With the final match taking place on May 2, its time to take a look back on the split. In a split full of ups and downs, JD Gaming and TOP Esports were the two teams to rise above it all. Here is a look at what went according to plan, as well as plans that didn’t quite work out.
JackeyLove to TOP
The most obvious on this list, JackeyLove coming in was a game-changer for TOP. Previously, Photic and Qiuqiu weren’t quite hitting the mark, as Photic could be overwhelmed easily due to his rookie status. With Photic in the lineup, it also meant that Qiuqiu had to be in over Yuyanjia, to avoid having an inexperienced bot lane. That all changed on April 3, when JackeyLove officially joined the team, and TOP hasn’t lost since, dropping their first game in their series vs Word Elite. It also allows Yuyanjia to return to the roster, and to train and grow alongside a world-class carry. While Photic is a very talented player with a promising future, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that JackeyLove was a huge change for the better.
Reuniting Loken and LvMao
For those that are newer to the LPL, Loken and LvMao have played together before. When JD Gaming first joined the League in the summer split of 2017, Loken and LvMao were their bot lane. After taking a year off from JD, Loken returns to the team, where his former support was waiting for him. Throughout his entire career, Loken has always been a stable carry. A few would even go as far as to call him a weak-side carry, due to his safe gameplay, especially when comparing his playstyle to other LPL carries. However, he has always performed and managed to temper the storms of the lane-kingdom carries that play in the LPL. LvMao, on the other hand, has an incredible story of growth. When he first started out, he didn’t impress much, and he was considered the weaker of the duo. But as time went on, LvMao started to grow and surpass other supports in the LPL. This year has been his crowning achievement, so far, finishing as the support of the second all-pro team. With Loken’s safer play style, LvMao is free to roam and help conquer the map, without endangering his carry.
World Elite’s reboot
Starting last year, World Elite decided to try to breathe new life into their roster. After many successful years with 957, Xiye, Mystic, and Ben, the team wanted to start anew. Last year, they started looking for a substitute for 957, and they hired Missing to replace Ben, who moved to TOP. They also picked up Jiumeng, but he spent most of the year on the bench, as Mystic was still their starter. This year, they picked up Morgan for their top lane, a promising player who was in Zoom’s shadow on JD Gaming. They also picked up Plex and Teacherma, to take Xiye’s place. The new team’s age average is 19, but despite their youth, they managed to impress and go to the quarterfinals.
When eStar joined the league and announced their roster, no one was impressed. With a bunch of relatively unknown quantities, few expected much from the team. According to many predictions and preseason power rankings, eStar seemed like a bottom 5 team. However, this all changed as eStar finished week one 2:0, taking down the world champions, FPX, as well as Rogue Warriors. After the Lunar New Year break and the hiatus that ensued, eStar resumed the league where they left off. eStar finished the split 11:5 and just missed a top-four bye to losing the head-to-head vs TOP. ShiauC became the support of the first All-Pro team, as well as rookie of the split. Wink, his carry, was the carry for the third All-Pro team.
What didn’t work
Xiye’s move to Dominus
After such a long and successful time on World Elite, Xiye and the team parted ways. Arriving at Dominus, Xiye was viewed by many as a direct upgrade to Xiaowei. However, the team failed to be successful and seemingly lost their identity. While this isn’t Xiye’s fault, the team was still unable to produce the results that Dominus were looking for. It’s worth noting that Xiaopeng, Xiaowei, Gala, and Mark have been playing together for a long time. While Xiaowei may be more of a liability than Xiye, the team is used to playing with him. Dominus became stuck in a cycle of playing a better mid laner with less synergy with the team and playing a mid laner with synergy, but overall less effective. In the end, Dominus stuck with their guns and played Xiye. It took some time but the team finally managed to start looking like themselves again. Towards the end of the split, they started to make a comeback. And while it was too little too late, the team looks much better. A hopeful sign of a better summer split.
RNG’s roster changes
Coming into 2020, RNG made two changes to their roster. The first one was to add Xiaolongbao, a promising young jungler. The second move was to add Betty, previously on Flash Wolves, to their roster. RNG have always had substitutes for Uzi, who tends to not play in the beginning of the spring split. However, this time, Uzi didn’t play at all for the entire split, and the roster suffered the consequences. Without their main shot-caller, LangX and Xiaohu seemed lost and were unable to help their rookie jungler. Without much help coming from his laners, XLB got outpaced by many of the hyper-aggressive LPL junglers and was unable to live up to his hype. Betty, who played the entire split long, had a good showing but was unable to bring the same level of shot-calling that Uzi would bring.
To say Victory Five had an unfortunate split would be an understatement. They broke the records for the worse split ever in the LPL, losing all of their matches, and only picking up a single game win. While they were affected by the lockdown, with players being unavailable even after the return of the LPL, when those players returned to the roster, they still were unable to win. Their drafts were all over the place and lacked rhyme or reason. Their players flexed into roles that they weren’t comfortable to make up for a lack of roster depth. Through and through this was a bad split for Victory Five, who will have to look towards summer to not finish the year winless.
And that concludes the list of what worked and what didn’t in the 2020 LPL Spring split. Starting next week, there will be a hypothetical wishlist for each team, talking about what changes teams could make to possibly have a better summer split. The list will start from the bottom of the table and work it’s way up.
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Follow JJ on Twitter: @NeonColouredJay.