FunPlus Phoenix’s series against JD Gaming is the best you’ll watch so far in the LPL Spring 2021 playoffs. After defeating Rare Atom 3-1, FunPlus Phoenix moved up Round 3 to meet JD Gaming, which they won in style.
It wasn’t just the crazy number of team fights, or the way both teams kept biting back at each other, or even beautiful micro plays. When it came to the punch, FunPlus Phoenix executed pincer movements like no other.
Both teams were neck and neck in game one in terms of kills and gold. FunPlus Phoenix however, had full dragon control. After securing their third dragon to reach Soul Point, JD Gaming’s Zeng “Yagao” Qi on his signature champion, Zoe, put on a clinic.
Sniping champion after champion at maximum range, he kept JDG in the game with a triple kill.
However, when it came to late game scaling and positioning, every time JD Gaming looked like they started a favorable fight, FunPlus Phoenix always managed to turn it around.
In Christopher Nolan’s movie Tenet, a temporal pincer movement is a technique where people are put forward and backwards through time. The ones in the future gain knowledge of events transpired. They then inform the unit in the past, which gives them an upper hand. In their fictional world, they experience the sequence of events simultaneously.
In our reality, FunPlus Phoenix certainly did not come from the future, but they played as if they did. No matter the team composition, they read JD Gaming like a book. In every team fight that mattered, every single member of FunPlus Phoenix made the most perfect and calculated decisions — exactly like in Tenet.
At the 26-minute mark, FunPlus Phoenix had Baron buff, and were pushing mid lane. Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang got caught by JD Gaming, but FunPlus Phoenix responded perfectly: Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon laid down a Cannon Barrage that completely zoned off JD Gaming’s back line, while Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang’s Paranoia blinded them.
Once Nocturne nuked the AD carry, FunPlus Phoenix knocked down the split pins one by one to guarantee the first win of the series.
Game two’s early game echoed game one, where both teams were once again trading blow for blow. When Infernal Dragon spawned in the mid game, that’s when FunPlus Phoenix ramped it up.
Watch how the combined pressure of the incoming teleport and Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang on Tristana zones Lee “LokeN” Dong-wook’s Jinx off! In another pincer movement, FunPlus Phoenix completely isolates the opposing AD carry, giving all the firepower to Lwx.
With seven kills and no deaths, Lwx’s legendary Tristana ran away with the game, putting FPX up two games to none.
Even though Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok single-handedly managed to keep JD Gaming in the series in game three with spectacular mechanics, game four was the real test for both teams.
In the late game, 29 minutes in, FunPlus Phoenix had two dragons, JD Gaming had three, with both teams almost equal in gold.
After losing Mountain Dragon to JD Gaming, FunPlus Phoenix recognized that they had a positional advantage on the map. Once they pushed the minion wave in mid, all of FPX made a beeline for Baron — except one person.
At the beginning of the ultimate temporal pincer movement, Tian’s Hecarim hid in a bush in JD Gaming’s top side jungle. Totally out of sight and unknowing to JD Gaming, he swooped in from behind straight into LokeN’s Jinx.
This forced JD Gaming to turn back to help their backline, but it was too late. Waiting for just the perfect moment, Tian casted his Onslaught of Shadows ultimate to fear four as they clumped up.
Layering their AoE, Doinb’s Gravity Field further prevented JD Gaming’s escape, ending the series 3-1 with a pentakill.
How many more incredible pincer movements can FunPlus Phoenix pull off? Catch them live on Twitch on April 7 as they go up against league leaders Royal Never Give Up.