As the LPL gets ready to start Week 9, the end of the LPL draws near. Three teams have already qualified for playoffs, and two teams have failed to make the cut. RNG, EDG and FPX have all made it in, mathematically, while Rogue Warriors and eStar are mathematically eliminated. With only two more weeks left in the regular season, seven playoff spots are still available. Please note that for Week 9, there will be no matches played on Tuesday, so there are only six days of games instead of the usual seven.
Week 8: Day 6
Match 1: Bilibili Gaming vs Rogue Warriors
The first of the eliminated teams, Rogue Warriors will now look to play spoilers. With no clear goal or objective left to fight for, RW can play however they like. And one team that could fall victim to said spoilers is BLG.
Bilibili Gaming haven’t had the easiest time this split. A team that many expected to easily make playoffs is on the verge of not making it, with two added spots compared to previous years. Should they fail to take down RW, it will be a proverbial nail in the coffin for BLG’s split.
Prediction: Bilibili Gaming
Match 2: Rare Atom vs Invictus Gaming
Rare Atom right now have the longest win streak in the LPL. Currently sitting at eight wins in a row, RA are hot on EDG and RNG’s heels. With both teams having a rough schedule in the final weeks, as well as a direct showdown against RA, Rare Atom are posed to finish in the top two.
On the other hand, Invictus Gaming are fighting to separate themselves from the other gatekeeping teams. Tied with LNG at 6-6, IG will want to climb the table even further to avoid getting knocked out of playoffs in the final week. Luckily, strength of schedule is on their side, and they should manage to confirm their favouritism.
Prediction: Rare Atom
Match 3: EDG vs Top Esports
In what should be the best match of the week, EDG will take on Top Esports. After failing to make playoffs for the first time in the org’s history last summer, EDG is back in form, and are fighting for top two. That said, they have a rough last couple of matches, and with Rare Atom and WE right there, EDG can’t afford to slack off.
A team that hasn’t lived up to many fans expectations, Top Esports have had a rougher split. Currently sitting in sixth, Top had a slow start, to then trip over FPX when they seemed to back in form. However, Top Esports are one of the teams that you can’t afford to overlook.
Prediction: Top Esports
Week 8: Day 7
Match 1: OMG vs LNG
Sunday’s first match features two teams that are fighting on for dear life. OMG are at the bottom of the table, but can still make playoffs. In fact, if they were to make playoffs, they would most likely take LNG’s spot, making this match even more important.
Up against them, LNG still have their fate in their own hands. With more wins then all the teams below them and sitting in the last spot for playoffs, LNG need only to confirm their favouritism to book their spot in playoffs. With a few easier games left, LNG should be able to be the final team to make it into playoffs.
Match 2: Suning vs World Elite
Alongside Rare Atom, Team World Elite is one of the few teams that pose a threat to the top two teams. Despite having a rough final schedule, Team WE could take down one of the top two and skipping to Round 4 of the playoffs.
Currently on a four-game winning streak, Suning have all but confirmed their playoff spot. After team WE, Suning have LNG, BLG and eStar, three teams that are at the mid to bottom of the table. That said, Suning has struggled to take down teams that were doing better than them, and considering how team WE is performing, they might struggle here.
Prediction: Team World Elite
Match 3: RNG vs JDG
As mentioned above, RNG is one of the two teams at the top of the table. With one loss less than EDG, RNG will be a harder team to move out of the top two. However, should they trip over JD Gaming, then it becomes more realistic for WE or Rare Atom to get past them.
Another team that has disappointed a few fans, JD Gaming isn’t finding the same success that they found last year. While they are posed to close out the season well, they looked abysmal against teams that were doing better than them. With a fairly easy final schedule, it’s hard to see JDG dropping out of playoffs. But unless something changes soon, they aren’t the favourites to make it to the finals, much less win it all.
Week 9: Day 1
Match 1: LGD vs Rare Atom
LGD is one of the teams that could, in theory, make it into the playoffs. However, they would need a monumental movement, as they face the likes of RA, RNG and IG. However, they can play spoilers to any of these teams. Even if they manage to snag a single game win, it could spell disaster to one a top team.
Rare Atom will want to wrap this match up in a convincing manner. After this match, they will face both of the top teams, with a chance to knock them down a peg and steal their spot. However, to do that, they will need to wrap this match up cleanly and continue with their winning streak.
