The second part of the Summer Split’s final week is here. Over the weekend, all the playoff spots got locked in, minus the tenth place. Top and JD Gaming will fight to see who will go to playoffs and whose season ends this weekend. While Top Esports did make into the top four in spring, they finished in fourth, and the Summer Split gives significantly more points than spring does. However, the final matches are just as important, as placements within the playoffs is crucial for skipping rounds. Here is a preview of the final matches of the round-robin of the 2021 LPL summer.
Week 9: Day 2
Match 1: Top Esports vs OMG
Top Esports hold their fate in their own hand. A win here over OMG means that they book their spot in playoffs. In a summer season full of ups and downs, Top Esports have been far from consistent. They will need to shore up these issues if they want a shot at returning to Worlds this year.
On the opposite side of the rift, OMG are in seventh heaven. After years of underperforming and failing to make playoffs, OMG is back. While it won’t be easy, OMG have a chance to make it past the first round of playoffs, if they manage to take down Top Esports here. In their final match of the season, OMG has nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
Prediction: Top Esports
Match 2: RNG vs Team World Elite
The second match of the day will decide who will likely finish in the top four, and who will have to play extra rounds in the playoffs. RNG have been on an absolute rampage, with Xiaohu at the helm. After a slow start to the season, RNG has returned will full force to reclaim their number one spot. While a top-two spot may be difficult to come by, that won’t stop RNG from trying.
Meanwhile, Team World Elite has also been on a tear of their own. Currently on a six-game winning streak, Team World Elite is also in contention for a top-two spot. A lot like RNG, it won’t be easy to come by, but whoever wins here is pretty much guaranteed at least a top-four spot.
Week 9: Day 3
Match 1: ThunderTalk Gaming vs Suning
In a match worth more than pride, Suning will take on ThunderTalk Gaming. Suning have once again not had the season expected of them. While they have guaranteed a playoffs spot, a win here won’t allow them to skip the first round of playoffs and will change nothing in the grand scheme of things. However, that doesn’t mean that Suning should just allow TT to take the series, as momentum coming into playoffs can change everything.
On the other side of summoner’s rift, ThunderTalk have done very little this split. With a few new faces and a few old faces, ThunderTalk have struggled to win games this season, let alone entire series. Once again at the bottom of the table, many changes are expected to take place during TT’s off-season.
Match 2: FunPlus Phoenix vs Victory Five
In what could be one of the most one-sided matches of this summer, FPX will take on V5. FPX is currently the best team in the LPL right now, meaning that they are arguably the number 1 team in the World right now. DoinB is playing the best league of legends of his career, Tian is back in form, and so is their bot lane. Nuguri remains as the one question mark, but even during poor days, he still performs well enough.
Meanwhile, Victory Five is the worst team in the LPL, and it isn’t particularly close. Suffering a full roster reboot for summer, it is safe to say that the changes didn’t go over well. Winning only three games this series, V5 never got close to taking an entire series. After FPX, they have one more shot to avoid another 0:16 season, against LGD.
Prediction: FunPlus Phoenix
Week 9: Day 4
Match 1: LNG vs EDG
In what could be the most important match of the week, EDG will take on LNG. EDG needs to win to confirm their spot in the fourth round of playoffs, skipping to the double-elimination part of playoffs. With a top-four being their worst possible outcome, EDG will want to end their season as they spent most of it, playing well and confirming their favouritism.
Meanwhile, LNG have the chance to upset all of that. While a spot in the top two is nearly impossible for them, it is also impossible for them to fall to the first round of playoffs. However, a victory over EDG would not only boost their momentum going into playoffs, but it would also allow whoever wins the WE vs RNG match to claim a spot in the top-two, as well as keeping their own dreams of a top-two spot alive.
Match 2: Rare Atom vs Invictus Gaming
Speaking of battles for the top spots of the table, Rare Atom are also in the mess mentioned above. While they can’t reach the top-two, they can still finish in the top four, allowing them to be a single game away from the double-elimination. Problem is, they are fighting against RNG, Team World Elite and LNG, so they can’t afford to slip up against a team that isn’t even going to playoffs.
Yes, for the first time since the start of their careers, Rookie and TheShy won’t make it to playoffs. Even when they were struggling in 2019, they still made it to playoffs. With all that said, IG aren’t a team to be taken lightly, especially considering that they don’t have anything to lose, while RA could drop to the second round of playoffs, instead of the third.
