Now that the World Championship has ended, it’s finally time to look back on the entire event and the players and storylines that made it as good as it was. So, this is gonna be my relatively subjective superlatives including Rookie of the Tournament, Underdog Team of the Year, and Biggest Disappointment.
The hardest part of determining winners for most individual accolades is simply deciding which DAMWON player to give it to; the DAMWON team was so far above everyone else that there are few awards not given to one of their players. However, one award that I would give to someone else is the Rookie of the Tournament award. I’m being pretty loose on what I consider a “rookie” besides it has to be your first Worlds.
Huanfeng, the bot laner of Suning, more than earned the award even if I think there are other good players. His ulting JD Gaming from the base on Jhin before pulling off two super good series in a row was beyond impressive and a very good sign for Suning despite their eventual defeat. Suning’s top laner, Bin, certainly claims an honorable mention in this category as does Keria from DRX.
There is perhaps not a more unsurprising superlative than Most Disappointing Team. This “honor” goes, of course, to TSM. After coming into the tournament as the first seed from North America, TSM was absolutely awful, losing all six games that they played at Worlds and reminding us all why North America has such a terrible reputation internationally. While there were some ok performances from some players, Spica had a good game or two, which was impressive as a rookie at Worlds, it just was nowhere near good enough.
Most Surprising Underdog is a category that was difficult for me to quantify. The obvious winner would be Suning Gaming, after their impressive run from not even being a top ten LPL team in the spring to being the second-best team in the world. However, there was a dark horse in this category who I ended up giving this to: PSG Talon. In the play-ins, PSG had 2-3 subs for all of their games after visa issues. Despite this, they played incredibly well and made it to the group stage. Dee, the substitute ADC, deserves bonus credit for playing very well despite not playing professionally for a pretty long time.
The second to last superlative that I’m going to give is not actually to a player; this is the category of Most Important Pick. I seriously considered Lucian in this category with his crazy pick ban, or Ornn, who continues to be, season in and season out, a very impactful top laner. In the end, I went with Graves, for his massive prominence in the jungle while feeling like he should’ve been banned in just about every game. Graves is very powerful right now and good junglers playing him won games.
The final award is, of course, the Most Valuable Player award. This was another award that I wavered on many times; of course, while it must go to a DAMWON player, there are five of those and every single one had incredible plays throughout the tournament. In the end, I decided to go with Canyon for this award. Junglers were absolutely, monumentally important this tournament and Canyon showed up massively for his team throughout the entire tournament. He more than earned the honor of MVP.