid to the bottom of the standings. While FlyQuest has shown great improvement in the past few weeks, their remaining schedule would require them to steal multiple games against a few of the top teams in the NA LCS to have a chance to catch Cloud9.
The final team hoping to overtake Cloud9 is the surprise of Rift Rivals, Phoenix1. Since the arrival of rookie jungler Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung and the addition of Alex “Xpecial” Chu, P1 have looked like a team reborn who could challenge the top teams of the NA LCS.
Still, they remain three games behind Cloud9 with only six games left on their schedule, a tall task for any team to overcome.
All three of these teams will play Cloud9 before the end of the season, and if you had to pin your hopes on one of the three to make a run at the playoffs, it is likely their first opponent Phoenix1.
Cloud9 will face off against P1 in the opening match of week seven, a must win game for both sides if they wish to be in with a chance at a playoffs run. A loss for Phoenix1 would push them further away from any chance of securing a coveted spot in the World Championships.
All three teams will get their shot at Cloud9, but it is still Cloud9’s spot to lose. Though they are currently in the sixth spot, Team Dignitas and Team EnVyUs are only one game ahead, and a late season plunge by either squad could reasonably see either FlyQuest or Phoenix1 push them for a playoff position.