The scramble for final playoff spots and seeding is underway in China and Korea this week, as teams enter the final two weeks of regular season play. Top teams like Edward Gaming, the ROX Tigers and SK Telecom T1 have already secured their spots, so this week features teams slightly below them in the standings, either fighting for a better seed, or a chance to make it to playoffs at all.
LCK: MVP vs. Samsung
Prior to Week 9, MVP was a likely playoff hopeful — a young team led by their impressive jungler Kim "Beyond" Kyu-seok. Their match against KT Rolster was our honorable mention series of last week because of possible playoff implications, and MVP's heartbreaking loss to KT in Week 1.
KT crushed MVP, who would later go on to lose to their fellow former challenger team ESC Ever in the last series of Week 9. With the Afreeca Freecs' win over SKT, MVP's playoff dream isn't mathematically dead, but it's now far more unlikely. MVP have to win both of their matches this week, the first of which takes place against the Jin Air Green Wings, before they meet Samsung Galaxy on Saturday.
For Samsung, this match is more about their placement, having already clinched a playoff spot along with SK Telecom T1 and the ROX Tigers. The LCK playoff gauntlet is grueling, and while Samsung is far behind both the Tigers and SKT in points, they'll want to hang on to that third place spot above a likely KT Rolster and either Afreeca or MVP. Beating MVP here will go a long way, especially if Samsung are able to sweep.
MVP has the second-highest combined kills per minute in Korea at 0.66, and tend to push their opponents into fighting, regardless of whether it's actually advantageous for them to do so. Beyond has been a top jungler in the region, and mid laner An "Ian" Jun-hyeong has improved massively throughout the split. Unfortunately, with AD carry Oh "MaHa" Hyun-sik's tendencies to overextend in fights, MVP doesn't always win the fights they choose. As long as Samsung are patient, they should be able to take this.
LPL: Team WE vs. I May
Power rankings glory aside, the battle between I May and Team WE has far-reaching implications for standings and determining the top three teams in the League of Legends Pro League. I May's superior understanding of early game rotations has allowed them to sit among the top three teams in the league for early gold leads, but their indecisiveness in the mid game and relatively weak team fighting laners in the late game have made them exploitable.
I May's strong points are Yun "road" Hangil, who has taken the opportunity to control games by the metaphorical horns since Alistar returned to the meta. Fan "Avoidless" Jun Wei's pathing in the early game has also granted the team efficient leads. I May seem to lack a consistently reliable carry presence from their lanes, which could cause them to butt heads disadvantageously in late game team fights with Team WE.
Team WE started this split ready to play a strategy that avoided early game confrontation and used constantly pushing side lanes. Their anti-engage allowed them to build up greedy compositions for late game power. They branched out more with things like Twisted Fate and Teleport Leblanc, but WE's deadly coordination makes them threatening. With a recent win over Royal Never Give Up, this matchup will be the perfect chance to see just how permanent we can consider their return to form.
Honorable Mention: I May vs. Vici Gaming
Last time, I May lost 1-2 to Vici Gaming. Vicki Gaming put forth a powerful kiting composition that took advantage of IM's vulnerabilities. Recently, Choi "DanDy" Inkyu has performed well, and the team have finally settled on Xu "Endless" Hao for more than a single game. Admittedly, and this is something I never thought I would say, he has earned it, playing self-sufficiently and occasionally putting forward a carry performance. VG's ability to pressure a lead will be a difficult challenge for IM yet again.