The 2021 LPL Spring Split playoffs kicked off today with an upset from rising team Rare Atom over powerhouse Invictus Gaming 3-2.
Rather than taking the lead in the early game, both teams’ playstyles often revolve around neutral objectives and skirmishes during the mid game, which was the case once again today. In all five games, both League of Legends teams took the lead at some point and the win often came down to teamfights around neutral objectives near the late game.
Although Rare Atom won as a team, bot laner iBoy was particularly impressive on his picks, turning around teamfights and showing off his mechanical prowess. He was also voted the MVP of all three of RA’s wins throughout the series.
The game that offered the most twists was the first one in the match, as the gold advantage chart above shows.
Similar to their last matchup during the regular season that RA won 2-0, they unexpectedly took the edge over their opponents thanks to clever teamfights around objectives even though they lost both the early and mid game.
IG lost a seemingly secured victory at the 31-minute mark when RA waited for the Baron to melt the IG players’ HP down before engaging with top laner Cube’s Ornn, even though their jungler Leyan was dead. It paid off, though. They won a four-vs-five teamfight, took the Baron, and rushed straight to IG’s Nexus to grab the first game win.
RA highlighted one of the main weaknesses of IG in this series, which is not slowing down the pace of the game when they should. This led to IG losing their advantage and the game in this case.
But IG had some strong performances in this series, too. Their jungler XUN had clean early games with precise rotations around the lanes and objectives, which enabled the team to grab the first dragon and Herald in most of the games.
Bot laner Wink was also a crucial element in this match, particularly in IG’s second win. He took the risky pick of Draven and snowballed his way through the game with the help of support Lucas on Thresh and XUN’s ganks on Udyr.
This pick didn’t pay off in the last game, though, even if he won the bot lane with support Lucas. The game followed the same pattern seen earlier in the series. IG won the early phase and took successful teamfights in the enemy’s jungle, but they failed to control the river and ultimately lost after one lost teamfight around the Elder Drake.
Although IG might have looked like the favorites going into this matchup due to the organization’s track record, the players had inconsistent performances throughout the split. Rare Atom, on the other hand, rose from Vici Gaming’s ashes and executed an impressive nine-series win streak.
IG are now out of the playoffs, while Rare Atom will advance to the second round to face FunPlus Phoenix on April 3 at 3am CT. Although FPX are on top of the LPL standings, RA won their last matchup 2-1 during the split’s seventh week.
Meanwhile, Suning will face off against LNG Esports in the second game of the first round of the 2021 LPL Spring Split playoffs tomorrow at 3am CT.
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