The second week of the LPL is about to start. With a few exceptions, the first week of the LPL had no surprises, with Invictus Gaming beating Suning probably being the biggest one. That said, a lot of teams are still trying to find themselves, so upsets are still in the cards. With power rankings still being fairly volatile, now is the time for teams to prove that they will be a threat this season.
Week 1: Day 6
Match 1: Top Esports vs JD Gaming
Saturday’s first match features JD Gaming and Top Esports. JD Gaming confirmed their favouritism against TT earlier this week. With an impressive showing from Kanavi, fans are hoping he has returned to form. After a quiet spring, JD Gaming will want to show up big this summer.
Speaking of quiet springs, Top Esports didn’t have the showing the fans expected. After failing at Worlds, Top Esports barely made it into the top four, where they lost to both EDG and RNG, finishing in fourth. Fans are also curious as to who their starting top laner will be, 369 or Quigtian. Quigtian is a promising player that arrived from the LDL’s current champions, Young Miracles.
Prediction: Top Esports
Match 2: EDG vs Invictus Gaming
The second match of the day should be as good as the first. The two are amongst the oldest and most successful organizations in China. Both EDG and IG started the split off well, with EDG beating BLG and IG taking down Suning. Both teams beat their opponents 2:1, losing game 1 but bouncing back in the series.
However, the key difference is that one was favoured to win and one wasn’t. IG had a quiet performance in spring, and while Suning didn’t make it into the top four, they went further than IG did, dismantling two teams before falling to Top Esports. Nonetheless, IG took down Suning, in what could have been a 2:0 series. On the other hand, EDG had some difficulty taking down BLG, a team that many placed at the bottom of playoffs, and missing playoffs entirely in spring. Once again, EDG are the favourites here, but IG will once again look to take down a power ranking favourite and climb the table early on.
Week 1: Day 7
Match 1: LGD vs Ultra Prime
Sunday’s first match should be an interesting one. Both teams lost in their first LPL series, so one of them will get their first win here. What makes this match interesting is the way they both lost their series. Ultra Prime lost to FPX but had a good showing. Smlz showed up, picking up MVP in the second game in the series. Even in game 1, Ultra Prime held on well, considering they were up against FPX.
The series between LGD and Rare Atom should have ended 2:0 in favour of LGD. After a convincing win in game 1, they had what seemed to be an insurmountable lead in game 2. However, two slip-ups in the late game led to a RA baron, who turned the game on its head, who would proceed to take the series. This series could go either way, but the takeaway here is that both these teams deserve more respect from the fans.
Match 2: Team World Elite vs ThunderTalk Gaming
The final match of the first week features TT and WE. TT lost to JDG in their first series, in what was a convincing win for JDG. Their bot lane got picked on by Kanavi, who then bled his advantages into the other lanes. TT will need to shore up these issues if they want to compete with the best in the LPL.
Up against TT, Beishang will want to do the same. With Elk and Missing both having the potential to take over a game from the bot lane, camping bot seems to be the way to go. This also should be Mole’s debut match for the side of Team World Elite. Many have Team WE at the top part of their power rankings, so those fans will be hoping for a convincing win here.
Prediction: Team World Elite
Week 2: Day 1
Match 1: OMG vs Invictus Gaming
Week two starts with IG and OMG. This will be IG’s first match this split as the clear favourites. While that means little, especially when IG is concerned, it is important to see how they will perform when there is some form of pressure on them. A convincing win here will do wonders for their fan’s confidence, not to mention the players. However, a loss here will be devastating, for players and fans alike.
If their brief series in week 1 was anything to go by, we may see either Kane or Eric in the bot lane. In both games 1 and 2, Able was consistently caught out of position and punished, allowing what could have been a close series to get out of hand.
Prediction: Invictus Gaming
Match 2: EDG vs Rare Atom
The second series of the day should be a closer one. Rare Atom made a splash early on in spring, but they ran out of gas at the end of the split. They started this split off well, but neither of their wins so far were convincing. OMG had a competitive series against them, and they got dangerously close to getting 2:0 by LGD.
While EDG’s fans are certainly happy with the team’s performance in spring, many were left with a bittersweet taste in their mouths. The team dominated all spring, but lost two key series at the final moment, leading them to end in third. This time, fans are hoping that EDG takes it all, leading to their first major title since summer 2017.
Week 2: Day 2
Match 1: Ultra Prime vs Rogue Warriors
Even if they come into this series winless, Ultra Prime should be the favourites here. Despite XiaoCaoBao not looking convincing in the series against FPX, it is unlikely Forge will be able to punish him. Zs will also have a chance to show off, going up against a rookie top laner. The bot lane is the only lane where UP have to keep their guard up, with all four of RW’s bot laners being players that demand respect.
