2019 was the perfect year for FunPlus Phoenix, or FPX, to win the Summoner’s Cup.
No, it’s not because they were never the tournament favorites, or that this was meant to be mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang’s last run before retirement, or even that they beat down G2 Esports, or G2, the best European team in history, on their home turf in Paris, France.
The two songs written and released for the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, “Phoenix” and “GIANTS,” could have been written specifically for FPX’s road to the top.
Fly, phoenix, fly
“Phoenix” obviously can refer to FPX’s namesake, but there’s more to it than the team’s logo.
In the Worlds’ 2019 theme, Chrissy Costanza (who also featured in “Legends Never Die,” the 2017 Worlds song) sings: “It’s time for a new empire/ Go bury your demons then tear down the ceiling/ Phoenix, fly.”
This year, fans loved to say that the “new empire” was Europe’s. With their region led by the newly formed, incredibly talented G2, it seemed like the dawn of a new age for European League of Legends.
Clearly, they misunderstood the prophecy. FPX took home the title for the League of Legends Pro League, or LPL — the Chinese competitive league — for the second year in a row, after Invictus Gaming became the first Chinese team to ever win the tournament in 2018. It is, in fact, the LPL’s empire, solidified by the rising stars of FPX.
True Damage, the latest musical group from the League of Legends universe, is a hip-hop collective featuring singing, rapping, beautifully animated characters from the game. “GIANTS” is its first song.
The music video was watched 1.5 million times after it debuted live onstage at the finals opening ceremony — it currently sits at more than 12 million views. The song, however, wasn’t the only surprise smash hit onstage.
The chorus reads: “You thought that we were weak, but we comin’ right back/ This time, you’re gonna see how we do it like that/ We’re livin’ like giants, yeah, giants/ We’re bigger than giants, we’re giants.”
On Sunday, FPX proved that they were far bigger than G2’s formidable reputation. Most analysts thought the European team would win 3-1, and many fans even predicted a 3-0 G2 victory.
The first game was extremely close; team fights and map control switched hands constantly. It was clear that both teams were ready to make bold plays, as they fought for the finals victory, and FPX didn’t truly get ahead until about 30 minutes into the 40-minute long match.
The following two games, however, were not even close. FPX was in complete control, and G2 looked nothing like the force it was supposed to be.
Two members of FPX did not die at all throughout the series, until top laner Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem died for the first time in the last three seconds of game three. Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang became the first player to go deathless in a world championship finals, a feat that was thought to be nearly impossible.
FPX were giants beyond anyone’s imagination, definitively sweeping the kings of Europe for their first Worlds trophy.