After two weeks of intense Group Stage composition, eight teams are set to compete in the 2019 World Championship Quarterfinals. On this first day, two incredibly exciting series unfolded that kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Starting off the day was Team Griffin versus Invictus Gaming. This match pitted the defending World Champions against the rising Korean second-seed that looked quite terrifying at the end of the Group Stage.
The second series was another phenomenal matchup. Here, FunPlus Phoenix and Fnatic took to the Rift to fight for their tournament lives. These two teams had a lot of question marks around them, but this series between the best Chinese team and the 2019 World Championship Finalists delivered more fantastic games.
Team Griffin ("GRF") vs Invictus Gaming ("IG")
The first game of this much-anticipated series was quite an interesting one. From the draft, it seemed that IG had heavily outdrafted GRF, who had no consistent damage and mostly melee champions into a Kog'Maw. This compositional advantage did end up netting IG the win, but it was a hard-fought battle. At 12 minutes, GRF got off to a strong early start by sending multiple members bot. Here' they got the first two kills of the game. It was a good look, but three minutes later IG contested GRF's Herald take, and despite GRF securing the buff, IG engaged a team fight where they won five-for-zero.
Because of this, IG ballooned their gold lead and should've been able to easily close out. But crucial positioning errors plagued IG, specifically Rookie and JackeyLove, that made them lose many of the advantages they gained. For example, at 30 minutes IG Ace'd GRF and secured the Baron, but when they began to siege the mid lane GRF caught out the too-far forward JackeyLove to stall their push. As such, the game kept going well past 40 minutes.
But at full items, IG's composition shined. At 39 minutes, IG caught out Sword and took the Baron. A messy team fight occurred in their jungle shortly after, but IG narrowly won and claimed the Elder Dragon too. Empowered with these huge buffs, IG swiftly did critical damage to GRF's base.GRF tried to engage one last fight, but their luck had run out, and the defending World Champions destroyed the first Nexus of the series.
- Time: 43:49
- Kills: 22-18
- Turrets: 10-3
- Gold: 83.1k-74.2k
- Dragons: 3-3
- Barons: 2-0
The second match between these two teams was another win for IG, but like the first, GRF certainly made them work for it. This is because GRF had quite an explosive early game where they found significant advantages. At as early as minute three, the teams fought 4v4 at the bottom side Scuttle Crab, but GRF Viper killed IG JackeyLove for First Blood and won the fight. After this, Tarzan ganked and dove the IG bottom duo to get a second kill for Viper. Soon after, a team fight erupted in the mid lane where Viper picked up two more kills. The GRF bottom lane duo received the First Tower bonus too.
With Viper's 4-0 Xayah and full map control, GRF was in a great spot. They were demolishing tower after tower, but it's important to note that TheShy's Kayle was pulling ahead of Sword's Jayce and JackeyLove's Kai'Sa was scaling up too. GRF couldn't quite get the Baron when they were at their strongest, so when IG finally had the important item and level breakpoints, they began to pull the lead back. At 25 minutes, IG smashed a team fight four-for-zero and took their first Baron. It didn't do too much damage, so IG had to wait for the second. At 32 minutes, IG won another fight at Baron four-for-two to take the Baron afterward. Now, it was easy for IG to engage one more fight, slaughter GRF and bring their opponents to match point.
- Time: 34:35
- Kills: 15-18
- Turrets: 5-8
- Gold: 58.7k-68.7k
- Dragons: 2-3
- Barons: 0-2
The momentum was fully in favor of IG leading into this game, but with a decisive win, GRF pulled off a win to keep the reverse sweep dream alive. The strengths of these teams were distinctly split, as GRF killed JackeyLove for First Blood in a tower dive while IG dove and killed Sword top. Though Ning ganked and solo killed Sword, GRF won a Rift Herald team fight at 13 minutes. This allowed GRF to take the buff and the First Tower bonus in the top lane.
GRF continued to control the tempo in the mid-game and extended their lead further. They picked off both of IG's star solo laners during this time before winning a 25-minute team fight two-for-zero and securing their second Infernal Dragon. Unlike the previous games, GRF never let go of their blossoming lead. At 29 minutes, GRF found a great engage on to TheShy that forced a 5v5 engage. Viper's Xayah was massive here, perfectly positioning and using his cooldowns while cutting down IG members left and right. When the smoke cleared, the announcer proudly declared a Penta Kill for Viper and a Baron secure for his team. From here, GRF clinically dismantled IG's base and left it in ruins. As they sieged for the final top Inhibitor, IG tried to make one last fight work for them, but were Ace'd and lost their first Nexus to GRF.
- Time: 36:28
- Kills: 6-19
- Turrets: 2-11
- Gold: 57.7k-69.1k
- Dragons: 1-4
- Barons: 0-1
The brief glimpse of hope GRF had in Game Three was shattered by IG, the World Champions. The other three games were relatively close but this one was complete devastation on the part of IG. Ning ganked top to get TheShy First Blood, exploiting the already large top lane skill difference. GRF did manage to dive bot and kill Baolan, but their next play was turned around on them. This was when GRF went to the Rift Herald. Here, Ning stole the buff away from them and set his team up to win the fight two-for-zero.
Along with these kills, IG claimed the First Tower bonus and multiple other objectives. IG had a 3k gold lead, which is a decent advantage, but by no means unbeatable. As such, the match was still able to go either way. But that game state didn't last long. At 19 minutes, both teams engaged a team fight near the bottom side river, but IG smashed the fight three-for-zero. On the back of this fight, IG also took the Baron, another kill onto Tarzan and an Infernal Dragon. IG was unstoppable now, as TheShy solo killed Sword under his own tower and the rest of the team destroyed GRF in their base. In the end, all GRF could do was watch with grey screens as IG crushed their tournament hopes underfoot.
