Friday, November 8, 2019

November 10th: Worlds 2019 Grand Finals

Semifinals Takeaways

FunPlus vs Invictus

If you enjoyed watching this series you need to get some more of the LPL in your life. This was quintessential LPL League of Legends. Every single player trusting their ability to outplay any situation, gigantic team fights, non-stop action. It's not always perfect but the LPL has it's own flavor and I really do think more people need to watch it. 

That said, we definitely saw the better team win this series. As last week went on I grew more and more into FunPlus as a selection. Invictus were simply making a lot more mistakes and unlike Griffin in the first two games of their quarterfinal series, FunPlus at their current level weren't simply going to spoon feed them their first two games. At this level you can't rely entirely on your star players alone to deliver wins, you need to have a gameplan and proactively put it into motion and Invictus weren't doing that. Invictus were only winning games that their opponents messed up badly in or games in which their individual players, specifically the solo lanes, just completely took over the game.

I thought Ning had a pretty bad series in this one and Tian and Crisp illustrated to the world why jungle and support can actually hard carry games. If I had to give an MVP for this series it would go to Crisp for sure. The dude was everywhere. I also though GimGoon managed TheShy excellently but this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody, GimGoon is an exceptional weakside player. 

The major lesson people should take from this series is to know red flags when you see them. You can't entirely hold it aginst Invictus that Griffin threw those two games but when you saw Griffin completely running over Invictus in the first three games of that series it should have alarmed a lot more people than it did. I know I went on about it for awhile, being on Griffin myself in that series, but Griffin 100% punted those first two games badly and it wasn't by Invictus' engineering either. We saw a similar thing with the Fnatic run in week two of the group stage. It's weird to nearly lose to Clutch then back to back beat SKT and RNG but if you watch those games, RNG had an absymal draft and SKT simply executed terribly. A 3-0 day can look just as bad as an 0-3 day if you're watching carefully. Don't be results oriented!

SK Telecom vs G2 eSports

This was the highest level series this year. It wasn't just an entertaining match between two incredible teams it was exquisite. So many of the fights, skirmishes, map moves, and macro decision points were on a razor's edge. The margin for error in each of these games against these two teams specifically is so small and yet we STILL saw a back and forth. SK Telecom learned from their first meeting that you had to match G2's breakneck pace and they did. To me this was one of the better series SKT played this season and even though they lost we shouldn't be taking anything at all away from them. They managed to play G2's game at G2's level and there is next to nobody that can do that maybe in the history of the game. 

I could go on forever about this one but this was an absolute classic. The discipline, the improvisation, the nearly instant decision making on huge overall decisions, the draft dance, individual performances, this series had it all besides the epic five game finish and the fact that it wasn't the grand final itself. I'll be rewatching this one for years to come. The main takeaway should be that this was probably the two best teams in the tournament and that whoever won this series was likely taking down the title. We had the pleasure of witnessing two of the best teams I've ever watched in my nearly a decade of watching professional League of Legends duke it out and it delivered.


Worlds 2019 - Grand Finals

G2 eSports -130 (-1.5 @ +140, -2.5 @ +370)
FunPlus Phoenix +110 (+1.5 @ -170, +2.5 @ -510)

Kill Spread: +/- 4.5 @ -120
Kill Total: Over/Under 28.5 @ -120
Total Time per map: Over/Under 30 minutes

There's a certain catharsis in seeing both of these teams finally make it to this point. Two of the more unique teams to ever play the game doing so at an extremely high level is just a blast to watch no matter how you look at it.  FunPlus Phoenix and their fearless leader Doinb with their trademark weakside top, roam centric attack have been completely running teams over with early play making from the Crisp, Tian, and Doinb trio all over the map. Their ability to play around lane priority and take the fight to you has been unbelievably good this tournament and, frankly, all year. G2 and their brilliant macro play and drafting seemingly never come out behind on the map no matter what ridiculous circumstance they get into and no matter who the opponent. Their creativity and in-game problem solving is better than any team I've ever seen.

This is, in many ways, a battle between the greatest bull of all time and the greatest matador of all time. 

