2 weeks after the region’s win during the Midseason Invitation 2021, the LPL Summer Split finally began. The split started with two former Worlds champions fighting in two different games. Invictus Gaming (IG), the 2018 Worlds champions, faced off against 2020 Worlds finalists, Suning Gaming (SN). Meanwhile, Funplux Phoenix (FPX), the 2019 Worlds champions, played Rogue Warriors (RW). Both went exactly as you would expect.
Invictus Gaming win the opening match
Heading into the LPL Summer Split, IG brought in neny instead of TheShy. With IG’s star top-laner not in the game, Suning looked to enable their own top-laner, Bin, to carry. In Game 1, that looked to be Suning’s game plan, as SofM, Suning’s jungler, gave quite a lot of attention to Bin. This forced neny to play weak-side for the game, despite being on Wukong.
While Game 1 was close for the most part, one baron was enough to secure the game for the 2020 Worlds finalists. After securing the baron, Bin and Angel diverted 3 members away from an important move from Suning: a push on mid. While Bin stayed in the top lane to distract them, Angel was able to teleport to help the mid push. This push closed out the first game of the LPL Summer Split and gave the win to Suning.
IG looked for revenge, and wanted to show that they could still win, even without TheShy. The next two games weren’t even close.
Game 2 saw IG dominate Suning, ending on a 12-1 kill score. On one hand, Suning managed to secure 4 towers against the 2018 Worlds champions. On the other, IG secured all the drakes, as well as the baron that helped them with their final push. Meanwhile, Game 3 was quite similar to Game 1, except neny was the one getting fed this game. One huge teleport flank from neny practically sealed the game for IG. While not as dominant as Game 2, IG secured the win much quicker compared to the last game.
One series isn’t enough to determine their capabilities, and the team will have a whole split to show what they can do. However, it’s safe to say that even without TheShy, IG is still more than capable of dismantling its opponents.
Funplus Phoenix leaves no room for error
As for the second match of the day, FPX looked to make a statement for the opening day. Their first series, which was up against Rogue Warriors was anything but close.
The first game of the series saw a 10-1 kill lead, and an 8k gold lead, both by 15 minutes. Literally, 2 minutes after, FPX hard pushed mid, finding 2 more kills in the process, and ending the game. Most of this was thanks to the 2020 Worlds champion top laner, Nuguri, who ended the game on a 6/0/3 KDA ratio. For context as to how dominant Nuguri was this game, the next best KDA ratio was Doinb, with 2/0/3. This just goes to show that FPX acquiring Nuguri was more than worth it.
The second game was less bloody in the early game, which was unexpected, considering both Viego and Gwen were in FPX’ hands. FPX’ gold leads came from massive CS leads in their ADC, and their jungler, as well as objectives. 2 towers, and 2 dragons, both to none, were secured by FPX. However, two team fights in the jungle secured the game for the 2019 Worlds champions. One team fight secured objectives, while the other ended the game.
Even if it was against the last-place team of Spring Split, this show of dominance was still something to behold. If FPX continues to display this level of strength, the team may find themselves a shot at another Worlds trophy.