JD Gaming have locked in a spot in the 2020 League of Legends Pro League (LPL) Spring Split playoffs, after picking up a commanding 2-0 win over Rogue Warriors earlier this Monday.
JD Gaming League of Legends squad proved to be one of the biggest surprises of the season with their phenomenal performance, which earned them a ticket for the playoffs for the first time since 2019 LPL Spring Split. However, things can get much better for this Chinese squad, as they can, in theory, pick up the no.1 seed in the league, however, for that to happen a lot of factors must go into JD Gaming’s favour. Nonetheless, even reaching the playoffs is a massive achievement for this young and talented team, which did not need long to establish itself as a serious threat for a strong finish this split.
Looking back at JD Gaming's clash with Rogue Warriors, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok proved they are a level above their adversaries and it was no other than Kanavi himself, who played a pivotal role in his team's success, not only in this match, but across the whole season. Although his name still has a stain to it, as Kanavi was playing a crucial factor in the controversy surrounding the Korean esports organisation Griffin, which is now dubbed as Kanavi-incident, his phenomenal performance this split surely helped was off some of that stain.
Due to his spectacular performances on Nidalee in game one against Rogue Warriors, Kanavi got awarded the MVP award, which puts him at a total of 12 MVP awards this split - the highest in his team and tied-best with FunPlus Phoenix superstar midlaner and reigning world champion Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang. The MVP award in the second match, which JD won convincingly went to his teammate Zeng “Yagao” Qi who shone bright with his Zoe pick in the mid lane. Still, it's hard to ignore what Kanavi's strong performance on Elise.
Although the LPL Spring Split is still far from over, it's safe to say JD Gaming's offseason acquisition paid dividends and helped the organisation bounce back following a poor showing during last season's Summer Split, where JD Gaming finished 10th with a 6-9 record.
The biggest move, besides the permanent signing of Kavani, who was previously playing at JD Gaming on loan was Lee "LokeN" Dong-wook, who was brought into the team from Top Esports to replace the legendary ADC and 2014 world champion Gu "imp" Seung-bin. Although LokeN had huge shoes to fill, he fit into the team perfectly and quickly started to make serious noise in the Chinese top-flight. Not only did the Korean ADC shine against some weaker teams, but his performances even against the best ADCs LPL also has to offer were not all too shabby either.
Other offseason additions include He "705" Yu-Long and Lin "Peace" Shang-Ren, while three of the longest-standing members in mid Zeng "Yagao" Qi, support Zuo "LvMao" Ming-Hao and top laner Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran extended their contract with JD Gaming to November 2022. The latter just recently returned to the team after he was put under quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak and with that came back just in time to add some much needed quality in the JD Gaming's top part of the map ahead of the playoffs.
With a playoffs ticket in their pocket, JD Gaming are now getting ready to face their next two opponents in Dominus Esports on Friday and LGD Gaming on Sunday. In the best-case scenario, where JD Gaming win both of those fixtures, while eStar, FunPlus Phoenix and Invictus Gaming drop all of their remaining matches, JD Gaming would take the top seed in the league. While it's not likely we will see that, it's worth noting that all three teams looked very shaly recently, meaning JD Gaming might be set to at least pocket a higher final placement.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.