The 2016 LPL Season had its ups and downs. From painful matches between bottom tier teams to EDG and RNG’s rise as LPL’s best teams. Not to mention IMay’s amazing journey from LSPL to Worlds. Despite the quality of the season not being that great, it was still memorable one with a decent amount of special moments. Teams had different performances throughout the year. Some achieved good results, others were either painful to watch or relegated.
The Elite Teams – Edward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up
Edward Gaming’s 2016 was similar to their previous year, except it was backwards. While last year they won the Spring Split 2-3 against LGD Gaming but finished 4th in Summer, this year they did the opposite by losing the Spring Finals to RNG and winning it against them in Summer. Royal’s regular season performances weren’t as dominant as EDG’s in the summer split, but it’s safe to say both teams solidified themselves as the teams to beat and the elite tier performers of the region. It’ll be interesting to see if RNG and EDG will continue to battle it out for the crown next season or if another team will surprise people and snatch it for themselves. Only time will tell what unfolds.
The Decent Ones – Snake Esports, Team WE, IMay
All three of these teams were very close in terms of skill as was shown in the regional qualifiers. The matches played between them all went to five games and it truly displayed how close they were. In the end, IMay edged out both of their main competitors to qualify for Worlds, but it was by no means an easy task for IMay. The thing that kept these teams away from the elite tier was the fact that none of them managed to defeat either EDG or RNG except Team WE getting one single 2-1 victory over RNG in Week 8. But apart from that one victory, none of these teams were able to touch the Top 2 teams in China, and it really showed that there was a noticeable skill gap between the good teams and the best teams.
Of course, with IMay’s miracle run from LSPL to Worlds, Snake’s addition of the young and talented jungler SofM and Team WE’s rise to power in the LPL, it’s safe to say if any team will challenge EDG or RNG next year, it will be one of these teams.
The Duds – Vici Gaming
Now I know Vici was actually fairly close to the solid teams, going to 5 games against Snake Esports. But I put them here is because their regular season was looking abysmal at one point. Fortunately for them, they shaped up and managed to secure a place in the playoffs with a 4th place finish in Group B. But in a disappointing Vici fashion, they were once again quickly knocked out of the playoffs. Vici is a confusing team. You look at their line-up and see DanDy and Easyhoon. Surely they will do well right? Wrong! It feels like every time Vici has a winning formula, they are handicapped by someone underperforming. Last year’s Vici had DanDy and Mata and yet the team still failed because other members of the team couldn’t play to their level. This year in a similar fashion with two great players in the mid and jungle positions, as well as a solid top laner, Vici failed to go far because of a lackluster bottom lane. If Vici finally manages to get all 5 players of the team playing at the same level next year, they could break through that glass ceiling. But until then, they’ll be stuck in the same spot until they resolve their issues.
The “please make it stop…” tier – Game Talents, Invictus Gaming, Newbee, Saint, LGD Gaming, OMG
What is there to say? The only team that could possibly get placed in the duds category is Game Talent. While their games weren’t painful to watch, they never really recovered after they lost steam from their hot start unlike IMay. What Game Talents lacked (and this is why I’m placing them in this tier) is a performance that would manage to break people’s doubts of them and showcase them as a solid team. Instead, they finished 3rd with a negative record in a relatively easy group.
Invictus Gaming was in a similar position. While their games weren’t terrible and they even made some decent wins, the constant roster swaps coupled with a very lackluster bottom lane made it more of a chore than a joy to watch them. You couldn’t really expect anything out of IG, and even after surprise wins by them, you knew that they might get wins here and there but they won’t go far in their current situation.
Newbee and LGD Gaming take the award for most disappointing teams in the 2016 LPL. Both teams had potential to be good with Dade joining Newbee and MaRin joining LGD. Yet both teams failed on multiple levels. Newbee tortured its fans by having long dragged out games just to simply lose in the end. Meanwhile LGD’s method was more of a “let’s get stomped by the 30th minute mark and get it over with”. It’s hard to say which team’s fans were more disappointed, but considering LGD was a contender to win Worlds last year, going from that to relegations is certainly a huge blow to the organization and its fans.
OMG and Saint were just….they were just there. There really isn’t much to say about either team. They participated, it was expected they would do poorly. And they did poorly. And then Saint got relegated while OMG managed to stay alive once more. The end. And that’s how we wrap up the 2016 LPL Season!