Prediction: Rare Atom
Week 9: Day 5
Match 1: LGD vs Victory Five
As mentioned above, this will be Victory Five’s last chance to not end the split 0:16. While LGD aren’t a playoff team, they aren’t exactly pushovers either. Uniboy will be facing up against his old team, with Fearness and Kramer being his old teammates. Often viewed as V5’s only hope, Uniboy will need to outperform Xiye if he wants to save his team.
In a season that will haunt LGD fans for a while, they had almost no one to blame but themselves. In their matches against BLG and Rare Atom, LGD had ample chances and opportunities to win both of those series but threw the game and the series as well. If they had won both of those series, and this one as well, they would have ended the season at 9:7, possibly earning them a spot in the second round of playoffs.
Match 2: Rogue Warriors vs JD Gaming
Rogue Warriors have the chance to cause one of the biggest upsets of the season. If they manage to take down JD Gaming, they will lock the team that made it to World’s quarterfinals out of playoffs and end their season here. While this may seem like a tall order, Rogue Warriors have taken down Suning and Rare Atom recently. Xiaohao has proven to be an amazing player, that should continue to be watched in 2022.
Meanwhile, JD Gaming no longer have their fate in their own hands. Not only do they have to win here, they have to hope that their direct competition loses all their matches. A team that made it all the way to Worlds quarter-finals may not even make it to playoffs, and quite possibly miss the regional finals as well.
Prediction: JD Gaming
Week 9: Day 6
Match 1: Invictus Gaming vs ThunderTalk Gaming
In a match that is truly irrelevant in the grand-scheme of things, ThunderTalk Gaming will take on Invictus Gaming. While TT was expected to end around here, many had higher hopes of IG, with at least playoffs being in the cards. However, as fate would have it, IG were unable to keep up with the number of teams that vastly improved since spring, such as LNG, BLG or OMG.
ThunderTalk will need to take a look at their current players and decide what they will want to do moving in 2022. While a few individual players have proven to be good players, they lack a star, in any position. Relying on a pop-off game from LangX or Xiaopeng, who are both middle of the pack for their position, it is understandable why TT struggled this split.
Prediction: Invictus Gaming
Match 2: RNG vs Bilibili Gaming
Depending on the result of previous matches, this match could be irrelevant for RNG or crucial. If EDG beat LNG, or WE take down RNG, then this match will mean very little. However, a win from both RNG and LNG means that RNG still will have a shot at making the top two. After the poor start to the season, if RNG still manages to bounce back and finish in second, it would be an incredible end to an incredible run.
Meanwhile, for the side of BLG, this match means little more than pride. Having finally managed to return to playoffs, BLG can’t skip the first round of playoffs, regardless if they win here or not. That said, momentum is everything when it comes to LPL teams, and BLG is no different. A win over RNG would put them as favourites to take down their opposing number in the first round of playoffs.
Week 9: Day 7
Match 1: Team World Elite vs Top Esports
If Top Esports manages to lose to OMG, and JDG beats RW, then Top have one last chance to confirm their playoff spot. No matter if they make it or not, it has been a true fall from grace for the side of Top Esports. Having made it to the Semi-finals of Worlds, making it to playoffs should be the bare minimum, especially for a team that has names like Karsa, Knight and JackeyLove.
Meanwhile, Team World Elite have their own set of challenges ahead. Just like in spring, they were doing well enough until their final week, where they faced good teams and fell from contention for a top-four spot to the second round of playoffs. In the exact same situation, Team World Elite fans won’t be able to rest well until next Sunday.
Prediction: Team World Elite
Match 2: EDG vs FunPlus Phoenix
The final match of the round-robin could very well be a preview of the Grand-Finals. The two most consistent teams for the majority of the season, it would take a nasty and complicated turn of events for either of them to miss a top-two bye. One of the most well-rounded teams in the World, EDG has been a team of many faces. Flandre, Jiejie and Scout have all had multiple pop-off performances, and all sit near each other in the MVP standings. A team that tends to work as a unit, gaining full control of the map is a tall task against EDG.
Up against them, FPX will need to bring their A-game. While DoinB is their most important player, he isn’t their only star. Lwx and Tian have shown that they have more than enough star power to carry in the games that DoinB can’t. One the fastest teams in the LPL, once FPX gain a single advantage, they are able to choke out their opponents and carry their lead home.
Prediction: FunPlus Phoenix
And that concludes this article, as well as the round-robin of the LPL’s summer split. It has been a long season, full of surprises, challenges and upsets. But the season isn’t over just yet. With the playoffs just around the corner, the time is nearly here to decide which four teams will represent the LPL at Worlds 2021. So be sure to come back next time, where the article will discuss the playoff matches.
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