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LNG Esports took down Victory Five in the LPL Regional Finals 3-1 to give them another lifeline in their pursuit of returning to Worlds, which will be taking place in Mexico and the United States this year. This LPL Regionals match was their second time meeting in a best-of-five series this summer; the first was during the LPL 2022 summer playoffs, where LNG won 3-2.

The LPL’s fourth and final seed will be decided tomorrow, which will see Royal Never Give Up and LNG fight for it to enter the Play-ins stage of Worlds 2022.

LNG take down V5 once again

Unlike their first series in playoffs, V5 opted to start veteran jungler Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan instead of Li “XLB” Xiao-Long.

Not even a long pause at the start of the game could stop LNG in Game 1. They started off strongly with their top and bot lane finding early kills and LNG continued to snowball off skirmishes and timely picks, leading to a three drake lead and Baron at 24 minutes, giving LNG a 7k gold advantage. LNG continued to grow their lead by securing the Infernal Soul and a second Baron.

However, V5 caught LNG top laner Hu “Ale” Jia-Le attempting a deep flank in their jungle at 34 minutes and subsequently tried to bait LNG into a fight for Elder Drake. Despite being a man down and looking like V5 would wipe all of LNG’s remaining players, bot laner Wang “Light” Guang-Yu came up huge in a 1v4 fight, taking two kills and with Ale now respawned, proceeded to end the game after. 1-0 to LNG. This game was reminiscent of their first match in the LPL 2022 summer playoffs, where Light also went hard on Zeri, ending that match with a score of 9/0/7.

Game 2 was the opposite with a slower start from both teams. Two big teamfights were fought over the second Rift Herald and the third dragon -which LNG secured- but overall both teams could not find a distinct advantage over one another. Even the fight for Baron at 25 minutes saw LNG secure it; however, they took four deaths to V5 in that fight, so the game remained even.

It wasn’t until 28 minutes were V5 tried to prevent the Hextech Soul from going over to LNG and despite mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang falling early on, LNG somehow managed to turn the fight in their favour and Aced V5, as well as obtaining the Hextech Soul. LNG never looked back and after another teamfight with Light getting a Quadrakill on Sivir, they proceeded to finish the game at 33 minutes. 2-0 and match point to LNG.

For Game 3, V5 decided to change their strategy a little by drafting Jax and a Kalista/Renata bot lane. Ale still managed to find a solo kill against Lee “Rich” Jae-won, making it Ale’s third solo kill of the series  (two coming from Game 1), but like Game 2 this match was slow start with both teams still remaining even. However, V5 were slowly accruing a gold lead and generally led with a 3k advantage for some time, even managing to secure a mostly uncontested Baron at 29 minutes. But another solo kill onto Rich from Ale before the Mountain Drake spawned gave LNG a lifeline, resulting in a series of timely picks from LNG leading up to the Baron spawning which they then secured. This evened up the gold and gave LNG a small lead.

LNG very nearly closed out the game as they pushed into V5’s base, with three members each down and with Light on Zeri, it looked like it could be a repeat of Game 1. But V5 star mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin would not allow it and saved V5 from elimination with a deep teleport from behind to delete Light and this allowed V5 to secure the Mountain Soul. With renewed momentum, V5 found two Aces, the Baron and finally ended the grueling 46 minute game, bringing the tally to 2-1.

Many were wondering if we would be listening to Silver Scrapes again. Game 4 saw both teams neck and neck going into the mid-game once more and playing a game of inches, with many skirmishes ending with no deaths and just many low healthbars. This resulted in two combined kills before 24 minutes. Both teams would continue to trade kills and objectives and it would look like no one would find a decisive lead, with only 700 gold separating both teams at 35 minutes. Both teams were even on gold, Barons taken and had three drakes each. This game rested on a knife’s edge. It took a prolonged fight for the final Hextech drake of the game at 40 minutes for LNG to find the game winning fight, giving V5 the soul but taking down 4 of their members with Doinb getting a Triple Kill. 3-1 to LNG.

Try as Rookie might, he would not be going to Worlds again, and fans would not be hearing Silver Scrapes today.

Post-match comments from top laner Ale

LNG top laner Ale did a post-match interview with Zhao “Christina” Song-Qi after the series. When asked how LNG prepared for their Regional Finals and V5, Ale said the team managed to fix a number of their issues going into today’s series.

“We made some adjustments and fixed some very serious problems that we had previously,” he said. “We’ve also beaten V5 in playoffs so as long as we perform as we do usually, we should have been able to defeat them again.”

On his performance in the final game on Jax, Ale believes he was a bit too hasty at times and that he should have played better due to him having . He also gave a shoutout to his mid laner Doinb in Game 4 for his performance in the final teamfight of the game. Finally, when asked what he thought about facing RNG tomorrow, he focused one player in particular.

“Last year, I made it to Worlds because Team WE lost to us and Chen “Breathe” Chen was their top laner at the time,” he said. “I think this year I can do the same thing since Breathe is with RNG right now.”

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