In an epic four-game semifinals series, FunPlus Phoenix managed to overcome their LPL brothers to qualify for the League of Legends World Championship finals. The former world champions Invictus Gaming fought bravely but simply weren’t able to match FPX’s superior team play. With that being said, let’s quickly look at how the games played out.
What a series! Each of our players has evolved so much during the past week! GG to our LPL brother @invgaming.
— FunPlus PhoeniX (@FPX_Esports) November 2, 2019
It wouldn’t be a FunPlus Phoenix game without Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang picking one of his special champions. Opting for the Rumble in the middle lane, his non-meta pick certainly paid off. The game was fairly even in the early game, with Doinb being a constant threat with his excellent roams. Even though iG managed to shut him down in a dive in the middle lane, this didn’t stop him. Come mid-game, his Rumble became too much to handle as his equalizer gave FPX a notable advantage. FPX proceeded to snowball their lead, picking up numerous map objectives. They finished the game in 29 minutes.
As if his Rumble weren’t enough, Doinb chose AP Nautilus as his next unusual pick. After some early game shenanigans, FunPlus Phoenix sat firmly in the driver’s seat for this game. Invictus Gaming simply had no answer as FPX members roamed the map, picking up kill after kill. However, interrupting FPX’s Baron attempt, Invictus Gaming managed to ace them, pick up the Baron, and swing the momentum in their favor. The remainder of the game went back and forth, with both teams winning some fights and some miraculous defense by FPX.
What followed were 20 action-packed minutes, reminding us of why the LPL is one of the most exciting regions to watch. FPX returned the favor by nearly acing Invictus Gaming at Baron, which was followed by numerous big team fights. Later on, Invictus Gaming once again tried to push into iG’s base and got aced as the result. However, FPX wasn’t able to end the game, instead going for the elder dragon. After a lost fight at Elder, Song “Rookie” Eui-jin tried to finish the game with a hero play of his own.
Being able to distract iG for long enough by pushing into their base, Rookie managed to force recalls and keep his team’s base alive. As his teammates respawned, a fight erupted in the middle lane. Meanwhile, FPX’s Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang attempted to backdoor iG’s base but ultimately wasn’t successful. Finally, Invictus Gaming managed to end the bloodiest game in Worlds history to tie the series 1-1.
The third game of the series was almost as action-heavy as the previous one. Unlike the last game, the early game was very even, with tiny mistakes from both sides. However, a fight in the bottom jungle turned things to FPX’s favor. Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang’s Qiyana wreaked havoc with deadly assassinations and perfectly executed ultimates. Invictus Gaming simply had no answer as their Chinese opponents rolled over them, bringing the series to match point.
— lolesports (@lolesports) November 2, 2019
Invictus Gaming gave up first blood after a failed invade, while also having to use important summoner spells to escape. The latter would prove vital as FPX quickly cashed in on Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok’s burnt flash by killing him in the top lane. FPX completely took over in the early game, but a Kayle should never be underestimated, especially if the game drags on. This is exactly what happened in this game, as TheShy managed to get back into the game, obliterating FPX’s health bars in fights.
After winning two huge fights, it looked as though iG would be able to force a game 5 in the series. However, following several failed push attempts, TheShy made some mistakes, allowing FPX to catch him off guard. With him dead, iG didn’t have enough firepower to stop FPX’s onslaught. The LPL champions finished the game in just under 35 minutes to advance to Worlds finals.
The action continues tomorrow with the second Worlds semifinal between SKT and G2 Esports. Make sure to catch the action live on Twitch.
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Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.