LJL 2020 Spring Split Playoffs Preview
With Week 7 now behind us (yes I did mistakenly think it was this week), the regular Split has come to a close in Japan. The LJL 2020 Spring Split playoffs are just days away from kicking off. There’s only one tiebreaker match to go before they kick off this weekend. While we don’t currently know the matchups we’ll be seeing in the first round of the playoffs. We can make some predictions and take a look at what to expect as Japan gets set to crown it’s MSI representative.
Who Will Win the Tiebreaker?
Before we get into the LJL 2020 Spring Split playoffs, we have to talk about the big elephant in the room: the tiebreaker match between Burning Core and Crest Gaming Act. The two teams are tied at 5-9 in sixth place after the last week of play. They have to play best of one to determine who gets a shot at the title and who goes home.
While both teams have had a rough couple of weeks, and have a 1-1 record against each other, recent history would seem to indicate Burning Core should run away with this match. The last time these two teams faced off in Week 4. Burning Core ran over Crest Gaming Act in a 28:37, 13,000 gold lead beatdown that saw CGA lose 3-22 in kills. Both teams have slumped in this period. Burning Core enters the match coming off a solid win over Softbank to end the season. Crest enters the game on a four-game losing streak after going 1-7 in the back half of the Split.
Crest is going to have to dig deep to find a win for themselves here. It starts with getting a solid early game going. Expect a lot of early gank junglers like Lee or Elise the team can put Yoshi on to help snowball their lanes. Burning Core will be playing to keep ADC Yuhi and top laner RayFarky alive and well till they can scale up. Expect a lot of focus on jungle picks in the draft and their movements in the early game to help set the pace for this game.
If this game goes Crest’s way early, they could find a way to take it. Given their recent form, I’m feeling this is going to easily go Burning Core’s way, especially if it makes it past the 25-minute mark.
Update: Before this article went live, Crest Gaming Act surprised everyone with a crazy almost perfect game over Burning Core, securing their place in the playoffs. The remainder of the article has been updated to reflect this.
LJL 2020 Spring Split Playoffs Preview: Playoffs Round 1
With the tiebreaker between Burning Core and Crest Gaming Act ending in a stunning near-perfect game for CGA, it’s time to enter the true playoffs finally, and that means teams need to pick their matchups.
Both Detonation FocusMe and Sengoku Gaming automatically get byes to the Juggernaut Match in Round 2. So, we’ll only see the 3rd-6th place teams duke it out here. That doesn’t mean we aren’t in for some rather great matches here. While the teams still need to choose who they’re playing, we can take some solid guesses on who they’ll take.
V3 Esports vs. Crest Gaming Act
The third-place team gets to choose between the fifth and sixth-place teams for who they want to play. If I were a betting man, I’d place my money on V3 Esports taking Crest Gaming Act for their opponent over AXIZ. CGA has looked so lost in the back half of this Split. With V3’s absolute turn of form as their jungler Bugi has come online, they’re going to be in for one hell of a matchup.
I expect this to be a straightforward stomp for the green boys, especially after their solid win over CGA to end the regular season last week. Though, as usual in this region, it’s going to come down to the jungle and who can get the early lead. If Bugi gets to run rampant as he has been lately, it’s going to be one short playoff run for CGA. If they can keep him under control and find their old form they may have a chance.
I think it’ll go 3-0 in favor of V3 Esports for this match, but if Burning Core can find a bit more of their old form, they may take a win off of them.
Expected winner: V3 Esports 3-0 over Crest Gaming Act
Rascal Jokers vs. AXIZ
What was once the bottom two teams in the league have finally woken up and are looking mighty powerful going into the playoffs, and with V3 likely to pick the winner of Burning Core vs. Crest Gaming Act, that leaves Rascal Jokers to take on AXIZ in the last match of Round 1 of the playoffs.
Rascal has climbed to the playoffs for the first time the Grand Final-only era of 2014 and is looking to finally show it’s back with a big win here over AXIZ. Their opponents, meanwhile, will be looking for a win in their first-ever playoff appearance, having placed eighth in both Splits since joining the league at the start of 2019. With one of the most creative drafts and most improved rosters in the league this Split, AXIZ is not a foe to take lightly. Rascal will need to use everything they have to take them down.
Expect a heavy focus by Rascal on getting their main carry, ADC Art, ahead of this game, while AXIZ will focus heavily on pushing a lead through their mid-laner Gariaru and jungler Hoglet. The man in the brush has popped off like crazy in the past couple of weeks. With Rascal’s Hachamecha and Ninja sitting at or near the bottom in their roles, he could be the X-factor AXIZ needs to get over this first hurdle and make it on to the second round of the playoffs.
