One last week. One last climb. It’s all come down to this. Who can survive the threat of relegation, and who can secure a spot in the Grand Final?
Our new Playoffs format has been revealed, and every game matters as teams fight for the best seeding in the Gauntlet.
For two teams, these matches carry extra importance; Fnatic Rising and Excel UK both have their eyes on locking in a spot in the Grand Final this week. And a further four teams have an equally vital struggle coming up, as they remain mired in a relegation dogfight.
Here are 4 questions that we’re looking to have answered in Week 7 of the Summer Split!
Who can secure their Grand Final spot?
Obviously the tower format is tremendously straightforward and there’s zero possible confusion regarding the standings, but JUST IN CASE there was any, let’s clear up a few things:
- The 1st place team at the end of the regular season will be guaranteed a spot in the UKLC Summer Finals at Twickenham Stadium
- There are three possible outcomes to every tower challenge:
- The challenger wins the first game and takes the tower (the challenger scores 5 points, defender 3 points)
- The reigning tower champion wins the first game, but loses the tower rematch (challenger 4 points, defender 4 points)
- The reigning tower champion wins both the challenge and rematch (challenger 3 points, defender 5 points)
- In Week 7, if the reigning champion (Fnatic Rising) successfully defends the first tower challenge, the tower rematch will be played immediately afterwards.
Now, let’s take a look at the standings:
With Excel UK holding a slender point lead at the top but Fnatic Rising currently holding the tower, Excel must reach the tower challenge and defeat Fnatic Rising to take the final tower and guarantee themselves a spot in Twickenham. Fnatic, however, must hope that Excel doesn’t reach the tower challenge. If they do, they’ll have to beat them twice (in both the tower challenge and rematch) in order to secure a spot at the Finals.
In order to keep a first-placed finish possible, Excel must first get past Diabolus in the Round of 8. The Devils are quite comfortably sat in mid-table after a heavy slump in form, but they could still reach third if they manage to put together a bracket run off the back of an enormous upset. Will they put a stop to a dramatic Excel run before it’s even started?
Game 1: Excel UK vs Diabolus 18:00 BST
Who will fight to survive?
Enclave Gaming and Phelan Gaming are both in a precarious spot.
The two teams are currently tied with NVision for 6th place in the standings on two points apiece. With teams that finish in the bottom two missing out on Playoffs and having to play for their UKLC survival in the Promotion Tournament, it’s imperative for both that they pick up a win. Whichever team does win will guarantee that survival remains in their hands; the worst-case scenario for the winner is a tiebreaker game to keep out of the relegation spots. However, a tiebreaker is the best-case scenario for the loser, who could be forced into the Promotion Tournament by the end of the day if NVision wins the next game.
These teams have played once before, when Enclave defeated Phelan in Week 5. With both teams’ backs against the wall and their survival on the line, can they do it again?
Game 2: Enclave Gaming vs Phelan Gaming 19:00 BST
Can NVision stay in control of their own fate?
NVision Esports appeared to be hitting form at just the right time after picking up wins in Weeks 4 and 5. But a loss to Demise last week has meant that they, too, are playing for their UKLC future.
If they lose their next match, NVision will likely have to play a tiebreaker with either Enclave or Phelan for survival. Should they win, they (almost) secure a Playoffs spot. The only caveat to both relies on Barrage going on a crazy run to overtake them in the standings (and it would have to be crazy, as NVision have the winning head-to-head record between the pair).
But for NVision to keep hold of their fate, they need to overcome MnM Gaming. The third-placed side was upset by Phelan in extraordinary circumstances last week, but before that, they’d never lost to a side below them. With the top 2 spots out of reach, MnM are now playing to secure the third place seed heading into the Gauntlet. Can NVision overcome the odds and bring them down in the final week?
Game 3: MnM Gaming vs NVision Esports 20:00 BST
Do Barrage have any fuel left in the tanker?
In the entire Playoffs picture, there’s one team that has been discounted. Left adrift at the bottom of the table with just one point, and seemingly doomed to head into the Promotion Tournament, can Barrage still turn things around and rewrite their story?
In order to make Playoffs, Barrage will have to win at least two games. With Excel on the other side of the bracket, this is their shot.
Their opponents, however, have their eyes on third. Demise have been the standout story of the split, surpassing all expectations to sit in sole possession of fourth place heading into the final week of the regular season. How far can they go?
Game 4: Demise vs Barrage 21:00 BST
Remember, this week’s action doesn’t stop with the Round of 8. The four winners of the above fixtures progress to the bracket semifinals on Thursday, which also starts at 18:00 BST. The winner of the bracket will then have an opportunity to dethrone our reigning tower champions, Fnatic Rising, in the UKLC’s final tower challenge of the Summer Split. Then, next week’s Playoffs features the Gauntlet, which starts on Tuesday at 18:00 BST.