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Photo by: ESL | Helena Kristiansson

After iG opened strong against TOP on day 1 of LPL 2019 Spring, it were Rogue Warriors and FunPlus Phoenix who took the stage.

RW looked forward to the series as the on-paper favourites. The org finished third and fourth in last year’s Spring and Summer splits, respectively. Their record in the regular season was even better, as they consistently finished second behind Invictus Gaming. At the same time, FPX had the reputation of a middle-of-the-table team, but their play today looked anything but.

FPX were in control from minute one of game 1, taking the first three kills of the game. RW did find the strength to retaliate and get on the board themselves, but their triumph was short-lived. A minute 15 fight at Rift Herald saw FPX take three, spawning the Herald to take down two towers mid and sprint to a 4k gold lead.

Game 2 saw a sluggish start but picked up pace in a blink of an eye at minute 11. A gank from RW went horribly wrong as their charging Sion found that all five FPX members were sitting down bot. Phoenix took a 5-1 kill lead with the majority of gold going to their Kalista, only to see their advantage melt not 5 minutes later.

After going a bit too deep past RW’s mid tower, FPX found themselves ambushed by Xuzhu’s Sejuani on the retreat. A succession of crowd controls on the staggering FPX turned into a clean ace for Rogue Warriors, and thus began the long tug-of-war of team fights.

Until the final minutes of the game, much of the team fights swayed decisively into one team’s favor or the other, but translated into no consistent stranglehold of the game. The exception was the ace-for-2 brawl at the center of the map.

The fight began with an awkward engage angle from Rogue Warriors at the southern wall of the river. Not able to reach FPX’s players reliably, RW were isolated, blocked and gunned down methodically. With Kai’Sa already farmed, RW’s players melted and as the smoke cleared, Lwx was sitting at a 10/3/2 score — far ahead of the enemy Kalista. From there, it was simple clean up duty and Phoenix took the series, and the upset of the day.

Tomorrow, Jan. 15, will see the debut of one of the new franchises in LPL. In the first match of the day SinoDragon take Edward Gaming, followed by LGD vs. Bilibili Gaming. Stay tuned to VPEsports for detailed daily recaps.

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