The Cinderella story of JD Gaming is picking up pace. The eighth seed in the LPL playoffs is refusing to lay down and surrender and today, they picked up another win.
In a five-game semifinal, JDG ousted the regular season winners FunPlus Phoenix in yet another upset. This improves JDG’s playoffs resume even further, which also includes victories over Team WE and Royal Never Give Up.
By series midpoint, FPX were leading 2-1 and had a sizable advantage in Game 4, going strong in the late game with a Kog’Maw/Ryze composition. A sequence of brilliant team fights at Baron, however, saw JDG turn it around to the dismay of the fans. With both teams on match point, everything was on the line in Game 5.
The early game went well in FPX’s favor, but the longer the game went, the fatter Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran’s Gangplank grew. With an Infinity Edge and Trinity Force equipped, few could withstand the pirate’s barrel. The clip below paints a good picture of the impact Zoom had in these late-game team fights.
While there will be celebration at the JDG house, it’s a morbid day for veteran and FPX captain Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang. One of LPL’s most emblematic, Doinb has a long history of picking up young teams and leading them to top status but is yet to win a single LPL finals. The farthest Doinb got was the 2015 Summer Playoffs, when QG Reapers lost the grand final to LGD Gaming. Last year, Doinb also led Rogue warriors to a top 3 and top 4 finish in Spring and Summer, respectively.
After a strong 2019 Spring Split, featuring the best regular season record of all teams in the major regions, FPX were considered the favorites to win the title, or at least reach the grand final. The 2-3 upset to JDG is only rivaled by RNG’s own elimination by the same team.
JDG will play the winner of Invictus Gaming and Topsports for the title. The grand final is scheduled for Apr. 20.