The format of the forthcoming League of Legends European Championship Spring play-offs gives the top two seeds, G2 Esports and Origen, a big advantage.
The other four teams must play in an elimination series for the right to play the loser of the G2-Origen battle.
When the action gets under way on March 29, all eyes will be on G2 to see if they have lost momentum after effectively taking their foot off the gas down the stretch during the regular season.
G2 were the dominant force of the regular season but the last couple of weeks put the brakes on their momentum.
However, G2 did not falter too much, finishing with a 13-5 win-loss record, and due to securing the top seeding for the play-offs, they will face Origen for a final spot, with another shot guaranteed should they fail.
G2 did publicly discuss having less practice in those closing weeks and, coupled with Mikyx being rested in order to protect his wrists, there is still optimism that this team can rediscover their top form.
Nukeduck the key
Origen are second seeds having been fuelled by their star solo-laners, Alphari and Nukeduck, with the latter continuing to have a seemingly-endless champion pool.
There was some concern entering the year over whether or not Kold could perform on this team and whether mithy could shake off his poor performances over in North America.
However, both have proven the doubters wrong, with the team going 12-6 and looking a true threat to take home the crown.
Flexibility has been the name of the game for this squad, and they continue to be one of the best teams in terms of adapting to each patch with coach Guilhoto continuing to receive praise for his clever and efficient drafts.
Origen will go as far as Nukeduck can take them, and if he continues at the incredible pace he has played this year, they will take all the beating.
Fnatic could make a run
Meanwhile, Fnatic are hoping to piggyback on their World Championship experience and take down the competition this year.
Fnatic still have four of the members of the team that reached the final at the Worlds last year, and despite it taking longer than anticipated for Nemesis to be fully integrated into the team, they are now firing on all cylinders entering the play-offs. They will play Team Vitality first up.
Another versatile team with the likes of Bwipo and Broxah, the question about Fnatic now is whether or not Nemesis can step up in pressure situations in the way Caps did last year.
Hylissang is perhaps the most underrated player in the league, with tremendous consistency at the highest level in terms of support play that puts the enemies out on a silver platter for his team.
As always with this squad, Rekkles will need to have his time in the spotlight if they are to make it through, but overall their consistency and experience is a massive plus.
Splyce getting little respect
Still flying under the radar despite being the fourth seeds are Splyce, who continue to just find win after win no matter the strength of the opposition.
Finishing with an 11-7 record – the same as Fnatic – Splyce work incredibly well together with Bottom-laner Kobbe emerging as a true star with a unique champion pool.
Jungler Xerxe is yet another European with a champion pool that appears to have no end, and his deception in champion selection is a massive benefit to their drafting.
Eyes will be on Mid-laner Humanoid, who is in his first year in the LEC, and must duel all the other brilliant Mids that come out of Europe.
Splyce’s first match will be against a scrappy SK Gaming squad that took down FC Schalke 04 in a tie-breaker. That could well be one to watch.