LPL Summer Playoffs Race- Seven teams are still in contention in Week 9
Three games left for each team in LoL’s LPL. One week of action for the Summer Split playoffs participants to be decided. Top Esports and JD Gaming make the top two with a 12-1 and 12-2 scoreline respectively are secured for Playoffs. Royal Never Give Up and Victory Five complete the top four with 11-2 and 11-3 respectively.
The turnaround is quite remarkable for Victory Five considering just a year ago, they were among the four bottom-ranked teams at the 2021 summer split. But meaningful roster changes and a management that has focused on developing a robust culture without being influenced by short-term results have helped them bounce back. V5 are now challenging for the championship two splits in a row.
The rest of the lot are hoping to barely edge into Playoffs and make their statement there.
LPL Standings and Narratives coming into Week 9
Coming back to the table, it’s beneath the fop four that the competition for places and the jostle is well and truly fascinating. The difference between fifth-placed Weibo Gaming and ninth-placed LNG Esports is all of two wins. It tells you how closely fought the summer split has been so far.
The bigger shock though is some of the top teams from the 2021 summer split are outside the periphery of the playoffs or on the edge. This includes Fun Plus Phoenix, Rare Atom, Bilibili Gaming and Team WE, who are yet to open their account.
FunPlus have six wins and are best placed among the three to make the playoffs by sealing the 10th and final spot. They already have more wins this split than what Thundertalk have combined to produce in the two previous splits. Meanwhile Anyone’s Legend are onto something, after years of being ordinary. That they’re in playoff contention despite a deflating loss to OMG that briefly threatened to derail them is a massive improvement.
Worlds 2021 champions Edward Gaming were primed to be in the top three, but have some work to do. They’re currently sixth with a 9-5 win-loss record, and three more wins may at best help them get to fourth. So far, their performances have been creditable, but when they have lost, they have looked like a team that tends to pick up the pieces slowly. So far, no loss has been an aberration. When they have been bad, they have been plain ordinary.
One of the reasons for this is their captain Tian “Meiko” Ye has had a rough split. He didn’t pick up a single player of the game award at the spring split earlier in the year, and has nothing to show for in the summer either. These are barren returns by any stretch for a player of his pedigree, however high the expectation and standards may be. He has so far landed 0.82 kills, 2.41 deaths and 8.94 assists, along with a KDA of 4.05 and creep score of 51.85.
Lately though there were sparks of ignition, especially in their loss to Royal Never Give Up, where Meiko single-handedly lifted the side out of a hole. Last week, he picked up a player of the game award against LNG, while playing a key role alongside bot laner “Viper” Do-hyeon to deliver a victory. This late surge in form and expectations around Meiko has once again elicited prospects of Edward Gaming making an inspired run like they did at the Worlds last year.
The other bone of contention is V5 have to still prove they’re worthy of the top billing when put under extreme pressure, like they were against JD Gaming. They came into the eighth week with a 10-8 record and a 21-4 game score, but hardly played like a team with such an imposing presence as they were outclassed by JD Gaming in both games in under 30 minutes.
It merely reiterated how the gap between the teams in the LPL has narrowed down. All set then for a grandstand finish.