Prediction: Rare Atom
Match 2: ThunderTalk Gaming vs Invictus Gaming
Despite not having the most convincing season, IG has a fairly easy end to it. After taking on TT, they will face Victory Five and LGD, two teams that aren’t doing so hot. However, if they do trip up against any of these teams, it will raise even more questions about them coming into playoffs.
Despite not doing well, ThunderTalk Gaming did have their moments. With a good bot lane and with Xiaopeng returning to the roster, ThunderTalk could do well in Summer. Their solo lanes are the biggest question marks, and sadly for them, they are up against TheShy and Rookie, who despite not having the best split so far, are some of the best the LPL has to offer.
Prediction: Invictus Gaming
Week 9: Day 2
Match 1: LGD vs OMG
A match that will most likely be worth little more than pride, both of these teams will probably come into this match eliminated. Neither of them had a particularly inspiring split and were the last two teams to pick up wins. It is important to note that both of these teams did decide to drop their former stars and switch to development rosters.
That said, not all is lost. Both teams had great moments, with them looking solid at different points of the map. With the proper changes heading into summer, both of these teams could be more competitive and even try to make playoffs.
Match 2: Victory Five vs Top Esports
With the possibility to mess up the entire top half of the table, Top Esports have their fate in their own hands. While a top-two finish seems unlikely, they can knock the top teams down a peg. They can also all but lock Victory Five out of playoffs should they win here.
Victory Five is a team that really disappointed the fans this split. With the same core roster as last year and a sidegrade at worst in the top lane, they should be fighting at the top of the table. However, it seems like the same magic that guided them last year isn’t here, and Victory Five might not even make playoffs, despite there being two extra spots.
Prediction: Top Esports
Week 9: Day 3
Match 1: ThunderTalk Gaming vs Rogue Warriors
Another match that will count for little more than pride. Rogue Warriors had their worst split since joining the LPL. Looking at a possible 1-15 finish, their one win was against a disorientated Top Esports in Week 2. Since then, they have lost every match, and most of them were 0-2 losses.
ThunderTalk Gaming has to take advantage of this match to show off that they are a tier above the bottom of the table teams. A team that could have a positive summer in their future, TT will want to end the split well and use that momentum to move forward.
Prediction: ThunderTalk Gaming
Match 2: Team World Elite vs Bilibili Gaming
BLG are in a rough spot. Currently a match behind the likes of LNG, they have to have a good ending to their split, if they want to just slip into playoffs. That said, it will be easier said than done. They will face WE, then Suning and lastly FPX. They will need to play out of their minds to make it into playoffs.
On the other side of the rift, Team World Elite is looking to make a move towards the top of the table. Only a game behind EDG, Team World Elite has been on a rampage and will face the team above them in the final week. With their fate in their own hands, the sky is the limit for Team World Elite.
Prediction: Team World Elite
Week 9: Day 4
Match 1: EDG vs eStar
Heading into the final laps, eStar are already out of the race. The roster that was rebuilt this year once again failed to impress. Bringing up young players from the LDL and pairing them with H4cker and ShiauC didn’t work out too well. Changes are in order for summer if they want to try to make playoffs.
Speaking of the final laps, EDG will enjoy their last game against a lower-tier team before the final challengers. In their final week, EDG will play both teams that are directly behind them in the standings. These matches could either confirm EDG as a top-two team in the round-robin or knock them down to the first round of playoffs.
Match 2: LNG vs JD Gaming
The final match of today’s article could either be crucial to the standings or have zero impact regardless of the winner. LNG have a game lead over the teams under them. Should those teams lose their matches earlier in the week, they can lose to JDG here. And beating JDG will unlikely mean that they break into the top 6.
On the other hand, JDG have an extra loss over the teams above them. Should the teams above them confirm their favouritism in their matches, it is unlikely that JDG will make it into the top 6. The same way that if they do end up losing to LNG, it is unlikely that they will fall out of playoffs.
And that concludes the preview of the last two days of Week 8 and the first five days of Week 9. Be sure to come back next time, to read about the last matches of Week 9, as well as the start of the final week of the regular round-robin.
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Follow JJ on Twitter: @NeonColouredJay