After what felt like the longest spring split in history, the League of Legends Pro League playoffs finally got underway this week and the results were very much what we expected. Just four teams stand tall going into the semifinals, and the four teams with the best record -- Royal Never Gives Up, EDward Gaming, Rogue Warriors and Invictus Gaming -- remain.
The week started out with Royal Never Give Up taking on Team WE in a series that looked more one-sided than it was. RNG had a one-game advantage due to being the higher seed, and it turned out being a necessity. The first game played was incredibly close, with RNG ultimately coming out on top but not before WE, led by AD carry Jin "Mystic" Seong-jun, almost snatched away a game. WE was in full control of the entire game until it lost everything in one late-game fight at 53 minutes that allowed RNG to get the win despite still being down 7,000 gold. That seemed to break WE's spirit, however, as RNG regained its composure with a rudimentary 38-minute win in Game 3 to secure the 3-0.
The second series of the first round between Bilibili and JD Gaming was a much more standard affair. Bilibili left nothing at all to the imagination in its own 3-0 sweep. After receiving the one-game advantage, mid laner Li "Mole" Hao-Yan took Taliyah into Game 2 and ran roughshod on JD to the tune of a 9/0/6 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). JD managed just four kills as a team in the lopsided loss to open the series. Game 3 saw JD improve a bit with seven kills, but Bilibili was still just as good as before, this time with jungler Lee "Chieftain" Jae-yub using Rek'Sai to control the map and cleanly wrap up the series.
Now it was time for the semifinals -- and first up was RNG and Snake Esports on the top side of the bracket. Make no mistake about it, this series was all RNG despite Snake managing to pick up a win in Game 3. During the first two games, Snake put up just four kills in total as RNG absolutely trounced the competition. Mid laner Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao took over Game 1 with Swain, while star AD carry Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao used Xayah to incredible effect with an 11/0/3 KDA to give the team a 2-0 lead.
Snake finally woke up in Game 3, using strong performances from jungler Le "SofM" Quang Duy -- who stole a crucial Baron in the late game that allowed for the win -- and AD carry Yang "kRYST4L" Fan to force a Game 4. RNG was seemingly ready to pack it in, as Xiaohu once again picked up Swain and closed the series to move RNG into the semifinals.
The final series of the week was by far the closest, as Bilibili and Rogue Warriors went toe-to-toe in a series that went the distance. Rogue opened the game with a pair of blistering performances from mid laner Kim "doinb" Tae-sang and AD carry Han "Smlz" Jin to grab a 2-0 lead. The duo combined for a 24/6/28 KDA, which was more kills than Bilibili tallied as a team in the opening two games. Game 2 went 57 minutes, however, showing signs of a Bilibili squad that might have been ready to make some noise in this series.
Bilibili completely neutralized Rogue with back-to-back performances in the next two games to make things interesting. Led by mid laner Mole, Bilibili grabbed two sub-30-minute wins in Games 3 and 4 that were even more one-sided as the first two games. Bilibili enjoyed a 23-to-6 kill advantage in the two wins that forced the series to a decisive Game 5. In that final game, however, Rogue surged once again on the back of a combined 16/1/16 KDA from none other than doinb and Smlz to shut the door on Bilibili once and for all.
The semifinals will get underway at 5 a.m. ET this Saturday with RNG facing the vaunted Invictus Gaming, while Rogue will run into EDward Gaming in what should be the match of the weekend at 5 a.m. ET on Sunday.