The Bull

FunPlus aren't exactly reinventing the wheel they're just finding new ways to use it. The concept of an aggressively roaming team isn't foreign to the scene. It was a large part of the success of one of the greatest teams of all time, Samsung White. FunPlus are utilizing the elite trio of Crisp, Tian, and Doinb to create advantages in lanes and to take whichever opponent they deem vulnerable out of the game. It's predictable but brutally effective if you're not doing all of the preventative maintenance necessary to minimize losses from the sacrifices FPX are making to do so. FunPlus are the bull, or as I've affectionately called them "The Juggernaut." To say they lack tact would be a bit disrespectful but they more or less show you what they plan to do every game it's just a matter of whether you can stop it. The catch is that they're extremely good at it, hence the bull comparison.

The Matador

Doesn't it feel like no matter what edge a team is getting that G2 aren't ever actually behind in any game? That's because, most of the time, it's literally true. Great teams have a way of doing this. SKT did it for years where opposing teams would have a kill lead, sometimes a substantial one, but the economy never stopped or neutral objectives were taken and suddenly the enemy team blew a handful of summoner spells and long cooldowns to more or less break even. G2 do this better than any team I've ever seen. Their management of the map and overall income is astonishing. Whether it's avoiding a dive, starting a chaos-ridden romp through the enemy jungle, or baiting out a long cooldown like a teleport, G2 are always finding an edge. It's like they're toying with their competition both on the Rift and in the draft. Like a great finesse boxer (or a matador) they never take a clean blow from their opponent.

I'm supremely confident that G2 will be our first Western League of Legends World Champion since season one for a number of reasons but the main one is that I think, in this specific case, that the matador that I've referenced is just as strong and just as big as the bull. I think G2 could win this game without any of their intangibles just playing FunPlus straight up. They have an advantage at every position except maybe a push at jungle and if you want to give Lwx the edge because of Perkz' ocassional inconsistencies feel free. To me G2 have advantages at three positions, and a slight advantage at the other two. Just looking at the tale of the tape here I think that if you exclude all of the wild and crazy "just G2 things" that they do they could still win this series straight up.

Then we factor in the intangibles. I don't want to completely write off FunPlus Phoenix because they are, arguably, the strangest team the G2 has seen. In some ways they'll see a lot of themselves in FunPlus even if it's not with the same champions. Jungle and Support creating opportunities and strange champion pools are just a few things in common and perhaps that could throw G2 off. But this is a five game series. FunPlus Phoenix do the same trick but with a different magic wand while G2 actually know all the tricks regardless of the wand they're using.

G2 have a massive edge in the draft and that's not up for debate to me. FunPlus have shown a lot of things over this calendar year and over the careers of these players, I doubt we'll see anything G2 will be surprised by and, perhaps more importantly, that G2 can't adapt to over a five game series. FunPlus aren't severely limited but they are predictable in the sense that, regardless of the champions involved, you know exactly what they're going to do and G2 will have ample time to come up with a gameplan to attack that. I doubt side selection will play a roll in this series unless a pick, maybe Ryze, becomes so contested that it eats up an extra red side ban. (Side note: side selection is determined by coin toss not seeding, it was the case for semifinals as well, I was incorrect in assuming higher seed had choice but it didn't really end up mattering, just a note for next time)

G2 have a massive edge in ability to adapt based on what both teams have shown me over the course of this year. FunPlus are exceedingly good at what they do but they don't really do a lot else, or at least they haven't been forced to. The LPL, for the most part, is a strategically linear league. Most of the teams excel at one thing and do that regardless of the circumstances and because of this, many of the LPL teams, specifically the very good ones, have little need to mix up what they're doing to adapting opponents. I'm not saying the LEC is a stronger league but it is a more diverse league from a strategic standpoint. A team like Fnatic can do pretty much anything, Origen and Splyce play very by-the-book, and Vitality are surprisingly similar to FunPlus. G2's ability to play anything, anywhere, against anything is possibly the best of all time. It creates headaches in the draft and on the Rift and over the course of a five game series, as we've witnessed, it's incredibly difficult to come out on top even if you get a game or two.

