JDG eliminate Weibo Gaming, grab final spot in 2022 LPL Spring Split playoffs’ top 4

That was way too close for comfort.

Image via Riot Games. Photo via David Lee

JD Gaming narrowly edged out a leveled-up Weibo Gaming in a 3-2 win today to advance to the double-elimination bracket of the 2022 LPL Spring Split playoffs.

With just one spot left in the final four for the LPL Spring Split playoffs, third-seeded JDG and sixth-seeded Weibo Gaming looked at this series as an opportunity to cement themselves as a top team in the league. Both League of Legends teams entered this series nearly at their peak level of performance. For JDG, they spent the majority of the Spring Split in the middle of the pack before making a run from ninth place to third by the end of the regular season.

As for Weibo Gaming, they began their season as possibly the best team in the LPL after LNG Esports’ mid-split collapse before Weibo Gaming experienced a collapse themselves at the end of the regular season. Weibo Gaming seemed to regain their usual strengths around the early game against the reigning League world champions in EDward Gaming and they looked to put an end to JDG’s hot streak today.

In the first game, Weibo Gaming jungler SofM helped the team garner a strong lead in the early game through his immense early pressure. Their early-game leads were thwarted, though, since JDG’s composition constantly picked off Huanfeng’s Jinx before he could do any major damage in the mid-game teamfights. A fight at 22 minutes helped JDG grab their fourth dragon of the game. 

This, combined with the Baron buff and JDG’s composition centered around late-game scaling, helped them close out the first game in 33 minutes. 

Game two saw JDG pull out a surprise Kayle pick. In the first 15 minutes, the Kayle pick proved to be a strong choice and 369 soared to a 2/0/1 scoreline early on. Weibo Gaming’s scaling composition paired with Huanfeng’s mobility on Zeri made it impossible for JDG to single out Weibo’s primary damage threats in the teamfights. 

This pattern continued throughout the game. Weibo Gaming used their strong late-game composition to win teamfight after teamfight and even up the series at 1-1 after 30 minutes.

Game three, however, saw a return to dominance by JDG in a masterclass performance from top laner 369, who was unstoppable on Lucian. While Weibo Gaming stalled out the game for a bit, it was not enough to thwart the mid-game power spike 369 experienced on Lucian.

By the end of the 36-minute battle, 369 had a 10/1/5 scoreline and 27,000 damage dealt on Lucian, allowing JDG to enter game four up 2-1 over Weibo Gaming.

JDG attempted to close out the series in style after they revealed a Gangplank pick that ultimately did not work out. Throughout the fourth game, SoFM capitalized on the Gangplank’s weak early laning phase. He bullied the Gangplank to help build a lead around the top half of the map, alongside Angel’s Orianna.

The mid and jungle duo helped Weibo Gaming create a strong snowball that eventually carried them throughout the 30-minute game and the sixth seed took the series to a fifth and final game.

This time, 369 opted to not play any off-meta picks. Instead, he was placed onto the Kennen in the final game of the series, which proved to be the dagger for Weibo Gaming. Paired with JDG support Missing’s exceptional hooks on Thresh, 369 was able to dive into Weibo Gaming’s main damage threats. This helped JDG’s mid laner Yagao and AD carry Hope start to develop gold leads of their own and their damage began to scale up on Ahri and Jinx. 

Weibo Gaming jungler SofM did everything he could to try and stave off JDG’s strong teamfight composition. He found key picks onto JDG’s main carries on the Hecarim and had four of Weibo’s five total kills by the 16-minute mark. 

JDG’s teamfighting proved to overpower Weibo’s skirmishing strengths, though. JDG used this to grab the Baron before storming down Weibo’s base at 30 minutes, closing out the series.

For Weibo Gaming, this was still a promising showing for the team since they looked to have resolved many of their issues seen toward the end of the 2022 LPL Spring Split regular season. In particular, jungler SofM looked incredibly strong and efficient throughout the early game, even in their losses. Up against one of the LPL’s hottest teams, the only issue seen from Weibo Gaming was possible nerves from support ON, which may be resolved with more stage time.

Now, Weibo will look toward the 2022 LPL Summer Split, where the goal is to now improve upon this fifth-place finish so that the team can make a return to the League World Championship in 2022.

As for JDG, they were pushed to their limits against Weibo Gaming in today’s series. The LPL’s third seed will now move forward into the fourth round of the 2022 Spring Split playoffs against the second seed, Royal Never Give Up.

Meanwhile, the other series will feature a matchup between the LPL’s fifth seed, Top Esports, against the top-seeded Victory Five.

Former teammates Knight and Karsa to battle in playoffs. Photo via Riot Games

All of the remaining teams will move forward into a double-elimination bracket, where they will compete for the title of 2022 LPL Spring Split champions and represent the region at the Mid-Season Invitational. 

Due to the lockdowns happening in Shanghai, the top four will have one week to prepare for the double-elimination bracket, so both Top Esports and JDG will have extra time to shore up their struggles in the playoffs so far as they look to try and recreate the 2020 LPL finals.

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