EU & NA LCS 2018 Summer Season Week 9 preview

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The final week of the regular season in this summer’s Europe League of Legends Championship Series is all about play-off positioning, with the top six teams have already secured a play-off berth.

Fnatic eye top slot

Fnatic’s fate is in their own hands. They secure the top seeding if they beat two already-eliminated participants in ROCCAT and the Unicorns of Love.

Fnatic have been dominant, with unique champion pools and a versatile set of players that can flex to any situation. Fnatic are also set up well for the play-offs, with the ability to select sOAZ, Bwipo and Rekkles – the choice will depend on the opponent.

Match of the week

One of the matches of the week sees a Misfits Gaming side limping into the play-offs face Team Vitality, who have suffered just a singular loss with Kikis in the line-up.

Misfits did decide to change their roster last week with the introduction of Jesiz into the Support role. It produced decent results. His position is unknown moving forward and the same can be said of Team Vitality as a whole as they continue to try to break their streaky nature.

Ever hot and cold, this week is big for Team Vitality as they look to enter the play-offs on a high note. However, the schedule is less than kind, with their bout against Misfits being followed up with a showdown against G2 Esports.

Schalke’s rehearsal?

FC Schalke 04 remain the most interesting team in the league having appeared to hit their peak in the latter half of the season.

The newcomers to the top tier still have their issues, but the high skill ceiling displayed by Nukeduck remains complemented by the likes of Amazing and VandeR, with even Upset seeing an upturn in his play as of late.

Yet still, Schalke must not get over-confident, with a potential play-off rehearsal against Splyce to come this week before they close out in a possible trap game against H2K, who will be leaving it all on the line after a rough split.

Europe’s games take place on Friday and Saturday.

Cloud9 on a roll

Over in North America, Cloud9 have risen to the status of being one of the best teams in the league after their performance in Week 8.

Following a solid outing against the Golden Guardians, Cloud9 were able to decimate top-seeded Team Liquid, despite using two of their Academy players in Svenskeren and Goldenglue.

Cloud9 appear to be firing on every cylinder, with this week representing a chance to cement themselves as a top team – their final matches are against 100 Thieves and FlyQuest.

TSM pushing late

The final play-off spot appears to be primarily a race between TSM and OpTic Gaming, with those two squads facing off on Saturday.

TSM have suddenly won three out of four, the most recent against 100 Thieves. The question for Team SoloMid is their consistency and mid-game shot-calling, which has been disproportionately poor given the incredible wealth of talent currently on the roster.

Showing the ability to play Zilean was a nice addition, with TSM needing every advantage they can get moving forward.

OpTic also in the mix

OpTic found a 1-1 week off the back of a victory over Echo Fox, with perhaps the most complex draft of the year.

With each team looking to utilise their flexibility, an odd draft was destined to happen, but comfort picks across the board alongside the recently-buffed Fizz gave OpTic the punching power they needed.

This must be the identity of OpTic moving forward into the final week, with trickery and flexibility at the forefront of their pick-and-ban strategy. The hope in game lies on the play of PowerOfEvil who, while not on a team dominating the league, has started to pick up MVP steam heading into the final week of play.

Both TSM and OpTic have similar-powered opponents to finish against, with TSM facing Liquid and OpTic taking on 100 Thieves on Sunday.