They’re all great awards, but we want to show the highlights, and lowlights, that don’t often get represented. So here they are - the awards that nobody asked for!
The “The little engine that could...not, but they tried!” Award: Splyce
One only has to take a glimpse at Splyce jungler Andrei "Xerxe" Dragomir at the moment his team drew SK Telecom in the quarter-finals to understand just how much of an impossible task the plucky European underdogs faced.
It wasn’t a look of confidence, but neither was it one of fear. Just incredulity.
When game-day rolled around, it looked as though it may be “business as usual” from the South Korean giants. A 0-0 series incredibly quickly became 2-0 to SKT, and any hope of witnessing one of the greatest upsets of all-time were fading rapidly.
But then the madmen went and did it.
Well, kind of.
Splyce pulled the series back to 2-1 and very swiftly lost the fourth and final game. But they did win one game! And to be honest, that’s more than most of us expected. So props to you, Splyce, for not laying down without a fight.
Honourable Mention: Team Liquid
They tried, bless them.
Group D was always going to be a tough one. In the end, defeat to ahq meant the North American side were forced to defeat Invictus Gaming to stand a chance of progression, but they just couldn’t do it.
The “My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined” Award: Mata
To stick on theme with the Splyce vs SKT series, it has to be said that the appearance of Cho "Mata" Se-hyeong could very well be one of the most heartbreaking moments of the tournament.
With SKT comfortably 2-0 up in the series and needing just one more win to secure their spot in the Semi-finals, substitute Mata made his first appearance at the World Championships. A token appearance for a world champion and a legend.
But it all went wrong.
We were even treated to the Samsung Galaxy Thresh skin, which Mata historically doesn’t use unless he feels as though he will perform to a high standard.
This was perhaps to be a send-off for one of the greats of the game.
And SKT lost to Splyce. Effort returned to the lineup and the team secured their final win.
Then, in perhaps an act of desperation, SKT tried it again when they squared up against G2 Esports in the Semi-finals. Once again, SKT and Mata were unsuccessful.
Mata remains on 49 international wins. And he may never reach the milestone he was searching for.
Honourable Mention: Fnatic
Rescuing qualification to the quarter-finals with a 3-0 week could have been the springboard that Fnatic needed to make a deep run into the tournament.
Therefore, the resulting 3-1 defeat to FunPlus Phoenix (before we realized they were really, really, good) certainly did put a dampener on things.
The “Are you not entertained?” Award: Promisq
Imagine being one of the best players in the world. You’ve proven your worth in the LCK, possibly the most competitive league in existence, and now you’re taking to the World’s stage to compete for a spot in the grand-final.
And Hampus "promisq" Abrahamsson flexes an MSI winner’s medal on you. It was simply iconic.
G2 Esports owner, Carlos "ocelote" Rodriguez refers to promisq as a "god", and in that moment, it was impossible to ignore the god-level shithousery on display. The man once referred to as Pro-Miss-Q, flexing on the GOAT, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, himself.
The fact that G2 went on to win the series is almost a footnote to what should be remembered as one of the greatest, and weirdest, flexes in League of Legends esports history.
Again, simply iconic.
Honourable Mention: Sharp and Orome
About to get eliminated from Worlds without even actually playing a game? Fuck it, throw down a fusion dance. I can respect that.
The “Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Black Hawk Down” Award: Gilius
What do you mean you don’t remember Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Black Hawk Down?
Alright, fine. He’s the guy who drops into the helicopter crash site to hold off the swarming mob with a sniper rifle and a pistol.
Ultimately, he achieved very little and died after 30 seconds of screen-time, but you sure have to respect the effort.
The same can be said for the bizarre antics of the ever-entertaining Erberk "Gilius" Demir. The German-Turkish jungler has made it his mission to hunt down and defeat or tilt (or both) any visiting player set to face off against a European side in the tournament.
This is akin to football fans chanting outside the opposition team hotel in an attempt to keep them awake the night before a big game.
It has almost no impact whatsoever on the outcome of the match, but it’s big energy, and exactly the kind of nonsense our boys need if they’re to emerge victorious this weekend.
Already clapped the tian kid in soloq several times but I will give him an experience he will never forget— Berk (@GiliusLoL) November 3, 2019
One G2 Esports fan in the replies put it perfectly. Thank you for your service, and god-speed Gilius. I expect G2 Esports to send his medal in the post should they come out on top this Sunday.
Honourable Mention: The Twitter Analysts
The twitter analysts are often the butt of the joke, but shout out to all of you for helping the common pleb understand a little more clearly what goes on at the highest level of play...Even if it is usually in the most condescending manner possible.
Eventually, though, none of those lessons will ever be applied in my Gold 3 solo queue games.