Worlds 2019 champion FunPlus Phoenix has announced that three top laners are signed for the 2020 LPL starting roster. Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, Li “xiao7” Zhong-Qi, and Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem will be sharing their time on stage.
By signing Khan, promoting xiao7 from the academy team, and re-signing GimGoon for another season, FunPlus Phoenix now has a starting roster of nine players. It’s a big roster for the defending champions, but the practice isn’t unusual in the LPL.
Besides three players sharing the top lane spot, bot laner Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang will be sharing his stage time with freshly promoted Zhang “April” Jun-Chao, another player on FunPlus Phoenix’s roster to climb the ranks from the academy team.
Just like his top lane teammate GimGoon, Khan is a South Korean resident. During the past few seasons of playing in LCK, Khan has proven to be one of the best Korean top laners. But he hasn’t achieved the heights FunPlus Phoenix has on an international stage.
Khan is joining FunPlus Phoenix after a successful season with T1. Performing alongside Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, Khan stood at the top of the 2019 LCK season. T1 placed third at Worlds 2019 after a loss against G2 Esports in the semifinals, the team FunPlus Phoenix then swept for the crown.
Besides bringing Korea’s strongest top laner into the fold, FunPlus Phoenix is also giving two rookie players from its academy team an opportunity to prove themselves on the LPL stage. April and xiao7 played in the 2019 LDL regular season under FunPlus Blaze‘s banner, where they finished fourth. The two players previously played with FunPlus Phoenix at NEST 2019, but a disappointing finish wasn’t enough to earn them a spot on the starting roster.
FunPlus Phoenix believes the new players have since progressed enough to join the main roster and perform alongside more experienced players. Most of the team’s fans agree, but many are also disappointed in a lack of focus towards one player per lane.