LEC Playoff Preview: Splyce vs. SK Gaming

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
1 of 3
Xerxe, Splyce. League of Legends.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

The second LEC playoff game of the week sees 4th place Splyce take on 6th place SK Gaming in what promises to be a close affair. Splyce will be looking to return to the semi-finals after missing out in Summer 2018, whereas SK Gaming are looking to make a statement on their European homecoming by reaching the top four.

Demolished. Destroyed. Humiliated. These are the sorts of words you’d associate with Fnatic’s brutal takedown of Team Vitality yesterday in a 3-0 victory that looked to be over half-way through Game 1. It goes without saying that every LEC fan will be hoping for a more competitive match-up today between two organisations who share six semi-finals and two finals appearances throughout their illustrious history in the EU LCS.

More from League of Legends

Splyce generated a 2-0 record over their LEC playoff opponents during the regular season and the last meeting between these two teams occurred in Week 8. Despite strong jungling by facilitating ganks in bot the top and mid game for an early lead from SK Gaming’s Selfmade, Splyce created their own gold advantage in the mid-game through strong map plays and teamfight wins.

Unsurprisingly, late game kings, Splyce, have yet to lose a game this season in which they were 1k+ gold ahead at 15 minutes. This victory over SK Gaming was another example of Splyce being handed a mid-game lead, using it to slowly push their advantage and take full control of the map. Following impressive teamfight plays from Kobbe’s Vayne and Player of the Game Vizicsacsi on Kennen, Splyce slowly choked out their opponents and secured their playoff place in just over 35 minutes.

While it’s clear that Splyce operate as a single unit rather than five individual players, there are a number of match-ups that could be the deciding factor in today’s LEC playoff clash. Although only two earned a spot on an LEC All-Pro team this week, there are a number of talented players in both rosters that will want to stand up and be counted today, hopefully guiding their sides to the second round of matches.

Pivotal Duel: Xerxe vs. Selfmade

Simply put, the jungle is where this LEC playoff game will be decided. Xerxe is the essential component to ensuring Splyce reach the mid-game unscathed and are set up to dominate late game teamfights around objectives. On the other hand, Selfmade is the carry on the SK Gaming roster – picking up kills across the map in the early game while looking to snowball his team’s lead out of the opponent’s control.

Xerxe leads the line when it comes to important stats among the LEC junglers, ranking highest in KDA (5.5), gold differential at 15 minutes (312), experience differential at 15 minutes (503), but most importantly his first blood participation rate sits at a remarkable 50%.

What this tells us is that Splyce’s jungler simply dominates the early game jungle, setting up his side for success by limiting the pressure from his opposite number through vision control and pathing. While his laners may fall behind due to difficult match-ups and their eyes being set on making it to the late game, Xerxe controls the map to ensure Splyce aren’t overcome with pressure from enemy junglers.

SK Gaming’s jungler operates in a different fashion; Selfmade instead looks to gank heavily in the early game, especially towards the top and middle lanes, hoping to create gold leads across the map and snowball. This is evidenced by the Polish jungler’s impressive damage share of 17.1%, the second highest of LEC junglers, as well as his strong first blood participation percentage of 36.8% (fourth highest).

Selfmade’s regular season performances have led to him being a shoo-in for Rookie of the Spring Split and SK will be desperate for this excellent form to continue into today’s LEC playoff game.