Fighting for playoffs: Key games in LEC Summer Split week nine
The LEC Summer Split is moving towards an epic conclusion as Europe's top LoL teams will finally lock in their place for the playoffs.
From battling for the bye into further rounds to simply trying to earn a spot in general, there's a lot still to play for which will make Week nine's matches even more exciting. Here are the five main games you should keep an eye on...
Fnatic (1.55) vs Splyce (2.26)
First up, we have what will likely be the biggest and most important match of the week. Fnatic and Splyce have been neck and neck in the race for second for the majority of the Summer Split and this game will almost certainly be the decider.
Both teams are currently tied in the standings with 12/4 records and will be determined to secure a bye in the Playoffs and, more importantly, a guaranteed appearance at the finals weekend in Athens.
Both teams have had their shaky moments in recent times but also went 2-0 last week. Fnatic's Martin "Rekkles" Larrson finally proved he is willing to pick anything other than Karma while Splyce's mid-laner Marek "Humanoid" Brázda is in phenomenal form. This match is extremely close and will entirely depend on how players perform on the day.
Fnatic vs Splyce: August 16th | 7pm BST / 8pm CST | live stream
Origen (1.51) vs Rogue (2.40)
Another crucial game on day one, Origen and Rogue are fighting valiantly for the final spot in the Playoffs. Origen currently are one win ahead of their opponents and winning this will guarantee their top-six finish.
But Rogue will know that a win here could save their season and considering their reason form, you can't write them off. Finn "Finn" Wiestål has been subbed into the top lane and has been a revelation for Rogue. His Kled play was extremely impressive and last week he earned his team the win with a sensational flank and five-man Qiyana ultimate.
Though Origen's Barney "Alpahri" Morris is equally as strong in the top-lane which should make for a fantastic battle. Origen have all the experience and talent in the world but have been very inconsistent this split and Rogue's young players will be ready to pounce and take advantage of any nerves.
Origen vs Rogue: August 16th | 8pm BST / 7pm CEST | live stream
G2 (1.14) vs Excel (4.50)
Neither of these teams have much to play for. G2 have already secured first while Excel can no longer qualify for the Playoffs. Knowing that, we could see some fascinating and hilarious off-meta picks - especially considering G2's recent history with odd strategies like Soraka top with Smite.
Despite losing both of their games last week, Excel have still been impressing and taking the fight to teams. Son "Mickey" Young-min was once again performing out of his mind with a crazy play on Yasuo against Fnatic being the highlight. His battle in the mid-lane against Rasmus "Caps" Winther should be fantastic to watch.
While this will be a fun match, it's hard to imagine G2 losing this unless they go really insane with the draft which to be honest is a total possibility.
G2 vs Excel: August 17th | 4pm BST / 5pm CEST | live stream
Vitality (2.26) vs Schalke (1.58)
Another game with huge Playoff implications, Team Vitality also need a win in order to secure their top-six finish. If Vitality fail to defeat Misfits on day one then they will be sweating coming into this match.
Schalke have already confirmed their spot in the Playoffs after failing to last split and are still looking strong with jungler Kim "Trick" Gang-yun and ADC Elias "Upset" Lipp being the star players.
Schalke have been the more consistent team but Vitality on their day are a lot to handle and could easily pull a win out of the bag.
Vitality vs Schalke: August 17th | 7pm BST / 8pm CEST | live stream
Fnatic (1.35) vs Rogue (2.90)
Our final match on this could also have big Playoff implications if there are any upsets throughout the week. Fnatic will be the heavy favourites of course though Rogue were the victors the last time these teams met.
However, Rogue only really won that because Rekkles was experimentally benched for that game so this will be a true test of their youngsters. It's also entirely possible that Fnatic will have already secured second-place and will experiment again for this game which would give Rogue the perfect chance to cause another upset.
Fnatic vs Rogue: August 17th | 6pm BST / 7pm CEST | live stream
Don't miss Bouke's latest League of Legends predictions, including his tips for LEC week nine.
Pictures: LoL Esports / Riot