2022 LCS Spring Split Playoffs Preview | Predictions, Narratives, Expectations

TSG | 2022 LCS Spring Split Playoffs Preview

The 2022 LCS Spring Split playoffs are about to begin and, needless to say, we’re all excited beyond measure! As always, we’re here to give all the nitty-gritty you might need for your betting endeavors — this preview will cover the who, what, when, and why along with numerous other intangibles and particularities you ought to keep in mind going forward.

This most recent split was quite a strange one. It was a fair bit more competitive than expected which, of course, is a very positive sign for the region as a whole. Then again, one cannot help but wonder: what if we’re interpreting it all wrong?

What if this competitiveness wasn’t the result of the region evolving but rather of its best teams regressing?

That’s our biggest fear, and it’s well founded, too. It’s not that important of a question right now but it is something worth pondering, especially with the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational being right around the corner.

No one’s really willing to get their hopes up for North America. Optimism and the LCS simply don’t go hand-in-hand. Be that as it may, the first international tournament of the year is still a few weeks away, so there’s really no reason to be all doom and gloom about it just yet.

The top four teams in North America are not only stacked with exceptional players but they also have an incredibly high skill ceiling as well. Watching them compete, therefore, will be an absolute must! There’s a fair bit of intrigue, too, what with TL, C9, and 100 Thieves all being separated by the slimmest of margins.

We have a ton of ground to cover, so let’s begin!

2022 LCS Spring Split Playoffs Preview | What’s on the Line?

Not a whole lot, in all fairness. Winning Spring has always been frowned upon for a reason. You do get to represent your region at MSI, but other than that there’s really nothing else on the line.

MONEY ISN’T A FACTOR
The winning team will claim a sizable sack of cash for its efforts, but that’s also not as alluring and motivating as it might seem — most top-tier LCS players are already “making bank,” so adding a few more Benjamin Franklins to their wallets probably isn’t a top priority.

That, however, doesn’t mean they’re not going to tryhard and compete like their lives depend on it — they all want to etch their names in history, and that’s arguably far easier to pull off in Spring than it is in Summer.

2022 LCS Spring Split Playoffs Preview | Who’s Playing?

A meager six teams are left standing. Four of them are astonishingly capable. The remaining two, while nowhere near as layered and promising, can still pack one heck of a punch and are a lot more dangerous than one would expect.

And, perhaps most importantly, they all love to skirmish and trade heavy blows from the very moment they spawn on the Summoner’s Rift. So, if you’re a fan of hectic, “fiesta-like” League of Legends, make sure to clear out your schedule and tune in!

Team Liquid [14W-4L] — The former four-time LCS champions will enter the Spring Split playoffs with a metric ton of hype and momentum. Are they the best team in North America? We’re not quite certain, but they sure are the most consistent member of the LCS pantheon — and it’s not even close.

Cloud9 fell off a cliff last week and much of the same can be said for 100 Thieves as well; the defending champions have had incredible highs but some truly dreadful lows as well. Team Liquid, therefore, is our number one pick. We’ve been singing their praises for months and, well, with good reason.

The crazy thing about this version of Team Liquid is that each and every single player competing under its banner can both play a more supportive role but also hard-carry on demand. They’re all so incredibly good it’s not even fair to the vast majority of their peers, and they’ll only get better and better as the season progresses.

Isn’t that crazy? That they still have so much room to grow and evolve? What madness!

This line-up was assembled with absolute thought and care, so it should really come as no surprise that they were able to generate such impressive results. They’re up against Evil Geniuses first and, well, they’re heavily favored for a reason.

2022 LCS SPRING SPLIT PLAYOFFS PREVIEW — TL vs. EG:
Team Liquid!

Cloud9 [13W-5L] — It’s so incredibly hard to fully gauge and assess Cloud9’s power level. They’ve looked like the best team in North America for nearly the entire split and then all of a sudden they sort of just imploded, seemingly overnight and without any apparent reason.

All of this transpired last week and we’re still vexed by the whole thing, despite it being “old news” by this point. They went from looking like an absolute behemoth to getting smacked around by both 100 Thieves and FlyQuest.

