SK Gaming turned from afterthoughts into playoff hopefuls throughout the 2021 summer split. Since Lilipp’s arrival, the team captured one decisive victory after another on their way to playoff contention.
However, much as Schalke 04 Esports did in 2020, SK Gaming need the stars to align, depending on their results. In addition, they must go big: anything short of a 2-1 week will eliminate them from the playoffs.
Week 8’s schedule and how it influences SK’s chances
SK Gaming face Astralis, Misfits Gaming, and Rogue on Week 8. Misfits and Rogue are eyeing higher playoff seeding, and a smoother path to the World Championship. Unlike them, Astralis are fighting three other teams for a playoff spot—SK being one of them.
Unfortunately for SK, a 0-3 week for all of their opponents is impossible, as Astralis play Excel and Vitality. A 0-3 Astralis week means at least 1-2 for the other two teams.
SK’s position in the standings is tenuous: 5-10, one win behind Astralis and Excel Esports. In addition, Astralis and Excel Esports face one another during the superweek. Because of that, they cannot afford to lose two games, even if they beat Astralis.
What happens if SK goes 2-1?
If SK’s 2-1 includes beating Astralis, their playoff chances hinge on the following:
- Excel wins one game or less
- Astralis wins one game or less
- If SK is tied with Vitality, they must also be tied with either Excel or Astralis
Team Vitality’s 2-0 record against SK can be overcome with another positive head-to-head record. In the event of a four-team tie, SK emerges ahead
If SK’s 2-1 does not include a victory over Astralis, only Excel can save SK in ties involving Vitality. If Excel is absent from ties, then Vitality advance over SK.
A 3-0 showing might not be enough
If SK Gaming go 3-0, the following must happen for them to stand a chance:
- If Team Vitality goes 3-0, Excel Esports must go 2-1.
Astralis would be out of playoff reach, leaving SK’s fortunes at the mercy of a three-way tie with Excel and Team Vitality. If this tie happens, SK Gaming move directly to the playoffs. Indeed, their record in the second half of the split would better than that of XL and Vitality.
- If Vitality and Excel lose a game, and if SK go 3-0, SK qualify directly.
In a 3-0 week, their head-to-head record against Astralis would be 1-1. However, their superior second half of the split sends them directly to the playoffs.