There are a myriad of reasons why the 2019 World Championship is the biggest League of Legends esports event of the year, but one of the most exciting aspects that the global fanbase look forward to is seeing the best players from each region face off against each other. The scarcity of international matchups when compared to domestic play throughout the season, adds even more significance to the the congregation of the world's most elite talent from across the global.
Now that the Worlds 2019 Group Stage has concluded, it's time to see who performed the best amongst their peers in their respective roles. This is Inven Global's Worlds 2019 Group Stage All-Pro Team.
Top Lane - TheShy - Invictus Gaming
The current iteration of Invictus Gaming is a far cry from its 2018 World Champion form, but one member on the team has continuously played at a high level. One could even argue that IG Top Laner Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok is playing even better individually than he did at Worlds 2018.
TheShy is never going to be a safe player. His enormous amount of pressure in lane is backed by massive mechanical talent and an ego to match. However, after seeing the way the Korean Top Laner performed in the Group Stage, it's hard to say he isn't able to back up his pride.
To put it bluntly, TheShy is a monster. Amongst Top Laners in the Group Stage, IG's ace had the highest Gold Differential at 10 Minutes (512), CS Differential at 10 Minutes (+12), Damage Per Minute (648), and Percentage of Team's Damage Dealt (31.7%). The Shy also tied for the least deaths — no, really — amongst all Top Laners with Griffin's Choi "Sword" Sung-won (12).
TheShy was also top 3 amongst Top Laners in the Group Stage in KDA, Kill Participation, Experience Differential at 10 Minutes, and CS Per Minute. However, it doesn't take any stats to see how integral TheShy was in Invictus Gaming's wins.
When veteran Jungler Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning started for the second round robin, he was able to set up TheShy for success more than the rookie starter Lu "Leyan" Jue. In IG's do-or-die match in Group D against Team Liquid, Ning snowballed TheShy's Vladimir against the likes of the usually durable Jeong "Impact" Eon-young, and IG escaped from Group D on the back of its Top Laner.
Even in Invictus Gaming's losses, TheShy could be seen doing everything he could to try and keep his team in the game. In the first Group D meeting between IG and DAMWON Gaming, TheShy's Akali kept IG in the game until the end despite Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo and Wang "Baolan" Liu-Yi's combined thirteen deaths in the Bot Lane.
If TheShy can keep playing at this level throughout the Knockout Stage, and Ning can continue to allow him to play freely, IG has a chance at defending its throne at the 2019 World Championship.
Jungle - Clid - SK Telecom T1
SK Telecom T1 has always had a reputation of playing slow, controlled, League of Legends. Since signing to the team ahead of the 2019 season, Jungler Kim "Clid" Tae-min has acted as a one man wrecking crew with a mission to demolish that reputation.
Just like his first international perfromance with SKT at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, Clid has been the sharpest spear on T1's flagship squad, orchestrating the entirety of the early game as the team continues to scale towards it's comfort zone.
In the most aggressive competitive meta that we've seen in several seasons, Clid's importance to SKT's success cannot be understated. SKT's mid-season slump that saw them fall all the way to 9th place at one point in the 2019 LCK Summer Split was due almost entirely to a breakdown of synergy between Clid and Mid Laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. Clid's ability to capitalize on the pressure Faker puts on the map to gain advantages for his team is crucial to SKT's success.
In Fnatic's second round robin match against SKT, Clid was bested by a surging Mads "Broxah" Brock Pedersen, and the collapse led to SKT's only loss in Group C. FunPlus Phoenix Jungler Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang and Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong also had dominant second halves of the Group Stage that led to stellar statistics amongst Worlds 2019 Junglers. Still, no other Jungler in the Group Stage was as consistently excellent and important to his team's wins as Clid.
Mid Lane - Faker - SK Telecom T1
Faker has returned to the Worlds stage in triumphant fashion. Through six games in Group C, the Unkillable Demon King boasts a 5.5 KDA, 26.4% of team's total damage dealt, 9.6 CS per minute, and 63.1% kill participation.
In typical Faker fashion, he accomplished this in a myriad of ways on completely different styles of champion. Faker split his record on Akali, and also won a game each on Twisted Fate, Tristana, Camille, and his signature Ryze.
