The Finals of the LPL Spring Playoffs feature a match-up between the two top seeds, with Royal Never Give Up squaring off against World Elite for the title of LPL Spring Split Champions and a chance to compete at the Mid-Season Invitational.
Underdogs shock in first round of Playoffs
Group play had whittled the 12 original teams down to eight and the first round of the LPL Playoffs featured a pair of upsets. Newbee, 4th in Group B in the round robin, took down Invictus Gaming (3-1), who had finished 3rd in Group A. Meanwhile, the reverse was also the case with IMay, who had finished in 4th place in Group A, coming out on top over Qiao Gu Reapers (3-2), who had finished 3rd in Group B.
While EDward Gaming quickly dispatched Newbee (3-0) in the quarterfinals, OMG did not have such an easy time against IMay. This quarterfinal contest was by far the most interesting of the Playoff games as the other match-ups, including the eventual semifinal pairings, were something of an uncompetitive disappointment.
IMay take early advantage
IMay took the lead early in Game One, securing first blood just three minutes into proceedings via a tower dive in the top lane. After slowly recovering from the early deficit, OMG made two critical mistakes that cost them the game. An overextension in the Mid lane gave IMay three kills for free and OMG later forced around the Baron, lost all five members and with it the Baron buff. IMay then methodically destroyed OMG’s base with the Baron buff, giving them Game One.
The second game once again belonged to IMay, this time in a complete romp as they claimed a 16-3 kill score before ending the affair in a crisp 30 minutes.
OMG rally impressively
Game Three was an all-out slugfest, lasting over 50 minutes with no team truly pulling away. OMG finally found the fight they needed off the back of the player who performed well all tournament long; Mid laner icon. With an 11-2-5 (Kill-Death-Assist) ratio on Ahri, icon was the spark OMG needed to swing the series in their favour.
Game Four was eerily similar to the previous game as an incredibly close back-and-forth affair was decided in one major end game team fight. OMG’s Support player 5 completely locked down IMay’s AD Carry Jinjiao to enable OMG to completely dominate the fight and push down for the win. Icon once again had a standout performance on an assassin, this time Zed, to finish with double digit kills.
IMay err tactically
The fifth and final game in the match-up was a more one-sided affair, primarily due to IMay’s incredibly odd pick and ban strategy. IMay blind picked Ekko for Athena in the Mid lane, a champion Athena has only played once before professionally, and that in a defeat. Coupled with Ziggs in the bottom lane – a champion who only sees play in that role when AD champions are played in the Mid lane, which Ekko is not – the momentum and poor pick and ban were too much for IMay to overcome. OMG ended up taking the game and with it secured a date with Team WE in the semifinal.
Teams revert to form
Unfortunately for those looking for an upset, both top seeds eased to victory in the semifinals in fairly straightforward fashion as RNG defeated EDG and WE defeated OMG, both by a 3-1 margin. As such the Finals for the LPL are set, with World Elite and RNG facing off this weekend for bragging rights and the approximate $220,000 first place prize.
This match will be seen as a battle of the AD Carries, with RNG superstar Uzi squaring off against WE’s Mystic. With Lulu and other protective Support and Mid laners rising in popularity (Lulu to the point of first pick or ban), the importance of the AD Carry role is at an all-time high.
One of the most recognizable players in all of League of Legends, Uzi has been a mainstay in the Chinese LoL scene for quite some time. Known for his incredible mechanics and knowledge, Uzi is rightly considered one of the best players in the world.
On the other side WE’s Mystic has been a standout player all year long, consistently providing excellence in team fights. This will be the ultimate test for Mystic as he will face off against one of the most dominant players ever to play the game. Look for Kog’Maw and Caitlyn to have high priority within this series as both Mystic and Uzi excel with mechanically skilled players.
Another important role coming into the Finals will be the Jungle position, with RNG’s ever aggressive mlxg going toe-to-toe with WE’s Condi.
Mlxg is one of the biggest wildcards in this match-up as his constant aggression is often a double-edged sword for his team. While mlxg has the mechanics to carry a game from the Jungle, he also has a tendency to overstep his limits, which could give WE a possible way back into a lost game. Known primarily for his incredible Lee Sin play, mlxg will need to provide consistency for the likes of Uzi and Mid laner Xiaohu if RNG are to come away as champions.
Condi on the other hand has been the definition of consistency for World Elite. With splendid play on the likes of Elise, he will look to assist his lanes early and often against the incredible laning prowess of RNG.
Consequently, while RNG look to have the edge, World Elite’s historical communication skills, team play and intelligence in the pick and ban could be key to them becoming LPL champions.