The Worlds 2019 Quarterfinals are done, with three first seeds and the defending World Champions advancing to the Semis. As many have said, it was all scripted from the beginning. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, Song "Rookie" Eui-jin, Rasmus "Caps" Borregaard Winther, and PhoeniX all advanced, fulfilling the Worlds Anthem Prophecy.
The core theme of the song is redemption, each player making up for the past that haunts them. The cool thing is, maybe the fact that each has made it this far will prevent further need for redemption. However, on the flipside, a maximum of two of the three can make it to the Finals, and for the one(s) who don't, it might be an even worse feeling than if they'd dropped out in Quarters.
I digress, enough talk of the Anthem, more talk of the Most Valuable Players from each of those Quarterfinals. Almost all 20 players from the four qualifying teams could've made some claim for MVP, but that's not how this works. The players who snagged the title were the ones who (in my humble opinion) had the most impact in the most necessary way.
Starting with the first Quarterfinal Series, many analysts and personalities chose GRF as their intended victors. While it's clear that they underperformed in that series, a large part of that was because of how hard Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok was able to smash top side. He did call for resources from Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning and Rookie, but those resources always paid off.
While it's true Sword was the weak point for GRF, it doesn't take away from how impactful TheShy was. He demanded all the attention from Tarzan, giving his bot lane freedom to play as they pleased. And while many would say Rookie deserved the award for having to lane against Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon, Chovy never actually played any of his champions. He was stuck on four tanks!
Perhaps the most impressive part was TheShy - as top lane Kayle - won against Choi "Sword" Sung-won's Jayce TWICE. Kayle, the really weak early game champ that scales, won lane against a hard lane bully. In their last game of the series, TheShy was 8/0/6 with almost 90% kill participation.
The incredible LPL midlaner we all expected to see in Groups finally showed up in the Quarterfinals. Though he wasn't terrible before, his Group Stage performance was somewhat lackluster. He was the focal point of FPX, and their games just didn't look the same without a strong Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang.
However, he showed off in the Quarterfinals against FNC midlaner Nemesis. Giving Nemesis his signature Twisted Fate, Doinb found more ways to roam and impact the map and the game, helping create leads across all roles. In their three wins, Doinb had a 42 KDA. FORTY TWO! His single death was on Kayle, from a 3 minute FNC tower dive.
Doinb is back in hot form, and matches up against former World Champion and fellow star LPL mid, Rookie. Rookie was talked about as one of the best mids to ever play the game this time last year, but if Doinb can repeat his performance, he'll easily put himself in that running. And if he continues to the finals.... We'll we will just wait to see about that one.
While historically, Kim "Khan" Dong-ha is known to fall apart in international tournaments, this year he has changed that narrative. His MSI was a much better representation of his domestic strength, and this year at Worlds, he has had some incredible performances, way more indicative to his overall talent.
More than pure, raw talent (like shown from TheShy) Khan's series against Splyce showed versatility. He opened the series with an 8/1/4 Lucian top and when he blinded Fiora in the second game (dangerous move), he won lane against Tamás "Vizicsacsi" Kiss's signature poppy pick, and used that to apply sidelane pressure the rest of the game.
In their final game, he was back on a marksman, playing Quinn. He adapted the rune choice and playstyle because he knew he would be camped, and it worked. He got camped, but ended the game with a 10 KDA, zooming around the map finding picks with his teammates.
Every G2 gameday, fans wake up in a cold sweat with one question on their mind... "Claps or Craps?"
But when up against their self proclaimed toughest scrim opponent, Caps told his fans, "Fret not!" and proceeded to wipe the midlane, and the top lane, and the bottom lane clean of DWG opposition. Really, he just decided to play in all three lanes.
In his final game, he just lived in between the top lane turrets, repeatedly diving Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon with Marcin "Jankos" Jankowski. But more than just that, he made Heo "ShowMaker" Su look plain. ShowMaker was quite possibly the second best performer in the whole Group Stage, and in this series, Caps made him look like Ryu "Ryu" Sang-wook vs Faker in a Zed 1v1.
The Syndra vs LeBlanc matchup in their first game is extremely volatile, requiring Syndra to play perfectly, and at the end of the game, Caps was deathless sitting 4/0/6. He did this pretty consistently throughout the series, shutting down the main DWG carry and limiting their win conditions.
All of the G2 memebers really played well, and each seemed to shut down their opponents, but because of who Caps had to face in the mid lane relative to the other Damwon members, as well as his impact on the map, he edges out to MVP.
Be sure to catch these four and the rest next weekend! IG takes on FPX and SKT faces G2. Both series should be close, intense brawls. Expect at least nine games for the weekend, if not a full 10. And follow us on Twitter for more Worlds content and other breaking news.