Melany M. July 7, 2019
The LPL is heading to the grand finals of Rift Rivals 2019.
For the third year in a row, the LPL and the LCK are meeting in the final stage of the event. The Chinese side earned their spot there by sweeping the LMS and VCS team 3-0 in the semifinals.
Flash Wolves and JD Gaming were the starters for the best of five series. Throughout the tournament, Flash Wolves showed consistent improvement and against JD Gaming, they continued to grow.
The early game was dominated by Flash Wolves as they read the movements of JD Gaming jungler Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok. Flash Wolves pressured the lanes and effectively utilized their ults.
Despite Flash Wolves’ strong start, JD Gaming turned the game around with a fight around the mid lane. JD Gaming repelled an offensive from Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang on Kennen. It created the space necessary to win the team fight and go for baron.
Instead of forcing a team fight, Flash Wolves retreated into the base and let JD Gaming take the nexus and the win.
From there, Top Esports looked to keep the LPL’s momentum going by taking on MAD Team. The Taiwanese squad made some surprise changes to its starting roster as substitute top laner Tsai “Rock” Chung-Ting moved down to the support position with Ko “K” Kai-Sheng.
The early game was action-packed. On MAD’s side, mid laner Chen “Uniboy” Chang-Chu stayed aggressive and kept his team ahead.
The changes in the bottom lane would end up hurting MAD through the mid game. Top Esports took this time to stabilize the game and regain control.
Mid laner Zhuo “Knight9” Ding exploded later in the game. Across big and small skirmishes, Knight9 came out on top in every fight. Eventually, Top Esports aced MAD, secured the baron and pushed for the win uncontested.
FunPlus Phoenix jumped to the stage at match point. Only one game separated the LPL from the finals and Dashing Buffalo had the unenviable task of dragging out the series.
The third match of the day followed the same patterns from the games before. Dashing Buffalo dominated the early game and bottled up FunPlus.
As time went on, that lead eroded and FunPlus found the perfect team fight to hit back. That win translated into the baron buff and the win at 31 minutes.
It was an excellent showing from the LPL and one that has them looking fearsome heading into the grand finals. The series will open with a match between Kingzone DragonX and Invictus Gaming.