It is finals time again for the League Championship Series as the Summer Playoffs come to a close. This weekend will determine the top three teams in the North American LCS. It has been a very different season with many newcomers proving their abilities and coming out ahead, and old time favorites like Cloud 9 sinking into the background. There's two things that remain though: Team Solomid is still the crowd favorite, and it's bound to be exciting no matter what.
First on Saturday is the third place match between Team Liquid and Team Impulse, which doubles as a grudge match after Impulse's loss in Week 9. Then the final round to determine the Summer Champion on Sunday, between Team Solomid and Counterlogic Gaming. These games will determine which two teams go to Worlds, but it's a bit complicated. Whoever wins the Championship match will go to Worlds regardless, but Team Liquid also has a chance to go. If Solomid comes out on top and Liquid can beat Impulse, then they will go to the World Championship Series that will be touring through Europe in October. So who and what should you be keeping an eye on while enjoying the finals?
Third place should be a bloody match between Team Impulse and Team Liquid. Liquid is the rebranding of the former Team Curse, and seems to be keeping their 3rd place curse running. However they performed much better this year than they have in the past under their old name. Team Impulse is a brand new team conceived in January, but have become a powerful force on the Rift. The last time these two teams met, Liquid came out on top after split pushing Impulse's Nexus. Liquid has a lot more to lose this game though, with their chance at World's on the line. Impulse, as their name would suggest, is a largely unpredictable team especially compared to Liquid's typically cautious approach, but they'll likely be playing far more aggressive going into the final match.
The Championship game is a match-up old as the LCS itself. Counterlogic Gaming was the original LCS team, regularly stomping all other teams back when the league was new. Since them, Team Solomid has become the most formidable team in North America. This game offers a chance for Counterlogic to regain their crown as the best team in the LCS. Like Team Liquid, Counterlogic has far more riding on this game. Team Solomid has secured their spot at Worlds regardless, but Counterlogic still has a shot to go to Worlds beside them. Solomid has played CLG twice in this season and won both times. But both teams know not to underestimate the other and will be playing their best should they hope to make it to the International stage.
Whichever teams lose will have a second shot at Worlds by participating in the Gauntlet, along with other teams who didn't make the initial cut. But this is their best shot at the chance to play against the best teams from every other competitive region in the LCS. Make sure to check out those games on Saturday and Sunday, and check out the Worlds playoffs all through October.
Disclosure: Go Team Liquid. Curse or Die.