NA LCS Playoff Picture: Clearing up the Confusion

Only one thing is certain heading into the last week of the NA LCS, Cloud 9 is finishing in first place. Every other team has a shot to make the playoffs if things break correctly. In the event of ties in the standings head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker and if still tied a tiebreaker game is played with side determined by coin toss.

The LCS concludes its regular season with a super week where every team plays 5 games. You can check out the full standings and team records here. Let's take a simplified look at the playoff scenario for each team.

Vulcun - vs C9, Dignitas, Coast, TSM, Velocity

Vulcun is almost locked into their 2nd place position they've found themselves in all season. They have a 4 game lead with 5 to play on Dignitas, CLG, and TSM. Vulcun only needs to win 2 games to guarantee 2nd place and that coveted bye into the second round of the playoffs.

The only way they would fall completely out of 2nd place is if TSM has a 5-0 or 4-1 week (with Vulcun losing to TSM) and Vulcun goes 1-4 or 0-5. Vulcun holds the tiebreaker with Dignitas and split with CLG this season. Vulcun's most important match this week will be their game against TSM. With a win they all but sew up 2nd, get their bye into the second round of the playoffs and have a great shot at making the Season 3 World Championships.

Vulcun cannot fall out of the playoff picture even with an 0-5 week.

CLG - vs Coast, C9, Velocity, Curse, Dignitas

CLG has been an enigmatic team all season. They have weeks where they look like they could take out anyone, including handing Cloud9 one of their only losses of the season, and other weeks they look disjointed en route to several losses. They are tied for 3rd with Dignitas and TSM going into super week, and hold the tiebreaker with TSM and lead Dig 2-1 in the season series.

They are in the best position to take 3rd place and avoid Cloud 9 in Round 2 of the playoffs. If they beat Dignitas, they only need to finish with the same record as both TSM and Dig to come out ahead. CLG plays only one team that has a better record than them going into super week and Cloud9 has nothing to play for. 2nd place is also a longshot if they go 4-1 or 5-0 and finish tied with Vulcun, they would play a tiebreaker to determine who gets the bye.

If CLG has a poor week though, 2-3 or worse, they could easily find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. They only hold a 2 game lead over Coast and Curse, and trail the season series 0-3 to Coast and 1-2 to Curse. With another loss to Curse and a 1-4 week, Doublelift and crew would finish 7th and have to requalify for the LCS yet again.

TSM - vs Velocity, Coast, Curse, Vulcun, C9

TSM is in an odd position. They are tied for 3rd currently, but have losing records against both teams they are tied with (Dig and CLG). They could theoretically still finish in 2nd with a 5-0 or 4-1 week as long as they beat Vulcun and Vulcun loses at least 2 games.

TSM is coming off a 1-2 week, and have had a season full of inconsistency. The way their schedule plays out though is extremely favorable for them though and it is extremely unlikely they end up missing the playoffs entirely. The only team they have a losing record against this week is Cloud9, who again have already locked up first place. TSM also holds the tiebreaker against Coast and Velocity.

TSM's most important matches this week will be against Curse and Vulcun. They lead both series 2-1 and with wins over those would not only guarantee them a spot in the playoffs. The only way they fall completely out of the playoff picture is with 1-4 or 0-5 week that sees Coast and Curse both go 4-1 or better. 

Dignitas - vs Curse, Vulcun, C9, Velocity, CLG

Dignitas is a team in a precarious position. They only hold tiebreakers against Coast and Velocity and could easily find themselves out of the playoffs with a poor week (2-3 or worse). Imaqtpie played out of his mind last week to carry Dig to a 2-1 record and he'll need to continue that level of play to get Dignitas into the playoffs.

Dignitas' most important games this week are against Curse and CLG. Wins would tie the season series and force a tiebreaker game if they tied with either, but losses would put them in a precarious position to potentially fall to 6th place or even out of the playoffs entirely. Their 3rd place prospects rely heavily on them being able to at least go even with CLG this week, including a win over them.

