One of the last two world champions, Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix, won't be returning to the highest League of Legends stage at the 2020 World Championship. In fact, the best any of those teams can do is secure the fourth seed for the tournament, which would put them in the Play-In stage, together with all the smaller regions of the circuit.
Both FPX and iG struggled to make a decent run in the 2020 LPL Summer Playoffs. FPX was the first to go, losing 1-3 to a surprisingly strong Victory 5 and a popping off Li "Mole" Hao-Yan in the mid lane, who made a strong argument for being one of the best mid laners in the league. By the virtue of their third-place finish in the regular season, Invictus Gaming had secured a direct seed into the second round of playoffs, but their performance wasn't much better. Led by an MVP performance by jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-Ho, LGD Gaming swept iG 3-0 in a match that lasted just over an hour.
What saved the two teams' Worlds hopes was their top 4 finish in the Spring Season but their disappointing Summer Playoffs run meant they'd start at the very bottom of the LPL Regional Finals — the mini-tournament that decides LPL's third and fourth seed. And for FPX and iG, limping into Worlds as the Play-in seed is the best they can hope for.
While both teams have had their own issues, the curse of the best-of-5 hangs dangerously over Invictus Gaming. The team has gone 483 days without a best-of-5 win in the LPL, dating back to when they won the 2019 LPL Spring Split with 3-0 over JD Gaming. And while iG was in similar trouble ahead of Worlds 2019 where they won the Gauntlet to qualify, their chances right now are looking much grimmer.
FPX and iG will play their Regional Finals match on August 29. The loser stays home, the winner gets to fight another day.
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