I've complained about it countless times, how does one choose a single MVP out of all the best players in the world grouped up smashing their heads together? This time it's easy! Just choose Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and I can't be wrong!
Okay, this isn't exactly what happened. Let me explain... Faker is the greatest of all time. There! Article done, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy watching Faker win again this year, I made him MVP so it's 100% likely that he lifts the Summoner's Cup, sorry G2 fans.
Fine, for real this time, Faker deserves it. Here's why.
It's always important to have set criteria for how you rate players when making an MVP or tier list. Sometimes it's just most impressive player (probably would pick Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok or Heo "ShowMaker" Su here). Other times it's the player who was the single most irreplaceable for their respective team.
I'm going with a sort of mix of those. My two big questions were: Who was always instrumental in the team's wins, AND who never caused/heavily contributed to a loss?
The second qualification cut a good bunch of potential players from the list (hello TheShy and all of G2). It almost cut Faker as well, as his KDA was pretty rough in SKT's single loss to FNC. However, I amount that more to their team having a complete lack of engage other than Lee "Effort" Sang-ho's Alistar - which was always dead or chunked out - and Faker's Akali was the second best tool they had.
Faker gets a pass!?
Yes! Faker on Akali was forced to dive in and use the shroud as a stalling method while other SKT members followed up. However, after getting behind in the early game, it never really worked out. Akali is not an engage champ when behind, especially against so much displacement and hard CC that Fnatic brought. Since Faker played pretty well in the early game, I give him a pass for this one.
Faker, Faker, Playmaker
Sorry for the cliche, but this really rings true. Now that I've gotten their single loss out of the way, on to the good stuff! There was a lot.
Perhaps the most key part of Faker clinching this pretigious InvenGlobal MVP award is the backdoor call he made to win their first game against RNG. Without that call, they lose the game and then, all else being equal, there is a three way tie for first at the end of the group stage. That single play meant SKT both skipped a tiebreaker and clinched first seed.
And even before that call, he was the main one keeping SKT alive in the game as well. Let's break it down!
This Match Vs RNG
While the early game was a pretty bad look from SKT as a whole, Faker worked well with his team in the mid game to utilize his Twisted Fate ultimate to split push and catch RNG members out. As I said, he was what kept SKT alive, stalling for time once it was clear that RNG had stronger spikes.
Then finally, when SKT really seemed doomed - down in gold, outscaled, and out pressured -Faker made the call to abandon his team and shove in the top lane with a large minion wave while RNG was pushing bot. He then used his ult to reveal the RNG members so Kim "Clid" Tae-min and Effort could chase them down and stop their backs, while Park "Teddy" Jin-seong and Kim "Khan" Dong-ha TPed to join Faker in the push.
Of course, it worked! Faker and Co. won the otherwise doomed game off the back of an incredible call from the Unkillable Demon King himself. This had the casters, fans, and - I imagine - the RNG players in shock. The splitpush was expected, but the full backdoor caught RNG off guard and they paid for it with an eventual elimination.
The funny thing was, this was likely Faker's worst mechnically played game. He had multiple poorly positioned ults in the early game rotations, and though he had an incredible farm and experience lead, he didn't look super practiced on the TF pick.
But just like when you miss all your Blitz hooks in lane, it was all just a bait, and he showed incredible tact when it mattered.
There are others who could have won MVP for a single performance like this one, most notably ShowMaker in their last match against IG (what a game), but Faker was more necessary in other games as well. Let's continue.
First Round Robin Matches
In their opening match against FNC, Faker got ahead with an early first blood thanks to a smart late invade from SKT. After that, he sat silently in lane until around the 11 minute mark where he roamed bot, netting SKT a triple kill and free drake take.
Faker then started roaming top as well, covering for his team and making sure his big lead was creating a resounding impact on the map. While it was helpful that FNC had a very low range comp and Faker sat on the long range Tristana, he utilized his power extremely well, and ended the game with a 9/0/8 KDA.
Nothing too fancy or flashy, but exactly what SKT needed to slowly and forcefully close out the game against FNC.
