The LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs are finally here. After months of hard work, the ten teams that will continue their road to MSI have secured their playoff spot. EDG, Bilibili Gaming, Rare Atom and FunPlus Phoenix will play in the first round. Top Esports and Weibo Gaming will start in the second round. LNG and JD Gaming will begin in the third round. From these eight teams, only two will go on to face Victory Five or Royal Never Give Up, in the fourth round of playoffs. That is when double elimination comes into play. The following image is a chart that maps the entire gauntlet ahead.
The tournament essentially has two parts. The first six matches are a simple best-of-five. The winner goes on to the next phase while the loser goes home. Once there are only four teams left, the loser will fall to the losers bracket and still have a shot at making it to the LPL 2022 Spring Playoff Grand Finals. Today’s article will cover the first six matches in hopes of lending some insight into the best teams the LPL has to offer.
LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs: Match 1: Bilibili Gaming vs Rare Atom
The first match of playoffs features BLG and Rare Atom. No one really expected either of these teams to be here, as many had BLG further up in the standings and many had Rare Atom not making playoffs. However, around the middle of the tournament, BLG started running out of gas and at the same time, Rare Atom started building momentum. While BLG won both of their last matches and RA lost both, it was too late to change anything and both of these teams had locked their place in playoffs.
These final matches, however, are arguably the important ones. It shows if the team has momentum coming into playoffs or not. Rare Atom got smashed by both JD Gaming and EDG, while BLG took down Ultra Prime and LGD. While it looks better for BLG on paper, they had considerably easier matches to play. Their encounter during the regular season ended in a clean 2:0 for BLG, but that was in week 3, when both of these teams were very different from who they are now. With so little to go on, BLG have to be the favourites, with a star-studded roster, who did just lose Uzi but are still champion material nonetheless.
Prediction: Bilibili Gaming
LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs: Match 2: FunPlus Phoenix vs EDG
Another team that no one expected to be this low in the standings is EDG. The current world champions started the split off perfectly, but ended with a modest 10:6 record, earning them a seventh-placed spot. On the other hand, FPX ended the split more or less where it was expected of them, but it was full of ups and downs that many FPX fans would like to have avoided. The 2021 Summer Playoff Grand Final rematch will be in the first round of Spring 2022.
In their last match of the split, against Rare Atom, EDG managed to pull themselves together and put on a performance at the level that was expected of them. Prior to that, they were stuck in a rut, losing five of their seven matches. If the EDG that played against Rare Atom comes to play, this should be a done deal. If not, FPX have shown they still have some fire in them, being directly responsible for the eliminations of IG and OMG, and taking down BLG in week seven.
LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs: Match 3: Top vs Winner of Match 1
Round two starts off with Top Esports versus the winner of match 1. Top Esports had the weirdest split of all the LPL teams. After a poor start to the season, they signed Mark and a rookie top laner, proceeding to go on a seven-match winning streak, taking down teams that were at the top like Weibo Gaming and LNG. This winning streak was interrupted by Invictus Gaming, who were on a three-match losing streak and after beating Top, they returned to their losing ways, ending the split with a 5:11 record.
Disregarding that match against IG, Top Esports turned their split around beautifully. If they hadn’t lost to IG, they would have likely ended in second place in the round-robin, after starting the split off with a 2:4 record mind you. Top Esports have a massive amount of momentum coming into this match and will likely have the upper hand against whichever one of BLG or Rare Atom make it out.
Prediction: Top Esports
LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs: Match 4: WBG vs Winner of Match 2
The second match of the second round will have Weibo Gaming enter the fray. After such a promising first six weeks, Weibo Gaming stumbled and fell at the final hurdles, dropping from first to sixth. Many were excited at the possibility of Rookie vs TheShy at the grand finals, but now that feels like a distant dream. Weibo Gaming have to get back on track if they want to even make it into the top four. This match against what probably will be EDG should be the perfect opportunity.
The former Suning players and TheShy form Weibo Gaming. Every one of those players has a tendency to be very momentum-based, and their performance is often dictated by their current state. Should Weibo Gaming manage to take down and eliminate EDG, the current world champions, then they will feel unstoppable. And luckily for them, if they don’t manage to beat EDG, then they don’t have to worry as their Spring journey will be over.
Prediction: EDG > Weibo Gaming > FPX
LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs: Match 5: LNG vs Winner of Match 3
LNG were the last team to remain undefeated during the round-robin. And still they finished in fourth, almost having to play in the first round robin had they lost to OMG. While they managed to bounce back from their losing streak after bringing Iwandy back into the team, they have a lot of convincing to do before anyone buys back into their hype train. That said, the team’s most consistent player in Light got his previous support back, and has already delivered in the performance department.
When it comes to their opponents, this could go multiple ways. Should they face Rare Atom, they should easily send them home. Bilibili Gaming would be a harder order, but have the more consistent squad, so they should still be victorious. However, when it comes to Top Esports, things could get dicey. Top Esports took down LNG not even a month ago to end week 7, and while that was with Lvmao and not Iwandy, it was a bit of a team diff. LNG will have to perform perfectly to take them down, and with the way the last weeks went for LNG, that may not be in the cards.
Prediction: Top Esports > LNG > Bilibili/Rare Atom
LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs: Match 6: JDG vs Winner of Match 4
The second match of the third round should be just as interesting as the previous one. No one expected JDG to do this well at the start of the split. And while they didn’t announce Hope until week 1, it’s still a much better team than many gave them credit for. JDG have truly looked impressive towards the end of the split, and would have made it into the top-two, had OMG managed to hold back RNG. Kanavi especially stepped up and has seemingly returned to his 2020 dominating state.
Currently, on a six-match winning streak, JD Gaming are on a bit of a rampage. Both Weibo Gaming and Victory Five are in those six wins, so JDG are almost as hot as it gets. The question, however, is if this small downtime may have cooled them off. Consistency always plagued JDG and Kanavi, and having to wait until round three could backfire. Lastly, should their opponents be EDG, then JDG could be in a lot of trouble, as EDG have a good matchup stylistically speaking into JDG. Their playstyle hard counters what JDG would like to do, so that match specifically could prove to be trouble for them. Nonetheless, JDG have done incredibly well recently, and should they make it to the top four, it would be more than deserved.
Prediction: JDG > Any one of the 3 possible teams
And that concludes the preview of the first 6 matches of the playoffs. These six matches will make up the first three rounds, so be sure to come back next time to read about the start of round four, as well as the rest of the double-elimination matches.
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