With the dust still setting from the European Regionals, the attention turns to North America this weekend as PAX Primes plays host to the League of Legends North American Regionals. Let’s take a look at what is at stake and learn about some of the match ups.
There is no better way to put it then to flat out say that a lot is on the line this weekend at PAX. The top six LCS teams made it to PAX. Of those teams, the top five will secure their spots in the next LCS Split and the top three teams will advance to the League of Legends World Championships. It certainly makes for some good viewing when pretty much every game matters and matters quite a bit.
The first couple of matches are already scheduled out, with Vulcan and Cloud 9 each getting a buy into the semi-finals. All games will be a best of three except for the Regional Finals, which will be a best of five. The schedule for the weekend can be found here. When a team only needs to win two games to advance anything can happen, but that won’t stop us from breaking down the matchups and trying to come up with a prediction or two.
Team Curse versus Team Dignitas
Two teams that have been in this position before and know exactly what this kind of pressure feels like. Playmakers can be found on both teams with Scarra and Imaqtpie for Dignitas and Voyboy and Saintvicious for Curse. I am favoring Curse in this matchup for a couple of reasons. Curse won three of the four regular season battles between these teams, proving that they know how to beat Dignitas. Both Curse and Dignitas tend to be very momentum based. Curse enters this playoff coming off of a strong super week whereas Dignitas limped into the playoffs. Look for Curse to pull off another win against Dignitas at PAX.
Cloud 9 will take on the winner of the game between Dignitas and Curse. This team has had one of the best seasons in LCS history. The team is solid on all positions and is well known for its team fight prowess. What they do not have is any experience in the LCS playoffs or in any other matches of this importance. Whichever team they end up facing will have prior playoff experience and will have momentum coming out of the quarter final match.
If Cloud 9 can play like they have all split then they should be able to win this game easily, but their lack of experience in a game of this calibre creates a decent chance of an upset. We have seen Cloud 9 forced to win from behind quite frequently during the Summer Split. Expect this to be a lot harder in the playoffs.
Counter-Logic Gaming versus Team Solomid
Probably the only truly historic professional League of Legends rivalry, this installment of the battle between CLG and TSM should prove interesting. Despite going through a period of rebuilding, CLG managed to defeat TSM in all four of their meetings during the summer split. CLG has looked increasingly good, but I am picking TSM to win this matchup. TSM has a history of rising up in big matches, and I do not see this one being the exception. TSM is capable of playing on a level that CLG simply cannot yet match. With two weeks to prepare, I expect TSM to bring their best and take the series.
Team Vulcan will play the winner of the game between CLG and TSM. Vulcan has had a great season, finishing second, and looked good during the last crucial week of play. Vulcan, much like Cloud 9, is a very well rounded team that specializes in team fights. Unlike Cloud 9, they also have some solid playoff experience under their belts, battling to finish 3rd overall in the Spring Split. I think that Vulcan’s combination of skill and experience makes them a favorite to not only win in the semis but to actually win the whole tournament. A hard charging TSM team could give them trouble, if they get past CLG, but I feel like Vulcan matches up well against any of the other five teams.
Worlds Qualification Predictions
I believe that Cloud 9, Vulcan and TSM will ultimately be the three teams that North America sends to the World Championships. While I worry about Cloud 9 losing in the semi-finals I can’t see them losing back to back matches, especially against whoever fails to win the other semi. Vulcan has the experience and talent to make it through to the finals without too much trouble. TSM is my choice of the third team because I feel like they always elevate their play for the big games. Barring an upset against CLG, I think TSM should be one of the teams qualifying for Worlds.
Relegation (Last Place) Prediction
This one is lot harder to make. Just like Cloud 9 and Vulcan are fairly close in skill so are the teams that will risk losing their spot in the next Spring Split. Dignitas looked the weakest heading into this event, but if they find some momentum then we could see pretty much any teams not named Cloud 9, Vulcan or TSM finishing in last.
There you have all my picks for the NA Regionals. Whether you are a diehard fan or just looking to learn a little bit about the game, definitely take a look at this weekend’s schedule and try and tune in for a game or two. The games are all important and that means that the quality of play should be amazing, and a great showcase for some of the fun you can have playing League of Legends.