The first week of the LPL is nearly over. Other than a few missteps here and there, the first week went as well as could be expected. The one exception would be Top Esports, who fell to Rare Atom in an action-packed series that ended in a backdoor finish from the side of Rare Atom. Other teams also showed that they mean business, playing convincing League of Legends that wasn’t expected of them early on in the split. With all that said and done, here is a preview of week 2 of the LPL 2022 Spring spilt.
Week 1: Day 6
Match 1: ThunderTalk Gaming vs EDG
Saturday’s first match could be one of the most one-sided ones of the week. ThunderTalk got run over in both of their series, and neither of their opponents were teams that people are expecting to finish at the top. They lost to OMG and IG, two teams that might make it into playoffs in tenth or ninth. While both Captain and Puff have been presentable, the other three players have had a rough time so far. And against EDG, that trend is likely to continue.
While EDG only played one series so far, it was a convincing one. Earlier in the week, they took on JDG and had a good series. In game one, EDG walked all over JDG, with most of JDG’s kills coming from EDG diving the fountain. In the second game, JDG had a much better time, with Lpc and Missing having a really good early performance. However, in the end, it was Flandre and his smooth moves on Vladimir, a champion that he loves to play but hasn’t used in pro play since 2019 that took the game.
Match 2: Ultra Prime vs Top Esports
After their disappointing start against Rare Atom, Top Esports will want to display dominance against Ultra Prime. While multiple members of the team let the team down, the objective control for Top was abysmal in that series, giving RA too much map control. The drafting was also rather questionable, allowing Rare Atom to gain another upper hand. These mistakes need to be shored up, should Top Esports want to truly fight for the title.
Ultra Prime also lost their series, but they were expected to do so. Going up against LNG, Ultra Prime already had an uphill battle. That said, there were some silver linings for the team. Their bot lane in particular looked good. Both Elk and ShiauC managed to pick up advantages over LNG’s multiple times in the series, pressuring Lvmao specifically, who had a rough series. While JackeyLove and Zhuo had an ok performance in their first series, they are beatable.
Prediction: Top Esports
Match 3: LNG vs Rare Atom
LNG had a very shaky start to their year. Despite getting the 2:0 over Ultra Prime, they found themselves needing to dig their way out of a hole in both games. Doinb and Lvmao both specifically had a rough start to the year, not performing to the level that is expected of them. However, Tarzan and Light seem to be in an even better state than they were last year, where they were both top 3 in their roles. In the end, it will come down to which side’s carries can do their job better.
Despite starting against two teams that many have in their top 5, Rare Atom have a real chance at starting their split 2:0. With one win over Top Esports already, LNG is looking beatable. The problem for RA is that their best players are up against LNG’s best, seeing that Leyan and iBoy both had an amazing series and so did Tarzan and Light. However, the rookies on Rare Atom are also up against the players on LNG that had a slow start to the year, meaning they might get the opportunity to shine. It will all come down to who wants it more on Saturday.
Week 1: Day 7
Match 1: OMG vs Invictus Gaming
In a battle that could end up deciding who makes into playoffs at the end of the split, OMG and IG will face off on Sunday. Of the ten players on the rift, 7 started playing in the LPL either this year or last. With both teams betting their split on the power of youth, both teams are performing better than expected. Shanji demolished TT in OMG’s first series, and Yuekai had a Leblanc performance worthy of an LPL veteran. Both of these teams should be very exciting to watch going forward in the split.
The fact that both teams also faced the same team to start off their split also makes them comparable. OMG had a stronger look against TT’s top lane, with Shanji rolling over New. However, IG played around the mid-jungle duo better and ran TT around the map better than OMG did. Both teams also stomped one of their games, with OMG demolishing game 2 and IG stomping in game 1. This should not only be a good series, it should be a fun one to watch.
Prediction: Invictus Gaming
Match 2: Team World Elite vs Ninjas In Pyjamas
The second match of the day should be as exciting as the first. Despite the multiple changes and many new faces, Team WE looked good enough against Weibo Gaming, at least in game 1. They nearly managed to win a game off the back of Shanks. Game two, however, was a different story, with a questionable draft. If game 1 WE come to play against NIP, then this series should be a good one. If not, NIP could pick up a free win in their first LPL series.
On the other side of the rift, this will be the first game for the Ninjas In Pyjamas. It has not yet been confirmed if Rookie and Rich are out of quarantine, coming from Korea. However, should NIP find themselves needing to play with substitutes, both Invincible and Dream have shown to be up to the task. The main question regarding this roster is around the bottom lane, who not only are new playing together, they also have a lot to prove, as their split last summer wasn’t the best.
Prediction: Ninjas In Pyjamas
Match 3: Bilibli Gaming vs Weibo Gaming
The final match of the week is also the premium match of the week. Weibo Gaming, formerly known as Suning + TheShy started their split off with a win over WE. Despite the first game nearly going poorly, they managed to bring it back. The second game was a stomp. Huanfeng put on an amazing performance and carried Weibo Gaming across the finish line. TheShy also looked in a better form than he was last year, and the current meta fits Angel’s champion pool perfectly.