SKT Top Laner Kim "Khan" Dong-ha and Bot Laner Park "Teddy" Jin-seong are great individual players, but Faker is the heart to Clid's lungs for SKT. SKT at its best when Clid is converting Faker's nearly unmatched lane pressure into advantages to put the team in a good position to control mid game.
It could be argued that despite not getting out of Group B, J-Team Mid Laner Chu "FoFo" Chun-Lan pulled more weight for his team individually than Faker. It could also be argued that when it came clean individual play that DAMWON Gaming's Heo "ShowMaker" Soo was best in class.
However, SKT is the favorite for the 2019 World Championship, and Faker is the catalyst for the team as he has been after years and years of re-inventing itself. SK Telecom T1 wouldn't just be weaker without Faker; its heart would stop beating.
Bot Lane - Perkz - G2 Esports
It's an absolutely mindboggling notion that just four years ago, Luka "Perkz" Perković was a young Mid Laner maligned for disappointing international performances. In 2019, G2's captain has more than backed up his bravado in the form of his stellar Bot Lane play throughout the Group Stage.
Perkz' past as a Mid Laner not only gives him the ability to play the widest champion pool of any Bot Laner in the world, but also endows him with an individual agency not often seen in traditional marksmen to make the play before the rest of his team when given the opportunity without full regard for his own safety. Players who have been too heavy-handed in their aggression in the past such as Jason "Wildturtle" Tran, or even Perkz himself in season past, but Perkz toes the line deftly.
Despite the Yasuo, Zoe, Syndra, Garen, and Pyke all being playable picks by G2's Bot Laner, Perkz has looked best on Xayah and Kai'Sa. Perkz was a god in the Funnel meta on Kai'Sa in 2018, but he truly has come full circle as an AD Carry, but with aspects of his game that simply are not possible to replicate within other teams or players.
Team Liquid AD Carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng spoke to Inven Global's Nick Geracie after defeating Clutch Gaming in the 2019 LCS Summer Semifinals and qualifying for the 2019 World Championship.
Doublelift acknowledged that while other Western teams could learn things from G2 Esports, there were limits on the applicability of what works for the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational champion. "The reality is G2 does things no other team can ever do," Doublelift said. Perkz is a huge factor in the validity of that claim, and a vital ingredient in G2's unique identity.
Perkz was the best performer for G2 Esports during the Group Stage. Top Laner Martin "Wunder" Hansen, while still solid, was not up to his usual standard of best in the West. Jungler Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski came into Worlds as the 2019 LEC Summer MVP, but underwhelmed in Group A.
Mid Laner Rasmus "Caps" Winther had some incredible performances, and typically, a few not so incredible performances to go along with them. Support Mihael "Mikyx" Mehle's intuitive playmaking was razor sharp as always, but the same could not be said of his positioning, which led to a few too many unnecessary deaths. This isn't to say G2 played poorly, but simply below its incredibly high standard, save for its captain in the Bot Lane.
Support - Griffin - Lehends
Many members of Griffin had shining moments throughout the Group Stage, but Son "Lehends" Si-woo was on an entirely different level. Even when Griffin looked shaky during its first round robin through Group A, Lehends was performing individually at the highest level on the team. Griffin Bot Laner Park "Viper" Do-hyeon's otherworldly 17.5 KDA by the end of the Group Stage is due in large part to Lehends' stellar performance in Griffin's 7 game, 6-1 run to Group A's 1st seed.
Amongst Supports playing in the Worlds 2019 Group Stage, Lehends led with Least Deaths (8), Most Assists (79), Experience Differential at 10 (208), Earned Gold Per Minute (169.6), and his KDA (10.8) doubled the second highest. Lehends demonstrates the carry potential of a Support, also placing top 3 amongst Supports in Kill Participation, Damage Per Minute, Percentage of Team Damage Dealt, and Gold Percentage.
As evidenced by the healthy amount of acclaim directed at Team Liquid's Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in in the LCS, a Support who stands significantly taller than their peers is impressive because of the lower ceiling for skill expression in the Support role when compared to other roles in League of Legends.
Griffin will play against Invictus Gaming in the first Quarterfinals matchup of Worlds 2019.
Lehends, who is currently making his case as the best Support in the world, will have to prove it against Baolan, who made that claim a reality when IG won the 2018 World Championship.