After a long and eventful League of Legends Pro League season, it is now time to crown a champion for the 2022 spring split and see which team will represent China at the Mid-Season Invitational. Top Esports takes on Royal Never Give Up in a best of five match on Saturday, April 23 for the title of China’s best. Here is a preview on what to expect as well as predictions on who will come out on top in the LPL 2022 spring finals.
TES came into the 2022 season with high expectations. After bringing in legendary jungler Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang from FunPlus Phoenix, as well as promoting their rookie phenom top laner Huang “Wayward” Ren-Xing from their academy team, TES captured the Demacia Cup 2021 title and entered the regular season as pre-season champs. It took a few weeks for TES to bring everything together, but after a 2-4 start, TES went 9-1 the rest of the way and were one of the hottest teams entering playoffs.
In the playoffs, TES matched up with Bilibili in Round 2 and made quick work of them with a 3-1 series win. Round 3 saw TES go up against LNG Esports, a team that also had high expectations heading into the 2022 season. TES played even better as they swept LNG in three straight games. Then in Round 4, TES played against the number one seed, Victory 5. After falling down 2-0 in the series, TES roared back as they picked up three straight wins, pulling off the biggest upset of the tournament and sending V5 to the lower bracket. TES would soon join them as they played against RNG in the semifinals, but looked outmatched as they dropped the series 3-1.
In the lower bracket finals, TES and V5 squared off once again but unlike the first series, TES didn’t let the series go to five games. In a series that proved that TES were not a fluke, TES defeated V5 3-1 to set up a finals rematch against RNG.
As a team on paper, TES is led by their veteran mid laner Zhuo “knight” Ding. Knight didn’t have the best regular season of his career. In fact, he didn’t even make it onto an All-LPL team. But the former MVP has played like one in the playoffs. Heading into the finals he leads all players in player of the game honors. Wayward and Tian are also playing at a high level in the playoffs as well.
Royal Never Give Up
Heading into the 2022 season, RNG looked to improve on their already impressive 2021 season. As MSI champions and Worlds 2021 quarterfinalists, RNG improved their already stacked roster by putting their captain Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao back into the mid lane and acquiring Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin from then Suning. Bin was the All-LPL second-team top laner in the LPL 2021 summer split which meant that RNG was set to field a roster of five players who claimed top three spots in their role in 2021.
RNG had a different path to the playoffs as TES. Unlike TES, RNG came running out of the gate and started the season 6-1. Also unlike TES, they played worse in the second half of the split than they did in the first half. RNG were not bad but they definitely were not as good. RNG finished the split on a 6-3 run but easily locked up the second seed heading into playoffs with their 12-4 record.
Thanks to that second seed, RNG didn’t have to play their first match in the playoffs until Round 4. In that match, RNG played against JD Gaming, a team that came into the playoffs just as hot as TES. In the same exact result, RNG fell down early 2-0 before reverse sweeping JDG to make it to the semifinals. Their semifinal match against TES, RNG lost Game 1 but managed to win the next three to clinch a spot in the finals and one series win away from heading back to their second straight MSI.
Xiaohu hasn’t skipped a beat since being thrown back into the mid lane as he leads all RNG players in player of the game honors in the regular season. He also made it to the All-LPL second-team. Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming has been the best support in the entire league all season. His efforts were rewarded with an All-LPL first-team selection. In the playoffs, RNG has seen near peak performances from former all-LPL first-team players Yan “Wei” Yang-Wei and Chen “GALA” Wei.
Who will win
This LPL final features two rosters with entirely Chinese players. The last time this happened was back in 2014. With that said, the last series between these two teams was not close but the rosters do seem to be close in terms of strengths.
There are multiple matchups to look out for. In the jungle, Wei and Tian are both players who have not played consistently but are both capable of taking over a game at any time. Top and Bot lane can flip either way depending on who shows up. Based on recent history, signs point to RNG as GALA and Ming outclassed Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo and Ling “Mark” Xu in the last series. But eyes should be in the mid lane as two of the titans of the LPL aim to put on a show. Both Knight and Xiaohu are playing at a high level right now and one slip up from either could hand the series over in a heartbeat.
When deciding who will come out on top, TES has their work cut out for them as RNG’s bot lane is playing like it’s the LPL 2021 spring finals. And unfortunately for TES that means that RNG is likely to win off of that alone. This series could go the distance but it’s probably a repeat of the semifinals.
Prediction: RNG 3 – 1 TES
About the Author
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.