LPL Spring 2021: The State of Chinese League of Legends

The LPL has always been one of the top 2 contenders for all the major League of Legends tournaments in the past years due to their competitive nature, exemplified by their achievements at the esports community. Despite being one of the biggest challengers, there is very little attention given to the region by western fans unlike how they’re updated with Korean Esports. Let’s take a look at some important highlights during the LPL Spring 2021 season that everyone should know.

LPL Crowd cheering for LPL Spring 2021
What’s new in the LPL?

LPL Spring 2021 Report

The LPL Spring 2021 season, much like every season before it, introduces a lot of unfamiliar faces which include some imports and a lot of rookies being promoted from the LDL. With 17 teams competing in the region, the LPL has the highest number of rookies being promoted each season compared to every other region. However, this season, the rookies have once again risen to stardom and a lot have become names that must be introduced to non-LPL fans.

In addition, LPL has yet again rotated which teams are most likely standing on top but this time, it seems some old kings of the region have stepped up once more to compete for what’s rightfully theirs. Although, there are talks that the region, as a whole, has become significantly weaker compared to their peak in 2018-2019 where they managed to secure the World Championships dominantly.

Are The Old Guards Back?

The Old Guards in the LPL are the three major organizations that have continuously dominated the region by consistently making it to the playoffs and winning the trophies every single time. These are Royal Never Give Up, EDward Gaming, and Team WE. As of 2019, these three teams have lost a key member in the lineup that has caused them to die out in the competitive scene and become Tier 2 teams at best and were unable to hold their own against the rising teams in China.

RNG vs EDG Highlights ALL GAMES LPL Spring Season 2021 W7D6 Royal Never Give Up vs EDward Gaming by
RNG vs EDG LPL Spring 2021 Series!

The period of roster swaps and experimentation has finally paid off after 2-3 years when these 3 teams found exemplary individuals to make up their rosters. These 3 teams once again reign as the LPL’s Top 3. After losing players like Uzi and Clearlove, how did these teams rise to the top again? Let’s take a look at each one.

1. Royal Never Give Up (RNG)

Royal Never Give Up was known as Uzi’s squad because he was always seen as the single brightest star not only in the team but also throughout the LPL. However, Uzi was forced to retire in 2019 due to health implications that discouraged him to undergo the ardous training schedule that a professional League of Legends player had. The loss of Uzi was felt when the team lost their primary playstyle of funneling all resources onto their star player.

Xiaohu playing League of Legends on stage
The Old Kings
  • Standing (Week 8): 11-2 (1st)
  • Players To Watch: Xiaohu, Wei, Cryin
  • Playtyle: Teamfight Kings

It was in 2021 that the team finally managed to make a working roster albeit with some drastic changes. RNG was always known as the team that always had a weak top laner and never managed to fix that issue until superstar Mid Laner – Xiaohu – decided he had to take matters into his own hands by roleswapping into the top lane. Some star players from 2020 also joined RNG with Ming, a support hand-picked by Uzi, continues to become the consistent factor of the team.

2. EDward Gaming (EDG)

EDG was seen as an insurmountable god in the LPL during their peak years. However, after players like Deft, PawN, and Clearlove started moving on, so did the relevance of this organization. Clearlove transitioned to the coaching role but the team didn’t have the roster to challenge the best. They started developing talent in the Jungle to inherit Clearlove’s position to which they’ve succeeded in doing so to date.

EDG Scout waving his hands to the crowd
EDward Gaming Returns!
  • Standing (Week 8): 10-3 (2nd)
  • Players To Watch: Flandre, Viper, Scout
  • Playtyle: Quick Response Punishment

The team managed to assemble a superteam in 2021 with Flandre, (one of the most consistent Top Laners in the LPL) and Viper (Griffin’s superstar AD Carry). Meiko and Scout continue to dominate their positions with the help of such talented individuals made EDG one of the most formidable teams in the LPL today.

3. Team WE

Unlike the previous two teams on this list, Team WE had to undergo a complete overhaul in their roster leaving no traces of their previous dynasty in the current roster. They simply developed talented rookies who managed to rise to the top of their positions really quickly. Jiumeng was even voted as the Rookie of the Season in Summer 2020 and continues to be a top AD Carry even in LPL Spring 2021.

LPL fans cheering for Team WE
Restructured for revenge
  • Standing (Week 8): 10-3 (3rd)
  • Players To Watch: Beishang, Jiumeng
  • Playtyle: Bottom Half Empire

What Happened To The New Kings?

The New Kings of the LPL have been temporarily been dethroned, showing signs that they are still adjusting to minor tweaks in their rosters during LPL Spring 2021. Former World Champions, FPX and iG has made major changes specifically in the Jungle. While they are nowhere near the most consistent team in the league, they continue to become major threats and are constantly breaking expectations by beating top teams.

Jackeylove crossarms photoshoot
Down but not out

On the other hand, JD Gaming and TOP Esports have had a slow start. Trying new playstyles to fit the meta has not gone well for them during LPL Spring 2021 but have finally found their foothold after a few weeks. They are expected to be in full form by Summer 2021 but remain to be the biggest hurdle for the Old Guards since both have beaten one or more members of the Top 3 in the past weeks.

Who will most likely win LPL Spring?

Regardless of the standings, there is no clear way of telling who will most likely win it all during the LPL Spring 2021 Playoffs. Each team in the Top 8 simply looks extremely strong and the gap in terms of their skill isn’t as wide as it is in other regions. However, it is one of these 8 teams who will most like win in the end: Royal Never Give Up, EDward Gaming, Team WE, TOP Esports, JD Gaming, Invictus Gaming, Funplus Phoenix or Rare Atom.

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