With less than a week left till the Mid-Season cup, the final announcements are being made. The format of the cup is now known, as well as the groups that each team will be a part of. Here is a look at everything for what should be an epic tournament.
The participating teams are divided into two groups, with two teams from each region in each group. Since there are four teams from each region, the teams were separated according to their finish in their league. T1’s group has TOP who finished in second, FPX who finished in third and Damwon who finished in fourth. JDG’s group has LCK runner-up Gen.G, as well as third-placed DragonX, with IG rounding it out. All matches are best of 1, and the tournament features a single round-robin. The teams that finish in first and second place will advance to the semi-finals, where all matches are a best of five. In a unique twist, the first game of the Knock-out stage will feature a blind pick, while the remaining games are played in draft pick
In last week’s article, the focus was on the LCK teams. And as promised, this week is the LPL’s turn.
The Champions: JD Gaming
Coming into the cup as the number one LPL team, JDG want to show the world that they deserved first place. With this being the first title the organization has, they have a lot to prove. Other than last year’s rift rivals, none of these players have been on a big international stage. Zoom, JDG’s top laner, wants to show the world that he is the best top laner in the LPL, possibly the world. Kavani will want to demonstrate what an MVP jungler looks like. Yagao will look to further his Leblanc performances, as he is 11:0 on her this year.
Loken will want to show off the same prowess he did in the grand-finals, where even JackeyLove couldn’t stop him. And lastly, LvMao, the grand-finals MVP, who has proved time and time again that counter-picking the support is a win condition.
The Runner-Ups: TOP Esports
Coming into 2020, this team had all the hype. After seasons showing that he was top tier, Knight finally had a roster to back him up. World-class jungler Karsa joined from RNG and a promising young carry joined from the academy team. When the team started to not live up to the hype, they brought in JackeyLove, to replace the overwhelmed Photic. He fit like a glove in TOP’s hand, where all their laners love to lane-kingdom.
With JackeyLove at the helm, the reinvigorated team made it to the grand-finals without losing a match. And there is where the win-streak ended, in the final hurdle, once again. That has been the story of TOP Esports recently, falling just short of their objectives. Sure, the Mid-Season cup may not hold the weight of MSI or a regional championship, but winning it would mean the world to TOP Esports.
Third-placed Seed: Funplus Phoenix
Our current reigning world champions finished the regular season in third. In a rematch of spring 2019 semi-finals, once again, FPX fell to JD Gaming. With the same roster that won worlds, FPX seemed to have been beaten at their own game. Every step of the way, it seemed like JDG’s macro was steps ahead of FPX’s.
Heading into the third-place match, the team once again brought out Khan, who spent most of the season on the bench. With Khan in the top lane, the team once again seemed like their old selves and took down IG in a clean 3:0. Once again in an international tournament, fans from all around the world will want to seem how FPX perform. It will also interesting to see if they play Khan, considering they face T1, his former team.
Fourth-placed seed: Invictus Gaming
After finishing the regular round-robin in first place, Invictus Gaming fell down two matches in a row and ended up in fourth. The team continues to have similar problems to what they had last year when cracks in their armor first started showing. The team seems like they operate around winning lane. If they can smash in the lane, they can win the game. But high tier games, where lane-kingdom is harder to pull off, is where IG seems to suffer.
Ever since last year, the team has struggled with the jungle position. Neither Leyan nor Ning seemed to perform at the level that IG expected of them. Add TheShy and Rookie overextending and getting caught out, and you can understand why the team is the fourth seed. However, they still demand respect from their opponents. While their macro may not be the best, they are possibly the best team in the world, as far as pound-for-pound talent goes. Invictus Gaming cannot be ignored.
And that concludes the series of articles leading up to the Mid-Season Cup. Be sure to tune into the games, starting on May 28.
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Follow JJ on Twitter: @NeonColouredJay.