When Riot Games released the 2019 Worlds anthem, no one realized they also leaked the script for the tournament. Finishing the series 3–0, FunPlus Phoenix flew through finals to collect the Summoner’s Cup.
Hot after the G2 versus SKT semi-finals, everyone predicted a G2 win. SKT was widely considered the best team at the tournament, but G2 managed a 3–1 victory over the anticipated champions. A win against FPX seemed natural and was widely agreed upon at the caster desk.
But FPX pulled off the unexpected.
Many teams have been flustered by G2’s creativity and aggressive playstyle. But not only did FPX come to the finals calm and prepared, G2 made it harder for themselves. FPX drafted superior compositions in every game.
Specifically in Game One, G2 opted to draft a Mid Lane Pyke with the Predator keystone. Mid Lane Pyke hopes to push his wave and influence the map. However, G2 picked this Pyke into FPX’s unique flex pick, Mid Lane/Support Nautilus. Nautilus provides oppressive crowd control and tankiness. More importantly, he has a better wave clear than Pyke. Nautilus’ own wave clear completely prevented the opportunity for Pyke to find relevant roam opportunities. And with Pyke’s nonexistent solo kill pressure, G2’s Mid Lane was nullified.
In Game Three, G2 picked up Veigar. This pick, although gaining in popularity, is still a niche in its use. Veigar is best used when facing hard engage, melee comps that let him abuse his cage. FPX’s comp allowed them to easily space around the Veigar or circumvent the crowd control. Many microdecisions like this during G2’s draft pricked them during the games. Just in the draft phases, FPX already held a major advantage to contribute towards their eventual win.
However, better drafting alone doesn’t create a world champion. All of FPX’s players played like gears in a well-oiled machine.
Before 2019, FPX was not a team to note. They formed in 2017, achieving nothing of note. In 2018, FPX never made it past the first round of the LPL playoffs. But at the start of this season, FPX received new players Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang and Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang. Their addition created the team that would dominate the LPL.
They placed first place in both the Spring and Summer regular season, moving on to win the Summer Playoffs. And although FPX is known for its dominant individuals, what granted them the championship is their incredible teamplay taking over the pace of the game.
Stylistically, G2 is very similar to FPX. They both have strong individuals with a leaning towards high-tempo, aggressive play. But in nearly every move this series, FPX coordinated more team members than G2, forcing advantages or playing around their composition’s team fighting ability.
G2 were unable to keep up with FPX due to this coordination and crumpled to their aggression. To top it all off, FPX’s ADC, Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang, had a perfect series. He won the championship with a Kill-Death-Assist score of 21/0/14. He finished the Final Stage without a single death and averaged seven kills per game. When an ADC has that sort of score in Season Nine, it’s easy to tell that the whole team is thriving.
G2 put up a good fight. They proved themselves as the best in Europe and also a top international contender. But at the end of the day, FPX proved the better team. FunPlus Phoenix came out on top in nearly every aspect of play. Their 3–0 win creates history, sparking an era of LPL dominance with the region’s second World Championship in a row.
Written by Devon Huge
Originally published at www.esportznetwork.com on November 11, 2019.