After four days of Mid-Season Cup action between the LPL and LCK’s top teams, Top Esports has emerged as champions, winning their first championship since the organization’s debut in 2019.

This MSC final saw the clash of two LPL teams who qualified for Spring Split 2020 playoffs, but did not face off against each other. FunPlus Phoenix was eliminated in the semifinal while Top Esports fell to JD Gaming in the final.

FPX successfully got their revenge on JDG during the MSC semifinals in a 3-1 victory. TES however, looked like the stronger team after sweeping Gen.G 3-0 the day before.

Game one

Paying homage to LCK’s old competitive format, game one was played in blind pick.

TES and FPX ended up with a mirror match in bot lane comprising Thresh and Varus – the strongest AD carry in the meta. Without bans, Zhuo “knight” Ding unleashed Syndra, paired with Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan’s comfort pick, Lee Sin, for a heavy burst combo.

FPX drafted a team fighting composition, relying on Varus and Graves for DPS while Wukong and Galio front line.

As expected, bot traded frequent blows in lane and after pots were burnt and HP bars lowered, Karsa and Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang paid a visit to reap a kill each.

In the early game, things seemed to be going well for FPX. Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang Doinb on Galio teleported top for a kill onto Bai “369” Jia-Hao’s Ornn – his second death in lane. However, with resources invested top side, TES easily took the first Mountain Dragon at bot.

From there, it became a story about TES capturing every dragon, every Herald, and every Baron. Karsa found picks on members of FPX over and over, fully maximizing Lee Sin’s mid game power spike.

knight was also having a field day on Syndra, one-shotting Lin “Lwx” Wei-Xiang’s Varus with more than ten stacks on Mejai’s. FPX simply could not contest any objectives because the moment their carry steps into Syndra’s range, they are wiped off the map.

For chalking up 80% kill participation pre-15 minutes with a perfect 5/0/6 KDA, Karsa was awarded the MVP of game one.

Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Game two

Now that bans were available for both teams, Varus and Syndra did not see the light of day for the rest of the series.

The next top tier AD carry after Varus is Aphelios, who was first picked by FPX on blue side. Surprisingly, the team also chose Kayle for Kim “Khan” Dong-ha to scale up against Ornn in the top lane.

On TES’ side, they saved Corki as a last pick for knight, giving him a great match up against Galio in mid lane.

Down one game, FPX stepped on the pedal early in game two – and did not let go. Capitalizing on Karsa’s over commitment in the top lane, FPX were rewarded with two early kills.

Even though things were a little shaky in the mid game when knight got a triple kill and was suddenly 4/0/0 on Corki, FPX kept playing to their win condition.

With two dragons secured, FPX wanted a third to put them at Soul Point. Posturing around mid lane, the two teams traded blows and ultimates until Liu “Crisp” Qing-Song pulled the trigger. A Flash followed by Dredge Line from Nautilus gave FPX a kill and the numbers advantage to move onto dragon.

Another great fight by FPX broke out just as the fourth dragon spawned. Even though TES sniffed out Doinb’s flank on Galio with Farsight Alteration and, temporarily denied the Soul, FPX was quick to punish them for overstepping.

A fantastic Flash into taunt by Doinb completely locked down Corki for the kill. Taking down two more members of TES, FPX went on to secure Baron, Cloud Soul and a second Baron that helped them bulldoze down remaining structures in TES’ base for the win.

Game three

The third game was won by TES during the draft. Favoring Ezreal over Aphelios, they paired him with Yuumi and picked Orianna in anticipation of Doinb’s signature champion, Ryze.

Tied in kills and dragons, it was a close game at the beginning which morphed into a strong mid game for TES that could only get better.

Tipping the scales, TES found the team fight they were looking for. Catching FPX out of position in the river, TES used Lost Chapter to single out Thresh before jumping onto three members of FPX with Shockwave.

Pushing their mid game spike with Karsa on Lee Sin and Bai “369” Jia-Hao on Renekton, TES were fully in control of the Rift and the game. Together, they stretched their 5k gold lead at 20 minutes to 12k at 25 minutes against their crumbling opponents. With Baron buff and Infernal Soul, they closed it out in 30 minutes.

Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

Karsa, who had an impressive 100% kill participation within the first 15 minutes of the game, received his second MVP of the series.

Game four

Recognizing the importance of snowballing the mid game, FPX flexed Renekton to mid lane and drafted Jayce for Khan. In response, 369 pulled out Lucian top for the first time in his professional career.

Unfortunately for FPX, a series of mispositioning mistakes riddled them in this crucial game four. TES started the snowball when Karsa pathed bot to focus down the immobile Aphelios.

Even when Crisp on Blitzcrank rotated top with the intention to make a play on Lucian, Liang “yuyanjia” Jia-Yuan on Thresh arrived just in time to save his top laner, and respond with a deadly Death Sentence onto Tian’s Nidalee.

From there, it all went downhill for FPX, similar to the rest of the games that they lost this series. Choosing not to field their starter top laner Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem, this version of FPX with Khan looked different when the team had to play from behind.

yuyanjia put on a outstanding performance on Thresh, finding many picks throughout this deciding game, the fastest one in this series that ended in 27 minutes.

Winning their first-ever championship, the TES squad looked overjoyed on stage. Coming off a devastating 2-3 loss to JDG in the LPL Spring final less than a month ago, this win was important to them in more ways than one.

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