Now, we have no issue with them dropping a game or two (or five, for that matter). Our problem is with the fashion in which it all went down — they were demolished. Outclassed, outgunned, outsmarted, as if they had no business being there and playing on the biggest stage in North America.

AN UNEXPECTED REGRESSION
So what gives? What exactly happened? We’re not quite sure, but it’s probably tied to some form of complacency and a somewhat outdated way of drafting. Perhaps they bought into their own hype? How could they not, after all that they’ve done?

They could do no wrong for four weeks straight and then they came crashing down. Out of nowhere.

And so now we are left to wonder: was this just a one-off thing? A short “detour” and a negligible blemish in an otherwise spectacular split? A slip up we’ll forget in a week or two’s time? Or, perhaps, an indication that they’ve once again “fallen from grace,” much like they did back in 2020?

The thing is, we’re sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop. A part of us feels like this line-up is the next best thing since sliced bread. But there’s also this other part that’s submerged in doubt.

What if it was all just a temporary burst of brilliance? An incredibly dominant streak that came to an end — just like all streaks do? This doubt is impossible to shake off.

Now, there’s really no reason for us to sound the alarms just yet, but it’s also hard not to be worried for Cloud9 seeing how they’re scheduled to take on the defending LCS champions in a five-game series this Saturday. Anyone sporting a C9 jersey is surely sweating bullets and, well, with good reason.

They have the tools to win, but whether or not they’ll emerge victorious will heavily depend on their preparation and ability to execute in the heat of the moment. With all of that being said, we’re not overly optimistic after everything that went down last week.

They’re still favored to win, but don’t let the odds fool you: these two teams are as even as it gets!

2022 LCS SPRING SPLIT PLAYOFFS PREVIEW — C9 vs. 100:
Cloud9!

100 Thieves [12W-6L] — Resting on one’s laurels is a surefire recipe for disaster. To see it in practice, you need not look any further than 100 Thieves. Their first ten games or so were downright dreadful. Heck, that feels like an understatement! They fumbled and failed their way through the vast majority of the split, and it mattered very little if they were up against a top-tier behemoth or a feeble bottom-dweller.

They were fortunately able to correct course, but there’s still a bitter taste left in our mouths. At their best, they’re a force of nature — mechanically gifted and talented beyond measure. At their worst, however, they can barely mount an offensive.

And the mistakes they’ve made throughout the split? Inexcusable.

Fortunately, those dark days seem to be a thing of the past. Well, more or less; they’re still inconsistent and, at times, severely volatile — not at all the dominant, reigning champion we expected them to be.

Regardless, they were able to lock down a spot near the very top of the standings, so they must’ve done something right. And don’t let our obvious disappointment fool you, either — they’re a competitive behemoth and are more than capable of trading blows with the Team Liquids and Cloud9s of the world.

We cannot, however, give them our unreserved benefit of the doubt. They dropped the ball against Dignitas back in the LCS Lock-In, and they also had many awful performances throughout the split as well.

Still, they’ve ended things on a high note and will, by all means, have a shot against the boys in black and blue.

2022 LCS SPRING SPLIT PLAYOFFS PREVIEW — OUTRIGHT BETTING:
100 Thieves!

Evil Geniuses [9W-9L] — The fact that Evil Geniuses finished fourth isn’t particularly surprising. In fact, we didn’t think they’d finish any higher than that. What is surprising, however, is their record — nine wins and nine losses, for a team this stacked and talented? That’s a debacle!

EG’s three-man core was supposed to be enough. There’s really no other way to say it. They have one of the most revered top laners in the history of competitive League of Legends (with a wholly populated trophy case), an LEC MVP in the jungle, and a two-time LCS champion support as well.

STILL STRUGGLING
And yet for some odd reason they could rarely get on the same page and execute as a unit. Whenever it happened we were not left indifferent — they soared as high as any of their more successful peers. But that was an occurrence seldom seen.

Evil Geniuses still haven’t “clicked,” but they have earned our benefit of the doubt. We love their playstyle, their bravado, confidence, and willingness to trade blows no matter the odds.

They have a ton of potential, but they won’t be able to realize and fully harness it before the Summer Split — if even then. So just have that in mind going forward. They’re definitely better than FlyQuest and GGS, but they’re neither good nor consistent enough to stand a chance against the three teams listed above.


