Mar 30, 2023
Mar 30, 2023

LPL Playoffs Preview

Which teams made it to the playoffs of the LPL?

What does the winner of the LPL get?

Which team is most likely to make it to MSI?

LPL Playoffs Preview

As the last major region to participate in playoff games this year, the LPL looks to do it bigger and better. With ten teams out of the original 17 through to the playoff bracket, only the top four will earn themselves a second chance with a double elimination bracket. Having placed first and second, JD Gaming (JDG) and Edward Gaming (EDG) have earned an automatic slot in the double elimination stage (or round four of the brackets). Every other team must play through the gauntlet, and the lower the seeding, the more games the team has to win. Each victory will present them with another match against a team one seeding pairing ahead of them.

The first seed from the regular season won’t come as a surprise. It’s the super team we were promised, JDG. Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk has done well to validate his move from Korean powerhouse Gen.G, who - much like JDG - fell in the semi-finals of the 2022 World Championship. He’s proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the LPL, just like he was in the LCK, bringing a drive to win and mechanical prowess to a team that was stacked with both already. It has also been good to see that Zhuo “knight” Ding is not limited to outperforming his peers in a mid-range team, he seems to be able to comfortably perform with the weight of expectation and pressure of success on his shoulders. He has also complemented his Top side well, the ever stable and impressive Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok and the volatile Bai “369” Jia-Hao, who have maintained their form from the previous year. It’s clear that this team lacks any weak points. It’ll be hard to find a team to contest them outside of international competitions, where teams like T1 could beat them in firepower. However, I truly believe that not only will this team most assuredly make MSI, they’ll also have what it takes to contend with the best and vie for the trophy.

Across the bracket, in the other secured quarter-final slot, we have EDG. While they have matched JDG in series victories, they have not matched their dominance, having conceded more individual games throughout the series they have won. However, this does not include their swift sweep of the aforementioned super team. Their takedown of JDG in the head-to-head was definitely impressive, and something to consider coming into these playoffs. Should both teams win their initial matchups, they will find themselves facing off in the upper bracket semi-finals, a match that has initial bias towards EDG given their history. Personally, I believed that LNG Esports would take this spot, but due to the three-way tie in the regular season placings, not to mention the fact that both LNG and EDG both won and conceded the same number of series and games, it was EDG who won out with a clean sweep in the head-to-head.

With their capacity to take down their peers at the top of end of the table, I would favour EDG over LNG to take the other MSI spot. Lee “Scout” Ye-chan has had a clear stand out performance once again this split, proving his worth as a world champion, but it feels like EDG just have such clean and consistent players in all positions. Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie has been the perfect facilitator for his other lanes, who are already powerhouses in their roles. EDG feel like the most cohesive unit of any of the teams at the top of the table.

A big surprise to me was Invictus Gaming (IG) missing the playoffs. After such a strong start for quite a few fresh faces to the league, I was hoping that an early burst of momentum was going to be enough to carry these players forward into immediate playoff experience, which could have set up some growth in their development. However, only winning two series in the back end of the split turned their early success story into a disaster. IG were promising, and many fans got to see more of Chau “YSKM” Shu Tak’s personality. Hopefully they will have a resurgence in Summer with some of the lessons they’ve learned this Spring.

Despite being below the big three of the LPL in terms of results, many are rooting for, and have high expectations of the fourth-place representative Weibo Gaming. While DRX proved the number four can certainly step up in a big way on the biggest of stages at the end of last year, Weibo have some big hurdles to jump if they want to be in the ballpark of challenging for one of the two coveted MSI spots. A few losses can be attributed to the experimental nature of Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok and his strange picks - such as his Nidalee Top against Top Esports. These are often mentioned as the reason a series might have gone on longer than it should have, and ended up in a loss. However, it’s also true that while Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan plays the Jungler role well, it’s argued that his counterpart in EDG, “Jiejie”, is more efficient. It certainly feels like Weibo have the capacity to challenge their opposition in each and every role, their strengths as a team are well-matched and spread among their members. It simply seems that the sum of their parts are not quite up to par with what that lies ahead of them. I think it would require some upset victories for them to win.

Overall, with the move of “Scout”, and the arrival of “Ruler”, I believe that the LPL has truly levelled up this year, and their potential to do damage on the international stage has only increased. We’ll see if either representative can stand up to the might of the LCK after their domineering presence at Worlds 2022.

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About the author

Jacob Crick

A Computer Scientist who’s been following CSGO since 2015 and League since 2019. Jacob has a passion for the continued growth of the Esports scene, looking for ways to facilitate connections between fans and players.

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