As teams get ready for their second to last week of play, all the playoff spots are still open. Before starting week 6, they must play the remaining one day of games to close out week 5. Usually it would be two days, but on Saturday, April 4, there will be no games. The LPL will pause for a day to partake in the day dedicated to the mourning of those passed away due to COVID-19. The matches that would happen on the fourth, were moved to April 20.
Week 5: Day 7
Match 1: JD Gaming vs LNG
Two teams on opposite trajectories, JD Gaming and LNG will start Sunday’s games. JD Gaming seem to have recovered from their last couple of rough matches, defeating Suning in a close series. LNG, on the other hand, are on a four game losing streak, and with every loss are seeing their playoff spot slipping further and further away from them. If JD win, they manage to keep up with the top of the table teams and hopefully get a better seed in playoffs. If LNG win, they manage to put themselves back on the winning track in hopes to make it into playoffs.
Prediction: JD Gaming
Match 2: Bilibili vs EDG
Bilibili will take on EDG, as their chances of making it into playoffs grow slimmer by the day. After starting the split off so well, BLG fell off a cliff, only winning one game since the return of the LPL. They need to make their stand now if they want to continue to hope for a playoff spot, but it is looking dire. EDG, on the other hand, are looking good. With their full roster back together from quarantine, EDG are only one win behind the top of the table teams of RNG and TOP. Should they confirm that they are the better team right now, they keep the leaders in close proximity, with the opportunity to challenge them in the next few weeks. Should BLG pull an upset, they will maintain their playoff hopes alive.
Match 3: RNG vs IG
In a match that many are looking forward too, RNG and IG will close out week 5. With both teams at the top of the table, this is the final match between the members of the elite 4. RNG did have a little dip in performance, while Invictus still look strong. However, after their loss to FPX, RNG have been on a tear, defeating EDG and eStar in a convincing manner. Invictus continue to dominate the table, and since their loss to eStar, they haven’t dropped a game. If RNG take the game, not only do they close the gap with eStar, they could look to finish in a top position. However, if IG take the game, RNG fall behind TOP in the table, and potentially allow EDG and JDG to overtake them.
Week 6: Day 1
Match 1: Suning vs Victory Five
Victory Five will kick off week 6, in a match vs Suning. Already eliminated from the race for playoffs, Victory Five have nothing left but to play spoiler. Speaking of spoilers, no team better to upset than Suning. Suning are sitting tied up with Rogue Warriors and LNG, and are a single game away from Vici, WE and OMG, who is currently holding the last playoff spot. If Suning stumble over the likes of V5, they playoff race is as good as done. With 6 teams trying to scramble into playoffs, it is essential that they defeat a winless team. However, with nothing to play for and nothing to lose, Victory Five could upset one of these teams. Will Suning be the first to fall victim to Victory Five?
Match 2: OMG vs Vici
Speaking of important matches concerning playoffs, Vici take on OMG. If a year ago, anyone mentioned that these two teams would be looking to grab a playoff spot, they would have been laughed out of the room. With new and revigorated rosters, both of these teams seem to left behind their 2019 performances. While OMG are on a 3 game loss streak, they did face FPX, TOP and IG, all top of the table teams. Vici are currently on a 3 game win streak, taking down their direct competition in LNG, top of the table eStars and bottom of the table LGD. In what promises to be a contested game, the winner of this match will be primed to take eighth place and the playoff spot that comes with it.
Match 3: TOP Esports vs Rogue Warriors
The team currently on everybody’s lips, TOP will be looking to stomp out Rogue Warriors’ hopes of making playoffs. Having recently signed JackeyLove, one of the premier carries of the LPL, it seems like TOP are really making a push against the elite four. Should RNG stumble vs IG, TOP can take their spot and guarantee a better seed in playoffs. While it is unknown if JackeyLove will play immediately, Rogue Warriors will be hoping that he won’t. While still mathematically possible to reach the playoffs, Rogue Warriors need to get past TOP. Should they manage to do so, they will get a morale boost that may be the final piece needed in the Rogue Warriors puzzle.
Week 6: Day 2
Match 1: Dominus vs Bilibili Gaming
While neither of these teams are favorites to grab a playoff spot, both still can make it. BLG looked very unimpressive this split, and Dominus hasn’t looked much better. The main difference is that Dominus did manage to pull off a convincing win recently versus LNG. BLG did manage to pull off a surprising win vs WE in week 4 but haven’t looked impressive since. In a tale of two disappointing teams, the loser of this match will be out of contention for playoffs. While every win does matter, in the grand scheme of the split, both of these teams should have done better, given their summer split last year. Both will look towards the next split in hopes to do better, and a win here might set them on the right path.
Match 2: eStar vs JD Gaming
In an important top of the table match, JDG will take on eStar. Previously the best performing team of the LPL, eStar have started to slip up, finishing week five 0:2. While they did face Vici and RNG, both teams with good momentum behind them, they looked uncharacteristically lost. JD Gaming may not have the most convincing split, but they did manage to win when they needed to, and a sitting near the top of the table. Should they defeat eStar, they make the life of the other top of the table teams’ lives much easier. And should eStar win, they push JDG down and away from the top 4 and a better spot in playoffs.
