July 15 marks the first day of the LEC Summer split playoffs. The remaining eight teams will face off in a GSL-style group stage to determine which four teams move on to the knockout bracket. Furthermore, the group stage runs until July 23.
This is the first year of the LEC's new three-split format, which culminates in the LEC Finals. That event is set to begin in Montpellier, France on August 19. It will feature six teams - the three split winners and the three teams with the highest championship points. If a team wins a split but has already qualified for the LEC Finals, the automatic berth is passed down to the best-placed team who is yet to qualify.
But who's left in the competition? Who can still qualify for the LEC Finals? And how can they still qualify? Well, dear reader, we have the answer to all those questions and more.
When Are The LEC Playoffs?
The LEC playoffs begin on July 15. The group stage runs from July 15 to July 23, with matches played on July 15, 16, 17, 22, and 23. The knockout bracket begins on July 28 and continues until July 30.
How Can I Watch The LEC Playoffs?
The LEC playoffs will be streamed on the LEC's official Twitch page. Additionally, the LEC playoffs are 100% free to watch on Twitch. You can also buy tickets to watch the matches live at the LEC Studio in Berlin, Germany.
Who Is Taking Part In The LEC Playoffs?
There are eight teams in the LEC playoffs. In Group A, we have G2, Koi, Team BDS, and Team Heretics. Meanwhile, in Group B, we have Excel Esports, Fnatic, MAD Lions, and SK Gaming.
Who Has Qualified For The LEC Finals?
Currently, G2 and MAD Lions are the only teams to have qualified for the LEC Finals. They did this by winning the Winter and Spring splits respectively. The winner of the Summer split, or the best-placed team who isn't G2 or MAD, will also automatically qualify.
Who Can Still Qualify For The LEC Finals?
Excel Esports, Fnatic, KOI, SK Gaming, Team BDS, Team Heretics, and Team Vitality can all still qualify. However, this is where it gets complicated, given that Team Vitality is not participating in the Summer playoffs. Furthermore, Astralis is the only LEC team who cannot qualify for the LEC Finals. They did not make the playoffs and ended the season with 105 Championship Points. This is not enough to qualify as one of the highest Championship Point-earning teams.
Okay Then, How Can Teams Qualify For The LEC Finals?
Let's do this team-by-team and break down their scenarios. However, as things stand, this is the Championship Points [CP] table. I've excluded MAD Lions (250) and G2 (225) because they have already qualified. Furthermore, these points totals reflect the minimum amount of points each team can earn based on the standings at the time of writing. To make things simpler, these totals include the 30 points all teams except Team Vitality can earn for finishing a minimum of 8th.
For the sake of simplicity, we'll say that the minimum total for qualification is Team Vitality's 137, meaning you need at least 138 points to qualify for the LEC Finals. However, it's sadly not that simple because we also have to acknowledge that one of the teams in contention will earn an automatic berth.
Current Total: 10
Excel Esports qualified for the playoffs after a wild final two weeks of the Summer regular season. However, they face the most difficult path to the LEC Finals. Having finished 10th in both the Winter and Spring splits, they bring just 10 CP into the playoffs with them.
The "easiest" route for Excel to qualify for the LEC Finals is to continue their Cinderella run all the way to the Summer split title. However, due to only having 10 CP, the lowest that Excel can finish and still have more points than Team Vitality is second. Even a third-place finish, which earns 120 CP, would still see them finish below Vitality.
However, if SK Gaming finishes eighth, Excel could potentially reach the playoffs as the six-seed if they finish third. Despite this slim shot, it would hinge on how the rest of the table lined up.
Current Total: 30
Fnatic became one of the best teams during the Summer regular season, thanks in large part to their rookie ADC, Noah. However, it has been a tough year for Fnatic, who finished 9th and 8th in the first two splits.
This will be the last time I say as it is true for all teams besides Vitality, but Fnatic's best way to the LEC Finals is to win the split. Beyond that, Fnatic must finish at least third to surpass the points total of Team Vitality. However, in the scenario in which Excel finishes third and SK Gaming finishes eighth, a fourth-place finish could be enough to finish sixth. However, it would depend on the rest of the table.
Current Total: 120
KOI slipped a little in the Summer split but benefit from two strong runs in the previous splits. This means that an eighth-place finish in the Summer playoffs still sees them end the year on 150 CP. While dependent on the rest of the table, this should be more than enough to see KOI finish as a LEC Finals participant.
Current Total: 90
It's been an up-and-down season for SK Gaming but they still have a shot at the LEC Finals. The worst thing that they could do is lose their momentum and finish eighth. That would see them finish the season on 120 CP, below Team Vitality, and as the worst-placed team who could potentially finish on 120 CP. To surpass Team Vitality (137 CP), SK will need to finish at least 6th (a 7th-place finish would see them finish 2 points behind Vitality). However, SK does not really control their own fate as their finish, aside from a top-four, really depends on how the rest of the table shakes out.
Current Total: 130
Like KOI, Team BDS slipped during the summer but are buoyed by their previous performances. They currently hold the highest CP total outside of a split winner. This means that even an eighth-place finish sees them close out with far more points than Vitality (160). It's hard to see a scenario in which BDS does not make the LEC Finals. It would have to involve the likes of Excel, Fnatic, Heretics, and SK Gaming running the top of the table.
Current Total: 30
Like Fnatic, Heretics went from bottom three finishes to one of the best teams in the Summer. Unfortunately, that makes their journey to the LEC Finals incredibly difficult. Heretics must finish at least third to surpass the points total of Team Vitality. However, in the scenario in which Excel finishes third and SK Gaming finishes eighth, a fourth-place finish could be enough to finish sixth. However, it would depend on the rest of the table. In short, Heretics have the exact same win condition as Fnatic does.
Current Total: 137
Team Vitality may be in the most interesting position of all LEC teams. They are still in contention for a LEC Finals slot, despite finishing 10th in the Summer split. They have concluded their season with 137 points. As you know from this article, that is the baseline I have been using to mark all other teams. In short, Vitality needs as many teams currently below them to have early exits from the playoffs. However, we will once again remind ourselves of essentially what Vitality needs from each team currently trailing them:
- SK Gaming needs to finish 7th or lower
- Fnatic needs to finish 4th or lower
- Team Heretics needs to finish 4th or lower
- Excel Esports needs to finish 3rd or lower
Now, it is worth mentioning, because we are not painstakingly charting out all 64 (?) possible playoff permutations, there is likely a scenario I have not covered. However, this is the most straightforward way to explain what's at stake over the next few weeks in the LEC.