With the elimination of Top Esports in the Summer Playoffs, the region will be sending a totally different set of LPL representatives once more at Worlds 2021, continuing the trend of completely unknown teams making it to the international scene only to surprise esports fans with their performance. Since this happens so often, people wonder why there are always different LPL representatives at Worlds and still manage to perform so well despite not having a lot of international experience.
The LPL Culture of Dominance
One thing that international fans need to know about the LPL is that they have more than 16 teams in the region competing for the domestic title. The Esports Format in the LPL is unique as they only play a single round-robin, playing each team in one best-of-3 series only once during the regular season. Every other region has a maximum of 10 teams, playing double or triple round-robins against each other, which is often in a best-of-1 format.
Unlike the other regions, LPL teams are urged to develop their playstyle more so than creating counter-strategies against other teams. While that doesn’t mean that LPL teams don’t plan ahead against specific opponents, those organizations are more likely prepared for any situation that’s thrown at them. In other regions, it’s easier to create counterplay strategies against specific opponents and develop them during scrims and actual matches because of the frequency they face each other.
Now, at this point, people might be wondering what these things have anything to do with why there are different LPL representatives at worlds each year. In summary, there’s is no dominant team in the LPL just because they have “seasoned” veterans in their rosters. The state of the competition in this region doesn’t favor the ones that know the region well, but those that can adapt to the current trend of patches and how they can quickly adjust to the meta at the same time.
Teams in the region experiment with rosters all the time, often taking new rookies to fill their rosters or taking in some rising stars from other teams. Unlike a team filled with veterans, a team that has a new perspective of professional play doesn’t stick to old strategies that once favored them during their peak. In this case, veterans tend to fall off the meta quickly while those that have taken in the new trend of gameplay start rising above. This means that successful teams in previous years tend to become mid to lower-tier teams one or two splits after.
What Happened To The Previous LPL Representatives?
In Worlds 2020, the four LPL representatives that went to Worlds were TOP Esports, JD Gaming, Suning, and LGD. However, JDG and LGD have failed to qualify for the LPL Summer 2021 Playoffs while Suning and TES have been eliminated in the early rounds, failing to accumulate enough Championship Points to qualify for a 2nd chance at the Regional Finals. This means that none of the LPL’s 2020 Worlds representatives will be returning this year for a chance at redemption.
One familiar name that has also failed to qualify for Worlds is Invictus Gaming, which was the Worlds 2018 Champions. Despite Rookie’s amazing performance in the team and TheShy’s return, the team didn’t manage to work well enough to secure a spot at the playoffs. This is the first time in history since iG has joined the LPL that they didn’t manage to compete. The team fell down to rock-bottom only 3 years from the time when they were standing on top of the world.
The Top 4 Teams in the LPL Today
With the region entering the final stages of its Playoffs Schedule, only a handful of teams are left to secure one of 4 slots at the Worlds 2021 Tournament. These 4 LPL representatives will come out on top either in the Playoffs or during the Regional Finals. Regardless of where they manage to qualify, there’s no doubt that these teams will deserve their spot. Here are our Top 4 picks who we think have the best chances to represent the LPL in the upcoming Worlds 2021.
1. FunPlus Phoenix
FunPlus Phoenix is the most dominant team in the LPL today. They are the Worlds 2019 Champion but with a brand-new Top Laner in Nuguri, who happens to be the former top laner for Worlds 2020 Champions – Damwon Gaming, they look like an unstoppable machine that’s willing to take on the world. Their dominant style, combined with the team’s flexibility in playing hyperactive gameplay, patient macro, or a weird combination of both makes them the frontrunners on this list.
2. EDward Gaming
EDward Gaming is considered the most organized team in the LPL and has a systematic way of beating their opponents. Once EDG has secured a lead, they will never let it go, snowballing to the late game in a dominant fashion. EDG has the best bottom lane in the entire world right now with Viper and Meiko being uncontested in terms of raw skill. This team rarely makes mistakes and doesn’t allow their opponents to get objectives for free without strategic contention.
3. Royal Never Give Up
Royal Never Give Up has had a very shaky start to the Summer 2021 season but managed to secure their footing later on, even getting a 9-game winning streak after beating top teams like EDG, WE, and RA along the way. The team is organized and has a reliable hypercarry in Xiaohu. With the team mastering the art of getting their star player ahead alongside GALA as their contingency, the team will most likely proceed to the World Stage, especially since they have accumulated a lot of Championship Points at this stage.
4. Team WE
It was a choice between LNG, Rare Atom, and Team WE but our gut is telling us that the LPL’s rookie superteam has what it takes to make their way to the international stage. Despite having relatively new players and total rookies in the team, WE have shown that they have what it takes to play with the big boys of the LPL. The fact that they manage to play so aggressively despite their lack of experience makes them a dangerous opponent to face in the Summer Playoffs.
Expectations from the LPL Representatives
Just like every other worlds, the LPL is one of the biggest bosses in the tournament. Assuming that the LGD tragedy won’t happen again this year, the region’s 4 potential 4 seeds are looking like 1st seeds in other regions. While the LPL representatives are far from being invincible, there’s no doubt that they’ll be bringing their hard & fast playstyle to the tournament. The other regions have adapted well to the LPL’s dominant playstyle but with a new patch at Worlds, is it enough for them to conquer this region?
Even though the LCK are the defending champions at Worlds 2021, the LPL are still heavy favorites coming into the tournament. Royal Never Give Up’s victory at the Mid-Season Invitationals has caused the other regions to get concerned, primarily because they aren’t even the best team in the region. With 3 other teams that are on the same or higher level than RNG going into the tournament, the confidence of LPL fans at Worlds is at an all-time high.
The Biggest Threat to the LPL at Worlds 2021
Looking at the international scene today, the biggest threat to the LPL currently is undoubtedly the LEC. The LCK has been having a questionable season and their games have devolved into the outdated slow, macro-heavy style that it once relied on during the age of the LCK Dynasty. The PCS, specifically PSG Talon, also threaten the standings of the LPL teams since they have been having an extremely dominant season with their perfect 18-0 record that might translate into a perfect season if they don’t drop a game during the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the LEC has been having a really strong season with teams playing both aggressively and systematically. The European frontrunner, Rogue, seem to have mastered a playstyle that’s unique to them. Playing towards their personal strength rather than trying to create strategies against specific opponents is something that will definitely work in challenging the LPL. The other potential representatives such as MAD Lions and G2 Esports are also looking real hot right now thanks to roster improvements.
Is the LPL the favorites to win Worlds 2021?
Thanks to RNG’s win at MSI 2021 against defending world champions – Damwon Kia – the region is expected to be the best performing team in the upcoming tournament. The LCK has been performing questionably and the LEC has displayed consistency in only a handful of teams. The LPL’s Top 6 teams are looking like true challengers and have displayed an aggressive yet systematic playstyle that perfectly complements the identity of their region.