LPL representative FunPlus Phoenix is the 2019 World Champion.
FunPlus took down G2 Esports with a clean 3-0 victory in the 2019 League of Legends World Championship finals to keep the Summoner’s Cup in China for another year. The LPL has now won back-to-back World Championships and solidified itself as the strongest region in the world.
Heading into the finals, FunPlus was considered the underdog. The team had a shaky start in the tournament and went through the easier side of the bracket in the Knockout Stage. Considering G2 was on a roll, the community expected the European champion to slaughter FunPlus in Paris. That wasn’t the case as FunPlus had a convincing performance throughout the series.
FunPlus goes down in history as the second team to win the World Championship in its debut at the event. The first team to accomplish the feat was SK Telecom T1 in 2013. The hard work paid off for FunPlus as the organization also had an outstanding year in the LPL. The roster earned their first domestic title in the summer when they defeated Royal Never Give Up.
FunPlus hit first in the series.
In the picks and bans, Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang drafted his reliable Nautilus. Meanwhile, G2 chose to go with Pyke in the mid lane in an attempt to match the initiation and roam potential from Doinb.
FunPlus didn’t wait long before pushing the tempo of the game. Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang set up camp in the top side of G2’s jungle and covered for Kim “Gimgoon” Han-saem. As soon as he cleaned the camps, Tian looked for an early gank with help from Doinb. Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Winther moved top to assist Martin “Wunder” Hansen but it was too little, too late as FunPlus walked away with first blood. FunPlus continued to assist GimGoon and slowed down the scaling of Wunder’s Ryze.
G2 found picks and kept the gold close. The team was happy to trade objectives across the map and avoid skirmishes. Through the mid game, G2 managed to stabilize the game and were in a comfortable position to initiate plays of their own.
At the 30 minute mark, G2 made a move for the infernal dragon. They secured the objective comfortably, but exiting the pit was another story. FunPlus walked as five and picked off Mihael “Mikyx” Mehle, which was followed by two more kills for Tian. With only Wunder and Caps on the map, FunPlus had an opening to go for the first baron of the game.
FunPlus pushed for the mid lane inhibitor, but didn’t force anything else. That was because breaking into the base gave FunPlus incredible momentum all on its own.
The team continued to force skirmishes and secured a second baron buff, allowing them to break down more structures. The players on G2’s side dropped one by one and couldn’t do anything to stop FunPlus from taking the nexus.
FunPlus kept the momentum going in game two. G2 banned Nautilus and forced Doinb into taking Ryze, a pick that has been extremely successful so far in the tournament. G2 drafted for comfort with Yasuo and Gragas in the bottom lane. G2’s composition was solid, but it required perfect execution to work as intended.
Much like game one, FunPlus pushed the tempo of the game. The first team fight started in the dragon pit as G2 secured the dragon while FunPlus Phoenix answered with three kills. That early injection of gold set up FunPlus for the rest of the game.
FunPlus was the primary aggressor from then on. G2 did its best to follow, but never got into a position where it could be proactive. Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang’s Kai’Sa was key for FunPlus as the team transitioned into the mid game. The bottom laner got kill after kill, allowing him to reach the item break points earlier than Perkz.
Every kill turned into map control for FunPlus. By the mid game, FunPlus had absolute control of the action and there was nothing that G2 could do to regain ground.
Comfortable with a significant advantage over G2, FunPlus walked over to attack the first baron shortly after it spawned on the map. Caps and Wunder were too far away from the play to do anything, so FunPlus took it for free. At 22 minutes, FunPlus aced G2 inside their jungle.
That play decided the game and the G2 players knew it would take a miracle to get the win. Instead of fighting for survival, G2 surrendered to the chaos and ran around the map just to waste time. The players laughed maniacally after being wiped off the map, knowing that it was the end.
FunPlus took game two and put themselves one win away from the Summoner’s Cup.
FunPlus closed the series in game three. G2 locked in Veigar in the mid lane, a champion that is mostly used by the teams to throw off opponents.
At level one, Liu “Crisp” Qing-Song flashed in to try and hook Perkz who had to burn his own flash to survive. That simple interaction sealed the fate of the game. Because he didn’t have Flash, Perkz had to play behind his turret for the first few minutes. The bottom laner couldn’t risk giving up first blood so he played safe, sacrificing gold and experience as a result.
That passive play from Perkz allowed FunPlus to push hard through the bottom lane. FunPlus rotated in and took down the turret seven minutes into the game. Once again, Lwx received an early injection of gold that put him ahead of the enemy team.
FunPlus was patient and slowed down the pace of the game. The team was aware that Veigar could become a threat if they gave up kills. This time around, G2 had a better read on the enemy and had better transitions between the lanes.
G2 stabilized the game as best as they could, but the early gold in Lwx’s pocket came back to bite them. Around the first baron, FunPlus grouped as five and forced team fights. G2’s composition couldn’t chase the enemies and instead had to wait for FunPlus’ initiation to hit back. FunPlus waited for the right moment to strike, and came out on top.
FunPlus secured the first baron buff of the game and used it to push for inhibitors. G2 couldn’t repel the attack completely, but still found a kill that slowed FunPlus down and allowed them to survive for a bit longer.
G2 recognized that they were one team fight away from losing the game and took a defensive stance. FunPlus didn’t stop its relentless attack. With only one turret defending the nexus, FunPlus went all-in on closing the series. G2 watched from the fountain as the nexus was destroyed.
G2 Esports’ performance in the LoL Worlds 2019 finals was rough, but the 2019 season was still an exceptional one for the team. The organization enjoyed massive success within the LEC, earning the top prize for both the spring and summer splits. On top of that, G2 became the first European team to win the Mid-Season Invitational, besting Team Liquid in the finals.
These achievements had many regarding them as the best team in the world, a previously absurd notion in a game that has long seen South Korea dominate all comers.
G2 Esports is likely to return largely intact for the 2020 season. According to the Global Contract Database, the entire starting roster is locked up through 2021. Though there is a chance that the team could go through some surprise changes, odds are that they will return intact for another run for the Summoner’s Cup.