Top Esports Win Demacia Cup after Dramatic Reverse Sweep | RiftFeed
FunPlus Phoenix nearly upset the favorites

Top Esports Win Demacia Cup after Dramatic Reverse Sweep

Esports
Top Esports-Win
After missing Worlds 2021, Top Esports are now the Demacia Cup Champions! | © Riot Games

After a five-game series, Top Esports won the LPL’s prestigious Demacia Cup tournament. Many expected a victory from this star-studded roster, but a spirited start by FunPlus Phoenix nearly caused an upset and forced the favorites to take three consecutive wins to secure the cup.

With the World Championship far behind us and spring split still weeks away, the Demacia Cup is December’s most prestigious League of Legends event. This year, it featured all 17 LPL teams, the three best-performing teams of the lower LDL league, and four amateur teams, and took place over 10 action-packed days. In the end, two teams were left standing for the finals: Top Esports and FunPlus Phoenix.

Top Esports finished the LPL summer playoff in 7th place after a loss to LNG, but made several improvements to their roster in the off-season and were seen as one of the big contenders for the tournament and for 2022. They went 3-1 in the group stage to get through the playoffs, where they swept first Royal Never Give Up and then Invictus Gaming to get their finals spot.

FunPlus Phoenix, meanwhile, were the LPL spring finalists, only losing to the champions EDG. However, the team had a disappointing Worlds, where they were left fourth in the groups after a three-way tie and a loss to LEC third seed Rogue in the tiebreaker. Because of going to worlds, they got a bye to the Demacia Cup quarterfinals, where they defeated first Ultra Prime and then LNG Esports.

FPX Strike First

The summer finalists quickly showed they have no intention of handing TES an early win and came out with a very strong start in game 1. AD Carry Lin "Lwx" Wei-Xiang had a very strong start on Caitlyn and strangled his counterpart Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo. Top had a strong teamfight composition, but were unable to get good fights and even a heroic Baron steal 32 minutes in was not enough to turn the tide.

TES took the Caitlyn and Lux combination for themselves in game 2, but FunPlus still had a good start, taking early kills top and bot that denied their opponents’ splitpushing options. Despite being punished on a few overreaches, FPX stayed ahead and even a third dragon going Top’s way was not enough. A second Baron and a kill 27 minutes in saw them deny the dragon soul and set up a siege around the enemy base. Four minutes later, a single kill broke the floodgates and they were left just one win away from the cup.

Top Esports Rally

The final step, however, is sometimes the hardest. After struggling in the first two games, Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang finally got his signature Viego and with it, he punished his former team. FPX had a good start in the bot lane, where Lwx’s Jinx got an early kill, and a 3-0 fight 14 minutes in nearly saw them turn the game around - only to overreach and get punished a few minutes later. TES took an early Baron and used it to open their opponents’ base, before a 4-2 27 minutes in saw Top Esport take the win.

The favorites carried that momentum in game 4, where Tian and his mid laner Zhuo "knight" Ding took several kills in the early game and unlocked Zhang "Zoom" Xing-Ran on Tryndamere.  FPX fought back hard in the mid-game, however, even getting the Hextech soul. A clutch flank just before the elder dragon netted TES two kills, however, and with elder dragon buff and Baron, they closed the game out.

The final game once more saw Top start strong, getting first kill top and first turret for Jackeylove in the botlane and with them, a big early lead. With both Ziggs and Twisted Fate fed from the first 15 minutes, TES controlled the game. A big fight 20 minutes in ended in a 4-1 and a Baron for TES, and it took them just five more minutes to end the game and win the series.

It was a hard series at first, but Top Esports triumphed and won the Demacia Cup for a second year in a row. Still, it was a good performance by FPX, who showed that their new roster has great potential.

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