Expected winner: AXIZ 3-2 over Rascal Jester
LJL 2020 Spring Split Playoffs Preview: Playoffs Round 2
Without Round 1 predictions out of the way, it’s time to move on to Round 2. With both teams winning in the previous round moving on to face each other here, our only other matchup is at the top of the standings. DetonatioN FocusMe takes on Sengoku Gaming to decide who moves straight to the Grand Final, and who will have to play the winner of the other match for the last spot.
V3 Esports vs. AXIZ
With the assumption both teams take out their opponents, we’ll be in for a real treat here as two surging teams in V3 Esports and AXIZ fight for a chance to take on the loser of DFM vs. SG in the LJL semifinals. Both teams have been looking hot going into the playoffs. However, V3 surged up the standings in the last several weeks. They look like one of the league’s top teams after taking down DetonatioN FocusMe.
With a five-game win streak under their belt, they’re currently looking like the dark horse favorites to win the whole thing, with some of the league’s top players across every role. While the team’s top laner Paz and mid-laner Ace have been solid in their play, and their bottom lane has looked like a top two or three duo, the real star of the team is jungler Bugi. He reigned over the jungle with his insane play. Of particular note, and something AXIZ should fear, is his Ekko, which has been undefeated on in three games and holds a jaw-dropping 21 KDA.
If AXIZ wants to win this, they’ll need to push all their draft creativity to its limits. That means a lot of flexed and pocket picks are going to need to come out, especially in the jungle role. Hoglet has been a significant factor on AXIZ recent success. He needs to overcome and shut down his rival Bugi if his team is going to have any hope of winning here. Strong counter-gank and invade-heavy junglers will likely be big prizes on the table during the draft for AXIZ. If they can get it all to come together like last time they played V3, they’ll surely find a win here. It’s going to be a tough series, though. We’d be lying if we didn’t say V3 were the odds-on favorites to win here.
Expected winner: V3 Esports 3-2 over AXIZ
DetonatioN FocusMe vs. Sengoku Gaming
The big match everyone’s been waiting for, the LJL 2020 Spring Split Juggernaut Match sees league leader DetonatioN FocusMe take on close runner up Sengoku Gaming in a clash of top of the table titans. The last time we saw these two teams play in Week 5, Sengoku shocked everyone with a surprise upset win over DFM, taking the top team down in a slightly lopsided affair that saw DFM held to just 3 turrets and not a single drake. However, they did manage to secure a Rift Herald and Baron.
This time around, DFM is going to be looking to show that they still have what it takes to be the kings of the LJL. A lot of that is going to come down to whether or not they can get their star ADC Yutapon going. The man in the bot lane has been a significant factor in DFM’s wins this Split. His current 10.00 KDA is the highest in the league by a whole three points, making him one of the deadliest players on the Rift in the LJL. If Steal and Ceros can get down there and get the ball rolling, he’s sure to carry them to their 11th straight LJL Grand Final and the chance to earn a record fourth straight domestic title in the region.
Sengoku, meanwhile, is going to have to find some consistency if they want to win it all here. While they did win their last matchup against DFM, they’ve been flip-flopping back and forth between looking like the possible best team in the league and middle of the pack squad. If they can get themselves sorted out straight, they could take this series from the reigning champs and make their first-ever appearance in the Grand Final in the LJL.
To get there, though, they’re going to need more than just consistent play. They’ll need a carry who can hang with the best of them. No one fits that role better than ADC Yutorimoyashi. The veteran ADC has been an absolute monster for the team this season and is the only player close to catching Yutapon in terms of KDA with his 7.31 average. If he can get a lead on his lane rival, he could easily take over this game and lead Sengoku to a massive upset over DFM.
He can’t do it alone. He will need the help of his two teammates formerly of SKT, Blank, and Pirean. The two have struggled this Split, especially former Worlds runner up Blank, who currently sits at the statistical bottom of all junglers right now. If the two can find a bit of their old form, especially Blank, in time for the playoffs, they could efficiently run over their opponents on DFM and take Sengoku to their first title. It’s going to take a lot of work from these two. I’m not sure if they have what it takes to go the distance right now.
LJL 2020 Spring Split Playoffs Preview Wrap-Up
That’s it for the first part of our LJL 2020 Spring Split playoffs preview, thanks for reading! The third round takes place almost a month after Round 2 ends. With so many possible outcomes leading up to that point, we’re going to wait until the first two rounds before bringing you our preview of Round 3.
Don’t go away, though. We’ll still bring you some playoff coverage as the LJL 2020 Spring Split playoffs kick off this Friday (Pacific Time). V3 Esports takes on either Crest Gaming Act or AXIZ in the first match of Round 1. It’s going to be an incredible match to watch either way, and you won’t want to miss any of it.