Between FunPlus' linear, predictable approach, G2's seemingly endless toolbox of plays, G2's borderling impossible to defeat drafting, G2's pound for pound ability to outclass FunPlus, and the fact that this is a best of five I'm siding heavily with G2 to win the World Championship. Simply put, this is one of, if not THE best team I've ever seen play this game. Their ability to adapt to their opponent, quickly and efficiently solve problems, and improvise is better than anything I've ever seen and that's not even factoring in that they just have five of the best players in the world at their positions AND tremendous confidence AND a level of chemistry and team synergy that's second to no one. I thought hard about this series and how FunPlus win it and to me it comes down to whether Doinb can actually get going on one of his weird picks or Perkz gets overzealous and, honestly, those are the only two things I could come up with and I don't think they've very likely at all. 

This is very heavy handed on my part, primarily because it's the last match for a little while. I'd cut this wager in half. For those tailing I'd count this as a 6 unit lock but I'll be going 10 units strong on the moneyline partially because I'm insulated by FunPlus futures but also because I just couldn't come up with a scenario where G2 lose this. I honestly think this line should be closer to -175. FunPlus are an elite team but they're exactly the kind of team G2 beats up on and FunPlus haven't faced anybody remotely close to how unique and weird G2 is, much less how good G2 is. G2 nearly defeated SK Telecom without taking a baron buff.... that's INSANE! This line is only close to even because the LPL won the tournament last year against Europe and because FunPlus just dominated a massively public, and in my opinion overrated team in Invictus. I have a ton of respect for FunPlus but we're witnessing all-time levels here with this G2 lineup and exceptions have to be made. 

G2 is the best team in the world, maybe the best team of all time. I'll bust it out one last time for the competitive season but this is a windmill slam. G2 eSports 3-1.

Moneyline: G2 eSports -135  (8.44 units)(MAX)

Moneyline: G2 eSports -125 (1.25 units)(MAX)

Moneyline: G2 eSports -120 (1.75 units)(MAX)

Spread: G2 eSports -1.5 maps @ +135 (1.25 units)

Spread: G2 eSports -2.5 maps @ +370 (0.25 units)

Map 1, 2, and 3: OVER 30 minutes @ -115 (TBD units)
(this is a lean for now but I'll probably be half a unit on each map, will update this post if I fire)

(Note: This looks odd but again I use flat unit size and these are max limit wagers at various books. As mentioned above, for those tailing I'd treat this like a 5 or 6 unit wager which denotes my maximum confidence, I'm personally just going a bit heavier since it's our last match of the competitive year but as always you see it all here.)


Additional Props:

Map 1: FunPlus 1st Dragon @ -115 (0.5 units) 

Map 2: FunPlus 1st Dragon @ -115 (0.5 units) 

Map 3: FunPlus 1st Dragon @ -115 (0.5 units) 

Dragon hasn't been a priority for G2 while it's been emphasized by FunPlus. At the World Championships G2 has only taken 51.5% of dragons and only 0.8 dragons @ 15 minutes while FunPlus has taken 77.1% of dragons and 1.2 dragons @ 15 minutes. If you look at their more recent games G2 only got the first dragon in three of their last seven while FPX have taken it in five of their last seven. I'm limited on these but if I can find somewhere to take more I absolutely love this.

Prop: Highest kill spree OVER 5.5 kills @ +105

I'm going to list this because I like it and it was John's Pick of the Week on The Gold Card Podcast but it's not offered to me so it won't count toward my tally.


Enjoy this match! It's been a tremendous tournament and a wild and crazy year and I'm looking forward to my full annual breakdown but let's end this one with a win!


  1. I took FPX this series. Thankfully I went in on them hard in the futures market based on your pre-groups analysis. Then doubled down for this final -- thought SKT played badly and that hid many of G2's weaknesses. That, and my book being European and there being generally too much psychological hype going for it. I didn't read your write up before the games but...yeah...... rough take saying they might be the best team of all time lol