In the LPL Spring semifinals, Top Esports edged out Invictus Gaming 3-1, while JD Gaming swept FunPlus Phoenix 3-0 to qualify for the final.
Dropping through the ranks, the 2018 World Champions and 2019 World Champions will now fight for third and fourth placing.
Invictus Gaming vs Top Esports
Varus, Thresh, Lee Sin and Syndra formed the winning components of both teams’ drafts in recent games, so it was no surprise that these champions had 100% presence.
The first blood of game one was characteristic of the entire series – TES ganking top, and subsequently the lane that Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok rotated to.
Everything was even up until iG broke into TES’ base. Song “Rookie” Eui-jin on LeBlanc picked off former team mate Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo, trading one for one. It looked extremely good for iG at first, as they downed bot inhibitor and forced TES to retreat.
However, instead of rotating to mid lane where they had already set up an incoming wave, iG decided to dive TES harder. Patience was the key here for TES, who waited for an opening to jump onto iG for the ace. Losing all momentum, the former World Champions never recovered from this one mistake, and dropped the first game.
iG’s draft in game two was crystal clear – put all their eggs in the top basket while mid and bot lane scaled. Blind picking Jayce for TheShy on blue side, he was geared up for a ranged versus melee match up.
In-game, it was a different story however, as TES made sure that their narrative took center stage. Derailing everything iG wanted to do with this draft, Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan on Lee Sin first reduced Lu “Leyan” Jue’s pressure, then camped top.
TES swiftly picked up the pace after shutting down top lane. Securing objectives that iG could not contest, they ended the game in 25 minutes, handing TheShy a 0/5/0 scoreline.
Going back to their strengths, iG first picked Aphelios for Ding “Puff” Wang in game three, and secured Aatrox for TheShy in the second iteration. They also changed things up in the jungle, putting Leyan on a non-meta pick, Qiyana.
Starting things off on the right foot, iG’s vision ward spotted Karsa soloing the dragon. Riding on that information, bot lane found an opening for Leyan to rotate first, who swooped in for a double kill.
Keeping up the tempo, Leyan and the rest of iG were better able to relieve pressure at top lane. Creating space for TheShy, he popped off on Aatrox and became a big front liner for the team.
Even though Karsa managed to steal Baron later on, iG kept pushing advantages across the map. In a key moment in top side jungle, iG played around the mountainous terrain to come out on top.
Displaying incredible champion mastery on LeBlanc, Rookie nuked out JackeyLove and Karsa before the final brawl begun. Outnumbered, they pushed into TES’ base to stay in the series.
Picks and bans took a turn in game four, with five AD carry bans in the first round. Both teams wanted to keep bot lane at bay, so JackeyLove and Puff had to play something different – Ezreal and Caitlyn respectively.
On red side, iG last picked Kennen for TheShy, his most played champion in competitive play. Even though Mordekaiser was available, it is not part of his champion pool, so TES confidently blind picked Aatrox for a strong top lane.
iG looked like they were in control of the early game – until Leyan invaded TES’ raptor camp without lane priority. Collapsing together, TES punished his greed, taking him and support Su “Southwind” Zhi-Lin down.
A costly mistake for iG, TES released Herald at bot to force first turret and reap additional gold. On the opposite side of the map, they rotated Zhuo “knight” Ding and continued camping TheShy, who was down by 3 deaths.
With Ocean Soul and Baron buff, TES closed in 31 minutes to win the series and qualify for the LPL finals for the first time.
JD Gaming vs FunPlus Phoenix
Departing from the 3-1 playoffs script, JD Gaming stunned by taking down reigning World Champions FunPlus Phoenix in three straight games.
In the regular season, JDG had the highest kill death ratio. Out of all the junglers, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok ranked first for total kills, and had second highest KDA. Out there for blood, fans and analysts expected an explosive series.
Yet, in game one, there were no kills until 33 minutes.
JDG opted into FPX’s macro play style that they’ve shown to favor in their last quarterfinal match against EDG. Even though there was no blood shed for the majority of the game, both teams were busy trading objectives across the map. With triple ranged carries however, JDG were able to down more towers and lead in gold.
Eventually, JDG gave up Cloud Soul to FPX for the Baron buff, and grouped to push bot. In FPX’s last stand, Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang on Kassadin found a flank onto Lee “LokeN” Dong-wook on Kalista in the back line, but could not nuke the AD carry.
With the ace, JDG finally ended game one in 40 minutes.
This time around, the drafts in game two demanded early action. Not allowing Kanavi to out jungle, out farm and out level on Graves, FPX banned him on blue side. Trading power picks across the board, FPX’s team composition could execute 1-3-1, as well as find picks with Thresh and Lee Sin.
Intent on getting ahead, Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao on support Nautilus made an early rotation to top side, securing three kills for the team. Not to be outdone, FPX came back in the mid game.
It all started when Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran on Sett found Doinb in a side lane, and challenged him 1v1. Perfectly timing Zhonyas and Flash, Doinb walked out triumphant. In that moment, FPX knew they would outnumber JDG on the map, so Doinb teleported top for a team fight that diminished JDG’s gold lead.
During the late game, neither team could stabilize the game state. JDG managed to ace FPX in the tussle for Mountain Soul, but a few minutes after, Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang stole Baron from under their noses.
The final fight that tipped game two in JDG’s favor came at 39 minutes when Doinb cast Realm Warp on the edge of Baron pit. The positioning of his ultimate was too close to enemy lines, and it allowed JDG to layer AoEs, costing FPX the game.
With backs against the wall, game three became the story of how FPX almost beat JDG.
Picks and bans saw many comfort picks for both teams: Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem got his hands on Gangplank, Zeng “Yagao” Qi last picked LeBlanc, while Doinb fell back onto Ryze once again.
Hanging on to stay in the series, it was an expectedly close game until JDG not only secured the first Baron, but also aced FPX in the pit. With added momentum, the underdogs downed more towers in the process.
Once Baron buff expired, FPX pushed out minion waves in all three lanes and grouped in mid. Liu “Crisp” Qing-Song saw an opening onto JDG’s AD carry and took it, landing a spot on Dredge Line onto LokeN.
Trading three for one, Doinb used Realm Warp to accelerate FPX’s push down mid lane for the win. Unable to hold, JDG got aced by the time FPX arrived in their base as both Nexus turrets went down.
In that moment, LokeN revived just in time – and went against the world. In a stunning 1v4, he used Aphelios’ Calibrum, the Sniper Rifle, and his ultimate to keep a distance whilst outputting maximum damage, saving the game and the series for his team.
One last winning fight in mid lane by JDG was all it took for them to close out the series 3-0. This extended Zoom’s 100% win rate throughout the regular season and playoffs in the 19 games he has played.
FunPlus Phoenix and Invictus Gaming will face off in the 3rd/4th place match on April 29.
JD Gaming and Top Esports will compete for the Spring Split 2020 title on May 2.