A little over two weeks after RNG’s win at MSI, the LPL returns with their Summer Split. This time around, most teams simply added players to their roster, reinforcing their ranks instead of changing them altogether. That said, Victory underwent massive changes, bringing in an entirely new roster, with most of them being rookies to the LPL stage. Bilibili Gaming, LGD, Rogue Warriors, Team World Elite, Thundertalk Gaming and Ultra Prime all added one or two new faces to their rosters. The core roster for the remaining LPL teams will likely remain the same as they were in spring. With all that said, welcome to the beginning of the LPL 2021 Summer Split.
Week 1: Day 1
Match 1: Invictus Gaming vs Suning
Invictus Gaming and Suning will start off the action this Summer Split. Invictus Gaming had one of their worst performances in recent splits, finishing in ninth and falling to Rare Atom in the first round of playoffs. While they promoted Neny, their academy top laner, he is unlikely to see much playtime. However, coach Nofe joined the team. For a while, many have claimed that IG’s coaching staff was their weakest point. Bringing in a heavy hitter like Nofe could be what IG needs to return to the top.
On the other hand, Suning had a very quiet offseason. ADD and Jinjiao, their substitute top laner and bot lane carry respectively, have left the team. Assum, their academy carry was promoted to the main roster. None of these changes should affect the starting five for Suning. Last summer, Suning made magic happen, making a miracle run to Worlds, and made it all the way to the Grand Final. Fans are once again hoping for a similar outcome this year.
Match 2: FunPlus Phoenix vs Rogue Warriors
Two teams that ended spring under two opposite circumstances, FPX and RW will play in the second match of the night. FPX almost made it from the second round of playoffs to MSI, falling in the Grand Finals to RNG. This summer, FPX will want to continue their good form and return to Worlds later down the line.
On the opposite side of the rift, Rogue Warriors were the punching bag of the Spring Split. Other than a week 1 win against Top Esports, Rogue Warriors lost every series they played. They did make changes, promoting 8917 and IceCoke from their academy roster. They also brought ZWuji back to their roster. Only time will tell if this will be enough to get RW away from the bottom of the table.
Prediction: FunPlus Phoenix
Week 1: Day 2
Match 1: OMG vs Rare Atom
Rare Atom and OMG will start off the second day’s action. Rare Atom made a splash in spring, going on a massive win streak, but running out of steam in playoffs. Consistency is key in the LPL, and Rare Atom want to show that they simply got outplayed, but still have the talent required to win, as they made no roster or staff changes.
On the other hand, OMG had a rough spring. So to reinforce their team for summer, their promoted their academy mid laner and their academy carry. They also brought Able, another carry, giving them the option to flex between 3 bot lane carries. Regardless, fans are concerned if this will be enough to reverse their spring results.
Prediction: Rare Atom
Match 2: Edward Gaming vs Bilibili Gaming
EDG and BLG will face off in the second series of the night. While EDG fans were happy as their roster turned around from their 2020 results, many feel like they could have done even better. They made no significant changes to their core roster, promoting a few academy players who will probably spend most of the split on the bench. The question is now if EDG can run it back, but win it all this time.
A team that didn’t do well in Spring was BLG. A team that many had high expectations coming into 2020 didn’t even make playoffs, despite two additional spots being added. So they decided to make a few changes, bringing in Weiwei and Ppgod from Victory Five. Once again, fans have high expectations for this roster.
Week 1: Day 3
Match 1: FunPlus Phoenix vs Ultra Prime
As mentioned, FPX have a mission this split. After having such a flaky regular season, rotating between three junglers, FPX almost ran an entire gauntlet to take it all. Now, hopefully, without having to deal with similar problems, FPX will want to do better in the round-robin and guarantee more points, working towards Worlds.
Up against them are Ultra Prime. For those unaware, eStar rebranded as Ultra Prime. Under knew ownership and management, UP brought in a new face and an old face. XiaoCaobao, a rookie mid laner joined from Young Miracles. Alongside him, SMLZ joined the roster, after not participating in the league during Spring.
Match 2: LNG vs Victory Five
As stated in the start of this article, Victory Five have gone for a full reboot of their roster. Uniboy joined from LGD, and the rest of the roster are rookies from the LDL. Jungler JugGod and carry Kepler are the two promising players amongst the rookies. This match against LNG, a team that barely made playoffs in spring, should be a very telling one.
LNG are another roster that made no changes to their starting roster. The only change made was dropping substitute mid-laner Hoyoung. While the team did make playoffs, they got slaughtered by Suning. The team still has a lot to prove, and have to come a long way if they want to pose a threat to the top teams.
Week 1: Day 4
Match 1: ThunderTalk Gaming vs JD Gaming
The first match of Thursday features ThunderTalk Gaming vs JD Gaming. TT made a few changes for summer. LangX joined from Victory Five, while Ye and Patch joined from the LDL. Towards the end of the split, TT looked better. Xiaopeng brought tempo to the team, and their bot lane was popping off. Now with upgraded solo laners, TT could surprise teams and fans this summer.
JDG had a weird spring. They had a rough start to their split, with the entire roster underperforming. After the Lunar New Year, they started getting back into shape, and towards the end they were looking like a real menace. However, they got run over by FPX in playoffs, falling just short of the double-elimination bracket. This left fans with many questions, questions that JDG will want to put to rest this split.
Match 2: Rare Atom vs LGD
LGD will be one of the more interesting teams to watch. 3/5 of the roster that made it to Worlds last year is here again, with Xiye joining from JDG and Mark returning from BLG. However, the question still remains about their top lane and their jungle. While there are rumours regarding their jungler, these are just rumours as of now.
This should be a better test for Rare Atom than OMG was. With Xiye and Mark returning to the roster, Rare Atom’s key players should be contested by top talent, versus unknown rookies like in their previous match. Should Rare Atom fall here, it doesn’t bode well for Summer. But a convincing win here should show fans that their trust wasn’t misplaced, and spring was just an underperformance from the team.
Prediction: Rare Atom
Week 1: Day 5
Match 1: Bilibili Gaming vs LNG
Friday’s first match should be an interesting one. Both of these team have the potential to make it into playoffs. However, fans of both of these team have reasons to believe that they won’t make the final cut.
Since the start of 2020, BLG have always had amazing players, and big enough names to make playoffs every split. However, every split they still manage to disappoint, just narrowly missing out on playoffs.
On the other hand, LNG didn’t have the most convincing spring. Their top lane was always rotated between two players with opposite playstyles and no synergy with the rest of team. Tarzan often found early advantages, but if he didn’t find them he was irrelevant in the rest of the game. Light and Icon performed adequately, but they were far from being top tier players for their role. Iwandy was their best player, often playing Alistar or Rell, and setting up the plays for the rest of the team. LNG needs to step up their game or they might miss playoffs this summer.
Match 2: Team World Elite vs Suning
The final match of this article, Team World Elite will take on Suning. Team World Elite made one change coming into summer, which was adding Mole, previously V5 to their roster. Mole was a top 5 mid laner in 2020, but he had some difficulties in spring. Non the less, fans and analysts alike are hyped from Team WE this summer.
Suning are one of the weirder teams in the LPL. They tend to have a quiet split, but do well in playoffs. In week 8, Team WE beat Suning in a convincing 2:0 manner. However, less than a month later, Suning would thrash WE in playoffs, sending them home early. While this series is Suning favoured, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to see WE take them down.
And that concludes the preview of the first five days of Week 1. Be sure to come back next time, to read about the last matches of Week 1, as well as the first few matches of Week 2.
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