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Over the years, LPL 2022 has been a fiercely competitive tournament, and the summer split promises no less. The tournament kicked off on Friday (June 10), but a city-wide shutdown of Shanghai owing to the rise in Covid-19 cases has once again thrown an air of uncertainty over physical participation.
It’s likely teams will compete online, should cases not ease and restrictions lifted. The covid threat can’t be understated.
Pandemic or no pandemic, it’s been business usual for teams, who have looked to complete their off-season trades and signings. RNG have swapped their top laner with Bilibili Gaming, with Breathe expected to join ahead of the second half, even as Bin, RNG’s top laner all through the spring split, comes in ahead of the summer split. Bin and Breathe spent just one split apiece with their respective teams before the trade.
Bin will join a Bilibili team that spent the Spring Split in the middle of the LPL standings. After finishing in eighth place in the first half of the regular season, Bilibili was eliminated in the Spring Split playoffs by Top Esports, the eventual runners-up.
Meanwhile, Bilibili have released AD carry Uzi, who joined the team in a back-up role after two years of hiatus. Prior to joining Bilibili, Uzi had last played in the professional scene in 2019. All seven seasons of his career up until then had been for RNG. He appeared in back-to-back world championship finals in 2013 and 2014, and also won the MSI in 2018. It’s this experience they’d hope comes in handy ahead of the summer split.
It’s the covid threat that forced RNG, winners of the spring split, to miss MSI 2022 in Busan in May. RNG had to participate remotely, even as the other teams competed with artificial ping. This was hardly a consideration for RNG, who added another feather to their cap when they beat the all-dominating T1 3-2 in a pulsating finale. They finished second in the spring split, but expect them to come out all guns blazing and go for glory this time around.
RNG have been the LPL representatives at three of the last four MSI’s. They’ve won all three to. That said, it’s not like this will be a cakewalk. They have struggled to win the summer split lately. In 2018, it was FPX. Last year, Edward Gaming won it. RNG have the aces, but will also have some pressure to contend with.
A team that has made no changes for the summer split, JD Gaming will be looking to build on their third-place finish in the spring. It was among the bigger surprises then, but in keeping faith in the same roster that exceeded expectation, they have made a statement of intent. Now, a second straight playoff spot is what they can realistically hope for, maybe even gun for the top two and an opportunity to impress at the worlds. Kanavi is crucial to their chances of sustaining their excellence from the spring split.
They weren’t favourites to top the pool after the spring split, so in many ways the result was unexpected. Having to repeat the same will be quite a challenge, although they’re well placed to do so. Rookie, their most prolific player in the spring, has flown home to Korea for a break, and covid restrictions back in China means he won’t be available for the first few games.
This is a massive blow, but if they can ride through the storm and not lose ground in the first half, they are very much capable of holding their own. Otherwise, much of their roster has exceeded expectations coming into 2022. They will want to keep that going.
LNG had a top-three finish written all over them in the spring; they finished fourth. In the playoffs, they endured a massive turbulence as they failed to make it to the double-elimination bracket of the playoffs. They’re treating that as an aberration because the roster mostly has remained the same.
LNG will want to reconsider their decision to play with Lvmao instead of Lwandy, the support player. LNG also needs to re-look at their tactics in the bot lane and define roles better. Should Light continue to sustain his brilliant run of form, that combined with lwandy’s potential return should help vault LNG back into the top three.
Hope is easily the best bot laner in the competition. An expert on the champion he picks, Hope’s superb spring performances (less than 2 deaths on an average, to go along with an impressive KDA of 6.18) makes him the player teams will want to mark out very early. In the first game of the team’s spring split playoffs, RNG tried several tactics to unsettle hope.
Yet he ended the game with an impressive 10 kills, 2 deaths and 4 assists. It’s this consistency, strong macro play and high kill participation that makes him the kind of player teams yearn for.
If Hope is the best, Gala isn’t far off in terms of bot lane proficiency. A strong laning capability, and an aggressive game that can at times border on the unconventional makes him a terrific player to watch and have in your team. He’s strong as both an all-in hyper carry as well as an ADC who may need to temper his game and play safe at times.
Gala’s dominance across two MSIs back to back is a sign of his proficiency. This has been only possible because the rest of the RNG roster has complimented him superbly. Gala is often the one that gets the game-winning pick and carries a late-game team fight for RNG. In short, he’s the guy they turn to for the dirty work and he has unfailingly delivered so far.
Viper is calm, collected and composed at the best of times. He isn’t one of those who’d make an uncalculated move and gamble on breaching enemy territory even when it’s well protected. His gameplay is meant to take the volatility out of the role and this makes him a tough proposition.
As a member of the iconic Griffin roster that birthed many modern-day greats, he brings with him the reputation of being one of the strongest mechanical players. His reaction time, spacing, and general awareness of his surroundings is among the best. His ability to snuff out risks and combine a small gap with strong positioning to land big kills makes him one of the most lethal ADC’s in the LPL.
On their part, EDG has begun the summer split with a 2-1 win over the FunPlus Phoenix in a rematch from last split’s playoffs. Viper showed strong mechanical skills on Senna and posted a 100% kill participation in the game. He also dealt the most damage and collected the most gold.
Despite an early elimination in the 2022 LPL Spring Playoffs, Edward Gaming, the defending champions, have kept faith in the spring roster. In a direct endorsement of being happy with the work of their coaches, Chen “Ziv” Yi and Peng “Mni” Fang have been promoted from the youth setup to work in the main team alongside head coach Yang “Maokai” Ji-Song.
The build-up hasn’t been without its fair share of controversies either. LNG mid-layer Doinb has been fined 50,000 RMB for leaking the launch date of the 2022 LPL Summer Split, before the organizers made the announcement. This hasn’t been his first brush with controversies in recent times. Last month he was fined 60,000 RMB by the LPL due to leaking information from 2019.
The revelations are alleged to have been made on his stream, something he has been guilty of doing so in the past as well. Both LPL and Chinese-owned teams are generally strict with their protocols and fines are a very common occurrence. From inappropriate behavior in ranked games to offensive statements, players have frequently received financial penalties.
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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