The unexpected 5v5 ARAM in top lane in game three, the intense 2v2s at bot, Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok’s never ending penchant for winning surprise 1v1s — these are just some of the highlights from the five-game series between JD Gaming and Weibo Gaming in Round 3 of the 2022 LPL Spring playoffs.

But hear me out: the best part of the series was actually the mind games during the draft phase.

This 2022 season, head coach Yoon “Homme” Sung-young is back, and is making all the difference. Previously with the team since 2018, he took a break for a year in 2021 after JD Gaming lost to Suning 3-1 during the Worlds 2020 quarterfinals.

Besides getting the chance to work with jungler Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok and mid laner Zeng “Yagao” Qi again, he also had to groom bot laner Wang “Hope” Jie this split, who is finally getting a starting roster spot after he was benched by Edward Gaming in 2021 in favor of Park “Viper” Do-hyeon.

In this 3-2 victory, Homme was pitted against Weibo Gaming’s head coach Zeng “Maizijian” Tao, and every game’s draft phase was as exciting as the action on Summoner’s Rift.

JD Gaming’s game five draft proved their adaptability and marked Homme’s return

The first trend you’ll notice in this series is that whether on red or blue side, JD Gaming’s first three bans remained the same: Twisted Fate, Xayah, and Lee Sin.

They didn’t want to deal with TF’s semi global, or SofM’s game-winning Lee Sin that helped his team take down the 2021 World Champions Edward Gaming the previous round. Tang “huanfeng” Huan-Feng’s Xayah too, contributed to those victories.

On the side of Weibo Gaming, they also wanted to limit cross map pressure, and banned Ryze consistently.

JD Gaming versus Weibo Gaming drafts in all five games of the 2022 LPL Spring playoffs Round 3
Credit: Games of Legends

The rest of the bans from both teams were then adapted accordingly. Mid lane became a trade between Ahri and Veigar, while bot lane was all about scaling between Jinx and Aphelios when Zeri was banned. Since the junglers themselves are flexible players, champions picked in this role were more varied.

Game five’s draft, however, marked a turning point for JD Gaming.

Since Weibo Gaming banned two AD carries in the first phase, JDG first picked Jinx on blue side. In response, another first this series, WBG selected Miss Fortune for huanfeng, a champion he’s never played during the 2022 Spring split.

JDG then debuted Lou “Missing” Yun-Feng’s Thresh, who was a game-changer. On Nautilus for the first four games, it was a refreshing change of pace for the support player.

After all, Thresh is his third most played champion in the regular season at eight games with a 100% win rate. Yes, 100%.

JD Gaming versus Weibo Gaming game 5 draft in the 2022 LPL Spring playoffs Round 3
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Even though Rakan is likewise Luo “ON” Wen-Jun’s most picked champion at 10 games, he only managed to maintain a 70% win rate during the regular season.

What’s more, Thresh is a natural counter to an immobile Miss Fortune and Rakan, for he’s able to disrupt Grand Entrance with Flay, and limit The Quickness with The Box. He also synergizes well with Xin Zhao, another risk that JDG took in the game five draft.

Missing’s Thresh proved his worth, and worked tightly with his team in the early game, leading ganks with on point Flash hooks and well-timed Flays. By mid game, Yagao’s Ahri and Hope’s Jinx had three kills each as the team led by almost 3,000 gold.

Snowballing from bot, JD Gaming went on to collect every single elemental dragon, Infernal Soul, and all six outer turrets.

In the last fight at Baron 28 minutes in, Missing drew the attention of three WBG members from the side, and sacrificed himself for his team as they cleaned up before pushing in for the series win a minute later.

Finishing with a 1/2/13 KDA and 53.8% kill participation, Missing was awarded MVP of game five, his fourth this season.

JD Gaming will take on the 2021 MSI champions Royal Never Give Up on April 9 at 5 p.m. GMT+8. Catch the games live on LPL’s official Twitch and YouTube channels.

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