However, they are up against the team that everyone wants to see. Even if Uzi doesn’t play, which he probably won’t considering he doesn’t tend to play before the Lunar New Year, BLG has still assembled a super-team. A lineup consisting of Breathe, Weiwei, Fofo, Doggo and Crisp is nothing to scoff at. A team that was built with the intention of taking the LPL by storm, there should be no better test than Weibo. A convincing win will show that they can tango with the cream of the crop. However, a loss here would show that they have a long way to go before reaching the crown.
Prediction: Bilibili Gaming
Week 2: Day 1
Match 1: RNG vs ThunderTalk Gaming
The first match of the second week should be a one-sided affair. ThunderTalk Gaming are yet to show signs of life in the LPL. While Captain has been ok, he will be taking on Xiaohu, and asking to carry TT will be a tall order. New and Frigid have been struggling, leading to 29 combined deaths in two series. For context, Puff and Southwind are at 24, while playing immobile champions that are considered high priority champions to focus. TT will need to shore up these mistakes unless they want to find themselves winless.
Meanwhile, RNG also had a subpar start to the split. While their series against FPX was expected to be close, few expected FPX to actually take it all. Despite Wei’s and Xiaohu’s best attempts, it simply wasn’t meant to be. Bin struggled to find his footing, while Gala and Ming seemed off their usual rhythm. While it still early on and RNG can recover, they can’t afford to drop any more games against teams expected to end the split below them, less they want to miss out on a top-two playoff bye.
Match 2: Anyone’s Legend vs FunPlus Phoenix
Speaking of FPX, they will be in the second series of the day. Despite their win against RNG, many fans will still wonder if Gori could be a liability for the team. He’s never been known for his early laning, but in their match against RNG, he almost threw it all away early. Being solo killed by a level 2 Viktor in the Viktor-Corki matchup is not the way to introduce yourself to your new fans. He also struggled to play Viktor into Zoe. While the team still won, many were asking questions if Gori will be good enough to make playoffs in the LPL.
Staying on the topic of questionable mid laners, Forge is once again playing for Anyone’s Legend, seeing as Maple is probably in quarantine. All throughout 2021, Forge had a really rough year, struggling to bring any impact to Rogue Warriors’ mid-lane. In their first series, against LGD, it was Betty that pull Anyone’s Legend over the finish line. Despite only being a temporary sub, Forge will need to step his game up if AL will want to challenge for the final playoff spot.
Prediction: FunPlus Phoenix
Week 2: Day 2
Match 1: LGD vs JD Gaming
Tuesday’s first match features JDG and LGD. Both of these teams will come into this match winless, but not on equal footing. LGD looked overwhelmed in both of their games, losing to both Anyone’s Legend and FPX. With the team losing out on multiple players and opting not to spend money for backup, this should come as no surprise. LGD have a long split ahead of them unless they manage to turn it around starting here.
On the other hand, JD Gaming has looked reasonably ok. They had a close game against EDG, and managed to take a game off of RNG. While they are yet to find a win yet, they look more than ready to fight for playoffs. Keep an eye on JDG, especially around the bot lane, who despite their lack of playtime together, they have more than enough skill to make up for it.
Prediction: JD Gaming
Match 2: Ultra Prime vs EDG
Tuesday’s second match should be even more one-sided than the first one. Ultra Prime have undergone changes in their two carry positions, picking up Cryin from RNG and Elk from WE. While both players have the potential to grow past the former members of UP, they still need time to get used to their new teammates. While matches like these can usually be called before it even starts, it allows Ultra Prime to see exactly what worked and what didn’t. A one-sided loss to EDG could be just the thing to ignite UP’s season.
Meanwhile, EDG are yet to be contested by a top team. So far, they faced JDG, a team that likely will make playoffs but are unlikely to contend for the title, and TT, a team that could well end in last place. While these matches can be seen as freebies, EDG needs to be careful. If they show even a moment of weakness against teams like these, then the top teams will circle around like sharks smelling blood in the water. EDG need to prove that they deserve to be feared and that the number one team in the world fears no one.
Week 2: Day 3
Match 1: Team World Elite vs Top Esports
Wednesday’s first match should be a banger. Top Esports need to prove that their first match was a fluke and that they are the real deal. Despite Knight still clearly being in top form, the rest of the roster seemed shaky at times. While they aren’t in the same boat as EDG, they suffer from a similar fate. They can’t afford to show weakness this early on in the split unless they want to be absolutely run over by the top teams later in the split.
On the other hand, Team WE need time to grow. Despite their lack of game so far, they have shown potential to be a good team. Despite fielding four new players, they almost managed to take a game off of Weibo Gaming, a team that many have in the top six. They need to show the fans that their good game against Weibo wasn’t a fluke and this team can consistently play like that. And a shaky Top Esports could be the perfect opponent to do so.
Prediction: Top Esports
Match 2: LNG vs Invictus Gaming
The second match of the day should be as interesting as the first. LNG had a good start to the split but weren’t as convincing as many expected them to be. The two new additions to the roster raised a few eyebrows, due to underperforming. While they remain as favourites in this match, considering what IG has shown so far this split, this could be a closer series than many would think.
IG are currently going through their growing pains. After losing Rookie and TheShy, IG needed to restart and look to create a new dynasty. With Lucas being the only player with more than one season as an LPL player, IG will rely on him to guide the rookies. However, it is important to note that this will be Lucas’s first split as the sole, starting support, so even he isn’t that experienced. The road ahead is a long one, but it could turn out to be a very fruitful one for Invictus Gaming and their fans.
Week 2: Day 4
Match 1: Rare Atom vs Ninjas In Pyjamas
Thursday’s first match should be a good one. Despite their changes, Rare Atom looked good in their first match against Top. However, their second match is against LNG, and while they could take that one too, they are viewed as underdogs. Facing off against NIP could show how strong Rare Atom truly are. A win here would prove that much like last year, they are in contention for the top. But a loss here could show that their first series was on Top underperforming.
Ninjas in Pyjamas have returned to League of Legends by buying their spot in the LPL. Mixing legacy players like Rookie and Karsa with young talents like Photic and ppgod, NIP will want to impress in their first split. With a roster like theirs, playoffs seems like an easy goal, so they will want to shoot for the very top. However, to do that, they need to prove that they can best a team being rebuilt, such as Rare Atom.
Prediction: Ninjas in Pyjamas
Match 2: OMG vs Bilibli Gaming
The second match of the day should be a good measuring stick for both of these teams. While BLG are the favourites in the match, they could still experience some growing pains. Up against a roster like OMG, who have shown that they are here to play, they could have a hard time. It will all come down to BLG’s individual talent, and how well they can perform as a unit, despite their lack of playtime together. There is a big chance that Doggo will continue to play, as Uzi tends to be off until the end of the Lunar New Year.
Up against a star-studded team like BLG’s, OMG will want to show that they mean business. This will not be an easy match for them, but should BLG slip up, OMG have a shot. Shanji has impressed so far, Aki looks on point, Creme is still looking like a star, and their bot lane looks ready to go. If OMG manage to impress here, they could try to make a push for more than just safety this split.
Prediction: Biblili Gaming
Week 2: Day 5
Match 1: Ultra Prime vs LGD
In a matchup where both of these teams are likely to come in winless, it wil be both team’s best shot at victory. Ultra Prime had a rough start, facing off against LNG, then Top and EDG. However, even in their series against LNG, they had some promise, especially surrounding their bot lane. And up against LGD’s new bot lane, with a role-swapped player who hasn’t played in a year, Ultra Prime should be ready to pounce.
On the other hand, the top-side is where it’s at for LGD. Fearness had an amazing display on Akali in their first game of the split, beating Anyone’s Legend in game 1. Shad0w has also continued to impress, leading LGD to the few wins around the map that they find. While Zs and H4cker have improved since 2021, they are still the weakness of this Ultra Prime squad, and could be prayed on by LGD.
Prediction: Ultra Prime
Match 2: RNG vs Anyone’s Legend
Satuday’s second match will feature RNG and Anyone’s Legend. AL have only played Forge so far this split, with Maple still presumably in quarantine. Up against Xiaohu, Forge will have to play the best league of his life so far, if he wants to hold back RNG’s mid laner. That said, AL’s best players seem to be their bot lane, with both Betty and Qiuqiu being veteran players who have faced this RNG bot lane multiple times prior to this. And RNG’s bot lane seemed shaky recently, having a rough series against FPX and a slow start against JDG.
Meanwhile, RNG did manage to get a win on the board, taking down JDG a week prior to this match. However, for a team expected to be at the top vs a team that is expected to finish around ninth, the match was too close for comfort. Wei has been RNG’s best-performing member so far, putting on steady performances all split. He will need to continue to be a rock that RNG can rely on, if they want to find the consistency needed to return to the top of the LPL.
Match 3: ThunderTalk Gaming vs Weibo Gaming
The final match of today’s article features both TT and Weibo Gaming. TT have finally announced that both Chieftain and Ucal, presumably for the jungle and mid lane, respectively. However, both of these players are still in quarantine and likely won’t be able to play this match. That said, they will be a breath of fresh air to this roster, especially Chieftain, since Frigid has been struggling in the jungle so far. Sadly for Captain, it seems like once again, he will be benched for the rest of the split.
Weibo Gaming have a good shot at starting off at the top of the table. Should they keep up their good performances, they can go to their Lunar New Year break at the top of the table. While many still have questions surrounding this roster, Huanfeng seems to have all the answers. With incredible performances so far, Weibo Gaming know they can rely on him to carry them across the finish line. And up against Puff and Southwind, Huanfeng shouldn’t feel any pressure coming from the opposing bot lane.
Prediction: Weibo Gaming
And that concludes the preview of the final 2 days of Week 1, as well as the first 5 days of week 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