The culmination of another fiery Summer split has us with an exciting postseason in the EU LCS. The heated competition of the multi-week campaign of the teams has left six in the final contention for the best in Europe, and, maybe more importantly, a place at Worlds. With all eyes locked on the teams and their players, let’s take a look at some of the matchups in the playoffs, their storylines, and what the stakes are.
The Match Up
In contrast perhaps to the other side of the playoff bracket, the throwdown between fourth place G2 and fifth place Misfits is a battle of equals. Misfits dominated the first half of the Summer split, but have shown weaknesses in the latter half. G2 mid split downturn righted itself for them to enter the playoffs, fortunately or unfortunately, against Misfits. The actual statistics between these two teams couldn’t feel any more even than they do. Both teams have won one and lost one. In both games, it felt as if the winning team were in the driver’s seat the whole time, while the other was just along for the ride. Both teams are decisive in their wins, but that doesn’t mean they’re indecisive in their losses. It just feels like when these two clash, it’s about who gets ahead first, and then it’s not a question of if they’ll win, but when.
In contrast to their fellow semi-finals compatriots, G2 Esports and Misfits feel a different kettle of fish as far as questions surrounding the match up. It’s honestly very up in the air at this point. Misifits went all but undefeated in the first round robin, but their grip on the EU LCS slipped drastically in the second half of the split. G2, on the other hand, were more so swept up in the insane battle for supremacy in the middle of the pack, biting and clawing to distance themselves from the rest. They ended fourth overall, nothing to scoff at given the tight race for the playoffs. It’s G2’s roster that has had some shining moments, particularly at Rift Rivals, that feel like they could give them the edge over the Rabbits, alongside . That doesn’t mean you should count MIsfits out, they’re still an absolute menace of a team and, if Steven "Hans Sama" Liv keeps maintaining his stellar performance they’re more than set to right the wrongs from last split.
One of the exciting features of the EU LCS is their diverse cast of Worlds representatives that they’ve sent over the years. Unlike their Western comrades in NA, EU has not been as dominated by the same teams every year representing them (although, that may be changing for NA.) Both G2 and Misfits have had the chance to represent Europe at Worlds (and, for G2, other international performances for better or for worse.) With G2, that comes with a heavy dose of questions and shame. With Misfits, their single international appearance as an organization (only having its second year anniversary) was the complete opposite. They were the darlings of the West, a team that almost took down SKT, and one many didn’t even have on their radar prior to Worlds. They showed up in a big way, while G2 crashed out of groups.
Spring Split was the complete opposite for both rosters though. Misfits struggled, and G2 did what they always do domestically, and that is dominant the competition. While G2 weren’t the crowned kings for Spring, losing to rivals Fnatic, they were no push over team. In the Summer split, Misfits dominance began and G2 were left playing second fiddle to many discussions on the strength of Europe internationally. It’s a battle of tradition against new blood, with the “New” Kings of Europe slowly becoming quite a storied history. Across from them are the young upstarts in Misfits, a new(er), hungry team looking to continue to assert themselves as a top dog in European League of Legends. Only one can carry on their legacy into the next stage of the playoffs though.
What’s At Stake
For Misfits, this is a do or die series. Because of not even appearing in the playoffs during Spring, their championship points sit at a whopping… 0. That’s a scary position to be, although not a doom and gloom one. They’ll still most likely lock up a place in the gauntlet tournament, albeit having to make a run through the whole thing to get to Worlds. G2, on the other hand, can all but guarantee their place at Worlds with a win here off of championship points alone (with a chance to still take first seed, of course.)
The real pressure is on Misfits to try and correct their past season mishaps and book their trip to Korea to once again represent the best of the best from Europe at Worlds. They’ll be itching for another international performance, having missed out on Rift Rivals completely (a point of contention for many with the way Rift Rivals is planned,) and they’ll want to flex their muscles for fans and Europe alike. G2 look to continue doing what they’ve done since their inception: making it to Worlds. There are few constants in League esports like G2 punching their cards to Worlds. Their current roster looks just as intimidating as past iterations, but some may even say it’s stronger. This may be G2’s best shot at redeeming their name fully before the international community with a strong showing. But to get there, they have to perform now.