At the 2019 League of Legends World Championship, 127 of the finest pros on the planet converged to see who was the best. Some of them were already legends, while others tried to prove that they were worthy of being recognised as one of the greats. Here, we pay special mention to the players who made a name for themselves at this year’s tournament. Make sure you keep an eye on them, because they’re going to be sticking around for a long time to come.
Kobbe – Splyce
Splyce ended up playing the most games out of anyone in the tournament this year, even more than G2 Esports and FunPlus Phoenix, as they participated in the Play-In Stage as Europe’s third seed. They had to come through that dangerous stage, and then had to face eventual World Champions FunPlus Phoenix in the Group Stage, before coming up against the SK Telecom T1 behemoth in the quarterfinals. It was certainly not an easy ride for the squad.
That makes it all the more impressive that Kasper “Kobbe” Kobberup managed to play as well as he did – and stand out as one of the top AD carries in the tournament. No other ADC played more games than him, and he managed an average KDA of 6.0 and achieved a huge 466 gold per minute across 20 games. He’s the oldest player on this list at the ripe old age of 23, but Kobbe is in the form of his life and shows no signs of slowing down.
Xerxe – Splyce
Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir impressed during the LEC regular season this year, coming second in the voting for the Summer Split All-Pro team, and he carried that momentum through to the World Championship as well. Xerxe showed off the depth of his champion pool as one of just five players in the tournament to play 10 different champions (a list including Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Rasmus “Caps Winther – not bad company at all).
As Worlds finalists FPX and G2 have shown this year, League of Legends has become a far more flexible game than ever before, and having plenty of champions you can play to a high level will be a great benefit moving forward.
Nemesis – Fnatic
Coming into a team just weeks after they had reached the Worlds 2018 Grand Final, and stepping into the large shoes of their star midlaner, was always going to be a tough ask for Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek. However, he has come to Fnatic, replaced Caps, and forged an extremely successful rookie year.
His most impressive run was in week two of the Group Stage, where Fnatic activated their famous “buff” to come back from a bad start to qualify for the quarterfinals of the tournament. Nemesis showed off his mastery of Cassiopeia against Clutch Gaming and Royal Never Give Up, and completely shut down Faker and SKT with his Veigar. Fnatic may not have won anything this year, but they’re still very much a scary squad to come up against, and Nemesis is only going to get better at the heart of the team.
ShowMaker – DAMWON Gaming
DAMWON may have gone out in the quarterfinals of Worlds 2019 at the hands of finalists G2 Esports, but their journey started way back in the Play-In Stage as Korea’s third seed. Throughout the tournament, Heo “ShowMaker” Su certainly lived up to his name, picking champions like Akali and LeBlanc with which he could really show off his flashy style.
The Damwon mid laner had the third highest KDA of the tournament with an average 7.61, and the highest among players who participated in the same number of games as him. It was the second week of the Group Stage where he really shined, coming up against Ahq eSports Club, Team Liquid, and reigning World Champions Invictus Gaming, and not dying a single time.
Tian – FunPlus Phoenix
A surefire way to make a name for yourself as a League of Legends player is to win the World Championship at your first attempt, especially if you become the MVP of the Grand Final. Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang has been around the pro scene for a couple of years, but it was only when he joined FunPlus Phoenix in December of 2018 that his career really took off. FPX topped the LPL table in Spring and Summer, winning the Summer Playoffs, and then of course, beating G2 Esports in the Worlds 2019 final in Paris.
Despite FPX’s couple of blips in the Group Stage, they went from strength to strength, often on the power of Tian’s excellent jungling. He played a mixture of Gragas, Elise, Qiyana, Olaf, and Lee Sin. Despite two of his three games in the early stages of the competition coming on Lee Sin, he brought out The Blind Monk in all three Grand Final games, pulling off play after play to help his team bring home the victory while cancelling out the opposing jungler. Will FPX be able to do it all over again next year?