The 2019 League of Legends World Championship is about to enter the quarterfinals, and only eight teams remain. The two-week Group Stage had plenty of excitement, as teams battled for the top two spots in each group. Most teams performed as expected, with some disappointments and some closer match-ups than predicted on paper.
This year’s event felt like a true battle for the top eight spots. It seemed like 10 or 11 teams could realistically make it out of groups, and no group was particularly “free.” Even the lower-seeded teams had some individuals who stood out against much higher caliber opponents. Before the Knockout Stage begins, let’s reflect on the top 10 players whose Worlds run has ended.
10 – LilV
LilV was one of J Team’s carries, actually faring well in the bottom lane against Splyce, Funplus and GAM. He had deathless games against Splyce and GAM, and helped keep J Team competitive in some games, despite their 1,884 average gold deficit at 15 minutes (1,100 of which was Hana, the jungler). J Team would not have finished the Group Stage 3-3 without LilV’s consistency, which felt more impactful than many of the other players in the tournament.
9 – Blaber
Going purely off of Worlds performance, Blaber was one of the better players in Group Stage. Many fans were surprised that Cloud9 would bench their strongest performer from Summer Split, Svenskeren, against opponents like Griffin and G2. However, Blaber actually had a solid early game plan in every game. Reapered obviously knew something about these match-ups that fans didn’t. Blaber was significantly ahead in XP (+680) and gold (+909) at 15 minutes. Playing Ekko and Elise, these early leads were crucial. Unfortunately, Cloud9’s ADC did equal or less damage than Blaber in every game, and they averaged a 0.6 kill-death ratio as a team.
8 – CoreJJ
CoreJJ did not have a bad showing at Worlds, but he definitely did not have the high impact that LCS fans have come to expect of him. The Spring Split MVP was probably locked a little more into his lane match-up than he was in North America, and his mid-jungle duo suffered for it. Even in this restricted form, CoreJJ was still a top-seven support at the tournament. Alongside Doublelift, CoreJJ tried his best to carry, but could not in the end.
7 – Levi
Levi is the lifeblood of his team–GAM Esports. Upon returning to Vietnam, following his stint in North America, Levi had led his team to the World Championship as the VCS first seed again. Far from favorites in their group, GAM actually had some solid early games. Levi was definitely their best performer, averaging 334 gold, 10 CS and 276 XP ahead at 15 minutes. The one game they won over J Team was off the back of Levi’s Nocturne. It is obvious why he was the MVP of the VCS Summer Split, and thus a top 10 player of those eliminated after Group Stage.
6 – FoFo
FoFo would fall at the top of the second tier of mid laners at Worlds 2019. J Team ended 3-3 in Group B, and FoFo was their strongest performer. Despite ending laning phase at a deficit, FoFo always brought the damage. He averaged sixth highest damage in the tournament, good enough for a 30.1% share on the team. By most metrics FoFo exceeded all LCS, LMS and VCS mid laners, and arguably Humanoid, which would put him top-10 in the tournament in his role.
5 – Xiaohu
When looking at who made it through Group Stage into quarterfinals, they are basically the teams with the strongest mid laners. Caps, Chovy, Showmaker, Faker, Doinb and Rookie all look very strong at this tournament. It feels like they are all in one tier, and Xiaohu would start the second tier with FoFo. He is just outside the upper echelon of Worlds mid laners, which is one reason RNG could not break out of Group C. His stats are skewed lower because two-thirds of his match-ups were versus Faker and Nemesis. Four of Xiaohu’s games were on Ryze and Kayle, which he played well, and his Zoe and Akali games were great. A 4.8 KDA on a 50% win rate team is pretty impressive.
4 – Ming
RNG’s bottom lane were top three as far as laning goes, so it is disappointing to see them out so early. Ming averaged 8.7 assists per game, sixth highest overall. His Blitzcrank was a surprise, and his Morgana was extremely effective versus Clutch Gaming. Although RNG will not finish top eight at Worlds, Ming still held himself up as one of the best supports in the game. Fnatic and SKT just proved to be the stronger teams in the end.
3 – Doublelift
Doublelift was a star for Team Liquid, seemingly the only consistent performer. People will be quick to point out his dash into Veigar cage, but other than that Doublelift looked great at this tournament. However, as he explained in his interview with Travis Gafford, ADCs do not have much early impact in this meta. Considering the relatively weaker bottom lanes of Group D, Doublelift just needed his team to reach late game without much of a deficit to be effective. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Doublelift statistically ranked around sixth best ADC at Worlds.
2 – Karsa
Considering the early impact and overall strong pool of junglers at Worlds 2019, Karsa deserves some attention. RNG could not have put up the fights they did without his performances. With Lee Sin, Jarvan IV and Rek’Sai, Karsa was able to get things rolling almost every single game. He had a 50% First Blood rate, and a 4.0 KDA. While many other junglers have had higher peaks at this tournament, Karsa was undoubtedly one of the most consistent in the early game.
1 – Uzi
Can anyone really argue against Uzi being the best player knocked out at Worlds? RNG’s bottom laner played exceptionally well, despite their 3-3 record, and the stats speak for themselves. A 7.1 KDA, 37.2% damage share, 18 CS ahead at 15 minutes–these are all top-seven of any player in the tournament. Not to mention, Fnatic, SKT and Clutch Gaming’s bottom lanes are usually strong points for their team. Uzi was ranked a top-five player coming into Worlds on most power rankings, and he showed why during Group Stage. It’s unfortunate we won’t see him against the rest of the field.
Images from LoL Esports Flickr
All statistics from Games of Legends
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