As we wrote last week, there’s never been a more contested playoffs race in the LCK than the current season. Usually, by the time the final week rolls out, the majority of playoffs participants are known, if not for their exact placements. But now, with just one week to go, only Griffin can rest easily, knowing that they will be among the top 5.
Griffin’s run has been one of ups and downs this season, much unlike their tour de force in Spring. The team started well in the first four weeks, but a series of losses between weeks 4 and 5 brought them down as low as 5th place at the end of week 8. With so many teams on equal or close scores, there was no guarantee that Griffin would even make it to the playoffs, let alone repeat their regular season win.
But in true example of how contested the playoffs race this Summer is, Griffin’s pair of victories in week 9 propelled them from 5th place straight to the top of the rankings, while securing their playoffs berth. They could still drop their last two games in week 10, of course, but at least have more room to breathe than any of the other teams currently in playoffs contention.
The middle-of-the-table tiebreaker
Every single game matters from here on and even the smallest mistakes can cost a team their playoffs spot. DAMWON and SANDBOX Gaming are tied for second at 11-5 and +9 tiebreaker each. SKT are just behind at 10-6 at 4th place, and Afreeca Freecs and Gen.G are in a tie of their own at 5th place with 10-7 (+5) each. The latter two, together with Kingzone DragonX are in most danger: they have only one more match to play, while the other four teams have two more. KZ, at the same time, are the lowest of the seven top teams at 9-8.
For Kingzone to have any hope of making playoffs, they will need to beat KT 2-0, and have Gen.G and AFS lose their next matches 0-2, forcing a tiebreaker between the three teams. If any of the teams win at least one game, then KZ are out of the playoffs for good.
How can Kingzone do it?
This is going to be difficult, however. The next matches for these teams are:
— Afreeca Freecs vs. Hanwha Life
— Gen.G vs. DAMWON Gaming
— Kingzone DragonX vs. KT Rolster
DAMWON are one of the best teams of the current season, so them beating Gen.G 2-0 is not out of the question, although they lost to them 1-2 in the first half of the split. KZ are also much better than KT Rolster, so they can realistically hope for a 2-0 win there.
The one match that can crush their playoffs hopes is AFS vs. HLE. Afreeca destroyed Hanwha Life 2-0 in the first half and are looking to do it again. HLE have not been good this season and asking of them to blank AFS is perhaps too much. Then again, they did just beat SKT 2-1, so nothing’s out of the question.