After a month of intense competition, we have reached the semifinal stage of the 2023 League of Legends World Championship.
With two exciting semifinals set to be held this weekend, 22 teams have been whittled down to just four.
The first to take the stage on November 11 will be Weibo Gaming which takes on the Chinese counterpart Bilibili Gaming. The second semifinal will see another Chinese side, JD Gaming take on South Korea’s last remaining side, T1, on November 12th.
As we have seen numerous times in this year’s Worlds, anything can happen, and the semifinal action is set to be dramatic. With many betting sites predicting two close battles, let’s take a quick look at how each team has reached this stage of the tournament.
Held over three stages, the final four teams have had to battle through the Playin and Swiss stages before competing in the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinal 1: Weibo Gaming beat NRG Esports 3-0
Quarterfinal 2: Bilibili Gaming beat Gen.G 3-2
Quarterfinal 3: JD Gaming beat KT Rolster 3-1
Quarterfinal 4: T1 beat LNG Esports 3-0
Weibo Gaming vs Bilibili Gaming
The first semifinal is an all-Chinese affair as Weibo Gaming take on Bilibili Gaming.
With bragging rights on the line, it is Bilibili who is strongly fancied to progress.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Bilibili, who during the Swiss phase of the tournament had to battle for their place in the quarterfinal lineup.
Starting with a victory against KT Rolster, another win would follow against Fnatic before two defeats against JD Gaming and fellow semifinalists T1 put Bilibili on the brink of elimination.
Knowing that they needed to beat G2 to advance, Bilibili’s star player Chen Ze-Bin stood up to the plate to lead his team into the final eight..
In their quarterfinal it was much of the same, as once again Ze-Bin was the star man as Bilibili pulled off the 3-2 upset victory against Gen.G.
With that victory behind them, they will expect to reach this year’s final.
Standing in Bilibili’s way is Weibo Gaming. Of the four teams who have reached this stage, it is Weibo who looks the most vulnerable.
Like their opponents, progress to this stage hasn’t been smooth sailing, with Weibo suffering two defeats in the Swiss Stage, they needed to defeat Fnatic in their final match to secure their quarterfinal spot. Producing a calm and measured display, Weibo got the important win they needed, dispatching the European side 2-1.
Facing off against NRG Esports in the quarterfinals, Weibo was hopeful of replicating the form that saw them beat NRG earlier in the tournament.
With a semifinal spot on the line, Weibo once again proved their class, dispatching NRG 3-0.
Whilst some will have Weibo as the underdogs heading into this semifinal contest, if they can produce a similar performance to their quarterfinal victory, they will be in with a chance of reaching this year’s final.
Impact Players: Key Figures in the Semifinals
As the League of Legends World Championship heads into the semifinals, certain players have emerged as pivotal to their teams’ success. For Weibo Gaming, the focus is on their ace, Liu “BiuBiu” Qiu-Bin. Known for his aggressive top lane play, BiuBiu’s performance will be crucial against Bilibili, especially in matchups against their top laner, Zhang “Breathe” Zhi-Peng. Breathe’s versatility and strategic play have been instrumental for Bilibili throughout the tournament, setting the stage for an electrifying top-lane battle.
In the second semifinal, all eyes are on JD Gaming’s jungler, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok. His dynamic and unpredictable jungle routes have been a cornerstone of JD’s success. However, T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, the legendary mid-laner, poses a formidable challenge.
Strategy Breakdown: Approaching the Semifinals
The semifinals of the League of Legends World Championship are not just about individual brilliance but also about the strategic depth and adaptability of the teams. Weibo Gaming’s approach has been characterized by early-game aggression, often securing significant leads in the laning phase. However, they must be wary of Bilibili’s exceptional team fight coordination and late-game scaling. Bilibili’s ability to turn games around through tactical positioning and decisive shot-calling in crucial moments will test Weibo’s early dominance.
JD Gaming vs T1
With one Chinese team guaranteed to be in this year’s final, JD Gaming will hope to make it an all-Chinese affair as they take on T1.
Looking to complete a perfect season following two LPL titles and a victory in the 2023 Mid Season Invitational, they cruised through the Swiss stage of the tournament, picking up victories against Team BDS, Bilibili, and LNG Sports.
One of the hot favorites entering this year’s World Championship, they were able to dispatch KT Rolster in the quarterfinals with a minimum amount of fuss.
This semifinal against T1 will bring back memories of their semifinal defeat to the Korean side in last year’s tournament. They will hope to go one stage better this time around.
Of the four semifinalists remaining, T1 has the most experience. The only team to have previously reached the final, this T1 team will be hopeful of avenging last year’s heartbreaking final defeat.
Starting this year’s tournament as one of the heavy fancies, it has taken a bit of time for them to find their groove.
Wins against Team Liquid and Cloud 9 were offset by losses to DRX and Gen.G, needing to win their final match against Bilibili to ensure their progress to the quarterfinals, T1 drew on all of their experience to claim the crucial victory.
Back into the quarterfinals, T1 produced their best performance of the tournament when dispatching LNG 3-0.
Having found their stride, T1 knows that they will need to produce another solid showing if they are to repeat their semifinal victory from 2022 against JD Gaming.
T1 is South Korea’s last remaining team, and you can be assured that a passionate home crowd will be urging them onto their second consecutive final.