- LPL Spring Split 2020, the season of the underdogs.
- LPL sees huge upsets with IG and FPX knocked out in playoffs.
- JDG win a nailbiting 3-2 against TES.
In a region where all eyes are on Royal Never Give Up, Invictus Gaming, and FunPlus Phoenix, young teams like JD Gaming and Top Esports made their presence known, beating fan favourites and moving to the finals. Neither teams ever claimed the LPL throne and TES continued to defy expectations, eventually finishing 4th, reaching the playoffs. For JDG, this is their second time in the finals and they were more determined than ever to win the LPL crown, and win they did.
Playoffs belonged to the Underdogs
The 2020 Spring playoffs semifinals had the same four matchups as 2019 with JDG, IG, TES and FPX. The playoffs follow a king of the hill system so TES and FPX got a playoff bye to the quarterfinals while IG and JDG got one for the semis. TES and FPX both beat their opponents 3-1 each. While the semifinals proved a huge upset for both fan favourites IG and FPX, as they got knocked out by the underdogs.
Kanavi, the Heart and Soul of JDG
JDG’s Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok distinguished himself as the MVP of the season with some amazing jungle plays. From a player who almost didn’t play the spring season due to contract issues, Kanavi became the carry for JDG, with the team playing around him. This tactic has lead JDG to the crown. JDG’s gameplay is a bit scattered, but their strengths lie in mechanics, team fight execution and punishing even the smallest mistakes by the enemy. JDG plays extremely well under pressure, coming back 50% of the time from games where they fell behind in the first half. JD Gaming even took down former world champions FunPlus Phoenix in the semifinals for one of the biggest upsets in LPL with Yagao pulling off some insane plays.
JackeyLove Leads Top Esports
TES looked good through the regular season, but not good enough to win the title. Enter former world champion Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo. With JackeyLove in the lineup, TES went from a good team to an amazing team in a matter of a single week. Synergising well with his teammates, he built on an already strong base with top laner 369, mid-laner knight and legendary jungler Karsa. Knight and 369 are their own playmakers and don’t need a jungler to start or pick fights. The trifecta of a strong jungler, top and a roaming mid give TES insane amounts of map control, especially for baron pit. TES transitions well from the early to mid-game and knows how to quickly and effectively close games. Even if the solo laners fail in team fights, JackeyLove is more than ready to clean up and take the kills.
Grand Finals of the LPL
The finals were a nailbiter with both JDG and TES winning 2 games apiece. The mid lane would have been a highly anticipated skill matchup with long time friends Yagao and knight going head-to-head with LeBlanc and Syndra respectively but this was never to be. In the first game TES found themselves ahead for most of the game but a few indecisive calls, which the enemy capitalised on. JDG came back with a 4K gold baron play. Zoom led the charge into the late game and with some good Call of the Forge God into Bullet Time combos helped JDG clinch the win. Yagao got a perfect score with 92% kill participation and was thus MVP of the match.
The second match was a breeze for TES with Jackeylove snowballing from their early game and knight picking up some mid-game advantage. With some beautiful flanks from 369 and with the team picking up small advantages in every team fight, TES closed out the match in 33 minutes. The 4th game saw Jackeylove lose 2v2 fights at bot lane. Despite some legendary plays from Karsa with a soul dragon steal and peels for JakeyLove, JDG was able to snatch the win away from TES.
In the final game, JDG snowballed from their first blood on to knight and their Bard, Ornn, Rek’sai combo proved hard for TES to deal with. The 26-minute dragon proved a pivoting point for JDG, with both teams contesting an ocean drake.
JDG took the all-important soul drake from TES while already having the baron buff. That fight proved the undoing of TES and JDG soared to victory on the back of that dragon fight.