The playoff stage of Worlds 2019 kicked off this weekend with two days of exciting games. Though there were no five game series, there were also no clean sweeps, with all four matchups going 3-1. Only four teams remain in the biggest tournament of the year, and there is little doubt that the survivors have earned their spot.
Invictus Gaming 3-1 Griffin
The playoffs began with a hyped match between the reigning World Champions and the young LCK powerhouse. Griffin brought a great team to the tournament, but IG showed that they are far from satisfied with a single Summoner’s Cup. Though hard-fought games, IG seemed to outclass Griffin in just about every role. Griffin clawed their way back in Game 3 to prolong the series, with great play from Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon who earned a Pentakill on Xayah, but their success was short-lived. IG came back harder than ever in Game 4 to seal the deal.
TGH Player of the Series: TheShy
Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok outclassed his opponent, just as he had throughout the group stage. Seemingly having a buff unique to him, TheShy repeatedly pulled out surprising and impressive plays, winning duels and finding clutch plays in team fights. It takes a lot to stand out on a team like IG, but TheShy has managed to do just that.
FunPlus Phoenix 3 – 1 Fnatic
In their first year at Worlds, FPX are making a name for themselves – a name Fnatic fans won’t soon forget. Though not as well known as their quarterfinals opponents who were last year’s runner-ups, they looked much more put together than the European team. They shut down Fnatic’s signature Garen/Yuumi bot lane, and looked just as impressive when they faced a more traditional composition. Fnatic just seemed unable to get everything going at the same time this series, and it cost them against a team as explosive as FPX. Fnatic’s Game 3 victory came on the back of a dangerous Veiger and Kai’sa combination, but Phoenix sealed the deal in Game 4, shutting down each lane hard. They move on to face IG in next week’s Semifinal match.
TGH Player of the Series: Doinb
Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang was a powerhouse all day. With three games on Ryze and one on Kayle, his late-game damage continually overwhelmed Fnatic, and he pulled out clutch plays just when they were needed most. All eyes will be on him as FPX continues through the tournament.
SK Telecom T1 3-1 Splyce
Even in what was predicted to be the most lopsided matchup of the weekend, there was no clean sweep. Additionally, even in the games that they lost, Splyce showed moments of glory, getting the home crowd on their feet cheering. As often happens when other regions come up against the LCK, Splyce found some exciting early kills, but SKT kept their heads on straight and checked all the boxes that they needed to in order to finish out the game. Splyce should be proud of this series, as the 1st LCK seed versus the 3rd LEC team was much more exciting than it had any right to be.
TGH Player of the Series: Khan
Though often less talked about than his teammates, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha had a day that showcased how good he can be. He put on a show as a variety of Champions, winning lane and games with Lucian, Fiora and Quinn. Though all members of SKT played well, Khan rose above expectations more than the others.
G2 Esports 3-1 Damwon Gaming
The final match of the weekend was expected to be the closest, most intense matchup, and it didn’t disappoint. G2 won the first game, then were crushed in the second before bouncing back to take the series win in 4 games. Much of the conversation around G2 has focused on which version of Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Winther shows up for any given game, and luckily for them, he was on his game today. The win was especially impressive considering how well Damwon had been doing in Scrims this week. With Splyce knocked out earlier in the day, G2 pulled through to keep the Western representation alive at the tournament.
TGH Player of the Series: Jankos
Another hard choice, since this could go to nearly any player on the winning team, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski earned this through his progression in the series. Though always an impactful player, Jankos responded to their Game 2 loss with a 4/0/7 Rek’Sai match, and then went even bigger in Game 4, going 9/0/5 on Gragas. The LEC 2019 Summer Split MVP made it clear that he is here to take home the trophy.
The action will continue on November 2nd as FPX faces IG, and SKT takes on G2 on the 3rd in the 2019 Worlds Semifinals.