Top Esports reverse swept FunPlusPhoenix during the Grand Finals of the 2021 Demacia Cup, the off-season Chinese League of Legends tournament. They will enter the 2022 season with a lot more confidence in their squad, as they look to become the top team in the LPL.
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Top Esports’ run in the 2021 Demacia Cup
Demacia Cup is the second-highest level of competitive League of Legends in China, behind the most notorious LPL (LoL Pro League). It’s an off-season tournament to help teams have some on-stage experience after the transfer period. Whether it’s to train certain strategies or work around the team’s chemistry, every team has the golden chance to put their practice into play.
The first Demacia Cup took place in 2013, but only a few organizations ended up bringing the trophy home. Reigning world champions EDG won most of the Demacia Cups, with Invictus Gaming, Royal Never Give Up and Top Esports the only other teams to win at least one tournament.
The tournament features a total of 24 teams, with all the 17 participants from the LPL 2021 Spring, as well as 3 teams from the LDL and 4 amateur teams, formed by high elo players and streamers.
The top 4 of last year’s LPL are automatically seeded into playoffs, while the rest of the 20 teams play in 4 groups of 5 teams. The winner of each group then advances to the Playoffs stage.
Since Top Esports didn’t make it to Worlds this year, the team participated in group A, alongside formidable enemies like Team WE and Bilibili Gaming, the organization Uzi will play for in 2022.
Despite the high competition, TES came out on top, beating Team WE in their head-to-head. In Playoffs, they first met RNG, who they quickly beat 3-0, then Invictus Gaming, who they also demolished with no losses. The tournament looked like it was in their hands, but it almost fell off at the very end.
Top Esports faced FunPlusPhoenix in the Demacia Cup Finals
Top Esports went up against FunPlusPhoenix in the Grand Final. In the Playoffs, FPX quickly beat Ultra Prime then won against LNG Esports, former FPX mid laner Doinb’s new team, 3-1. In the last series, FPX got the upper hand in Game 1 and Game 2, bringing it to the match point. Top Esports, however, did not give up… especially jungler Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang, who played for FPX in the last three years.
Picked up by Top Esports during this off-season, the Chinese player showcased why he’s still one of the best junglers in the business. By picking up one of his recent pocket picks Viego, Tian earned himself not only the MVP for Game 4 but also the FMVP award, reverse sweeping FPX 3-2. It likely wasn’t intentional, but Tian’s win over his former team will surely boost the player’s confidence ahead of the 2022 season.
Despite featuring some non-LPL teams and even amateur teams, the Demacia Cup is often played similarly to the more competitive LPL. Of course, there are some teams that prefer to give academy players some experience, but most teams sent their best possible roster into the tournament.
Even if the competitive level might not be the very best, it is still a very strong achievement and a good boost for the upcoming season. Top Esports, with this tournament win, becomes the 4th team to have won at least two Demacia Cups. With all the off-season roster moves this year, the LPL is looking to be one of, if not, the most exciting domestic league in the world!