LPL Summer 2020 Playoffs: Where Things Stand Ahead of the Semifinals

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

The LPL playoffs have been ongoing for a few days now and there have already been some significant upsets.

While the LCS playoffs have captured most of the attention for Western League of Legends fans, over in China the LPL kicked their playoffs off last week. Eight teams, including the last two World Champions – Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix – entered the bracket looking to secure one of the four spots (that’s right four) at Worlds 2020. With the quarterfinal round already in the books, let’s see where things stand.

The Champions Are Out

You read that right, both IG and FPX have been eliminated from the LPL Summer Playoffs already. FPX dropped their first series, 3-1, against upstart Victory Five in a shocking upset.

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On the other hand, Invictus Gaming got a bye from Round 1 thanks to finishing in third place during the Summer Split. Unfortunately, this did not save them from being upset by a surging LGD team in a 3-0 sweep.

The good news for both FPX and IG is that they earned enough championship points in the Spring and Summer Splits that their seasons have not yet ended. They are both set to compete in the Regional Qualifier (aka “the Gauntlet”) when it kicks off next week.

The bad news, though, is that only one of those teams will be going to Worlds. The two teams will miss out on the play-in game for the third-seed qualifier and have to face each other just to qualify as China’s fourth seed. That means that the winner of their head-to-head matchup will still need to beat the loser of the third seed qualifier in order to go to Worlds.

Top Esports vs Suning

Top Esports

Bai “369” Jia-Hao
Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan
Zhuo “Knight” Ding
Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo
Zhang “QuiQui” Ming

The number one team in the LPL’s Summer Split and the heavy favorites to represent China at Worlds as the number one seed, Top Esports is just completely loaded. They’re led by Knight, who is widely regarded as one of the best mid laners in the World, but his supporting cast is incredible.

In the jungle is veteran Karsa, formerly of Flash Wolves and RNG fame, who is no stranger to international competitions. The ADC is even less of a stranger, as JackeyLove was a part of that 2018 Invictus team that won Worlds. The remaining players, 369 and QuiQui, are both a bit unproven but have held up surprisingly well this split.


Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin
Lê “SofM” Quang Duy
Xiang “Angel” Tao
Tang “huanfeng” Huan-Feng
Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh

Suning was the fourth-best team coming out of the LPL this season and were really considered more of a dark horse team. They don’t really have any “star” players, but they have a lot of very solid macro and teamwork, making them one of the better late game teams in China.

They are largely led by their AD Carry haunfeng who is paired with the veteran support SwordArt. The rest of the supporting cast, while unspectacular, do a great job protecting their carry and allowing him to wreak havoc on the opposing team.

JD Gaming vs LGD Gaming

JD Gaming

Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran
Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok
Zeng “Yagao” Qi
Lee “LokeN” Dong-wook
Zuo “LvMao” Ming-Hao

If you’re looking for a team that could be this year’s FPX, JD Gaming would be it. This team came out of nowhere with a roster full of pieces that hadn’t accomplished much of anything and combined to become one of the most dominant teams China has ever seen. Although they were the number two team behind Top Esports this summer, they bested Top in the Spring Split Playoffs, winning the championship in a 3-2 final series.

Their best player would have to be jungler Kanavi, who leads all LPL junglers in damage and gold contributions. That said, you could also make the argument that either Yagao or LokeN are top-three in their positions among LPL players, so neither should be discounted.

LGD Gaming

Xie “Langx” Zhen-Ying
Han “Peanut” Wang-ho
Liu “xiye” Dan-Yang
Ha “Kramer” Jong-hun
Ling “Killua” Xu

The biggest shocker of the playoffs so far was the emergence of LGD as they took down Team WE and then swept the LPL’s number three seed in Invictus Gaming to make the semifinals. They’ve been led, largely, by the stellar play from veteran jungler Peanut, who is having a resurgence after some down years following his glory days on ROX Tigers.

But Peanut’s not the only former LCK player showing up on LGD. Longtime Afreeca Freecs ADC Kramer has also made the transition to China and quietly put up one of his best performances ever. With support from a strong mid and top, this team is beginning to make some real noise.

Going Forward

The two semifinal games will kick off this weekend, with TES and Suning facing off first on August 22 followed by JDG and LGD the next day. Then, the teams will get a day rest before the third-place match and finally the finals.

Now, the LPL still operates on a championship points system, similar to what the LCS had last year. As noted above, IG and FPX are both locked into the “lower bracket” of that four-team playoff. Based on championship points, though here are the likely playoff scenarios.

  • JDG has basically already qualified for Worlds. The only way they don’t make it on points is if they lose in semis, lose the third-place match, AND Top Esports finishes second. If they lose and TES wins the LPL playoffs, JDG still goes to Worlds on championship points. They also cannot be caught by either Suning or LGD finishing second, as they have more championship points thanks to their Spring Split championship.
  • Top Esports is in the same situation, except that they can lose out on championship points to Suning or LGD if they lose in the semifinals and the third-place match. Basically, if they lose both Suning/LGD will have 10 more championship points than them and TES will have to go through the Regional Qualifier.
  • Suning and LGD can only secure a spot at Worlds by either winning the Summer Split finals BUT Suning can also make finals if they win the semis, lose the finals, and TES loses the third-place match. For instance, let’s say JD Gaming beats LGD, but Suning upsets TES. JD Gaming would then be locked into Worlds based on points regardless if they win the finals or not. However, Suning would be guaranteed 10 more points than Top Esports if TES finishes fourth. If TES finishes third or higher, though, they go to Worlds.

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So in a more simple form, here is how the next matches will dictate the odds for Worlds.

  • If JDG beats LGD, JDG goes to Worlds regardless of whatever happens.
  • If TES beats Suning, TES goes to Worlds regardless of whatever happens.
  • If LGD beats JDG, LGD still needs to win the Finals to go to Worlds (either JDG or TES will beat them out in championship points).
  • If Suning beats TES, Suning still likely needs to win Finals to go to Worlds UNLESS TES also loses the third-place match AND they face JDG in the finals. If both TES and JDG lose, one of those two (the winner of the third place match) will go to Worlds on points.