By: Brian Sui
Photos by LoL Esports
FunPlus Phoenix claimed victory over G2 Esports, 3-0, at the finals of the League of Legends World Championship in Paris, France on Nov. 10.
FunPlus Phoenix defeated Europe’s Fnatic and China’s Invictus Gaming on their path to the finals, while G2 Esports cruised past Korea’s Griffin and SK Telecom T1. With FunPlus Phoenix’s win, they became the second Chinese team to claim the trophy at the World Championships
Game 1 began with FunPlus Phoenix mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang picking his signature yet unconventional champion, Nautilus. Meanwhile, G2 Esports countered that with another unconventional mid lane pick since mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Winther picked Pyke, a champion that has not seen solo lane priority in some time.
The early game was extremely close as FunPlus Phoenix had the kill advantage due to picks and well-coordinated dives. However, G2 Esports’ superior rotations netted them more towers and kept the gold even.
Around the 20 minute mark, Caps made a bad teleport that put him squarely in the middle of three FunPlus Phoenix members. G2 Esports top laner Martin “Wunder” Hansen quickly put a Ryze ultimate further away from the swarm of FunPlus Phoenix players. When Caps completed the teleport, he was able to flash to the Ryze ultimate in a display of pitch-perfect timing, saving his life.
FunPlus Phoenix’s double-hook team composition with the champions Nautilus and Thresh allowed them to continue getting picks, which eventually snowballed their lead. FunPlus Phoenix jungler Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang secured a fight win as he ward-hopped and flashed in order to get his ultimate off, which interrupted G2 Esports bot laner Luka “Perkz” Perković’s attempt to teleport back to base.
FunPlus Phoenix secured the Baron at 31 minutes and they pushed into G2 Esports’ base, taking down an inhibitor. After defending from a G2 Esports push and securing another Baron, FunPlus Phoenix would secure the game victory at 40 minutes.
Despite the 21-7 kill advantage and 8,000 gold lead at the end for FunPlus Phoenix, the game seemed a lot closer as G2 Esports held their own. FunPlus Phoenix top laner Kim “Gimgoon” Han-saem and bot laner Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang both went deathless, having a 5-0-12 and an 11-0-5 KDA (Kills-Deaths-Assists) respectively.
Game 2 was the most one-sided match in the series, with FunPlus Phoenix dominating most of the game. 20 minutes into the game, FunPlus Phoenix took Baron — the fastest in 2019 professional play. Disastrous fights for G2 Esports piled up one after another as FunPlus Phoenix secured an ace and destroyed the inhibitor turret just 22 minutes in. A few small skirmishes later would prove to be enough for FunPlus Phoenix to march down mid lane and take the game in 25 minutes.
FunPlus Phoenix ended the game up 20 kills to four with a 14,000 gold advantage. Gimgoon and Lwx continued their deathless streak, while Doinb put up a 6-0-11 KDA and an 85% kill participation.
As G2 Esports were down 2-0 at the start of Game 3, the team knew something had to change during the pick and ban phase. Caps picked Veigar, a champion not seen since quarterfinals. G2 Esports jungler Marcin “Jankos” Jancowski picked Jarvan IV for only the third time in the World Championship. In all three games, G2 Esports banned Tian’s signature Qiyana and allowed him to play Lee Sin in every game.
After an even early game, FunPlus Phoenix support Liu “Crisp” Qing-song made a big play by saving Doinb’s life with Thresh’s lantern and immediately hooking G2 Esport support Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle to his death.
Despite superior dragon control and sidelane management early on from FunPlus Phoenix, G2 Esports were able to even up the number of dragons. FunPlus Phoenix would pounce on another early Baron, securing it at 23 minutes. Crisp once again showed up on Thresh, as he got a clutch hook on Wunder to secure the team win after the Baron.
After another Baron take at 29 minutes, FunPlus Phoenix won the final fight and pushed to the G2 Esports nexus, winning the game and sweeping the series, 3-0, crowning them world champions.
Lwx became the first player in any World Championship to not die a single time in the final. Gimgoon would have joined him, but he died once in the series in the final fight of Game 3. Despite these monstrous KDAs, the series MVP went to Tian due to his game changing Lee Sin ultimates and jungle control.
“Today, I don’t think it’s because we performed especially well,” said Lwx in response to why he thought his team was better than G2 Esports. “It’s because our opponents didn’t really perform.”
Doinb’s style of picking unorthodox champions in the mid lane as well as his laning and mechanics was the source of much scrutiny before his first international performance. He had been a professional player since 2015 and had not won anything of significance until this year.
“Before this, a lot of people said that a mid laner that played my style didn’t deserve to win the championship,” said Doinb regarding the victory. “But I think I finally proved that I am deserving.”