The LoL Esports off-season is over, and with it, drought of competitive play has finally concluded. On January 13th, rain will fall in the form of the first match of the 2020 LPL Spring Split. The opening showdown will feature FunPlus Phoenix, the defending World champion, against 2018 World champion Invictus Gaming.
The last time FPX and IG met was the 2019 World Championship Semifinals. FPX had seemingly stabilized from its shaky Group B performance, barely managing to capture its expected 1st seed, and a surging Invictus Gaming had exceeded expectations in Group D, ousting Team Liquid from Worlds 2019 in the final match of the Group Stage and running through Griffin in the Quarterfinals despite the young South Korean squad coming into the Knockout Stage as favorites.
FunPlus Phoenix triumphed over Invictus Gaming 3-1 in the Semifinals, personally dethroning the previous world champion on its way to capturing the crown for itself, but a few new faces enter the rematch that will kick off the 2020 LoL Esports season.
Kim "Khan" Dong-ha parted ways with SK Telecom T1 after Worlds 2019, and was signed by FPX to share the Top Lane position with the re-signed Kim "GimGoon" Han-saem. Khan will assumedly start against the 2020 Invictus Gaming squad, whose roster has remained intact throughout the off-season save for Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo, who left IG in the off-season and has yet to be signed to a team.
Former Vici Gaming Bot Lane duo, AD Carry Ding “Puff” Wang and Support Su “Southwind” Zhi-Li, were signed by IG in the off-season, and will assumedly start against FPX in place of the departed Jackeylove and his former Bot Lane partner Wang “Baolan” Liu-Yi. While Puff is currently the only AD Carry on IG's roster, it is possible that IG is looking for a replacement partner for Baolan given the latter's previously elite form in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
China's LPL is the first major region to kick off its Spring Split in 2020. Europe's LEC 2020 Spring Split begins on Friday, January 24, and North America's LCS kicks its Spring Split off one day later on Saturday, January 25. Lastly, South Korea's LCK 2020 Spring Split will begin on Wednesday, February 5.