If their series against FPX will be anything to go by, this will be a long summer for Rogue Warriors. Neither of their two rookies had a good showing, Forge provided no pressure in the mid-lane, despite getting both counter picks. While it could be that they were just outclassed by FPX, Ultra Prime fought the same team but had a much better performance.
Prediction: Ultra Prime
Match 2: JD Gaming vs LNG
Tuesday’s second match will feature both LNG and JDG. This will be JDG’s first match vs a team that many consider being a middle-of-the-pack team. While they will be the favourites, JDG haven’t convinced their fans quite yet. And while beating LNG probably won’t fully convince them, a good win here will do wonders for the fan’s confidence.
This match will also be LNG’s first against a team that should end near the top. Their first match was a stomp against Victory Five, and their second series was against BLG, a team that will probably end around the middle of the table. Should LNG manage to upset JDG here, maybe fans will start to take them seriously.
Prediction: JD Gaming
Week 2: Day 3
Match 1: Victory Five vs Team World Elite
The team of four rookies and Uniboy will continue their saga. In their first series against LNG, they got stomped, with LNG picking up 36 kills and only dying four times. Sadly, it is unlikely that they will have a better performance against Team World Elite. Many have WE towards the top of the table, above LNG and certainly above V5.
This will most likely be Mole’s first time against his old org. After having a rough start to 2020 with V5, Mole blossomed into an amazing player. A year later and many are saying he is the final piece missing in the WE puzzle.
Prediction: Team World Elite
Match 2: Bilibili Gaming vs LGD
Wednesday’s second match should be an interesting one. Despite neither of these teams making playoffs in spring, both have picked up reinforcements for summer and will want to make it in. It is very likely that both of these teams will be fighting for the final spots in playoffs, so the result of this match could be very important down the line.
The key match-up here will be in the mid lane. Zeka still has much to prove if he is the join the top of the LPL, as far as mid laners go. And facing him will be Xiye, a player that always seems to be at the top of mid lane rakings. If Zeka can hold down Xiye, then BLG should take this series. If not, Xiye could run away with the series.
Prediction: Bilibili Gaming
Week 2: Day 4
Match 1: ThunderTalk Gaming vs Top Esports
Thursday’s second match features two teams with probably polar opposite destinations. Top Esports have picked up reinforcements for summer, bringing in the best top laner the LDL had to offer. Even without Quigtian, many had Top in their top four, and with players like Knight and Jackeylove they will always be in contention for the title.
Up against them, ThunderTalk is most likely ending summer in a similar place they ended spring. Despite bringing in solo lane reinforcements, it still seems like TT won’t be able to tango with the best of the best in the LPL.
Prediction: Top Esports
Match 2: LNG vs FunPlus Phoenix
Thursday’s second match will feature LNG and FPX. While LNG has it rough, facing JDG and FPX one after the other, there is a World this is advantageous for them. They will likely be fighting with LGD and BLG for the final playoff spots. If they face the harder opponents early on, while remaining in the race for playoffs, then strength of schedule will be on their side.
On the other hand, FPX have played in two series so far. While neither team was successful in taking them down, the series told different stories. Against Rogue Warriors, they had a clean stomp. But against Ultra Prime, they had a much harder time. Neither of those teams were held in high regard, as far as power rankings go. This will FPX’s first match against what seems to be a solid middle of the pack team.
Week 2: Day 5
Match 1: RNG vs OMG
The current MSI champions will start their Summer Split against OMG. After an amazing series against Damwon Kia, RNG have returned home, keeping their same roster for summer. Luckly for them, with the exception of Gwen and Viego, the meta hasn’t shifted much. As long as they aren’t caught off guard by any curveballs OMG have, this series should be an open and shut case.
Up against RNG, OMG have a definite uphill battle. Outclassed in what seems to be every position, this match will serve as a good measuring stick as to how their players fair. If they manage to tango with the best of the best, then all is well for OMG. If there ever was a time to start working out who your starting five will be, this match would be it.
Match 2: Ultra Prime vs Suning
The final match of today’s article features Suning and Ultra Prime. Suning didn’t have the start to summer that many were expecting. They lost to Invictus Gaming, in what could have been a 2:0 loss if IG were more careful. Suning will want to bounce back and recover their morale against UP. However, a loss here could have the opposite effect, completely booming their mental.
A team that many aren’t sure what to think of, Ultra Prime have an interesting summer ahead of them. With Smlz returning to pro play, and a new mid laner to replace Irma, Ultra Prime will want to have a better performance than eStar did in spring.
And that concludes the preview of the final days of week 1, as well as the first five days of weak 2. Be sure to come back next time, to read about the last matches of Week 2, as well as the first few matches of Week 3.
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Follow JJ on Twitter: @NeonColouredJay