Week 2 of the LPL Summer 2021 Playoffs was filled with excitement and upsets. Here is what we learned from the quarter and semifinal portions of the Chinese region’s post-season play.
FPX look unstoppable
The LPL Summer 2021 Playoffs have been a wild ride heading into the second week of play. Li-Ning Gaming, in particular, has been turning heads. Starting all the way back in Round 1, LNG has looked better in each of their playoffs wins; with Suning, then an upset against Top Esports and, lastly, a massive shock against Royal Never Give Up.
Heading into their match against FunPlus Phoenix, LNG was riding a momentum wave, but FPX gave LNG a reality check. Game 1 only lasted 25 minutes as FPX’s MVP mid-laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang racked up an impressive 10/1/8 Kill/Death/Assist on Irelia in the quick victory. In Game 2, LNG dragged the game to 35 minutes. They were even in control with a 5k gold lead later into the contest. But FPX dashed their hopes again with a late-game team fight. FPX went up 2-0 in the series.
Game 3 was a back and forth affair but, despite LNG playing the role of the typical underdog hero, FPX wrapped up the 3-0 sweep to move onto winners finals.
RNG didn’t play up to expectations
Two teams that have appeared to be on FPX’s level during a majority of the summer split have been Edward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up. These have been among the favorites to win the summer split but neither moved on.
RNG’s first match came in Round 3 of the summer playoffs, due to a two-round bye, thanks to RNG’s high placement in the regular season. In Game 1 against former top two team LNG, they were up 6,000 gold but saw it all come crashing down. A series of misplays let LNG back into the game. A Baron fight gone wrong was the nail in the coffin as RNG lost Game 1. In Game 2, RNG seemed on tilt as LNG picked up a quick victory in 25 minutes to go up 2-0.
RNG saved face with a Game 3 win but, in a 45-minute Game 4, LNG shut down the MSI champs to knock them out of the playoffs. RNG will now have to wait to see if they will be playing in the Regional Final gauntlet or if they will squeak into worlds on championship points.
WE exceeded expectations against a tilted EDG
EDG had a three-round bye to start the playoffs, thanks to their second-place regular-season finish. Their reward was a match against the streaking Team WE; one of the few teams to beat EDG in the regular season.
Game 1 started well for EDG, who amassed an early gold lead. However, as WE started to pull away, a clutch team fight around Elder Dragon pulled EDG back in control. That’s when the unthinkable happened. Despite all five EDG members present in the pit with WE throwing blind skill shots in their direction, WE stole Elder Dragon with a stray Mystic Shot from Ezreal. With the steal, and the huge Elder Dragon buff, WE turned a quick fight and finished the game at the 45 minute mark. The defining moment in Game 1 seemed to have put EDG on tilt. In-Game 2, WE had a near-perfect game, giving up one kill and zero towers.
— LPL (@lplenglish) August 22, 2021
In Game 3, EDG benched their starting jungler Zhao “JieJie” Li-Jie for the inexperienced rookie Yu “Junjia” Chun-Chia. To EDG’s credit, the new-look squad managed to prevent the sweep. They started on path to a reverse sweep of their own as they clawed back to win Games 3 and 4 to set up a decisive Game 5. But Junjia’s inexperience showed as EDG failed to take a single objective outside of three towers and WE pulled off the upset.
WE might not be the better team overall but, in the playoffs, they have shown resilience. The team will have another test next week against FPX in the winners final.