Worlds 2023 Preview: Will JD Gaming Complete The Golden… | RiftFeed
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Worlds 2023 Preview: Will JD Gaming Complete The Golden Road?

Esports 28-09-2023 14:30

For all of 2023, the Chinese team JD Gaming has been at the top of the LPL. After falling short of their expectations multiple times in a row, they are now looking to set the record straight with the first ever 'Golden Road' in League of Legends history.

JDG at MSI Finals 2023 by Colin Young Wolff
Worlds 2023 Preview: JD Gaming are coming to the Worlds stage as the big favorites. | © Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games

JD Gaming is back on the biggest stage of the year! The only thing higher than the expectations towards the Chinese organization is the level of skill their players have displayed over the entire year. 

Now, JDG are looking to crown their year in League of Legends with the ultimate prize: The title of World Champion! Looking at their recent story of success and the opinions of fans and experts alike, it would be foolish not to consider the Chinese squad a favorite for the crown at the 2023 World Championship.

Worlds 2023 Preview: What Are JDG's Chances To Win The Title?

JDG MSI 2023 Wall by Joe Brady
This is an admirable piece of art! Unfortunately, it is no longer in place. We hope that at least every JDG player got a piece of it to take home. | © Riot Games

It is needless to say that JD Gaming are coming in as the big favorites to win Worlds. Their dominance across the entire year is nothing short of amazing, and as the only team at Worlds, they have not lost a single Best of 5-series in all of 2023. 

This kind of success is not sheer luck, it all came through smart roster changes and perfect preparation. After falling short to three-time World Champions T1 in last year's semifinals, JDG have managed to retain top laner Bai '369' Jia-Hao, jungler Seo 'Kanavi' Jin-hyeok and support Lou 'Missing' Yun-Feng. 

With their star mid laner Zeng 'Yagao' Qi jumping ship to Bilibili Gaming, the organization has managed to land the only transfer that was considered an obvious upgrade at the time: Top Esports' Zhuo 'knight' Ding would join, alongside reigning LCK champion Park 'Ruler' Jae-hyuk. 

To round out this star-studded roster, head coach Yoon 'Homme' Sung-young would be retained – and it is safe to say that under his lead, JDG have made a strong claim for the title of the best team in the world.

Worlds 2023 Preview: Will JDG Finish The Golden Road?

JDG MSI 2023 Trophy Lift by Colin Young Wolff
JDG are only one title away from winning every competition in 2023. | © Joe Brady/Riot Games

Fresh off his first ever LCK title, Ruler joined the Chinese organization on his quest to lead the team to glory. So far, his record could not look any better – and somehow, he managed to win more titles in the LPL within his first two splits than he did in his seven years in the LCK.

A solid spring split regular season was followed up by a dominant display in the playoffs, where they beat Bilibili Gaming 3-1 in the finals. The same feat was repeated in summer, although a lot closer when LNG took them to five games. 

JDG also knew to impress on the international stage. Starting in the bracket stage at the 2023 Mid-Season Invitational, they make quick work of North American runner-ups Golden Guardians before sweeping LPL runner-ups Bilibili Gaming in a clean 3-0 series.

The upper bracket finals against Korean runner-ups T1 was highly anticipated and proved to be the closest series JDG had to play so far. However, not even the might of superstar Lee 'Faker' Sang-hyeok himself would prove to be enough to stop the new Chinese kings in their tracks. 

This trend would continue in the grand finals, where they would – to everyone's surprise – attend the rematch against their LPL rivals Bilibili Gaming. Once again, JDG would reign supreme and bring home their first international trophy with a convincing, yet not entirely dominant 3-1.

The odds are clear. Betting against JD Gaming is basically a guarantee to lose your money. However, the expectations and therefore the pressure will be mounting ahead of the World Championship: after Royal Never Give Up in 2018 and G2 Esports in 2019, JDG is only the third team ever to come this close to the completion of the golden road.

RNG spectacularly faltered in the quarterfinals in 2018 in a sensational 2-3 loss to G2 Esports. G2 were set to win it all in 2019 when China's one-hit wonder FunPlus Phoenix denied them in the grand final 3-0. Will JDG manage to accomplish what RNG and G2 couldn't? 

Only time will tell, and we will be here to witness the moment of truth.

Manuel Hirsch

I'm currently studying journalism, and when I'm not busy working on uni projects, I get into all kinds of content creation. This is what eventually led me to EarlyGame and Riftfeed!

I'm a long-standing fan of all kinds of Nintendo...