| Tags: League of Legends
| Author Brandon Sturak
League of Legends: Player of the Year 2019
The 2019 season of professional League of Legends is over. After an exciting year filled with creativity and skillful play, three players stood apart from the rest as the best in the world. At the World Championship, MSI victors G2 Esports and Chinese superstars FunPlus Pheonix met in the Finals. Unsurprisingly, the top three players come from these teams. It's important to note, however, that this list takes the entire year into account, not just the climax of it. The three players listed here showcased exemplary individual skill and were incredible assets to their team that truly make them the premier talent LoL Esports has.
First up on this list is Rasmus “Caps” Winther, the mid laner for G2 Esports. People used to call him “Baby Faker,” but after defeating Faker and his squad twice this year, he's arguably at the same level. Regardless, Caps is the top mid laner in Europe, known for its outstanding mid lane talent, and a major force on the G2 lineup. He’s one of the driving forces of the team and capable of playing whatever style they need. If he’s given a lot of the resources, he can 1v9 games easily. But if not, he can roam around the map and set his teammates up for success.
The list of achievements for G2 this year is quite hefty. They won the LEC Spring Split handily, then moved on to the Mid-Season Invitational to represent Europe. Here, they made it through the Group Stage and smashed in the playoffs. G2 managed to take down SKT T1 in the Semifinals before destroying Team Liquid in the Finals. Furthermore, Caps attained the title of MSI MVP here.
When Caps went back to Europe, he and G2 continued to dominate. His old team, Fnatic, was the only one that could hold a candle to them, but they were never able to beat them. As a result, G2 Esports won another LEC title and went into Worlds as a favorite, where they performed superbly but fell in the Finals.
Since joining G2, Caps has been a focal point of the team. His wide champion pool gives him a diverse set of strengths, and he’s always a reliable carry. After his organization’s successful year, its impossible not to look at their man in the mid lane and attribute much of it to him.
At second is Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang, one of this year’s World Champions and the mid laner for FunPlus Phoenix (“FPX”). He’s a player that has been around in the Chinese League of Legends scene for quite a while, and though he’s had his fair share of success, the World Championship always seemed out of reach.
He became known as “Super Carry Doinb” in the region, and at the beginning of 2019, was added to the revamped FPX roster. Gao “Tian” Tian-Liang also joined at this time, and these two made a huge difference for the formerly middle-of-the-pack organization. In the Spring Split, they shot straight to first place in the regular season but only placed third in the playoffs.
But in the Summer Split, FPX became nearly unstoppable. They went 14-1, only dropping a single series to former World Champions Invictus Gaming. In the playoffs, they crushed Bilibili Gaming and Royal Never Give Up to secure their spot at Worlds.
Through much of their Worlds play, it was apparent how much Doinb added to the team. He favored the off-meta, Doinb style champions and truly excelled at his own roam-heavy playstyle. He worked together very well with jungler Tian and amassed his team huge advantages through his team play.
His champion pool deserves a lot of praise too. It’s clear to anyone who watched Worlds that Doinb’s champion picks were instrumental not just in-game, but in the draft as well. Not many players can have such a heavy influence on the draft phase, but that was another of Doinb’s strengths.
In the end, Doinb is a World Champion that was instrumental in his team’s success. He was the key to turning around FPX as a team and deserves praise for playing to his strengths and being the true Super Carry.
At the number one spot is everyone's favorite mid-laner-turned-ADC, Luka “Perkz” Perkovic. Perkz is a well-known face in the LEC, as he used to be one of the best mid lane players in the world before moving to AD Carry. Many thought that it was a risky move for him, but it turns out that this wasn’t the case. In fact, he’s solidified himself as a top tier ADC player too, defeating world-class counterparts with ease.
Throughout G2’s 2019 season, Perkz has been an incredibly reliable carry that never fails to impress. His damage output and CS scores exceed all expectations and the team funnels a lot of resources into him. At the World Championship, he boasted an average of 9.9 CS per minute and an average of 25.1% of his team’s gold. His stat numbers were even higher domestically. This allowed him to put the team on his back and lead them to victory over and over again.
Though he is, of course, proficient at marksmen like Xayah and Kai’Sa, his champion pool is much larger than other ADC’s. With picks like Yasuo and Syndra, Perkz brings everything to the table. This makes him an even bigger draft threat than Doinb, due to his ability to play damn near everything. G2 is renowned for their creativity, and with such a flexible bottom laner, it gives them many more options most teams don’t have.
Because of Perkz’s efforts, G2 Esports almost pulled off a perfect season. Despite their rough loss in the Worlds Finals, their season was one of the best the scene has ever seen. Because of how much G2 depended on Perkz, and also how well he shouldered that burden, he deserves recognition as the best League of Legends player of 2019. Overall, it is quite a close competition. But, FPX's rise started too late in the year and Perkz was generally more consistent than Caps throughout the season.
With the two G2 members swapping roles for 2020, it'll be intriguing to watch the European powerhouse again. There's no doubt they'll be searching for the Summoner's Cup that just narrowly eluded them this year.