FlyQuest [9W-9L] — The boys in white and green have been fairly middling throughout the entire split, but they did have a few brilliant bursts, so credit where credit is due.

They just don’t… look all that intimidating. Their appearance is so friendly and welcoming; they look like five friends who just so happen to have stumbled on the LCS stage — five “dudes” who just so happen to be really darn good at League of Legends.

They have very pronounced strengths and weaknesses which may or may not end up hindering their chances of leaving a mark come playoffs. Brandon Joel “Josedeodo” Villegas and Loïc “toucouille” Dubois, in particular, deserve a ton of praise for their immaculate performances. They’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but their contribution and overall importance cannot be overstated.

Still, whenever they faced the absolute best teams in the league, they did struggle to keep up and trade blows. That wasn’t such a big surprise, in all fairness, but it does cast a doubt over their ability to compete with the LCS crème de la crème.

So, to summarize: this is where their journey ends.

Golden Guardians [9W-9L] — Yet another gatekeeper that’s at once both incredibly capable and somewhat underwhelming; their level of play varies and fluctuates wildly.

At their best, they can take down pretty much anyone. At their worst, however, they’re painfully mediocre and can barely fight back. The thing is, they just need a bit more time to figure out how to best translate their early game leads and snowball their way to victory. It is a complicated process, one filled with trial and error, so we’re definitely not going to criticize them too much.

They’ve shown immense promise overall and we can’t wait to see how high they’ll be able to soar once all is said and done.

Milo “Pridestalkr” Wehnes, in particular, deserves a metric ton of praise. He’s actually one of the best and most capable junglers in North America stat-wise. Let that sink in. He was actually more efficient pathing-wise than even the two-time LCS MVP Robert “Blaber” Huang. His playstyle is somewhat “selfish,” but we can’t blame him too much: his laners aren’t exactly world-class (although talented they certainly are).

All in all, they’re a very capable bunch and they always put on a show, no matter whom they’re up against. We don’t think they’ll accomplish much once all is said and done, but their upcoming opponents would be wise not to underestimate them, lest they risk getting upset.


2022 LCS Spring Split Playoffs Preview | What’s Most Likely to Happen?

That’s not an easy question to answer, especially with the North American region being as inherently volatile as it is. Plus, the top three teams are all separated by extremely slim margins. It’s impossible for us to say who’s really better than whom, even in a Best of 5. Nearly all of them are as seasoned as it gets.

They’ve been through it all, the dazzling highs of victory and the crushing lows of defeat. Plus, they’ll compete in upper half of the playoffs bracket which means they might not tryhard as much as one would expect — they might want to keep their cards close to their chest for the latter stages of the postseason.

And, well, as if all of that wasn’t enough, they’ll all compete on a brand new patch, too. It’s not a huge patch by any stretch of the imagination, but it could, by all means, affect pro play and throw a wrench in someone’s plans.

First up, we have Cloud9 taking on 100 Thieves. The outcome of that particular Best of 5 is completely up in the air. There’s really no other way to say it. Both teams have a shot and both are well equipped to emerge victorious. We’re leaning more towards the boys in black and blue but it could really go either way.

Then, just a day later, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses will take the stage and throw down in what will surely be a hectic, skirmish-heavy series — one you do not want to miss. The former four-time LCS champions are heavily favored here and there’s a very good reason why. They’re better across the board and have been a lot more consistent as well.

100 Thieves (assuming they lose to C9) will then face off with the Golden Guardians on April 9th (a Best of 5 they’ll surely win). The same goes for the Evil Geniuses who’ll clash with FlyQuest a mere twenty-four hours later. They, too, are expected to win, although it might end up being a fair bit more competitive than one would expect; they’re a very volatile bunch and if they lose to Team Liquid — for the millionth time in a row — their confidence will surely be in shambles.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
What’ll happen from that point onwards is pretty much impossible to predict. We have Team Liquid winning it all, but the gap between them and their biggest adversaries — that being C9 and 100 Thieves — is neither large nor insurmountable.

In any case, fireworks are all but guaranteed! As always, you can catch all the action on Twitch, YouTube, and the official LoLEsports website!

Petar Vukobrat / Author

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