Bilibili Gaming beat Rare Atom in the first round of the 2022 Spring Split LPL Qualifiers 3-1 today. Their next match will be against Top Esports on Monday, March 28.
Day one of the playoffs came just one day after the official end of the LPL 2022 Spring Split regular season, bringing a clash between eighth seed Bilibili Gaming and ninth seed Rare Atom. Two teams entered the playoffs with different trajectories, and both fought for a spot in the second round of the playoffs.
In the first game, Bilibili Gaming drafted a comp focused on Volibear’s early game strengths, while Rare Atom opted for a comp designed for the late game through their Jinx pick on AD carry iBoy.
Bilibili Gaming, however, continued their struggles with early game pressure and opted for a passive style of play that was counterintuitive to their early game composition. As a result, Rare Atom capitalized on this roster error and jungler Leyan applied more pressure on Bilibili Gaming beyond the 10-minute mark.
While Bilibili Gaming held on to that gold even throughout the mid-game, the storyline changed when Rare Atom won the entirety of Bilibili Gaming at 23 minutes to grab the game’s first Baron. This catapulted a lead for Rare Atom, who ultimately used that lead to finish Game 1 in 27 minutes to lead the series 1-0.
In game two, Rare Atom again drafted Jinx for iBoy and took on Bilibili Gaming’s Volibear to try and snowball a lead for the AD carry. At first it worked for Rare Atom after catching first blood at two minutes. However, Bilibili Gaming’s strong burst and team battle damage picks like Kennen and LeBlanc overpowered Rare Atom’s scaling comp soon after.
At 24 minutes, Rare Atom tried to thwart Bilibili Gaming’s baron hold. They failed, however, and the attempt resulted in the deaths of all five Rare Atom champions. From there, Bilibili Gaming played towards their teamfight win conditions and used Kennen to capitalize on Rare Atom’s lack of teamwork, ending the match in 28 minutes and tying the series at 1. -1.
Rare Atom attempted to surprise Bilibili Gaming in Game 3 with a Nocturne pick, an attempt to scale for the late game against their opponents’ strong early game presence with Volibear. While Leyan’s Nocturne found an early kill on Bilibili Gaming top laner Breathe’s Kennen, he paled in comparison to Weiwei’s Volibear.
The Bilibili Gaming jungler ripped through the early game again, holding a four dragon lead over Rare Atom. He used that advantage and gold lead to put Bilibili Gaming one game away from a series win.
In the final game, both teams battled for control throughout the opening 20 minutes, where Bilibili Gaming built a slim 4,000 gold lead over their opponents. Rare Atom featured a fierce fight against its opponents, but was overpowered by Bilibili Gaming’s superior team fights.
Bilibili Gaming once again led Rare Atom by four dragons and played towards their late game strengths to close out the final game of the series in 30 minutes.
Although ultimately victorious in their first playoff series, this series highlighted a number of worrying concerns for Bilibili Gaming’s chances of advancing to the playoffs. The first game showed a lack of urgency to dominate an early game, even on conventionally strong early game champions like Volibear. Although they had victories over Rare Atom in matches under 30 minutes, those victories were more about Rare Atom’s weaknesses playing as a five-man unit.
In the end, Bilibili Gaming once again relied on its strong teamfight abilities instead of presenting a new variety to play towards early game victory conditions. This trend could become a worrying concern against Top Esports, the LPL’s fifth seed who made a resurgence from 2-4 early on to move up the ranks. Similar to Rare Atom, Top Esports also jumped in the second half to enter the playoffs primed for a deep run.
This match between Bilibili Gaming and TOP Esports will take place on Monday, March 28. The winner will face LNG Esports.
For Rare Atom, this marks the end of their miracle run to the Spring Split LPL 2022 Playoffs. Rare Atom started their Spring Split campaign 1-5 before making a strong resurgence in the second half of the split, where they went 7-3 to qualify for the playoffs. While a disheartening ending to a promising turnaround, Rare Atom will be looking to recalibrate for the upcoming Summer Split LPL 2022 and improve on their ninth-place finish in the spring.
The 2022 LPL Spring Split Qualifiers will continue on Sunday, March 27, when seventh seeded LPL EDward Gaming takes on 10th seed FunPlus Phoenix in a rematch of the 2021 LPL Summer Split Finals.
What was once the last game of the LPL season is now a battle to determine which team continues its playoff run and which ends before the playoffs even begin. The winner of this series will face Weibo Gaming in the second round of the Spring Split LPL 2022 qualifiers.
The 2022 LPL Spring Split Qualifiers began on March 26 and will run until April 10, where the winner of the Grand Finals will represent the LPL at the 2022 Mid Season Invitational.
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