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LEC 2022 Summer Split Playoffs: A Primer

Nikhil Kalro

Things turned out to be slightly predictable in the end, as five of the six teams that made the playoffs in the Spring Split have made the playoffs at the end of the LEC 2022 Summer Split, too. The current playoffs begin on August 26th and will run until September 11th.

lec 2022 summer split jankos

BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 28: Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski of G2 Esports competes at the League of Legends - Mid-Season Invitational Knockouts Stage on May 28, 2022 in Busan, South Korea. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

MAD Lions Rewarded For Good First Half

Rogue, Fnatic, Misfits Gaming, G2 Esports and Excel have sustained their momentum from the League of Legends European Championship spring season to have made it this far, and will be joined by MAD Lions as the sixth team in the race. They take up the spot vacated by Team Vitality, who ended seventh this time, with nine wins and as many losses.

MAD Lions needed the final week of action to secure their berth, where they won none and lost two, but a few other results going their way worked wonders and came to their rescue. However, truth be told, it’s not like MAD Lions had a shocker of a split.

They began with Yasin “Nisqy” Dinçer being among their better performances, picking up early game leads consistently to close out games. What didn’t help was their predictability that allowed other teams a window into their methods, which led to a mid-season stutter that led to a full-blown slip-up. In the end, their good deeds in the first half proved to be a massive difference.

For the record, MAD Lions are aiming for their third LEC championship title when they open the playoffs in what is set to be a rematch against Rogue, the LEC Spring 2021 finalists. Rogue have a slight upper hand in this game, given they hold a 2-0 record over MAD Lions in the regular season. That, however, doesn’t guarantee victory. Both sides have domestically and internationally shown they are capable of consistently featuring in the upper bracket, setbacks or no setbacks.

Much of the approach from teams during this split has also come knowing there’s the added incentive of securing an entry for Worlds 2022, as the European League was granted four spots this time. These slots will be taken up by the top four of the LEC 2022 Summer Split, who will automatically qualify for this year’s Worlds in the USA between September and November.

G2’s Sensational Turnaround

G2 Esports’ qualification for Worlds has been intriguing as it’s been special. The playoffs seeding at the end of the LEC 2022 Summer Split takes into account championship points accumulated during the spring, too. On that count, G2 had 90 points during the spring playoffs, which was one of the reasons why finishing top here, with a 12-6 record, made a massive difference.

A total of their points secured here, along with the 90 carried forward, made them the first seed during the summer playoffs, which meant they were through to the upper bracket semifinals. Even if they lose their best-of-fives, they are assured of a minimum fourth place finish and a ticket to Worlds 2022.

That isn’t their only advantage. G2 can also choose their first opponent in the playoffs, thereby helping them take another step closer to their second LEC title this year. G2 have picked Misfits as their opponents in the upper bracket. During the league phase, their head-to-head ended on level terms, with Misfits having emerged the fourth seed following a sensational tie-breaker win over Fnatic.

In all, they ended the season with a superb five-game winning streak, along the way taking down some superb teams such as MAD Lions, Misfits and SK Gaming. There’s a reason why SK Gaming are part of this list.

Yes, they’ve had a shocker of a season, but one of their few wins of the summer had been against G2. But Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski pulled G2 ahead after SK called the shots in the early game. In the playoffs, G2 will be the only team to have not gone 0-2 against at least one of their opponents.

“It’s definitely different — we are in a position where every team is actually fighting for something. And it’s very, very close,” Sergen “Broken Blade” Çelik told Inven Global in an interview. “Usually, after the first round robin, it’s clear who is going to be the favorites. But I feel now nothing is very clear, and every team has its issues. Every team has its own ways of working with it. And obviously, we were in a slump, so we had to overcome that — and I think we did.

“So I’m very happy with that. Right now, we still have some mistakes in the early game, but we still had a very good plan going into it. So I’m not really worried — it was more execution problem than a planning problem. And I think we’re all on a good way up.”

Fnatic’s Never-Say-Die Attitude

Season on the line. Talks of the team on a downward spiral. Magic of the spring seems distant. General sense of helplessness around the team. Players out of form or unable to step up in key moments.

Big match nerves getting to them. An exit seems a mere formality. It would’ve been an embarrassment, given this would be the first time in their history that they’d miss the playoffs. And then suddenly, they flick a switch, refusing to keel over and die.

In a must-win against Misfits to keep their playoff hopes alive, Fnatic played their best game, perhaps can stretch it to say their best of the year, to take down their opponents in a thriller to secure their playoff berth.

If anything, they proved you can’t write off a team that has been there and knows to fight the big moments. Last summer split, Fnatic finished fifth and pushed their way through to the lower bracket before eventually defeating G2, Europe’s second seed, to secure their spot at Worlds.

Excel squeeze out Team Vitality

This is Excel’s second shot at the playoffs, one that has come following their tie-breaker win over Vitality. This is the first time in Excel’s history that they have a chance to also make it through to the world championships.

Excel made a superb start to the summer, and were in the top three for a while, before they hit a pretty bad slump. Not only did it threaten to rule them out of playoff contention, there was also the inherent danger of players losing confidence and faith.

They lost two to Rogue, but scrapped over the line against SK and Astralis in the final week to keep themselves alive. Misfits picked up just one win and two losses, while Vitality, who needed to lose, lost three in a row. This meant the stars aligned for Excel, as they sat joint sixth with Vitality with a 9-9 record. Then Excel conjured magic in the tie-breaker to finish fifth.

Rogue’s Mad-Cap Dash

And while Excel piped out Vitality, Rogue also made it through when they beat Excel in the final week of action. From a 5-2 start to the season, Excel went through the last three weeks managing just two wins in seven. 

This left them on the brink of elimination, and Rogue cashed in to beat them fair and square to seal their spot. Rogue, in comparison, were always in the fray, having surged to an 8-3 record more than halfway into the split. But like many other sides, they went through two weeks with just one win to leave them having to make one final dash to stay alive, which they did.

“It’s mostly finding our own team identity. And overall, we are the team that probably is one of the less proactive teams in the early game,” Markos “Comp” Stamkopoulos told Inven Global. “Especially this week, we have actually proved that a lot. So as long as we stabilize our early games, contest objectives together, and teamfight, we should be winning versus every team.

“They are for sure the best early game team — at least in scrims. On stage, they have some inconsistent games like we did this split. But we’re looking to playoffs now, so if I had to bet on a team that would improve a lot and be more consistent, it would be G2 for sure.”