LPL Summer Split Week 9 - What we learned heading into playoffs
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The last week of the LPL Summer Split provided some of the most anticipated matches of the entire season. Win streaks were broken, tiebreakers were played and playoff seeding was solidified. Here are the top three takeaways from Week 9 of the LPL Summer Split.

FunPlus Phoenix prove they are the best team in the LPL heading into Playoffs

With a six-series win streak heading into Week 9 of the LPL Summer Split, FunPlus Phoenix has been looking like the team to beat in the LPL. But even though their win streak catapulted them to a 12-3 record, they weren’t the consensus number one seed. That’s because Edward Gaming, who have sat at the top of the standings, also held a 12-3 record going into the last week. FPX and EDG went to war in a battle for the one seed.

In a thrilling three-game series that went the distance, it was FPX who came out on top. Game one was a 25-minute speedrun, with FPX coming out on top, and Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang taking player of the game honors. However, EDG bounced back in Game two, with a sub-30-minute victory of their own. A Game three was expected between the top two teams in the region, and just like the first two, Game three was a quick one.

Doinb once against picked up player of the game honors, thanks to his 8/0/12 performance on Sylas as FPX took the series 2-1. But Doinb wasn’t the only player who impressed. FPX’s big flashy move in the offseason was picking up World Champion top laner, Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, from the LCK. However, in Game thee after two uninspiring games, FPX subbed in their rookie top laner, Ping “Xiaolaohu” Xiao-Hu, who ended up outclassing EDG’s Li “Flandre” Xuan-Jun and shutting down the Spring Split LPL MVP Park “Viper” Do-hyeon in every team fight.

Heading into playoffs, FPX look good in every lane and they might even have the two best top laners in the world.

RNG is mortal after all

MSI champions Royal Never Give Up started the Summer Split in a huge slump. But after starting with a 1-5 record, RNG haven’t lost a series since the first week of July. In fact, On their eight-series win streak heading into the final week, they were a combined 16-1 in their games played. The MSI champions were back in form heading into the final two matches of the Summer Split, and they looked unstoppable. That was until they played Team WE and Bilibili Gaming.

In their first match of the final week against Team WE, RNG uncharacteristically dropped Game one. The shoo-in all-LPL top laner for RNG, Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, struggled in the first game. Even in Game two, he didn’t play like the best top laner in the region. But the rest of the stacked RNG squad were able to pull out a sub-31-minute win. Game three shut the door on any possible upset as Xiaohu and bot laner Chen “GALA” Wei carried the team to the reverse 2-1 sweep, pushing their series win streak to nine. The third seed was theirs for the taking with a win against BLG in the final series. However, BLG had other plans.

In a repeat of their first game against WE, RNG dropped Game one for the second straight series. Xiaohu had an abysmal performance on Gragas, as BLG ran away with the 30-minute victory. Xiahou and the RNG squad bounced back in Game two though, to push the series to Game three. BLG killed all of RNG’s momentum as they dragged the game out past the 45-minute mark, in a draining battle. RNG, even with the Infernal Soul, couldn’t put BLG away. With the game on a knife’s edge, BLG clutched out a critical team fight to take the series 2-1 and snap RNG’s win streak.

RNG has been smooth sailing since Week 4, but had a massive wake-up call here right before playoffs. RNG finished the summer split in fourth place. They will receive a two-round bye in the playoffs, but with their loss to BLG, they await a date with either Li-Ning Gaming, Top Esports or Suning. All of which beat RNG in the Summer Split.

Team WE are looking like their old selves, which is a bad thing

For the last few weeks, Team WE looked like they were joining the upper echelon of the LPL. Winners of six straight series’, WE sat in a very impressive third place entering the last week of the season, but with two big tests ahead of them. RNG and TES stood in their way of a top-four seed. Both of those teams pushed WE down.

Things started well for WE to kick off Week 9. A Game one win in their match against RNG could have really sold WE as a top-tier team in the LPL. An upset would solidify it, but nothing has been concrete for WE all year. Their rise up the standings took a gut punch as RNG quickly dispatched WE in a reverse sweep.

With their win streak finally broken, WE looked to get back on track against a TES squad that has been struggling as of late. In a twist of fate, TES returned to form, while WE looked like the team that was once 4-4. WE mid laner Cui “Shanks” Xiao-Jun, who won the starting position from Li “Mole” Hao-Yan back in Week 6, was humbled by MVP point leader, Zhuo “Knight” Ding, as TES rode on Knight’s back to a 2-0 sweep.

WE, with a nightmare Week 9 of the LPL Summer Split, saw a potential third seed and two-round bye in playoffs vanish. They tumbled all the way down to the seventh seed. They will now play in the opening round of the playoffs against Oh My God.

ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.
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