Four weeks are down in the 2019 LPL Spring Split. FunPlus Phoenix have risen to the top of the standings, while LGD Gaming broke out of last place. We take a look back at the match results, top storylines, best plays, and standout individual performances from the past week in China.
LGD Smack Invitus Gaming
Invictus Gaming may have been without JackeyLove, but that shouldn’t matter against the last place team in the LPL, right? It turns out that they did miss him, at least for one week.
LGD started the series off with a bang. Rookie’s Syndra was overextended pushing mid lane and was punished by the combination of Yuuki’s Lissandra and Condi’s Olaf. LGD picked up First Blood and got both of Rookie’s summoner spells while spending none of their own.
LGD went on to pick up the first 6 kills in game 1, against what many considered to be the best laning team in the world to enter 2019. IG haven’t looked as good so far in 2019 as they try to shake off the World Championship hangover, but LGD are a team that had a chance to go winless in the Spring Split.
IG did fight back in that first game. LGD took a second mountain drake at 25 minutes, but IG were able to pick up 3 kills on the back end of the fight and transition that to a free Baron take. LGD were still up in gold, but IG closed the gap considerably and had the buff to take more.
Instead, LGD caught out West and Baolan mid lane with a good engage from Yuuki’s Lissandra. Ning fell moments later and LGD easily stalled out the Baron buff.
IG picked up their second infernal drake at 30 minutes, and again it looked like IG was on the way back. That would be the last positive moment for IG in the game.
LGD had the ability with their Lissandra and Gragas to pick their fights, while IG were reliant on stymieing an LGD engage. West could never get off damage against LGD’s dive team and IG succumbed to LGD in 38 minutes.
IG swapped in TheShy for Duke in game 2, but he was in for a rude introduction. His Ryze was standing in the top river brush just scouting for an invade when he was pincered by Fiddlesticks and Urgot to give up First Blood before minions spawned.
Once again LGD got the early lead, picking up the first three kills of the game and 9 of the first 12. This time they were able to use that lead to take the early drakes and were rewarded with back-to-back infernal spawns.
LGD forced Baron just after 22 minutes, capitalizing on the two infernal drakes they had taken earlier. They were able to finish it and win the ensuing fight 5 kills to 2, giving them a 4k gold lead.
After taking inhibitors in IG’s base, LGD had the great fortune of taking another infernal drake as their Baron expired. With 3 infernals, another Baron, and a 9k gold lead, LGD pushed through IG’s base to complete the sweep of the defending world champions.
The series win has to be huge for LGD Gaming, pulling them up out of last place and giving them some momentum to build on. Kramer had his best series as a member of the team, though it was against IG’s backup ADC.
Invictus Gaming no doubt missed JackeyLove as West was outmatched throughout the series, but the loss is a huge disappointment nonetheless. Rookie and TheShy did not look their usual selves and IG still has a lot to work on in terms of their team fighting and fight selection.
After a month and a half long wait, Uzi finally returned to the Royal Never Give Up starting lineup this past week. Not so coincidentally, RNG had their best looking games of the young season.
In his first series against Vici Gaming, Uzi put up score lines of 3/1/4 on Lucian and 0/1/1 on Sivir. Those might not be the eye-popping numbers that fans want to see, but the team was playing better together, and the games were interesting, to say the least.
Game 2 against VG ended when five members of Vici Gaming tried to do Baron while Uzi’s Sivir and AmazingJ’s Yorick pushed all the way from bot tier 2 turret through the Nexus.
To be fair, there are two ways to look at the end of that game. Of course, it was a mistake by Vici Gaming to let it get to that point. You could see that they felt like they had to make a play to deal with the split push, but they certainly didn’t need all five members on Baron when only two were left by RNG to contest.
On RNG’s side, though, it was a great call. They took a negative situation — losing Ming — and turned it around on VG by making a move of their own. That Uzi was there with AmazingJ is all the more reason to suspect that he had a part in making the game-winning call.
In the series against EDG, we saw more of the classic carry performances from Uzi — 6/0/8 on Kai’Sa and 4/1/6 on Lucian.
More exciting than his play was how well RNG team fought together in his return. Remember, Royal Never Give Up were the favorites from the LPL heading into the 2018 World Championship, not IG. That was in large part due to how much better they were at team fighting. RNG ran into a poor meta for them and a team whose strength was playing to a 1-3-1 split push every game.
With Uzi back in the fold, RNG look like they can make some noise again in 2019.
FunPlus Phoenix Stay Perfect
Another week, another win for LPL’s surprise top team.
Team WE were no match for FunPlus PhoeniX in this contest. The first contest saw FPX hold WE to 0 turret takes over the course of the game. Doinb finished with a perfect 9/0/3 K/D/A, while WE’s top side of Poss, Magic, and xiye combined for a 0/9/10 score. FPX held a gold lead of 13k before finishing the Nexus in 33 minutes.
Game 2 wasn’t much better, although WE did secure two turrets in this one. Doinb played Lissandra again, and though he died this game on his way to a 9/3/11 score, he bought a Mejai’s Soulstealer and was full build by the time the game ended in 29 minutes.
It was no surprise that FPX ran over WE, but nothing was certain after LGD upset IG earlier in the week.
Player of the Week: Kramer
It hasn’t been an easy season so far for LGD Gaming, but Kramer helped them find their signature — albeit first — win of the season. Yes, the caveat must be made that JackeyLove was unavailable to play, but we’re still talking about the reigning world champions. Kramer played Kai’Sa in both games, finishing 4/2/5 in game 1 before popping off to the tune of 13/2/9 in game 2.
Kramer doesn’t rate highly statistically in the LPL, though some of that can be contributed to being on a struggling team. However, he does rank top 5 for ADC in both kill share at 33.3% and gold share at 24.5%. LGD Gaming are giving Kramer gold and he’s using it well, easily dwarfing his solo laners in kills.
LGD are reliant on Kramer right now, but they could be getting a buff given the direction the game is heading. ADCs are on the rise with recent changes and buffs to crit, so teams that run through their bot lane will be on the rise. Hopefully, for LGD, that means more matches like Kramer had against Invictus Gaming are in store.