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Mastering the Competition - EUCS Spring Playoffs

After five weeks of explosive combat in the 2017 European Challenger Series Spring Split the Playoffs are finally here, featuring four of the strongest teams ever seen in the Challenger Series. Only two can move on to the LCS Promotion Tournament, and with the level of competition higher than it’s ever been, the final battles are sure to be the hardest.

Format

The Challenger Playoffs will consist of two best-of-5 series.

  • March 19: Schalke 04 vs Misfits Academy

  • March 26: Fnatic Academy vs Paris Saint-Germain

Games will begin at 15:00 CET (and 15:00 CEST respectively)

What’s on the Line?

The two teams that win the EU Challenger Playoffs will compete in the EU LCS Promotion Tournament, starting on April 6. In the Promotion Tournament they will face the bottom team from each LCS group, fighting for the two remaining spots in the 2017 Summer Split in a double elimination bracket.  The higher-seeded LCS team competing in the Promotion Tournament will get to choose their Challenger opponent from the two winning CS Playoffs teams.  

Who is Playing?

The top four teams from the Challenger Series will enter the Playoffs:

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FC Schalke 04 (S04)

15 Points: 5W - 0T - 0L

FC Schalke 04 entered the EUCS after being relegated from the LCS at the end of the 2016 Summer Split. Since then they have doubled down on their efforts, getting a new team of seasoned LCS pros in multiple positions and even bringing in H2K’s former analyst, Veteran, as their coach. Schalke proved to be stronger than anybody could anticipate, setting a record by becoming the first team to ever have an undefeated split in the Challenger Series, though it wasn’t without some tough games.  Loulex, Selfie, and Vander proved particularly strong, out-classing nearly every other player in the Challenger Series.  Expectations are high as many pro players and casters predict Schalke will make it back into the LCS for the 2017 Summer Split.

Misfits Academy (MFA)

5 Points: 1W - 2T - 2L

In the wake of Misfits moving into the EU LCS at the end of 2016, Misfits Academy entered the Challenger Series hoping to replicate their sister team’s success.  However, unexpected roster changes in the Jungle position made early weeks difficult for Misfits Academy, as they started the split with Kadir and eventually swapped in Pridestalker.  With his help they showed improvement,  tying Fnatic Academy in a 1-1 series during Week 4. Despite this, it’s clear Misfits Academy are still finding their footing as a team, and it will be a difficult task for them to take down FC Schalke 04 in a best-of-five. 

Fnatic Academy (FNA)

7 Points: 2W - 1T - 2L

Fnatic Academy dominated the Challenger Series Qualifiers, and even earned high praise from Rekkles who claimed that the Academy team was stronger than the main Fnatic squad. However, the needs of a new jungler for the Fnatic LCS team pulled Broxah away from Challenger, leaving the Academy with an uncertain fate. Even with LCS veterans Kikis and MrRalleZ, Fnatic Academy looked shaken, and it wasn’t until another long-time LCS player, Amazingx, joined that they were back on track.  With his leadership in the jungle they were able to pick up a 2-0 win in the last week, firmly securing their spot in the Playoffs.

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)

7 Points: 2W - 1T - 2L

This new team entered the Challenger Series with arguably the most hype ever seen in the EUCS.  With two imports from the LCK and former five-time EU LCS champion YellOwStaR at the helm, PSG looked set for an easy path to the Promotion Tournament.  Things proved more difficult than expected, as despite a strong early game - even against teams like Schalke - it took until Week 3 for PSG to pick up their first game win.  The decision to bring in WhiteKnight in the top lane gave PSG the strength they needed to secure a spot in the Playoffs. Only time will tell if PSG has what it takes to defeat a revitalised Fnatic Academy and progress to the Promotion Tournament.

 

All of the action in the European Challenger Series Playoffs will be broadcast on watch.lolesports.com starting Sunday, March 19th at 15:00 CET.