The League of Legends World Championship always brings a symphony of story lines that both captivate the heart and bring excitement to players and fans alike. This year has everyone excited for one reason or another—from grizzled veterans of the tournament to first-timers, every team comes from vastly different situations and backgrounds, but they all have one goal in mind: win the Summoner’s Cup.
Before the festivities begin, however, we must take a look at five players who fans might want to keep their eyes on as the tournament rages forward. Whether its maintaining one’s legacy or starting a new one, all five of these talented individuals will be a treat to watch alongside their respective teams.
Splyce’s Tamás “Vizicsacsi” Kiss
Veteran top laner Vizicsacsi has gone through almost everything that you could in the LEC, but one event has always escaped his grasp. Now that the 26-year-old’s aspirations for Worlds have finally been fulfilled, one question remains: How will he and the rest of Splyce’s young roster handle the bright lights of the biggest tournament of the year?
Vizicsacsi has always been one of the best top laners in the region, but Worlds is an entirely different beast. He might be used to playing against European playstyles and tendencies, but now he’ll be pitted against players from multiple different regions complete with their own take on the meta.
Not only that, but Vizicsacsi will have to help guide Splyce along the pendulum that is the Worlds play-in stage, while also experiencing Worlds for the first time. Everyone on this team—from the roster to head coach Peter Dun—is a Worlds newcomer. Vizicsacsi will need to be an anchor for Splyce if they wish to survive until the group stage.
Invictus Gaming’s Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo
Although Invictus Gaming are coming to Worlds 2019 as the defending champions, many people are doubting whether they will be able to protect their throne for much longer. Last year, IG were an unstoppable force that was feared by every team at the tournament. Unfortunately for the Chinese team, however, they haven’t been playing at the same level that won them the Summoner’s Cup in 2018 after losing to Team Liquid at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational.
With Worlds right around the corner, many people are quick to look at superstar mid laner Song “Rookie” Eui-jin, and for good reason—he was the number two ranked player in the world last year behind RNG’s Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao. Instead, however, we will be looking at IG’s young phenom in the bottom lane with JackeyLove.
The now 18-year-old made a huge splash at last year’s tournament, becoming a huge force in the bottom lane that helped push IG along all the way to the finals against Fnatic. This year, however, he is no longer a rookie and must now solidify his place as one of the best AD carries in the world.
This past summer, JackeyLove has been one of the only consistent players on an IG roster that suffered dysfunction and horrible slumps throughout the season. He had the third-highest kills in the LPL, while also leading all LPL AD carries with 231 assists. Last year, one of JackeyLove’s biggest setbacks was his tendency to get overaggressive—this year, he has rectified these problems and has become much more patient as a result. Watch for him to light up the scoreboard as IG look to find their form in time to protect the crown from the circling wolves.
SKT T1’s Kim “Clid” Tae-min
SK Telecom T1’s return to the League of Legends international stage is in full swing after their dominant run through the 2019 LCK Summer playoffs, so we will focus on the engine of this war machine in superstar jungler Clid.
Clid is one of the biggest win conditions for SKT, especially for the team’s powerful early game. His smart pathing and great mechanical skill helped his team destroy almost every team they faced during their 13-game playoff run, and if he is playing at the same level that he was during the postseason, junglers should fear Clid every time they meet.
During SKT’s Summer Split, Clid had the third-highest kill participation percentage and the second-highest KDA among LCK junglers. His early game stats during the playoffs were incredible, and it is safe to say that when Clid is thriving, SKT are thriving as well.
Team Liquid’s Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
North America’s hero has returned to the World Championship stage once again after dominating the LCS for a fourth season in a row. There is plenty of pressure on Doublelift and Liquid’s shoulders—after destroying the competition in their own region and making it to the finals of MSI 2019, many people are expecting a lot out of NA’s top seed.
Unfortunately for Doublelift, the AD carry has been in this exact situation before and has fallen short every time. Whether it was with Counter Logic Gaming, TSM, or last year’s iteration of Liquid, he and his team have always underperformed at the biggest event of the year. There are plenty of doubters and rightfully so.
This year could be different for Doublelift and North America as a whole. With a new star mid laner in Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and a newfound fire in his belly, Doublelift and company were able to take down Invictus Gaming during MSI this year in one of the most unexpected victories in League history. As he and Liquid leave behind the failures of the past, they now look forward with their eyes set on making history once again.
G2 Esports’ Rasmus “Caps” Winther
Could this be the year that Europe captures the Summoner’s Cup? G2 Esports and many fans from the League community seem to think so. From incredible mechanical talent in every role to their unpredictable tendencies in the pick and ban phase, G2 have solidified themselves as the West’s best chance at a World Championship.
Caps is, naturally, going to be a huge part of this process. He is undoubtedly the best mid laner in Europe, but more importantly, he has grown his skill set and mentality from the last time he was at Worlds with Fnatic. Back in 2018, Caps was neutralized by other, stronger mid lane talents like IG’s RooKie and EDG’s Lee “Scout” Ye-chan and Fnatic had to play through other avenues to succeed.
This time around, Caps has a chance to get revenge and prove that he can challenge the best mid laners the world has to offer. EU fans just need to hope that they get Claps instead of Craps when the game is on the line—Caps’ highs can be incredible, but his lows can be equally disappointing.