Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games

The finals of the summer split are upon us! After a long summer of competition, the two best teams will meet this Sunday in Detroit to determine who is the best in North America. Will Team Liquid cement their legacy by becoming the only team to ever win 4 consecutive splits? Will Cloud 9 show why they’re the team best poised to represent North America at Worlds? To answer those question, let’s first take a look at how we got here.

The Regular Season

The journey to the grand finals has been a wild ride for North America. The LCS was buzzing with excitement as Team Liquid stunned the defending world champions, Invictus Gaming, at the Mid-Season Invitational. Even after a loss to G2 Esports in the finals, hopes were high that this would be the year that North America really began to make noise at Worlds.

But first, Team Liquid had to earn their way there in the summer split. After a sluggish start, Liquid found their rhythm and cruised to a 1st place regular season finish. Cloud 9, meanwhile, defeated Counter Logic Gaming on the last day of the season in a tie-breaker to secure 2nd. Team Solo Mid took 4th, while Clutch and Optic rounded out the playoffs.

The Playoffs So Far

The first round saw Clutch gaming once again send Team Solo Mid home early, mimicking the results of the spring split in 2017. Meanwhile, Counter Logic Gaming crushed Optic to set up a rematch with Cloud 9. Everyone expected that to be the match to watch in the semi-finals, but Cloud 9 defeated CLG in a 3-1 final that wasn’t really even that close.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket, a match that was supposed to be a stomp turned into a heart-stopper as Clutch Gaming gave Team Liquid all they could handle. Finally, after five games, Liquid remember that they were Team Liquid and shut down Clutch, securing their spot in the grand finals.

This Weekend

Which brings us to now. In spite of all the build up, Cloud 9 and Team Liquid don’t have as much to play for as you might think. Both teams have already secured their spot in the main event at this year’s World Championship. The winner of the LCS Summer Split automatically qualifies as the one seed, and both teams have enough points accrued this year to be guaranteed the second seed if they lose. However, it’s always better to enter as the one seed, so expect this weekend to be a hard fought match. If I had to pick, I’m taking Team Liquid to win their fourth straight split.

Saturday will have a lot more on the line however. The third representative for North America at Worlds will be determined by the regional gauntlet. To win that, you must be the last team standing. Four teams will qualify, with Team Solo Mid holding the coveted 1 seed. They need to win only one match to qualify. The winner between Counter Logic Gaming and Clutch Gaming will need to win twice. Meanwhile, FlyQuest and the loser of Saturday’s match will need to run the gauntlet and win three straight to qualify.

Looking Ahead

So what’s next? Obviously, we have the Regional Gauntlet, and then some down time until October when Worlds gets underway. The winner of the gauntlet tournament will enter the play-in stages of the World Championship along with 11 other teams. The top 8 will move to the knock out stage, and from there the top 4 advance to the Main Event.

So get ready everyone! The road to the World Finals in Paris kicks off this weekend in Detroit.

Photo by Tina Jo/Riot Games