The second to last week of the regular season has come and gone in the League of Legends Pro League. In Week 8, history was made while other things stayed the same. Here are three lessons learned from the exciting Week 8 of the LPL summer split.
Invictus Gaming missed playoffs for the first time in seven years
The 2018 World Champions came into 2021 looking to upgrade their performance from 2020. In a year that saw iG at the top of the standings constantly, the summer playoffs fell flat for iG and as a result, they missed out on the World Championships. Unfortunately, 2021 wasn’t the rebound they were looking for.
In the 2021 spring split, iG often struggled to just stay in playoff contention. Heading into the final week of the split, iG were just a game ahead of Bilibili Gaming for the 10th and final playoff spot. But with a clutch 2-0 performance in Week 10, they qualified for playoffs to keep their streak of 13 consecutive playoff appearances alive.
The summer split however, went a little worse. Past Week 1, iG never held onto a winning record. For a majority of the split, iG were struggling in the 12-13 range in the standings. Ultimately, in Week 8, their playoff hopes were cut completely. With a majority of the playoff field already decided, Week 8 presented two must-win series for iG. Both series were against playoff hopeful teams as well. Their first match of Week 8 against Bilibili Gaming had the most on the line for both teams. A win for BLG would clinch a playoff birth, while a win for iG would keep their chances alive. BLG won in convincing fashion in a 2-0 sweep which put iG on the brink of elimination.
Team WE, who are among the hottest teams in the LPL, ended iG’s streak in the second match of Week 8. In another 2-0 sweep, iG were left hopeless and ultimately, on the outside of the playoff picture for the first time since 2014.
Edward Gaming bounced back in Week 8
In Week 6, EDG suffered only their second loss of the season at the hands of Royal Never Give Up. With EDG given the benefit of the doubt, they lost again in Week 7 to Team WE. Their loss to WE in Week 7 was odd. Starting jungler, Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie was benched for old school EDG legend, Ming “Clearlove” Kai and in the second game of the series, Jiejie didn’t come back as Clearlove’s replacement. Their third-string jungler ,Yu “JunJia” Chun-Chia took his place instead. In a lopsided 2-0 sweep, EDG slipped into a two-way tie for first with a ton of questions left unanswered. EDG answered a couple of them in Week 8.
In their lone match in Week 8, against the last place Victory Five squad, EDG returned to normal. Most importantly, Jiejie was back in the starting lineup. In a 2-0 victory, Jiejie played well, and as a result, EDG moved to an impressive 11-3 record. Game 1 of the series was shaky, but Game 2 showed that EDG still looks like a top tier LPL team.
Heading into the final week of the summer split, EDG will have one true test remaining. A matchup with FunPlus Phoenix will decide who the best team is going into playoffs as well as the No. 1 seed.
Team WE continue their rise
There are three teams in the LPL that are on massive win streaks of at least six straight. Royal Never Give Up and FunPlus Phoenix are two of them as both look like locks for World Championship slots. But the third team among them is surprisingly Team WE. Heading into Week 8, WE were winners of their last four series including a win against EDG. After another 2-0 week, their win streak was pushed to six straight.
In Week 8, WE squared off with the scrappy Rogue Warriors as well as iG. RW, who has managed to take playoff teams, Li-Ning Gaming and Top Esports to three games three in recent weeks, did so again against WE. But in Game 3, it was WE mid laner Cui “Shanks” Xiao-Jun on Leblanc that sealed up the win to prevent the upset.
In their second series of Week 8, WE bullied iG in a 2-0 sweep which eliminated iG from playoff contention. The win pushed WE’s win streak to six and their record to 10-4. WE now sits in third place in the standings. Heading into the final week, WE are going to be tested as one win streak will have to end as they square off with RNG.