Match 3: LNG vs FunPlus Phoenix
Speaking of top of the table teams, FPX will look to continue their rampage through the second part of the LPL vs LNG. Having not lost since the return of the LPL, FPX seem to have regained their 2019 form. With eStar slipping up, FPX seem primed to make a move into the official top two, and get a much better bye in playoffs. With Khan returning to the roster vs V5, it adds another equation to FPX. Looking to stop the oncoming freight-train, LNG still have hopes in a playoff spot. After a strong start to the split, LNG seemed to have lost themselves. They will need to stop FPX if they have any hopes of making it into playoffs.
Week 6: Day 3
Match 1: Rogue Warriors vs Vici
With a spot in the playoffs on the table, Vici and Rogue Warriors will face off. While both have previous matches that will affect their position on the table, this match will serve as the final nail in the coffin of one of these teams. Even if both these teams win their previous matches, a loss here guarantees their elimination. The situation is worse for The Warriors, as they are already a game behind Vici. Should they come into this match already eliminated, they will look to play spoilers to Vici. Both teams showed flashes of brilliance this split but failed to be stable in their performances. If they become more consistent, better things may await them in the summer split.
Match 2: Suning vs OMG
Another match with playoff importance, Suning will look to take down OMG to keep their playoff dream alive. Currently a match behind OMG, should Suning take down their direct competition, it’s one less to worry about in the race. OMG will look to maintain their playoff spot, to officially shake off the last 2 years. In this battle for playoffs, the most important players to look at will be the carries. Huanfeng and Smlz have incredible carry potential and will need to step up to help their teams make it to playoffs.
Match 3: World Elite vs TOP
In the begging of the split the prediction of this match would be one. A few weeks back it would have been another. But both teams have come full circle and are right back to where they started, with TOP looking much better. World Elite had a few weeks of brilliance, but have been slipping up on their last few matches. TOP, who had a troublesome couple of weeks, have now turned their game back around. While WE are still in the playoff race, it is looking dire for them, as they lost 2 games in a row to bottom of the table teams. Even without JackeyLove, this should be a win for TOP.
Week 6: Day 4
Match 1: LGD vs RNG
In a match that in a vacuum shouldn’t be as important, RNG and LGD will face off. While LGD can still make playoffs, they don’t rely on just their results. RNG ,on the other hand, seem to have a steady grasp of their playoff spot. While this match doesn’t mean much for the overall standing of the teams, an upset could be interesting. Should RNG slip and fall to LGD, they pretty much guarantee to loose their top 4 spot, and the better playoff bye that comes with it. LGD, on the opposite side of the rift, will look to finish the split off well. While having a terrible start, LGD started to get it together towards the end of split. They will want to end on a positive note, to hopefully continue that way during the summer split.
Match 2: LNG vs EDG
In what could have been a crucial match in the race for playoffs will probably not be important in the grand scheme of things. While still in the race, LNG have been on a terrible lossing streak, and have looked completely defeated and lost. EDG, on the other hand, have had good performances for the past few weeks. Should LNG pull it together and take down EDG, then the results will affect everyone in the race for playoffs. But considering the recent performances of both teams, it seems farfetched. Also, if LNG lose in their previous matches, they might come into this match already eliminated from the race
Match 3: Invictus Gaming vs JD Gaming
In a top of the table clash, Invictus Gaming will look to knock JDG out of the race for top 4. While the race seems to be between IG, FPX, eStar, TOP and RNG, other teams are still in the race for a better bye. This match will decide the fate of both these teams. Should JDG win, they may knock IG out of their TOP 4 position. Even if it is unlikely that they take the fourth spot, they could still play spoilers. Similarly, should IG win, JDG may be knocked down further in the table, and face a harder opponent in the first round of playoffs.
Prediction: Invictus Gaming
Week 6: Day 5
Match 1: Dominus vs Victory Five
In a match that will be worth little more than pride, Dominus and Victory Five will face off. Both teams will probably enter this match already eliminated from the playoff race, with one team being eliminated from the beginning of the week. This will be Victory Five’s second-best chance to get a before the end of the split, should they not get it earlier versus Suning. While they still have to face BLG, both of those matches will be their best chances, as their remaining opponents are TOP and Vici, both teams looking like significantly better teams than Victory Five. Dominus will come into this match with one thing on their mind: Don’t be the first team to fall to Victory Five.
Match 2: FunPlus Phoenix vs Vici
Their main hurdle in their race for playoffs, Vici will have to take down FPX if they want to get into playoffs. While getting wins versus against all their opponents will guarantee Vici the spot, FPX are by far the tallest order. After falling twice in week 1, FPX haven’t dropped a series since, and have looked unstoppable. Still looking to contest a top two spot, FPX have no reason to slow down anytime soon. Vici will need to come up with something new and creative to take down the reigning LPL and World champions.
Match 3: TOP vs Bilibili Gaming
The final match that will be in this post, BLG and TOP will do battle. In another match that will be worth little more than pride, TOP will look to crush out BLG and keep up in the race for top 4. In what would have been match of the week many weeks ago, will probably be little more than a bump in the road for TOP. BLG have looked terrible this split, getting 3 wins so far, 2 in week one and one vs WE in week 4. BLG fans are already looking towards changes for the summer split, and hopefully a better performance from the team. TOP, on the other hand, will be counting on a slip up from one of the current top 4 teams and hopefully take their spot.
And with that, the preview of the first 5 days of week 6 is complete. Despite all the spots in playoffs still being up for grabs, it feels like every team is already locked in, except for the final spot. Suning, LNG, Rogue Warriors, Vici, OMG and WE are all looking to claw their way into playoffs. By next week’s article, everything should be a lot more clear.
Follow JJ on Twitter: @NeonColouredJay.