After nine weeks of regular season games, it’s finally playoff time in Europe! The final fight for the title of the best in the region starts this weekend, with a showdown between legends.

Three spots to Rift Rivals 2019, one spot at a Mid-Season Invitational 2019 and 200,000 euros — this much is on the line in LEC 2019 Spring Playoffs. The first franchized split in Europe was a vibrant one and the start of its conclusion starts today.

The two best teams of the regular season — G2 Esports and Origen — earned themselves a direct spot in the Round 2 of the bracket. The winner of this battle will move straight to the grand final. Both of these teams have secured a spot at Rift Rivals 2019 as well, as their finish in the Top 3 is already guaranteed.

In Round 1 Fnatic will face off against Team Vitality and Splyce will battle against SK Gaming. In the new system, the winners of these games will move on to Round 2, where they will face each other. The winner of that match will enter a final showdown against the loser of G2/Origen, for a spot in the grand final.

Somehow it feels very fitting seeing Fnatic opening the playoffs. The Worlds 2018 vice-champions had a tough beginning for the split, going 0-4 after the first two weeks. It took a while for Fnatic to find their game again and a certain patch, that brought Martin “Rekkles” Larsson back to life didn’t hurt either.

What is in-fact impressive is how Fnatic went from the biggest disappointment of the split to one of the most feared teams in the region (again). After the first four matches, followed a few weeks of 1-1 games all the way until week six. That’s when the fun started. That’s when Fnatic entered the eight-game winning streak, which is yet to be broken.

Fnatic look unbelievably strong right now. Not only did they manage to beat both G2 Esports and Splyce last week, they did it in a rather convincing fashion as well. If anyone is feeling nervous before today’s match it has to be Vitality.

That is not to say that Vitality look “bad” by any means. It would be more accurate to say that they are in a slump. A big, scary slump. In the last three weeks of the regular split Vitality managed to win only once, against the heavily underperforming Rogue. Last week they even lost to Excel, another team from the bottom of the table.

Thing is, if Fnatic show up to this match, even on a good day, with a full roster Vitality would have trouble stopping their winning streak. There’s a good reason why Fnatic went from 3-7 to 11-7 in a regular season and it ain’t luck.

Our pick: Fnatic

On the other side of the bracket, Splyce will be trying their luck against SK Gaming on Saturday. Much like the opening game, this one has a clear favorite as well.

Splyce had a strong performance throughout the season, winning over 61% of all of their encounters. Not only did they manage to beat G2 Esports and Schalke 04 in the recent weeks, but Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir and his team also defeated SK Gaming themselves in week 8 of the split.

SK, on the other hand, have nothing to lose. It’s the return to the highest level of League of Legends for the German organization and some might say they already beat all expectations, finishing ahead of more veteran teams.

Last week alone, SK overcame Schalke 04 in a tiebreaker match, leaving the latter out of the playoffs for the first time since Spring split last year. SK saw a lot of eyebrows rise their way due to their very young line-up, their roster, however, ended up bringing mixed results. If not for anything else, the 19-year-old Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek proved to be a worthy pick-up for the German organization.

The strengths of SK Gaming, sadly, start and end with the young Polish jungler. Other parts of the team seem weak and heavily rely on luck to succeed. Even considering their wins in recent weeks, SK still looks like a much weaker team compared to Splyce.

Our pick: Splyce

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