2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs Preview: The Showdown Begins

Worlds 2018 is just right around the corner, but before then, we’ve still got a couple of things to take care of first, including the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs.

The entirety of the EU LCS has shown some really high level plays during the final few weeks of the group stage. The bottom tier teams coming out and destroying high level teams during the last week of the regular split was one of the best things that could have happened to the region. Top tier teams have not only been humbled, but the average gameplay level has risen sharply due to everyone giving the matches their all.

Given that the stakes only go higher from here on out, we can expect the level of play to only rise once the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs start.

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs: Patch 8.16 and BO5

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs

Burst mages like Fizz might not be too common during the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs. (Image via League of Legends Wikia)

If you haven’t been paying attention, patch 8.16 that the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs will be played on has really swung the cane at burst damage champions like Fizz, Olaf and Quinn, and runes like Electrocute.

We talked about how dominant LeBlanc was during the final week of the group stage, and changes like this could be enough to wipe her out of the playing field. Furthermore, tanks have received some great buffs which will obviously spin the meta in a different direction than it has been following thus far.

We might see games which will scale even slower than they have been up until now, and there might even be a comeback of hyper-carries like Kog’Maw, who’d fit right into this atmosphere of no critical chance items, assassins and lots of tanks.

Lastly, the best of 5 scenario is important because it’ll change the way games will go about their business. Fnatic have had major success in surprising their opponents with creative strategies and snowballing the game early on. That might not work in a best of 5, because a multitude of games is enough to counter such a strategy.

The longer series should give teams who have shown consistency an advantage, such as the aforementioned Fnatic, G2 Esports, and Vitality.

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs Schedule

Friday, August 24, 2018 – Day 1 Quarterfinals (Schalke 04 vs Splyce)

Saturday, August 25, 2018 – Day 2 Quarterfinals (G2 Esports vs Misfits)

Friday, August 31, 2018 – Day 1 Semifinals (Vitality vs TBD)

Saturday, September 1, 2018 – Day 2 Semifinals (Fnatic vs TBD)

Saturday, September 8, 2018 – Third place (TBD vs TBD)

Sunday, September 9, 2018 – Finals (TBD vs TBD)

All games will be in a Best of 5 format. Teams that win the quarterfinal will proceed to face their predetermined opponents in the semifinals. The event has a prize pool of $200,000 and the winner will automatically earn a place in Worlds 2018.

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs: Power Rankings

1. Vitality

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs

Vitality have never looked stronger. If they keep up their performance, this split is all but theirs. (Image via LoL Esports Flickr)

This wouldn’t have been our opinion a few weeks ago, but that’s because Vitality was a different team back then. The way they’re going right now, they seem utterly unstoppable, and aren’t showing any weaknesses whatsoever. Their spectacular victory in the Summer playoffs tiebreaker is reason enough for us to put our faith in them.

They know how to teamfight, and they know how to push the map brilliantly – no team has been able to counter that yet, and we doubt any team will. Jiizuke has begun carrying games like he used to during the Spring split, and he claims that he’ll be able to again whenever he’s needed.

If that’s the case, Vitality’s problems are now behind them.

2. Schalke 04

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs

Nukeduck and Amazing make a great duo; one capable of carrying their team to victory. (Image via LoL Esports Flickr)

It’s a tough choice between Fnatic and Schalke 04 for the second place on our ladder.

The reason we’re going with Schalke 04 is due to two main reason, with the first one being just how consistent they’ve been in their playstyle. Not in terms of their win rate, but how well they’ve played each match – this team has managed to keep their communications at an optimal level, and know how to maneuver the map to their advantage without taking any big risks.

The 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs will be far more interesting now that this team is in the quarterfinals, because we’ll be able to judge for ourselves whether this team can keep up their composure in a best of 5, high pressure situation.

The second reason for choosing them above Fnatic is the shift in the meta, which seems to indicate lower burst damage and better tanks – something that works very well with Schalke. If they play their cards right, they’ll have their upcoming match in the bag.

