The LCS Playoffs begin March 30. Tensions are high, as FlyQuest are preparing to face Golden Guardians, and TSM are getting ready to meet Echo Fox in Bo5 Quarterfinals. All four teams went through hell and high water to get here, but only half will advance to the next stage. Join us for a set of quick LCS 2019 playoffs predictions and find out who’s likely to make it!
FlyQuest vs. Golden Guardians
FlyQuest have always been more than the sum of their parts. True to their name, they spent the first half of the regular season flying under the radar, and it was only toward the end of the split that LCS fans started viewing them as playoffs contenders. None of their players can be considered world-class talents, but FlyQuest make up for that shortfalling with teamwork and synergy. They’re also one of the best macro teams in the league, and you can count on them to pressure the right objectives and outmaneuver their opponents around the map.
The rising veterans
Whenever you talk about FlyQuest, you have to mention their veterans. Santorin is arguably a top-three jungler in the league, and his structured pathing and measured aggression will be of great help to FlyQuest in this series. Pobelter also stepped up his game in the mid lane by making the shift from a good-but-not-great role player to someone who can go toe-to-toe with juggernauts like Jensen and Bjergsen.
Then, there’s WildTurtle. The last couple of years haven’t been kind to FlyQuest’s marksman, but he finally regained his footing in 2019. His aggression still errs on the side of recklessness, but he’s sharpened his skill to the point where he routinely gets away with plays few AD carries would consider. Combine that with a couple of young guns in V1per and JayJ, and FlyQuest have all the tools they need to make a deep LCS playoffs run.
Golden Guardians aren’t as balanced. Their game plans revolve around scaling and team fighting, and it’s common to see them sacrifice the laning phase to build a stronger late game team comp. Of course, such a telegraphed playstyle makes them one-dimensional, but even when you know what they’re going to throw at you, it’s still difficult to stop them because Golden Guardians are just that good at what they do.
Clear strengths and obvious weaknesses
It’s no secret most of the Golden Guardians’ momentum comes from their solo lanes. Froggen is the definition of a mid lane powerhouse, and while he doesn’t exert a lot of pressure in lane, he can single-handedly take over teamfights if left unchecked. And even though Hauntzer isn’t too explosive, he still has the mechanics and game sense to put most LCS top laners to a test.
Unfortunately, Golden Guardians aren’t as strong in other positions. Contractz is a question mark in the jungle, and his hectic pathing and haphazard playmaking make him one of the weakest points of this lineup. Deftly and Olleh also leave a lot to be desired. The former needs a winning matchup just to keep up with his bot lane opponent, and the latter makes so many positioning mistakes that he might as well have a giant target painted on his back.
PREDICTION: This will be close, but in the end, FlyQuest will outsmart their opponents and win this LCS 2019 playoffs match with a 3-2 score.
TSM vs. Echo Fox
TSM are on the rise. They had a slow start to their 2019 LCS Spring Split, but once they learned how to manage their aggression, they quickly became one of the most dominant teams in the league. Some of it comes from their players. Their roster is stacked with talent, and almost every player here can carry games in the right circumstances. But it’s the way TSM use their talent to overwhelm their opponents from the first minutes of the game that sets them apart from other North American lineups.
The resurging powerhouse
If we had to pick the main reason behind TSM’s newfound aggression, we’d have to turn to the top lane. Broken Blade is one of the least experienced players in the LCS, yet he already has the skill and confidence to put most veteran top laners on the back foot. Akaadian is also doing his part with sharp ganks and proactive jungle invades, and while some of his plays are riskier than they should be, he makes them work more often than not. Of course, this setup wouldn’t be viable without a solid foundation. Fortunately, the veteran trio of Zven, Smoothie, and Bjergsen is more than capable of holding its ground in lane and finding leads through individual outplays.
Echo Fox looked destined for failure. They started the split with one of the most underwhelming rosters in North America, so many predicted them to finish the regular season in 10th place. However, Echo Fox did a great job of covering their weaknesses and squeezing into the LCS 2019 Playoffs with smart late-game drafts and decent 5v5 teamfighting. We still doubt their band-aid solutions will hold up in a Bo5 setting, but there’s no denying that Echo Fox already hit way above their weight.
A band of outcasts
The best Echo Fox players are the carries. Fenix has always been a talented laner, and while he tends to skip a lot of steps in the later stages of the game, few mid laners can match him in one-on-one combat. Meanwhile, Apollo and Hakuho are one of the most well-rounded bot lanes in the league, and you can count on them to hold their own in lane and show up in teamfights. Other Echo Fox players aren’t as impressive. Solo is a mediocre role player whose only redeeming feature is that he doesn’t require a lot of resources. Then, Rush is a complete wildcard in the jungle. With that, it’s hard to imagine this band of outcasts opposing a team of TSM’s caliber.
PREDICTION: Echo Fox are outclassed here, and TSM should have no issues scoring a 3-0 victory.
Image credits: LoL Esports/Riot Games