Today, April 7, the Chinese organization FunPlus Pheonix (FPX) stunned the country’s Spring Split leaders Royal Never Give Up (RNG) in a 3-0 win, advancing them to the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) Playoff Semifinals.
Both Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Gao “Tian” Tian-lang performed extremely well in helping their team secure a victory. This win means that FPX will face the winner of the match between Edward Gaming and Top Esports in the Winner Semifinals. Meanwhile, RNG fall to the lower brackets to await the loser of that series.
FPX dominant in all three games
FPX completely dominated the entire series, never giving RNG a chance to play their own style of League. Although RNG had their own plans for the series, the team could not compete with the strength that FPX posed.
The series started off with an explosive first game. There were a total of 11 kills in under six minutes. Even though the early game was close between the two teams, FPX had better map control. They continued to punish the mistakes of RNG, especially in mid lane. After taking the baron, FPX closed out game one with two quick kills from Tian on Shi “Ming” Sen-Ming and Chen “GALA” Wei.
Tian’s performance earned him MVP of game one with 10 kill involvements on his Udyr. FPX controlled the second game of the series from start to finish. Nuguri’s Irelia was the main star of the show with 14 kill involvements. He bullied his top lane counterpart Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Ho throughout the game. His dominance transcended from lane to team fights as his Flawless Duet helped his team maintain map pressure and kills.
With a must-win game three, RNG put all their hopes in bot lane with a Seraphine and Kai’Sa pick, hoping that GALA and Ming could carry the team. However, their expectations were crushed by FPX, who knocked down their nexus in under 24 minutes with a 9,000 gold lead. Nuguri’s performance throughout earned him the MVP of both game two and three of the series.
FPX now a contender to win LPL Playoffs
Before now, there have been questions on FPX’s ability to be a real challenger for the Spring Split trophy. While FPX did not have an impressive regular season, a sixth place finish was understandable given their conditions. From Zhou “Bo” Yang’s alleged match-fixing to the loss of Tian due to health issues, these factors significantly weighed on the team’s performance.
However, with the return of Tian to a world class roster, FPX are definitely a team that should be added amongst the favorites to represent China at MSI.