FunPlus Phoenix could be on the verge of a last-minute run to the 2022 LPL Spring Split Qualifiers after an inspired win over Bilibili Gaming today.
Right now, FPX sits just outside the playoff picture with a 5-7 record. After ending their recent losing streak, FPX will be looking to use this upset win to rally their playoff chances as the regular season quickly draws to a close.
Game 1 was a slow burn in favor of Bilibili Gaming, who ultimately won their only game of the series at nearly 40 minutes. Although FPX took a minimal lead of 1,000 golds in 15 minutes, the former world champions’ lead all but faded when Bilibili Gaming started stacking the dragons early. Bilibili Gaming exercised full control over neutral objectives, giving only one dragon for the duration of the first game.
By the time the mid-to-late game played out, apparently nothing was going FPX’s way. Even seemingly timely fights have been reversed, exemplified by Azir’s excellent game from FoFo it all but cemented the opener for Bilibili Gaming. After obtaining the two endgame objectives, the second Baron of Bilibili Gaming and the elder Drake, the clear leaders were able to take the first Nexus of the series.
The second game was relatively quicker. Bilibili Gaming’s early attempts at being proactive fell flat and turned into a lead for FPX. Giving leads to both FPX side laners, Xiaolaohu became his team’s strongest carry on Fiora. Applying immense pressure with Fiora’s splitpush ability, Xiaolaohu’s outstanding performance saw his team break through Bilibili Gaming’s base at 24 minutes, shortly after winning their first game of the series.
The top laner had one of his pluses active performance in the second game. Executing perfectly with Fiora, Xiaolaohu finished the series with 32% of his team’s damage share and finished with a flawless score of 9/2/5.
Game 3 was characterized by a messy start in which both teams launched countless skirmishes with varying degrees of success. After 15 minutes, Bilibili Gaming emerged as the slight leader by building up a slim advantage of 4,000 gold. But a well executed ambush on a Bilibili Gaming that stretches too far took their lead, putting the game firmly in FPX’s hands.
Although Bilibili Gaming had several players who had earned significant gold leads, primarily Breathe on Jax, the team struggled to piece together a cohesive mid to late game fight. Conceding crucial fights around neutral late-game objectives, dropping both Baron and Dragon Soul, FPX marched confidently into Bilibili Gaming’s base to claim their fifth victory of the season.
Just one game behind 10th place and a spot in the 2022 LPL Spring Split Qualifiers, FPX will be looking to build on their success against Bilibili Gaming. FPX’s next match will be directly against their 10th place competition, OMG, on March 11.
For Bilibili Gaming, the team is still expected to qualify for the playoffs despite their recent downtrend. The team had already struggled for the top four at the start of the season and showed clear aptitude in the current meta. But after a tough streak, Bilibili Gaming will be looking to bounce back in their next game against current No. 1 spot holders Victory Five.