FunPlus Phoenix defeated Ultra Prime in a back-and-forth three-game series today in which FPX AD carry Lwx showcased his strengths on the meta-defining Zeri pick.

Both teams entered today’s match looking to boost their place in the 2022 LPL Spring Split standings with the season approaching its halfway mark. For FPX, today’s match was about acquiring more security in their borderline playoff position while UP looked to jump back into the postseason picture.

An even battle until the final fight

Game one began with FPX Gori at a two-kill advantage at six minutes after a successful skirmish with jungler Clid. It looked like FPX were set to begin their early-game snowball before the UP bot lane reversed the initial FPX bot side initiation and grabbed two kills of their own.

From here, both League of Legends teams battled evenly throughout the entire game. The gold difference between both teams remained under 4,000 throughout the entirety of the game and the kill count remained within two kills until the end.

It wasn’t until the 29-minute mark that a fight broke out in the bot side river. UP picked off FPX support Hang and brought the fight to an immediate advantage in favor of UP. It looked like UP were going to win the fight and possibly the game when they brought FPX top laner Xialaohu down to a sliver of health before Clid came in, burst UP jungler H4cker, and landed a clutch knock up onto Elk.

With the main damage source on UP gone, FPX burst down the remainder of UP. FPX then ended the game through the mid lane, wrapping up an evenly fought 30-minute battle from both sides.

Screengrab via LPL

Elk’s Jinx scales up to win pivotal late-game fights

Game two immediately began with an UP bot lane solo kill onto Hiang. Lwx traded a kill onto Shiauc before Elk grabbed his second kill shortly after onto the FPX ADC. At the 10-minute mark, UP had control of mid and bottom while FPX top laner Xialaohu acquired a slight 20 CS gold lead. 

Because of the allocation of pressure, UP continued to grab the early game dragons and amassed three at 18 minutes. This lead was built up with Elk helping UP gain more control of the map and objectives as they pathed toward Baron at 22 minutes.

But a lack of mid priority forced UP off the initial Baron play when FPX regained vision around the big objective. This resulted in FPX being able to land a pick onto H4cker and using it to grab their first dragon of the game. 

From here, FPX began to climb their way back into the game due to the mispositioning on the UP side alongside some thrifty engagements from FPX. They grabbed the Baron but were thwarted by the late-game damage from Elk’s Jinx, who helped UP climb back in the game when they killed four FPX members and the Elder Dragon. UP used this to build up map pressure before they landed an ace onto the FPX side and brought the series to game three.

Screengrab via LPL

Lwx leads FPX to victory with carry Zeri performance

The final game was a battle between the two ADC power picks of Zeri for FPX and Jinx for UP. And it immediately went south for Elk when Clid came down to the bot lane for a level two gank and FPX grabbed first blood on the ADC. FPX then used this slight advantage on Lwx to path toward the top side and the Zeri grabbed two more kills, putting the champ at a 3/0/1 scoreline at nine minutes.

H4cker attempted to bring UP back into the game, but FPX continued to build an advantage through Zeri’s mobility and the bottom lane duo kept applying pressure toward the top side river. 

The Zeri pick continued to prove pivotal. She was a driving force behind the quick map rotations on the FPX side as they transitioned their top side pressure back to the bottom lane.

UP initiated a fight on this bot lane siege, but Lwx’s Zeri ended up killing four on the side of UP, which saw FPX increase their gold lead to 10,000. They grabbed the Baron before ultimately ending both the game and series—and Lwx showcased why FPX built their team around him going into 2022. He ended the game with a 10/1/9 scoreline on Zeri.

Screengrab via LPL
Image via Riot Games

The ADC role remains pivotal in the LPL meta, facilitated by early-game junglers that can help these carries scale up like Xin Zhao. And the release of League’s newest champion Zeri has continued to cement this meta in the LPL.

In just five days, Zeri has already crept up to being the fifth most-played ADC this split in the LPL, according to Oracle’s Elixir. In her 13 game appearances so far, she boasts a 62-percent win rate and has been picked or banned in 93.5 percent of games in the LPL.

Today’s match was a battle between both teams’ ADCs. FPX’s Lwx ultimately came out on top and won player of the series for his stellar play on the new champion.

What this win means for FPX?

With this victory, FPX have jumped up to seventh place in the 2022 LPL Spring Split standings and now have a 4-3 record. They’ll look to continue their race up the LPL standings when they take on the undefeated EDward Gaming on Feb. 18.

For UP, this is their fifth match loss of the season. The team now sit at 8-11 in singular games, but 2-5 on the season. UP continue to show promise in all of their matches but have faltered in the final game of each series. 

They’re in 12th place, just shy of a playoff seed behind Anyone’s Legend, who actually have a lower single-game win record than UP. UP will look to regain their pre-Lunar New Year form against WBG on Feb. 18.