Their first game against Clutch Gaming, Faker was confident enough to gift over the famous Tanner Time Qiyana to lane opponent Tanner "Damonte" Damonte. He went even in lane despite the facing a powerful pocket pick, and also impacted the map better, teleporting bot to save his teammates from a gank, getting a double kill in the process.
Later, he thwarted Clutch's telegraphed Rift Herald rotation, involved in three more SKT kills. From there, he and SKT had such a lead (also in large part due to Khan's extreme over performance to Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon), they closed out the game cleanly, Faker boasting a 7/0/1 KDA.
In the two games I just mentioned, Faker was 16/0/9. Clean and calculated and unkillable. The RNG match earlier was also in the first Round Robin, and while he died there a few times, it's also where he saved the day.
Second Round Robin Matches
In their second match against RNG, Faker had a pretty quiet game, honestly. He sat at 0/1/1 for much of it, but rotated well and out pressured Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao.
It was in this game, though, where he had the incredible mental fortitude to Realm Warp out of the Baron pit, using spell vamp from his Ravenous Hunter to heal off the aggroed Baron, escaping with 9 health nano-seconds before an Ezreal Q would've landed to kill him.
That play alone deserves some MVP points since RNG used so much in attempt to pick him off. RNG paid for it, and Faker survived to help secure the Baron after the fight. To top it off, a bit later in the game winning teamfight Faker was right where he needed to be, dishing out damage onto the highest priority targets to burst them down and push for the end.
In their final game against Clutch, Faker performed as expected, roaming around the map finding picks and securing objectives, participating in 13 out of 18 kills by the end of the game. Not a 1v9, but always where he needed to be.
Their loss to FNC was this day as well, but I already gave him his pass there. Really no need to talk about it more, right? (RIP RNG)
His stats were pretty solid as well. They weren't the absolute best - he was in the real Group of Death, after all - but he had the fifth highest KDA in his group and played five different champs throughout the six games. And four of those five were flex picks with top lane. So that's another bonus.
Combining that with the individual calls and outplays, as well as team synergy and positioning edges him out over some of the others with slightly more favorable stats.
Of course, while I chose Faker as the MVP, there are a bunch of close picks trailing right behind him. Most notably would be ShowMaker and Chu "FoFo" Chun-Lan.
ShowMaker was one of the cleanest players in the tournament. While his top laner, Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon is often looking for ways to get to his 0/2 powerspike, ShowMaker is making plays around the map and carrying his team. In the last game against IG, he was the main component to flipping the game and ensuring the victory. His plays cleanly carried his team throughout the tournament.
FoFo was just 1v9 every game. While Faker has Clid, Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon has Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong, and Song "Rookie" Eui-jin has Lu "Leyan" Jue, Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning TheShy?, FoFo has FoFo. Though Group B looked weak, fan consensus was that J Team was much stronger than expected - and specifically - FoFo was a monster! Rip the 1v9 dream.
So if your "MVP Qualifications" are more about super clean, calculated play or 1v9 carrying, then maybe one of those guys is your MVP choice. Faker has a strong mix of both, and his decision making and clutch factor - as well as champion versatility - led him to top my list.
And if none of those three did if for you, maybe one of those aforementioned stars - Chovy, TheShy, Rookie, Clid, Teddy - do. And if not still, maybe one of these, who also deserve a honorable mention name-drop! Park "Viper" Do-hyeon, Son "Lehends" Si-woo, Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, Sin "Nuclear" Jeong-hyeon (he stepped up okay), Rasmus "Caps" Borregaard Winther, Luka "Perkz" Perković, Liu "Crisp" Qing-Song, Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang, and Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao.
Sheesh what a list of names. And there are probably about 20 more that readers out there will be mad I left off. This is like when you try to say thank you to some of your friends publically, and you list off your closest friends, then a bunch of others here and there, and then no matter what, you'll always forget a couple.
It's not that you don't care, you just have a lot of friends. You're POPULAR! Go you!
This is a lot like that. And it's also like a power ranking - which are always terrible. And wrong. But also fun! So I hope you enjoyed this, and I hope you don't flame the choice too hard. But I guess feel free, if you want.
Find us on Twitter @InvenGlobal and let us know what you think, and who your choice would be for MVP of the Worlds 2019 Group Stage.