Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games
We’re now only a couple days away from the Super Bowl of esports. The grand finals of the League of Legends World Championship gets underway this Sunday at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France. Over the last month, the number of teams left have been whittled down to just two. The LPL’s (China) FunPlus Phoenix vs the LEC’s (Europe) G2 Esports are all that remain.
It goes without saying that a win from G2 would be one of the biggest esports stories of the year. That isn’t to say G2 is some underdog. In fact, many people consider them to be the favorite. However, not only would it mark the first time a western team has won since Season 1, it would also be a European team winning the ultimate prize in front of a European crowd. Conversely, a loss would lend credence to a narrative that the LEC is good enough to get to the big dance, but not good enough to win. That isn’t fair to G2, given that it was FNatic who made it to the finals last year. However, it is the narrative you’ll see if Europe goes home as runners up again.
For FunPlus Phoenix, a win would be the end cap on one of the more incredible years in esports. For a team that most people outside of China had never heard of, their dominance this season has been unbelievable. Even as group stages were getting under way, murmurs could already be heard that FunPlus might be the best team in the world. It was easy to overlook them with powerhouses Royal Never Give Up and last year’s champions Invictus Gaming also coming out of the LPL. Everyone’s watching now however, as a team that had to get through the play-in stages is now competing to be the world’s best.
So who’s going to win? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. This feels like one of the more evenly matched finals in a long time. G2 Esports seems to have more on the line in front of a home crowd, not to mention both Caps and Perkz on their team. However, FunPlus Phoenix is a team that has shown a great ability to adapt and dominate. Their brawl with Invictus Gaming last week is one I won’t soon forget.
I haven’t given G2 a fair shake this year. I’ll be the first to admit it. While I believed they were a great team, I was worried the level of competition they faced in Europe wouldn’t prepare them for the international stage. They’ve proven me wrong on that. I still think they’re going to need a little bit of luck to get over the hump against FunPlus. A weird play around baron, a heimer pick popping off, or maybe an early invade going their way. SOMETHING to tip the scales in their favor. But this team has that special air about them, that air of destiny, and that’s why I’m picking them to come out on top on Sunday.
Final Prediction: G2 Wins 3-1 (Sorry for the curse if you get 0-3’d in front of your home crowd)
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