The 2020 League of Legends Spring Split has officially begun as of China’s first week last week. Since the Chinese league starts earlier than everyone else, in order to make up for its two-week break for Chinese New Year, the rest of the world was watching to see who would begin the season on a high note and who would falter.
The shining star of Week 1 was underdog team eStar. Made up of primarily young players, eStar’s first victory over Rogue Warriors was something of a surprise, but it was a 2-1 series and the kind of series that, in a month, we expect to have forgotten about.
Their 2-1 victory over FunPlus Phoenix, on the other hand, won’t soon be forgotten. The reigning LPL and World Champions lost a close, bloody series to the young squad, led by bot laner Wink. Perhaps the most important part of the win was that eStar didn’t play a perfect game. This wasn’t a situation where they simply play the best series of their lives. There were mistakes. There were lost fights and moments where it seemed like FPX would pull it back and win, like they were expected to. But eStar didn’t let those moments define the series and overcame them, something which often feels difficult for less experienced teams to do.
On the FunPlus Phoenix side, it was a difficult week. A 1-2 loss to 2018 World Champions Invictus Gaming was probably forgivable, but a 1-2 loss to a team most people hadn’t heard of has many people already asking if this phoenix is falling back down to ashes. New top laner Khan, a fan favorite from Korea, didn’t pull out the carry performances that were expected of him.
Thankfully for FPX, championships aren’t decided based on the first week, and the Chinese majority squad will have another nine weeks of play to improve upon their performance. The two-week break for Chinese New Year will also give FPX, and all 16 of the other teams, a chance to improve on team cohesion.
LPL’s first week was also the first showing of the new champion Sett in professional play. The champ had two picks, both in top lane, and ended up 1-1 after a very poor game into a Vladimir by Flandre of LNG. JD Gaming’s Zoom had a much better game on the new champ, showing off Sett’s abilities against a tank top lane. This helps to highlight why Flandre’s choice to blind-pick Sett was unwise, as it allowed the very ranged Vladimir to be snagged to go into him. However, given the current bruiser top meta, Sett will likely see a high amount of play as a counterpick to especially close-range bruisers.
As the other major regions begin this weekend, the rest of the world will attempt to build on what LPL has started as we enter the first true weekend of the League of Legends season and wait to see which teams can rise to the challenge and take the first step to becoming champions.
Ashton Stansel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.