G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix Advance to the 2019 World Championship Finals
The 2019 LoL World Championship finals match-up is finally official: G2 Esports will be taking on FunPlus Phoenix in what can rightfully be considered as one of the most hyped up Best of 5s in League’s history. To make matters even more interesting, their paths up to this point were at once both fascinating and utterly dominant. There’s no doubt on anyone’s mind that these are the two best teams in the world at this point in time. They share many of the same virtues, but are also considerably different.
Playing to Their Strengths
FunPlus completely decimated Invictus Gaming in a much anticipated clash and, in doing so, had eliminated the defending champions on their way to the LoL 2019 World Championship Finals. There was some back-and-forth action overall, but once the dust settled it was evident that FunPlus was the better team in every regard. Their individual play as well as stellar team fighting completely shut down Invictus from the very get-go. And they didn’t crumble under the pressure that comes with playing against Song “Rookie” Eui-jin and Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok. To them, it was just another day at the office, and whom they were up against made no difference.
But it was their willingness to follow through on any engage or play that was most astounding. They often went for “50/50” plays but they did so with absolute confidence. When you have all five players engaging in a split of a second, then the odds of attaining success increase drastically. It was an absolute masterclass, and it confirmed a very simple fact: China overtook Korea last year as the best and most dominant region and has no intention of slowing down. They have the experience, the infrastructure, the mechanical prowess and the willingness to skirmish in every stage of the game.
Sometimes that’s a double-edged sword, but when they manage to impose their will and playstyle, there aren’t many teams in the world that can keep up. Opposite them this Sunday, however, is one that very well could — and they might be the only one.
G2 Esports were rightfully considered as one of the biggest favorites to win the whole tournament, but it also felt like they were no longer the unstoppable behemoth like in months past. They nearly lost their throne to Fnatic in two back-to-back five-game barnburners, and looked quite inconsistent on multiple occasions. But when the going gets rough, G2 Esports always find a way to persevere. This Worlds was no different. They always win when they absolutely have to, and they still find new and exciting ways to surprise us, even after a whole calendar year’s worth of dominance.
Their 3-1 win over the perennial LCK titans SKT T1 showcased their strengths (of which there are many), but also a couple of flaws. But we always knew they were imperfect, and we also knew that it really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
With two legendary giants clashing on the biggest of stages, it was only natural that a lot of people expected fireworks. We all knew what these players were capable of, and we wanted to see a series for the ages. Did it deliver?
It did. And then some.
A Chmpionship to Remember
It was so big, in fact, that it broke a very important record: it became the most-watched esports event in history. This one series peaked at almost four million concurrent viewers (China excluded). This seismic achievement was somewhat expected, as it’s not often that we’re blessed with such high octane, top-tier League of Legends — a match that, in a way, was years in the making.
You know you’re watching peak League of Legends when you see the greatest player of all time shaking after making such a big misplay. This four-game series was simply mind-blowing, and it exemplified the many reasons why we love watching competitive League. When everything’s on the line and when the pressure is mounting, it’s hard not to be mesmerized and glued to the edge of your seat.
G2 has yet to lose a Best of 5 this year. Let that one sink in. They’ve won every tournament they were a part of, and they did so with staggering ease (at least more often than not). The times when they were challenged were few and far between. They were so infrequent, in fact, that they looked rather unbeatable when they were playing at their peak. And even though multiple teams brought them to the brink of defeat, no one was able to get the job done.
Could FunPlus succeed where others have failed? We simply cannot know at this point in time, but the level of play which they have displayed over the last couple of weeks was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Will they find a way to neutralize a team as stacked and capable as G2 Esports, a team that dominated throughout the year regardless of meta or opponent?
Sunday can’t come soon enough, that’s for sure.
There’s a lot on the line for both teams. If G2 Esports gets the win, they’ll become the first team in history that would win every major competition in the entire calendar year: both splits, the Mid-Season Invitational as well as Worlds. We can also throw in Rift Rivals in there for good measure.
If FunPlus Phoenix wins the LoL 2019 World Championship finals, they will complete one of the quickest rises to stardom in competitive League’s history — from a team no one really knew to being the World Champions in a matter of months. Their win would also signal that China is at the very top for a reason, and that they’re here to stay; they would tell the world that they’re no longer playing second-fiddle to Korea but have, instead, taken over.
This Sunday will give us one of the most exciting and important Best of 5s in competitive League’s history. Mark your calendars folks, because this is going to be one series you do not want to miss!