Now that a week has passed since the crowning of Invictus Gaming as the champions of Worlds 2018, it’s a great time to consider some final thoughts about the tournament and what we learned. With a tournament filled with surprising results and moments, there is a lot to think about as we wait for the All-Star event and the eventual start of the new season. Without further ado, here we go with the post-event thoughts of Worlds 2018.
Invictus Gaming are the best in China
Coming into the 2018 season, most fans saw Invictus Gaming as the best team in China thanks to the amazing performances of mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin and the hype surrounding prodigy ADC Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo finally being able to join the roster. However with various issues throughout the year like top laner Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok taking a break before the Spring playoffs and players under-performing at various times, the team was looking shaky and only the second best team at times.
Even after a second place finish in the Summer playoffs, most fans weren’t expecting them to win it all. However that all changed when the team reached the playoffs. At that point we began seeing the team that were considered the best team in China. Rookie and TheShy decimated their opponents while Jackeylove and jungler Gao “Ning” Zhen-Ning stepped up and had huge games as well. All of this leading to their eventual victory in the finals.
While the entire year was a case of Chinese dominance, it will mainly talk about RNG. But now when the conversation reaches which Chinese team was the best, Invictus Gaming will now be that team.
All the gaps are closing now
Coming into this year, there were a lot of gaps between various regions and teams. Whether it’s the gap between China and Korea, the gap between Asian teams and Western team, or even the gap between Wildcard teams and Western teams, Worlds 2018 was filled with close matches that showed us a lot. While there is still a noticeable skill gap within the various regions and groups, this Worlds has shown us that the skill gap is slowly closing as we speak.
From the 3-2 loss to Cloud9 for Gambit all the way to Fnatic making the finals (albeit from a weaker side of the bracket) we’ve seen teams from weaker regions constantly showing their best and proving to fans around the world that they’re only getting better. While it may not be the upcoming year, eventually we may see all the gaps between the teams disappear. When that happens, we’ll have some truly competitive League of Legends.
The Cloud9 model works
From last place to the semifinals, Cloud9 had a very interesting season. They were constantly ridiculed for their decision to focus on the development of young players instead of making huge signing. However, in the end it paid off for them.
In general their whole season was a testament to the need to develop players into the next superstars of the region. With three rookies on their roster, the team was expected to finish last in their group. But amazing performances from their rookies allowed the team to make a deep run to the semifinals.
In an era of League of Legends where big teams only sign the big name players, it’s a refreshing change for Cloud9 to stand by their rookies. Hopefully more teams follow their lead and take risks on their young players.
Playing different styles works
Coming into Worlds 2018, the meta was ADC focused due to the continued success of Royal Never Give Up and their ADC Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao. However one team looked to change that, a scrappy European team by the name of Team Vitality. Vitality’s aggressive solo lane focused playstyle took RNG by surprise as Vitality took a game off the Chinese powerhouse. It paved the road to a new meta being developed as teams that adapted made deep runs in the tournament.
One passionate speech from Vitality’s head coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi later and fans around the world thanked Vitality for showing the rest of the West the way to victory. Without them, it’s hard to imagine G2 Esports taking down RNG or a Western team making the finals.
It’s been an interesting World championship. It was a tournament filled with surprising results that gave fans a lot to think about. What will happen in 2019? Will the effects of Worlds 2018 make a difference? Or will the status quo return and we’ll go back to a world of Korean dominance? As I always say, only time will tell.
To watch League of Legends tournaments, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the Split, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.
Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr.
Follow Rui on Twitter @ruixu38
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