Although China's LPL Regional Finals begin later in the week, determining the final two teams to qualify from the region for this year's League of Legends World Championship, another match takes centre stage on Thursday.
All eyes will be on JD Gaming vs Top Esports in the final of the LPL Summer Playoffs this week, with the winner securing ¥2,000,000 and top Chinese seed at this year's Worlds.
JD Gaming and Top Esports have been the standout sides in the LPL Summer 2022, finishing in the top two in the regular-season standings, and it is a fitting final to conclude an explosive split.
The teams locked horns as recently as last week with JD Gaming taking the spoils in the upper-bracket final, knocking Top Esports down to the lower bracket in the process.
But Top Esports, who were runners-up at the LPL Spring earlier this year, responded with victory over Edward Gaming in the lower bracket to set up a highly anticipated grand final with JD Gaming to determine the winner of the LPL Summer 2022.
JD Gaming vs Top Esports, LPL Summer Playoffs final
10.00am, Thursday 1st September 2022
|How to watch|
LPL Twitch, Youtube
|Odds:||JD Gaming 5/6, Top Esports 5/6|
Regardless of how their Worlds campaign pans out, Top Esports can reflect on a positive 2022 from a domestic perspective.
Rewind to the LPL Spring Playoffs and expectations were tempered following their fifth-placed finish in the regular season, but they impressed in the playoffs, defeating Bilibili Gaming, LNG Esports and Victory Five before defeat in the upper-bracket final to Royal Never Give Up.
They bounced back with a win in the lower-bracket final against Victory Five, before losing to Royal Never Give Up once again in the final.
A similar fate could well await them this summer, but they were solid in the regular season, having strung together 13 wins on the spin at one stage, helping them to eventually top the standings.
Top Esports may have finished top of the pile but that was only due to their superior game differential of +20, with JD Gaming having also won 14 of their 16 matches during the regular season.
But, while little separated the teams across the course of the campaign, JD Gaming tend to perform better when the pair clash, winning their meeting in week one 2-1 and coming out on top in the LPL Summer upper-bracket final.
For Top Esports, their league MVP jungler Gao "Tian" Tianliang often gives them the edge but his effect is somewhat neutralised by Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok when they face JD Gaming.
That leaves Top Esports vulnerable and it is fair to say JD Gaming have the edge when it comes to the top lakers, with Bai "369" Jiahao taking up that position in the LPL Summer 2022 All-Pro team after collecting nine Player of the Match awards throughout the regular season.
Player for player, JD Gaming look the better side and before their knockout win over Top Esports recently, they did not put a foot wrong in their first playoff match against LNG Esports, winning 3-0.
With all that considered, JD Gaming are the better bet to win this match and be crowned LPL Summer champions, but it is unlikely to be a straightforward success.
Although Top Esports lost both of their meetings with JD Gaming in the LPL Summer, they won maps in each of the contests and punters should also consider splitting stakes on a 3-1 win for JD at 15/4.
This is sure to be a tense affair with so much riding on the result but it could also have an explosive start.
When these sides met in the upper-bracket final earlier this month, the first map produced a total of 35 kills from the two sides and JD Gaming also saw 38 kills on the first map of their other playoff tussle with LNG Esports.
With that in mind, another potential betting angle in this match could be over 27.5 kills on map one at 5/6, while it could also pay to go over 114.5 on the total match kills at 5/6 given the encounter could go the distance.