JD Gaming narrowly edged out a leveled-up Weibo Gaming in a 3-2 win to advance in the double-elimination bracket of the LPL 2022 Spring Split Playoffs.
With just one final spot left in the final four for the LPL 2022 Spring Split, third seed JDG and fifth seed Weibo looked at this series today as an opportunity to cement themselves as a top team in the league. Both teams entered this series nearly at their peak level of performance; for JDG, they spent the majority of the Spring Split in the middle of the pack before making a run from ninth place to third by the end of the regular season.
As for Weibo, they began their season as possibly the best team in the LPL after LNG Esports’ mid-split collapse before Weibo experienced a collapse themselves at the end of the regular season. Weibo seemed to regain their usual strengths around the early game against the reigning League World Champions in EDward Gaming as they looked to put an end to JDG’s hot streak today.
In the first game, Weibo jungler SofM helped the team garner a strong lead in the early game through his immense early game pressure. Their early game leads were thwarted as JDG’s composition constantly picked off Huanfeng’s Jinx before he could do any major damage in the midgame team fights, however. This fight at 22 minutes helped JDG grab their fourth dragon of the game.
This, combined with baron buff and JDG’s composition centered around late-game scaling, helped them close out the first game in 33 minutes.
Game two saw JDG pull out a surprise Kayle pick against Weibo. In the first 15 minutes, the Kayle pick proved to be a strong choice as 369 soared to a 2/0/1 scoreline early on. Weibo’s scaling composition paired with Huanfeng’s mobility on Zeri made it impossible for JDG to single out Weibo’s primary damage threats in the team fights.
This pattern continued throughout the game as Weibo was able to use their strong late-game composition to win team fight after team fight to even up the series 1-1 after 30 minutes.
Game three, however, saw a return to dominance by JDG as it was a masterclass performance from JDG top laner 369 as he was unstoppable on Lucian. While Weibo was able to stall out the game for a bit, it was not enough to thwart the mid-game power spike 369 had experienced on Lucian.
By the end of the 36-minute battle, 369 had a 10/1/5 scoreline and 27k damage on Lucian as they entered game four up 2-1 over Weibo.
JDG attempted to close out the series in style after they revealed an off-meta Gangplank pick that ultimately did not work out. Throughout the fourth game, SoFM capitalized on the Gangplank’s weak early laning phase as he bullied the Gangplank to help build a lead around the top half of the map, alongside Angel’s Orianna.
The mid and jungle duo helped Weibo build a strong snowball that eventually carried them throughout the 30-minute game as the sixth seed took the series to a final game five.
In the LPL 2022 Spring Split’s first five-game series, JDG and Weibo entered the final game looking to earn their spot in the final four.
This time, 369 opted to not play any off-meta picks. Instead, he was placed onto the Kennen in the final game of the series which proved to be the killer for Weibo. Paired with JDG support Missing’s exceptional hooks on Thresh, 369 was able to dive into Weibo’s main damage threats. This helped JDG’s mid laner Yagao and AD carry Hope start to develop gold leads of their own as their damage began to scale up on Ahri and Jinx.
Weibo jungler SofM did everything he could to try and stave off JDG’s strong team fight composition. He found key picks onto JDG’s main carries on the Hecarim and had four of Weibo’s five total kills by the 16-minute mark.
JDG’s team fighting proved to overpower Weibo’s skirmishing strengths, though. JDG used this to grab baron before storming down Weibo’s base at 30-minutes, closing out the series against Weibo.
For Weibo, this was still a promising showing for the team as they looked to have resolved many of their issues seen towards the end of the LPL 2022 Spring Split regular season. In particular, jungler SofM looked incredibly strong and efficient throughout the early game for Weibo even in their losses. Up against one of LPL’s hottest teams, the only issue seen from Weibo was possible nerves from support ON, which may be resolved with more stage time.
Now, Weibo will look towards the LPL 2022 Summer Split where the aim is to now improve upon this fifth-place finish so that the team can make a return to the League World Championships in 2022.
As for JDG, they were pushed to their limits against Weibo in today’s series. The LPL’s third seed will now move forward into the fourth round of the LPL 2022 Spring Split Playoffs against the second seed, Royal Never Give Up.
Meanwhile, the other series will feature a matchup between the LPL’s fifth seed, TOP Esports, against the top-seeded Victory Five.
All the remaining teams will move forward into a double-elimination bracket where they will compete for the title of the LPL 2022 Spring Split Champions and represent the LPL at the Midseason Invitational.
Due to the lockdowns happening in Shanghai, the top four will have one week to prepare for the double-elimination bracket, so both TOP Esports and JDG will have extra time to shore up their struggles in the playoffs so far as they look to try and recreate the LPL 2020 Finals once again.
The LPL 2022 Spring Split Playoffs began on March 26 and will run up to April 10, where the winner of the Grand Final will represent the LPL at the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational.