“I don’t think I’ve seen a single prediction that went JDG’s way,” LPL caster Clement Chu said. He was right: there probably just wasn’t a single such prediction. JDG, for all intents and purposes, were the weaker team between them and No. 5 seed Team WE.
No stat favored JDG going into the first round of LPL playoffs. WE were flying higher, carried by their jungler Jiang “beishang” Zhi-Peng and the hyper carry power of Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun. The one time the two teams met in the regular season, it was a slaughter: a 45-minute-long series which WE took with a commanding 2-0, winning every single lane. There was no way JDG could win here.
Game 1 was the expected slaughter… only the other way around. JDG flew to a 16-0 kill scoreline before the 30th minute, leaving experts wondering what had just happened. Can this series end in JDG’s favor after all? Mystic was shut down and Gu “imp” Seung-bin played a safe game, not risking any overextention as is his usual habit.
Game 2 came as a 180-degree turnaround and saw Kim “Poss” Min-cheol’s Yorik bully Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran’s Vladimir out of lane. JDG had bet on a wait-for-your-moment late game composition of Vlad and Ryze but Team WE simply didn’t give them the chance to get there. Whenever beishang appeared, a kill followed.
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Games 3 and 4 followed a similar pattern and eventually ended in JDG’s favor. WE kept grabbing Su “Xiye” Han-Wei’s champion first on the blue side, allowing Sung “Flawless” Yeon-jun to lock Jarvan IV — his best champion this season — in both games. In Game 3, Flawless executed a level 2 gank to set Mystic back and secure lane win for imp and kept being a nuisance around the map while Zoom’s Gangplank farmed to one-shot-kill levels. In Game 4, a surprise pick put Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao on Fiddlesticks and his bullseye ultimates empowered JDG’s brawling skill even further.
The 3-1 win over Team WE now advances JD Gaming on to Round 2 and sets up a match against Royal Never Give Up. Their regular season match went RNG’s favor, but no one expected JDG to beat WE either. Karsa/Xiaohu remain as one of the scariest jungle/mid duos in the league, but Flawless proved today that if he gets Jarvan IV, things can get out of control fast. Imp has also been playing safer and better than in the regular season and although still behind Uzi in terms of star and skill power, the bot lane match-up will be interesting to watch nonetheless.
JDG will face RNG Saturday, Apr. 6, at 11:00 CEST | 02:00 PST.