Back to Ashes: FunPlus Phoenix Fail to Defend Their Worlds Title

League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo courtesy of Riot Games. /

FunPlus Phoenix have failed to qualify for Worlds 2020.

It’s an exciting time to be a League of Legends esports fan as the biggest and best teams are gearing up for the 2020 World Championship. But one team may be noticeably absent during this year’s event, the defending champions FunPlus Phoenix.

During the Spring Split, the 2019 World Champions finished third in the LPL regular season then went on to achieve the same feat during the playoffs. At this point, FPX looked destined for playoffs.

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It all went downhill in the Summer Split, though, as they fell to an eighth-place finish during the regular season and lost their opening playoffs series against Victory5. This ended their chances of repeating their route to the 2019 World Championship through winning the LPL Summer Split.

FunPlus accrued enough championship points to qualify for the LPL regional finals, their final opportunity to claim a place at Worlds by winning back-to-back best-of-five series against familiar foe Invictus Gaming and either LGD or Suning.

In the first round, they faced Invictus Gaming. Despite eliminating their opponents during Worlds last year, they could not repeat the result. FunPlus Phoenix were eliminated from the LPL regional finals in a 3-2 defeat, ending their season and shattering any chances of defending their Worlds title.

Though disappointed, FPX shouldn’t be too disappointed as defending a World Championship title is one of the most difficult tasks in League of Legends. Since Season 1, just one organization has managed to lift the trophy in consecutive years – SK Telecom T1 in 2015 and 2016. The South Korean team almost completed a three-peat but fell to Samsung Galaxy in the 2017 final.

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Watching the reigning champions attempt to reclaim their crown is always one of the most exciting storylines at Worlds, but that won’t be possible this year. After their meteoric rise to the top last year, the ashes of FunPlus Phoenix have burned out.