What makes this week so hard for Dignitas is the schedule. The only team they play they currently have a winning record against this week is Velocity, meaning they'll have a tough hill to climb to finish better than 6th or 7th. A 2nd place finish is still in the realm of possibility, however unlikely. With a 5-0 week and Vulcun finish 0-5 Dignitas would move as high as 2nd place. Dig falls out of the playoffs with a 1-4 or 0-5 finish as long as Coast finishes a game above them and Curse ties them.

Curse - vs Dignitas, Velocity, TSM, CLG, Coast

Curse is reeling after a 0-3 showing last week and needs to rebound to make the playoffs. A 4-1 week would secure a playoff birth for them providing one of their wins includes their match against Coast. Realistically, as long as they can beat Coast in their match this week and tie them for wins this week they can guarantee a spot in the playoffs.

Curse is another team that has the schedule working in their favor. The only team they play this week they have a losing record against is TSM, a team they should have beaten in their last match. Cop and Edward have stepped their play up from the beginning of the season, and as long as Curse's solo lanes live up to the immense potential Curse should find themselves in the playoffs, likely in the 5th of 6th position.

Curse has the potential to hold the tiebreaker or be even with every team ahead of them in the standings except Vulcun and Cloud9. Their destiny is in their own hands and a poor showing this week could mean major changes to the roster going forward.

Coast - vs CLG, TSM, Vulcun, C9, Curse

Coast is in the opposite position from Curse. The only team ahead of them they hold the tiebreaker with this split is with CLG making their schedule and path to the playoffs incredibly difficult. 

Their match with Curse on the last day of the season is likely the one that determines their fate, and Shiphtur and ZionSpartan are going to have to do all they can to carry this team as far as it can go. If they beat Curse, they can finish tied with them on the season and play a tiebreaker game to see who goes on, but banking on winning both those is tough.

Coast's best way into the playoffs is simply going 3-2 or better (including a win over Curse) and hoping Curse goes 2-3. That would put them in the 6th slot against CLG, a team they have played well against this season and would have them avoid C9 in the second round of the playoffs. This team turned it on at this time last split, and made a huge run to finish 2nd in the playoffs so you can't count them out but they certainly made things tough on themselves.

Velocity - vs TSM, Curse, CLG, Dignitas, Vulcun

As tough as making the playoffs is for Coast, Velocity finds themselves needing an incredible week along with poor fortune from both Coast and Curse ahead of them. Velocity only has a winning record against CLG, and can't play them every game unfortunately.

Velocity has shuffled their lineup several times this split, and the most current iteration has some potential. They are 3-3 in their last 6 games but have to go 5-0 to have any kind of shot at the playoffs. They have to hope Coast finishes 0-5 and Curse goes 1-4 with the 1 win coming against Coast.

Coast and Curse play each other so they can't both finish 0-5, the only scenario that sees Velocity in the playoffs is Curse to win that match but lose every other game along with Coast losing every game to make the playoffs outright in the 6th spot. They need a miracle, but stranger things have happened.

Let the chips fall where they may this weekend, it will certainly be a wild finish to the regular season with so many spots so closely contested. Cloud9's role in all this will be interesting to watch. They have 1st place locked up and could potentially swing the standings drastically based on how they play out each game and what they try out with nothing to lose or gain.

The standings likely stay the same as they are right now with C9 in 1st, Vulcun 2nd, CLG, TSM, Dig, and Curse rounding out the playoff teams. Coast and Velocity are likely the odd men out, but stranger things have happened as we saw at the end of the split last season with Vulcun and Coast going on the insane runs they did.

What do you think RoG'ers? Who has the easiest path to the playoffs? Who finishes in what spot? Who surprises everyone this weekend? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to stay tuned to ReignofGaming for all your LoL-related needs.

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