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FunPlus Phoenix and Royal Never Give Up already met in the finals back in 2019 LPL Summer, when FPX won 3-1, so some may say the script has already been written. But this is no longer the same RNG, who have we come to know under Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao.
FunPlus Phoenix vs Royal Never Give Up
Sunday, April 18 at 17:00 CST
Strong Pieces with Quality Gaps
Having reclaimed the LPL regular-season title for the first time since 2017, this iteration of Royal Never Give Up is undeniably the best we have seen in a very long time. They field some of the best players in several positions, but there are a couple of players on this team that aren’t exactly elite.
Saying some RNG players “aren’t elite” might be a bit disrespectful, but it does hold true relative to the quality of players in the league. Two individuals who we don’t deem to be one of the best in the LPL are mid laner Yuan “Cryin” Cheng-Wei and ADC Chen “GALA” Wei, granted they can both have their moments so it’s not like they’re a liability.
On the other side, we have top laner Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao, who is RNG’s key player and one who RNG like to play around. Remember the “protect the puppy” strategy with Uzi? It’s not necessarily like that, but he’s essentially the mian carry of this team.
RNG tend to win games by playing around Xiaohu which has its strengths and weaknesses. Especially when they face teams that know how to counter that e.g. FPX in their previous outing.
Royal Never Give Up Struggle Against Elite Teams
One thing we can take from RNG’s performances this season, and mainly their run through the playoffs is that they tend to perform well against weaker sides, but struggle against elite teams.
Last time out, FPX demolished RNG 3-0 by exploiting RNG’s tendency to play around Xiaohu, which might be one of RNG’s few weaknesses, but it’s a rather big one. And it’s not like RNG aren’t able to use different strategies – they just seem like they prefer one and they stick to it.
Saying RNG struggle against stronger teams after their 3-2 win against EDward Gaming might seem like a wrong assessment. But you can’t really say RNG were that much better team that day.
Had EDG showed up in the semis and not flipped the game with a dragon fight in game five, RNG wouldn’t even be here. But they also beat Top Esports right? Yes.. with a backdoor.
Of course, it was not all bad, but you can’t really praise RNG too much for winning games like that. They have the potential, but we have yet to see it pushed to its fullest.
FunPlus Phoenix Trump RNG in Almost All Metrics
If we look at stats alone, FunPlus Phoenix are a much better team than RNG, and while numbers don’t necessarily take into account all the circumstances, they definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
FPX boast better numbers than RNG across the board, which might seem weird considering RNG are your LPL Spring regular-season champions. However, that’s mostly because RNG haven’t been playing as well in the playoffs.
If we look at the Dragon, Herald, and Baron control numbers, RNG are slightly more efficient, largely because they tend to play around objectives. But even here the gap is not as big.
|Team/Stat||Dragon control||Herald Control||Baron Control|
Can FPX 3-0 RNG Again?
RNG haven’t impressed during playoffs, and their numbers aren’t exactly inspiring, so it’s hard to make a case for them. Even though they will likely step up their game for the finals, It’s hard to imagine a world where RNG outperform FPX with the way they’ve been playing of late.
FPX biggest advantage over RNG is overall stronger laners. RNG’s best player (Xiaohu) will face off against the reigning world champion Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, who is undeniably the best top laner in the league. And let’s not forget GALA will need to take on Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang, who is easily one of the top-three ADCs in LPL.
Other lanes can go either way, but even there, we would give a slight edge to FPX players.
So how exactly can RNG win here? Well, one way would be to commit (another) robbery as they did against Top and EDG, but for that to happen, FPX will have to make mistakes in crucial moments.
While FPX are the type of team that could dig their own hole, they are generally fairly consistent and unlike other teams (Top) rarely drop leads and put themselves in a losing position.
FunPlus Phoenix vs Royal Never Give Up Betting Picks
Everything points more towards a commanding win for FPX rather than anything else. Even though it’s scary betting against a team with massive potential such as RNG, they haven’t really shown what they’re capable of yet and it seems unlikely that will change on Sunday.
RNG definitely have the tools to keep this match close, but the small advantages FPX have should tip the scale in their favour more times than not. For that reason, it’s not entirely unlikely RNG will win one map, but I don’t expect much more from them.
Prediction: FunPlus Phoenix -1.5 maps – 1.990 Pinnacle
Prediction: FunPlus Phoenix -2.5 maps – 4.08 Pinnacle