Schalke 04 are also one of the few teams in the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs that are blessed with an exceptional ADC: Upset. If they put him to good use, which they have up until now, they’ll be able to win games with ease. He’s dependable, and doesn’t require much resources – scaling up while he lets Amazing and Nukeduck do the carrying.

3. Fnatic

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs

The 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs meta might allow Rekkles to make a comeback. (Image via LoL Esports Flickr)

Fnatic have been in a sort of dilemma when it comes to benching sOAZ or Rekkles. Both players have their strengths and weaknesses, but recently, Rekkles has performed less than what we’ve come to expect of him.

Without Rekkles, Fnatic have no choice but to pool their resources into Caps with the hopes that he’ll carry the rest of the team. If that strategy gets shut down, the team has nowhere to run.

Fortunately for Fnatic, we don’t think they’ll face much of a challenge before the finals arrive, which gives them ample time to come up with new strategies. By that time, the meta might be different, and Rekkles might have an edge if it turns towards one that revolves around tanks, because that’s where he shines.

4. G2 Esports

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs

G2 Esports need to work on their team synergy if they want to proceed to the semifinals of the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs. (Image via LoL Esports Flickr)

Once the best team in Europe, G2 Esports have found themselves at the 4th place in the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs because their team isn’t showing the level of coordination that it should. Specifically, their jungler Jankos doesn’t seem to be on the same page as the rest of the team anymore, and without him, the star player of the team – Perkz – can’t carry the game.

G2 Esports’ bot lane has been struggling due to Hjarnan’s lack of performance. He can carry games when he’s in form, but that hasn’t been the case for the last few games. Perkz has had to solo carry the game as best as he can, with Wunder trying to assist him.

G2 is the sort of team that’s never out of the competition, though.

There’s no telling if they’ll make a turnaround and take the region by storm. Judging by their last two games against Vitality, however, they’ve got their work cut out for them during these 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs.

5. Splyce

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs

kaSing has done everything he can to win. His team needs to follow suit. (Image via LoL Esports Flickr)

Splyce has always had what it takes; this is why they’ve made it to the playoffs twice in a row. However, they’re superb when it comes to unreliability. They’ve had ups and downs all Summer split, and even the Spring split. That’s something that simply won’t stand during the best of 5 matches, especially against the best teams in the region.

KaSing is one of the best supports in the region, and perhaps the only player in the team who’s been delivering consistently. Unfortunately, the rest of the team behaves according to the flip of a coin, which makes them suffer, because kaSing doesn’t always get his key Tahm Kench pick. They might still have some luck during the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs quarterfinals, because Misfits is a team that’s been performing even worse than Splyce.

Splyce really need to work on how they reach the late game, and develop their team around compositions which can’t be compromised in the late game. They were having a great game against Fnatic, but were destroyed by a single Wukong mid pick by Caps. They’ve got the right team fighting synergy, and need to focus on comps which can scale into the late game without having to sacrifice too much in the early game.

6. Misfits

2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs

If Misfits solve their issues, they could find themselves leading the region again. (Image via LoL Esports Flickr)

There was a time when Misfits would have been right on the top of this list, but unfortunately, they’ve hit a slump that they just don’t seem ready to get out of. They’ve even tried shuffling up their team roster, but it had no effect whatsoever. Changing Mikyx with Jesiz had a negative effect on the team, forcing them to reverse the move.

Even then, they weren’t able to play the way they want to. The early game is where they got all their leads when they were on a winning spree. That’s all changed, and now they aren’t getting any leads at all, without which they just can’t perform. Maxlore has been consistent as a jungler, and Hans Sama is still one of the best ADCs in the region. The team has all the talent they need; all they’re lacking is the shot calling.

If Misfits can somehow manage to overcome their shortcomings regarding their playstyle in the early game, they could go golden again. However, in their current state, it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to beat Splyce, much less Fnatic.


What do you think about our power rankings of the 2018 EU LCS Summer Playoffs teams? Do you think Vitality deserve the top spot that we’ve given them? Most of the teams are competent enough to represent the region internationally, which gives us confidence.

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