In tonight’s LCO Split 2 lower bracket finale, our game of musical planes has its last round.
Not for the LCO, of course—we’re still a week out from finding our champion—but tonight sees the last chance for an Oceanic team to have a crack at Worlds. Aside from a place in Sunday week’s grand final, the winner of tonight will secure the final place in PCS Playoffs.
They’ll join Team Bliss, who
as this writer definitely predicted showed The Chiefs both sides of their hand in a 3-0 demolition job last night. Tristan “Lived” Fulcher continues to grow in leaps and bounds as a top-laner, even years into the switch his growth is a delight. Lived fears no one; it’s one thing to say it or tweet it, but Lived plays like it and almost always does so intelligently.
Chiefs had little response to the Bliss threat on the night, much to the comical chagrin of Quin “Raes” Korebrits. His opposite number in Samil “leemas” Kip now noticeably rises to Raes’ challenge, where earlier in his career he would wither away from it. Of the most concern for my mind for Chiefs, is the luster coming off of Ronald “Kisee” Vo.
Recently I’ve felt that he was more of a beneficiary of the teams’ performance than the driver of it, but last night was a performance below the standard he has set over the course of an otherwise successful 2023.
Not that any of the Chiefs hit the mark yesterday, but if they want to get back to, and topple Bliss in another grand final, Kisee will need to find another gear. Probably more than one, as Daystar stands tall, and stands alone at the top of the LCO mid laner pack.
Reece’s Game of the Week — Mammoth vs Chiefs
Chiefs fans will rightly take some comfort in that their opponent tonight is certainly no Bliss. They’ll expect to win this series, and win it well.
Until yesterday, they’ve handled this split largely as expected save for a random loss to PGG in the regular split. They’ve been neck-and-neck with Bliss and have pumped almost everyone else.
Mammoth has delivered us a mixed bag this playoffs, showing a scintillating win sandwiched between a crushing loss, and a less-than-convincing win over a Vertex that delighted us en route to a debut fourth-place finish.
Part of the frustration with Mammoth comes from the ability and performances they flash from time to time. They tore Pentanet limb from limb, like a hapless sabretooth caught in their tusks. This Mammoth can challenge the established top two and take games from them. If everything breaks right, it’s in their achievable range to win this series. The frustration comes in when they stumble to the point of inviting “Are Vertex going to win this one?!” into everyone’s minds.
If Mammoth’s mid/jungle duo can push or even best their Chiefs counterparts, this series will be busted wide open. On the current form, I don’t think there’s enough of a gap in any side lane for either team to survive a collapse in the middle of the map so both teams need to come ready to put their mid laners in a position to succeed.
I think The Chiefs have this series on paper as they are a top-to-bottom better squad and comfortably handled Mammoth in the first round, lest we forget. But the question will be how they rebound from yesterday.
When Chiefs defeated Mammoth, Mammoth responded with an “…and I took that personally” approach. If The Chiefs do the same, I fear today will largely go as the last matchup did. But if Mammoth can rattle The Chiefs early, then the door swings wide open.
It isn’t even that I think that Chiefs are mentally weak or anything, but confidence and momentum can really be a difference-maker in best-of-five play.
I think Mammoth can open that door, but ultimately the lure of PCS playoffs and a shot at Worlds will see Chiefs slam it back closed.
3-1 to The Chiefs for me.
LCO Split 2 Playoffs Day 5 Predictions
Tonight’s semi-finals come with a chance for Taiwan at stake and a potential shot at Worlds. Catch up on the action in our ultimate coverage hub.