The playoffs are here. Nine weeks of regular season play and one day of playoffs has seen the LCO’s eight teams become four playoff contenders, all vowing for the LCO title and a trip to the Mid-Season Invitational.
Widely considered a Grand Finals preview, today’s match between the Chiefs (1st seed) and the red hot Pentanet.GG (3rd seed) will set the tone for the rest of LCO’s double-elimination playoffs stage.
The winner of this best of five will go on to qualify for the Grand Finals set for April 11, while the losing side will have a chance to recover and regroup: having to clash with Order or Peace for the remaining finals slot next week.
Choi “BalKhan” Hyun-jin and PGG blasted past Peace in an undisputed 3-0. In and out of lane, Yao “Apii” Jian-Jing gave the Dragons hope during what must have been a bitter series loss to suffer. But in the end, every player on Pentanet had a moment to shine from Jake “Rogue” Sharwood’s Leona & Rakan to Cha “Yuri” Hee-min’s Vex, LeBlanc and Ahri performances.
Dire Wolves fumbled in the last moments of game one against Order. Losing one critical teamfight near Baron swung what seemed close to a sure win for Nathan “Kyose” Bacha’s Wolfpack. From there the series was neatly in favour of, and never in doubt for, Order 3-0 — highlighted by an un-killable and ever-present Zilean/Vayne pairing from Ronald “Kisee” Vo and Nathan “Puma” Puma in the series conclusion.
The Panel Picks: Chiefs (Unanimous Decision)
Perry: Even while the Pentanet boys were hyping themselves out as the second-best team, and that this was the match that was coming down the pipeline, I wasn’t all the way there on-board with it.
Then I arrived at yesterday’s game between Peace and PGG, and there was no other conclusion to reach.
These are the two best teams in the region, and it isn’t particularly close.
The dichotomy between them is utterly compelling; incredible top/jungle synergies, the ever present brain gap James “Tally” Shute has had over the league for years, and the two best supports in the league going toe-to-toe.
I see five games, just because I can’t see either team getting a seismic edge over the other. In the abstract I see BalKhan as a better fit for his team in the matchup than Park “Arthur” Mi-reu, but conversely I think Arthur is a great foil for BalKhan one-for-one.
Much as the PGG match yesterday, the jungle matchup will determine this best-of-five. Who gets to impose their will determines whose terms the match is played on.
The bot lanes wash out — while both are in the upper echelon of the league Quin “Raes” Korebrits is a cut above Mark “Praedyth” Lewis, yet Rogue is also a shade above Dragon “Dragku” Guo.
Pentanet.GG have some of the best five-man teamfighting in the league, if not the overall best.
But Raes is a superhero, and he carries teamfights in an ocean of Riot-pushing diving carries. Any teamfight Raes is still alive in is a teamfight Chiefs still has a chance in.
As you can see, there’s a myriad of different factors that can impact this battle.
All in all, I see these teams as perfect combatants, and I hope these two can give us another best of five to enjoy. But for the first one, on the back of Raes and Tally, I’m giving the narrowest edge to the Chiefs.
The Chiefs 3-2 Pentanet.GG
Taylor: The first ticket to the LCO Grand Finals awaits the winners of tonight’s match and the league’s two most dominant teams are the ones that find themselves contesting for it.
After getting yesterday off to scout the competition, The Chiefs enter into these games as the team to beat in the playoffs. Winning 19 games in the regular season including 14 in a row is more than enough to earn the right to be called the favourites.
It hasn’t been a cakewalk for them to earn that title, however, as they have been pushed, both by their opponents and their own decisions at points, but they never really broke.
If anyone is going to give the Chiefs a challenge and break them it will be Pentanet. Coming off a clean and convincing 3-0 performance last night peace, momentum will be riding high for them — doubled with being the team to end the Chiefs’ winning streak just last week.
All ten players on the rift can easily make very convincing claims to being top two in the league in their respective roles, and this should lead to high skill, intense matchups in both lanes and throughout Summoners Rift.
Ultimately, for me, this is the Chiefs’ game (and title) to lose. They are in a way their own worst enemy, making games harder on themselves at times and being the cause of their rare losses. I see this series being explosive and high octane, with the Chiefs coming out on top in what is hopefully a barn burner.
The Chiefs 3-1 Pentanet.GG
Hoàng: These are the best series of League of Legends. Yes, there are rankings and stats that will favour teams that have played the best over a long stretch of time. But when a contender is white-hot, when the stakes are rising, it raises the perennial question — who will win when it matters most?
The Chiefs have a bit of pressure mounting on their shoulders today. In their most recent clash with Pentanet in the final week of LCO they conceded only their second loss of the season.
It should go without saying that it was no minor feat that Tally and the Chiefs crew achieved, otherwise cruising through the split largely unchallenged throughout the split, including the 2-1 record against their rivals tonight.
Kim “Winterer” Dong-geun looked like a top lane mastermind in the series yesterday against Peace, whipping out genius comp-defining counter picks: Malphite, Jayce, and Poppy. But it would be quite the statement if he could take it to Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon, who is probably the most effective top carry in OCE.
I know I harp on about it, but being across the river from BalKhan seems like a contender’s nightmare — a jungle carry who specialises in decisive early game pressure gets to play out the early game multiple times in series play. Just the thought of it I’m sure keeps laners up at night.
But since we’re getting to more high-pressure matchups, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the occasional slow-paced and cautious match — especially if Arthur and Dragku can keep wards on BalKhan — in which case I heavily favour Raes as a carry presence in late-game scenarios.
The Chiefs 3-1 Pentanet.GG
A matchup between favorites to take LCO’s top prize: Chiefs or Pentanet. Who will make it to the finals first? Catch up on all the split details in our ultimate coverage hub.