The double round robin portion of the 2019 LCS NA Academy League Spring Season is now complete and the top six performers have earned bids to the playoff round set to begin on Thursday, March 21. At stake in the best-of-five single-elimination tournament is a prize pool of $25,000 and a championship title in North America’s second-tier of professional League of Legends gaming. Moving on to the playoff round are top seeds Cloud 9 and Team SoloMid (TSM), which placed first and second, respectively.
Both earn byes to the semifinals. Filling out the playoff field are 100 Thieves, CLG, Echo Fox and Team Liquid. The foursome will take part in the quarterfinal round on March 21 and 22. The semifinals are scheduled for March 28 and 29 and the final will take place on April 5.
What Is The LCS NA Academy League?
The Academy League is the second division of the League of Legends League Championship Series (LCS), North America’s top professional League of Legends series. All 10 participating LCS organizations sponsor Academy League squads that act as feeder programs. Participating LCS organizations include Cloud 9, TSM and FlyQuest.
Operated by League of Legends developer Riot Games, the Academy League is in its third season and effectively replaced the then-second division Challenger Series. In addition to featuring up-and-coming League players, the series is also home to veterans of the scene. Organizations can call up or send down players between their LCS and Academy League squads during the season.
Cloud 9 Is Still King
Months after Cloud 9’s Cinderella run to the 2018 LCS World Championship semifinals, its Academy League team enters the Spring Playoffs as the top seed. With a 14-4 record and a 78% win rate, Cloud 9 seeks its second-straight split championship having claimed the Summer Playoff title in 2018. Cloud 9 will turn to the same fivesome in the playoffs that they’ve rolled with all season long in Kumo, Goldenglue, Diamond, Keith and Blaber.
Both Goldenglue and Blaber led all players in their roles during the regular season in kills-per-game and bring valuable tournament experience to the C9 roster. The duo was included on Cloud 9’s LCS 2018 Summer Playoffs roster, and Blaber, made the trip to Worlds last October.
Known to promote players from within, Cloud 9 traditionally has a strong academy system and it speaks to the org’s ability to develop young talent. In this tournament, they are undoubtedly the favorites having beaten every team in the league at least once. Featuring a strong mix of youth and experience, C9 looks poised to continue it’s NA LCS dominance with another Academy League title.
TSM And Its Unpredictable Midfield
Six teams entered the final week of the regular season with overall records of 9-7, setting up an epic Week 9 that would eliminate one of them from playoff contention. In the end, it was FlyQuest that lost out, and although the playoff field is now set, it’s anyone’s guess which outfit has the best shot at toppling Cloud 9. TSM finished the regular season with an 11-7 record and clinched the second seed and first-round bye with a win over Team Liquid in Week 9.
TSM split with C9 in regular season action and could pull off an upset should the two meet in the final. The only team to defeat TSM twice in the spring was Golden Guardians, and they did not qualify for the playoffs, so any semifinal match-up TSM draws into will be a coin toss.
The quarterfinals feature Echo Fox vs. 100 Thieves and CLG vs. Team Liquid on March 21 and March 22, respectively. The regular season yielded splits for these match-ups, too, but we think Echo Fox and Team Liquid have the best odds to move on to the semis. Shoryu of Team Liquid and Lost and Yusui of Echo Fox have all had outstanding seasons and could tilt their respective match-ups in their teams’ favor.
Odds To Win League Of Legends LCS Academy League 2019
|Semifinals NA Academy League Betting Odds|
|Sportsbook||Team 1||Odds||Team 2||Odds|
|Bet Now At MyBookie||TSM Academy||-235||Echo Fox Academy||+185|
|Bet Now At BetOnline||TSM Academy||-222||Echo Fox Academy||+158|
Who You Got?
It may be the boring, safe pick but it has to be Cloud 9. This spring season has been tightly contested in the midfield but there is no clear challenger to the reigning Fall Playoff champion. After a 1-1 split in Week 1, C9 cut through the field and established itself as the most complete team in the competition. CLG and TSM look strong and both beat Cloud 9 once apiece during the regular season, but the chances of either coming out on top in a best of five series are slim.
Where To Watch The Academy League Matches Online
Riot elected not to broadcast Academy League matches in 2019, instead allowing individual orgs to broadcast them on their own Twitch channels. Team stream channels listed below.
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