- Time: 25:36
- Kills: 4-16
- Turrets: 1-8
- Gold: 39.1k-52.1k
- Dragons: 1-2
- Barons: 0-1
FunPlus Phoenix ("FPX") vs Fnatic ("FNC")
FPX and FNC graced the stage after IG and GRF. Their first match was quite different than the previous series', as it was quite one-sided and closed out quickly. A wacky level one fight over FNC's blue buff netted no kills, but FNC did get a head start by getting it for Broxah. But suddenly Bwipo's pocket Rengar pick hit level two in the top lane and solo killed GimGoon for First Blood. This should've been FNC's focus, but instead, the bottom lane was the focus. Doinb's Ryze constantly got the roam off first though, so FPX was able to dive FNC's bot duo and win a team fight there to amass multiple kills.
FNC continued to try to group with their split pushing composition, which caused them to fall farther and farther behind. FPX capitalized on this situation with their compositional advantage, as they won 16-minute and 18-minutes team fights. It was essentially doomed at this point. FPX was claiming more objectives and more space on the map, forcing FNC to not play to their win conditions. At 23 minutes, FPX picked off Rekkles and Broxah in their jungle, then easily slew the Baron. After taking a second Infernal, all FPX had to do was group mid, prod FNC back into their Fountain and blast their Nexus.
- Time: 26:03
- Kills: 18-10
- Turrets: 7-1
- Gold: 50.6k-45.8k
- Dragons: 4-0
- Barons: 1-0
Much like Game One, Game Two was a crushing defeat for FNC at the hands of FPX. Though they changed some things up in the draft, their poor decision making was expertly capitalized upon by FPX. It started off well for them though, as another level one fight occurred and Rekkles was practically gifted First Blood. But Tian went bot at four minutes to even the score and get a kill for LWX. In response, FNC tried to dive bot at six minutes. Despite Tian being clearly present to help his bottom lane, FNC went through with the dive. FPX flipped the play around on them and won the ensuing fight three-for-one.
Even though this play was early on, it was the main turning point of the game. From here, FPX could leverage their bottom lane pressure more effectively to take objectives like the Rift Herald and First Tower bonus. Hylissang, in his typical coin-flip fashion, gave over multiple kills in the mid-game to make matters worse for his team. At 22 minutes, FPX rushed the Baron, completely unafraid of FNC. They burned it down before turning to fight their European opponents, whom they slaughtered four-for-zero. After this, it was simple for FPX to charge through the bottom lane, smash another team fight and take FNC to match point.
- Time: 24:25
- Kills: 3-18
- Turrets: 3-8
- Gold: 39.0k-49.1k
- Barons: 0-1
They looked down, they looked out, but in Game Three, FNC looked dominant. After two rough games, FNC finally had their moment to shine. FPX did manage to get First Blood by three-man diving Bwipo top, but FNC soon opened up the game. First, the FNC bottom lane got a kill in the isolated 2v2. A few minutes later, FNC won a team fight bot two-for-one and took their second Moutain Dragon. Along with catching out Tian and Doinb, FNC destroyed the First Tower and had a sizeable lead moving into the mid-game.
There were a number of towers trades that expanded the accessibility of the map for the squads, but it became excessive at 18 minutes. Here, a base race ensued, where FPX pushed with two members top while all five of FNC pushed bottom. FNC came out on top though, as they were able to take an unanswered Inhibitor and a three-for-one team fight victory.
Right when Baron Nashor appeared on Summoner's Rift, FNC rushed towards him and claimed his coveted buff along with two kills. They pushed and brought down the Nexus towers, but stellar play from Doinb and FPX repelled the invaders. FNC did get overeager by trying to brute force their way through FPX's base, but it only delayed the inevitable. At 26 minutes, FNC obliterated FPX in a mid lane 5v5, which gave them the opportunity to demolish their first Nexus of the series.
- Time: 26:52
- Kills: 11-20
- Turrets: 4-9
- Gold: 47.8k-53.7k
- Dragons: 0-4
- Barons: 0-1
There was the bright flash of hope from FNC in Game Three, but FPX wrestled control of the series back in Game Four and punched their tickets to the Semifinals. Like the majority of games in this matchup, it was fairly FPX favored. But to their credit, FNC did manage to make some good plays throughout the game. Tian kicked their third win by ganking top to get First Blood for GimGoon on Bwipo. They also took the First Tower bonus and an Ocean Dragon while FNC picked up the Rift Herald.
FPX proved to be more decisive in the mid-game though. At 15 minutes, they dove Bwipo under his second-tier bottom tower, taking his life, that tower, Hylissang's life and the Inhibitor tower all in one fell swoop. The teams then traded picks, but this didn't matter as FPX won two team fights, at 21 and 23 minutes respectively. They won a third at 27 minutes two-for-zero, which netted them their first Baron. With it, they brought down the bottom Inhibitor but didn't finish FNC off. So they waited, and after picking off Bwipo on the side lane, FPX took the second Baron for free. Empowered, FPX was unstoppable and immediately smashed the remaining two Inhibitors. FNC desperately tried to make one last fight work, but couldn't, and were Ace'd. Now, FPX was free to stroll into FNC's base and win the Quarterfinal series.
- Time: 35:48
- Kills: 21-8
- Turrets: 11-3
- Gold: 71.5k-60.0k
- Dragons: 5-0
- Barons: 2-0
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