In a dominant fashion, EDward Gaming defeated rivals Royal Never Give Up at the 2016 LPL Summer Split Finals in order to reclaim the Chinese title. Both teams are however qualified to the 2016 World Championship: EDG as the country’s first seed, and RNG as the team with the highest amount of Championship Points. Snake eSports, Vici Gaming, Team WE and I MAY will fight for China’s final spot into Worlds at the Regional Qualifier, which starts tomorrow.
Game 1 started in a dominant fashion for the EDG lineup: early aggression in the top lane granted Scout’s Twisted Fate a lead in the first 5 minutes. Royal tried to respond with a 5-man siege in the top to try and seize first tower gold, but their dive backfired and from then on the game just went rolling for EDG: an incredibly early baron secured them 4 towers, and at that point Deft’s Ashe was too much for Royal.
Game 2’s draft showed us all the improvement EDG have made after their semifinals against WE: no Hecarim for Clearlove, but an early, reliable early pressure jungler in Rek’Sai coupled with Scout’s surprise Zed pick worked wonders for them. As soon as the game started, Deft and Meiko (as Ashe and Braum) contested Uzi and Mata’s (as Jhin and Tahm Kench) krugs, just to immediately backfire: EDG’s botlane had to expend both flashes. To make up for that, Clearlove showed up into Xiaohu’s Taliyah, and MLXG’s late intervention gifted two kills to EGD. Clearlove’s kill participation kept to 100% until the 15th minute, where EDG was already 5k gold ahead, with most of the gold on Deft and Scout. But just when the game seemed over, an overconfident baron call at the spawn time turned the tides for Royal, thanks to MLXG’s stylish steal. The towers consequently falling shrunk EDG’s gold lead to only 3k, but before the comeback could happen, Royal got caught red-handed in the dragon pit and Deft’s arrow set up the teamfight that evolved into the ace for EDG at 26 minutes. EDG’s subsequent (secured) baron spelled death for Royal, who had to put everything into game 3 and try to reverse sweep.
Unfortunately, that was not to happen: just after minute 9, MLXG’s attempted gank on Scout’s Lissandra went horribly wrong as EDG’s faster collapse provided them with first blood and another kill for Mouse’s Ekko. Royal never gave up, and a few minutes later they attempted to collapse onto Clearlove in the mid, and this was the moment when Meiko started to shine on his Tahm Kench, saving his teammate and setting up the play that won their next teamfight. Less than five minutes later, while setting up vision to pressure baron, Meiko once again showed up, 1v1ing MLXG’s Elise. Royal stopped EDG’s baron attempt, but a couple of minutes after they got caught and dived by Scout and Deft’s ultimates, who picked Xiaohu and Mata off, gifting EDG an inhibitor just shy of minute 30. 5k gold ahead were not enough for EDG to force a baron fight, and Royal showed up massively, picking up 4 kills and giving them some breathing room, but not the purple worm. Unable to contest it, five minutes later EDG took the baron buff, and forced Royal to defend their base by applying pressure top, which was relieved by a huge wave crashing on EDG’s bottom tower. In what anyone would have called the closest game of the series, EDG turned on the switch and dived Royal’s composition repeatedly, thanks to Ekko and Lissandra’s ultimates, signing the ace and subsequent victory for Clearlove’s team.
As Clearlove and EDG lift their fourth LPL trophy, the “Uzi forever second” meme lives on, as he once again failed to win a final. Royal’s hopes are not shattered: they claim second seed moving on to the Worlds stage, where they will have to prove they can still be China’s best. It’s worth noting that the possibility of EDG and SKT1 being drawn into the same group is still a possibility, SKT1 being a second seed for Korea.
Photo courtesy of Riot Games