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There is a big semi-final clash taking place on Christmas Day
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Esports: Demacia Cup semi-final preview

The Demacia Cup has become a staple of the League of Legends Pro League off-season and the event is in full swing for 2022.

With the start of the League of Legends regional leagues around a month away, the Demacia Cup gives fans and punters a chance to see their favourite teams from China's LPL in action along with a handful of development teams.

The event began on Wednesday 14th December and will run until Tuesday 27th December, when the Grand Final will be played.

The pre-season A-Tier event is one of the more high-profile tournaments in action right now and was split into three stages.

Stage One featured 16 teams - 11 amateur teams and five from the development league - and the top three progressed to stage two, which was a single-elimination bracket stage introducing 13 teams from the LPL.

After that, the tournament moved to stage three which is a straight knockout format and introduced the four top teams from China's LPL - JD Gaming, Top Esports, EDward Gaming and Royal Never Give Up.

The stage three quarter-finals are all but done and dusted and on Sunday, attention turns to the semi-finals with Bilibili Gaming taking on Royal Never Give Up for a place in the Grand Final.

Royal Never Give Up can finish strong season on a high note

What: Bilibili Gaming v Royal Never Give Up
Where: China
When: 09.00am, Sunday 25th December 2022
Odds: Bilibili Gaming 8/13, Royal Never Give Up 6/5

For LPL giants Royal Never Give Up, this season had a strong start and a strong finish with a wobble in the middle.

The year began with the team finishing second in the LPL Spring and then going a step further in the LPL Spring Playoffs, which they won with victory over Top Esports in the final.

As a consequence, they qualified for the international Mid-Season Invitational event, which was played remotely.

They also managed to click in that, going on to beat South Korean outfit T1 3-2 in the final, ensuring a superb start to the season in which they hoovered up two major trophies.

Their dip came after that as they placed fourth in the LPL Summer regular-season standings and then finished in the 5th-6th positions in the LPL Summer Playoffs.

But they re-established themselves again at this year's League of Legends World Championship, ploughing their way through the play-in stage to make the group phase.

They picked up five wins from six games in Group D to consequently make the knockouts, although their tournament was ended by T1 in the quarter-finals.

Overall it was a positive season and they will be striving for more consistency in the 2023 season.

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Esports: League of Legends Demacia Cup

LPL giants have reason to take Demacia Cup seriously

It is believed the Demacia Cup is not treated as seriously by LPL sides, especially those at the top of their game, but that is not always true and for Royal Never Give Up there is reason to perform in the pre-season event.

Going into the new campaign, Royal Never Give Up will have to adapt to the loss of Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao, who was an original part of the team when it was formed back in 2015 but has moved to Weibo Gaming.

Their roster will therefore have a different look to it in 2023, so there is even more of a reason they will be eager to get results now.

Priced at 6/5 To Win, they look a pretty solid bet to beat Bilibili Gaming and advance to the final, having won their quarter-final contest 3-0 against Anyone's Legend.

Determined Bilibili Gaming unlikely to go down without a fight

It has been a steady but not exactly barnstorming campaign for Bilbili Gaming, who placed in the top eight at the LPL Spring Playoffs, made the top 10 at the LPL Summer Playoffs and then achieved a third-placed finish at NEST 2022.

They are not one of the LPL big guns but they will feel they have half a chance in the Demacia Cup, having impressed in the quarter-finals.

Bilibili Gaming swept aside Invictus Gaming 3-0 in the event's quarter-finals, having won their first game in stage two 2-0 against MAX before a 2-1 defeat to ThunderTalk Gaming.

They are one game away from the final and, while Royal Never Give Up's added experience should see them over the line, Bilibili will be determined to cause a stir and a bet on a 3-2 win for Royal Never Give Up could represent value at 9/2.

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