Who will head to the World Championship from the LPL?
The LPL Summer Split already saw one time bite the dust with more on the way in the coming days.
After a long and arduous 10 weeks of group stage games, we have moved on to the playoff bracket of the LPL Summer Split. Given China's recent dominance in international competitions, the LPL has been given four to the upcoming World Championship. Aside from the Summer Split champion, the team with the most championship points will also earn a direct slot whilst the top two teams in the LPL Regional Finals will also pull through.
As it stands, both Top Esports and JD Gaming await in the upper bracket semifinals. Their opponents will be determined over the next few days with three rounds of games. FunPlus Phoenix overcame Oh My God yesterday to set up their showdown against the current world champion, EDward Gaming. The winner of that series will then go on to face three-time MSI winner, Royal Never Give Up before facing off against Top Esports.
On the other side of the bracket, LNG Esports took down Bilibili Gaming, thus moving them on to the next round to face Weibo Gaming. From there, the winner will go on to challenge Victory Five with the victor going on to challenge JD Gaming. From there, the top four teams will play in a double-elimination bracket to determine who will make it to the grand finals and be crowned the champion of the LPL Summer Split.
Royal Never Give Up - LPL Champion
The three-time MSI champions have had a decent summer split campaign, winning 13 of their 16 matches. It's no fluke that they won MSI in back-to-back iterations with the team being one of the more consistent in the LPL. However, the only concerning part about their summer split was that one of RNG's three losses came at hands of Top Esports, a team they could potentially face for a spot in the double-elimination bracket. But before that, they must face either one of FPX or EDG, both of whom have won the world championship before.
While that in itself will be a colossal series, this will be RNG's chance to showcase that they are the top dog in the LPL. FPX has been a ghost of their former world champion selves with the team barely making it to the playoffs. If it wasn't for Jie "Care" Yang on his Yone and Akali in games four and five, FPX may not have even made it through. EDG is also another team that has struggled for form and consistency this season. It also doesn't help that they are the current world champions and are far from looking like it.
RNG's chances of beating either of these teams are highly likely given they already defeated both teams reasonably easily in the group stages. Of course, a best-of-five is a different story entirely. The last time EDG and RNG met was at the quarterfinals of Worlds last year, which EDG won in a nail-biting 3-2 series. As for the history between RNG and FPX, both teams met twice at last year's spring split playoffs with FPX winning the first series but it was RNG who got the last laugh, beating FPX in the grand finals 3-1.
Top Esports - Championship Points
Having been in the LPL since 2017 (previously known as DAN Gaming), Top Esports didn't become a household name until the 2020 season. This was where the team truly shined, coming in second in the Spring Split while also winning the Summer Split. This allowed the team to attend Worlds, where they finished in a respectable third place after losing out to Suning in the semifinals. This year is looking very much like 2020 again as Top Esports are within a shout of winning the LPL Summer Split once more after coming in second during the Spring Split earlier in the year.
As they will be waiting for either one of RNG, EDG, or FPX to make their way through the bracket, Top still has plenty of time to study and dissect their opponents. However, Top's record against these three teams, in particular, doesn't make for great reading, especially in a best-of-five series. Their most recent loss against RNG was during this year's spring split grand finals with a 3-1 scoreline. Against EDG, Top lost 3-0 at last year's spring split upper bracket. And with FPX, Top did win that series 3-2 but it was during last year's Demacia Cup grand finals.
Given that Top is currently tied for the lead with RNG for championship points, a top-four finish will be enough to see them secure their slot in the Worlds 2022 main event. Of course, this isn't set in stone just yet as there are still plenty of possibilities that could happen.
JD Gaming and Victory Five - Regional Finals
The regional finals will be the last chance for most teams to try and qualify for the world championship. In the LPL's case, two teams from the regional finals will make it through; the third-seeded team will head straight to the main event while the fourth-seeded team will start from the play-in stage. And given the current state of the LPL Summer Split, the two teams most likely to make it through will be JD Gaming and Victory Five.
As things stand, JD and V5 sit at third and fourth respectively in the championship points. Meanwhile, Weibo sits in fifth place whilst EDG is in sixth. Given how both teams will perform later today, it could very well determine the four teams that will most likely compete in the regional finals. With that said, it could very well be both Weibo and EDG pulling through.