Berlin -- North America is out of the League of Legends World Championship.
After South Korea's No. 3 Damwon Gaming ran through the competition to secure the top spot in Group D, it came down to a Mid-Season Invitational rematch between North America's Team Liquid and China's Invictus Gaming to see which other side would be advancing onward to Madrid for the quarterfinals next weekend. Although the split crowd chanted endlessly for both teams, turning the Verti Music Hall into what felt like a real-life concert, the match itself didn't live up to the atmosphere. Invictus Gaming crushed Liquid in one of the fastest games of the tournament and put behind them what was a heartbreaking defeat in Taiwan five months ago.
Now, iG, the reigning world champions, will face off with another South Korean team, Griffin, in the quarterfinals as Damwon's gift for finishing first will be playing against the team that won this year's MSI, G2 Esports.
But first, here are my ratings for the players in Group D from 1-10, with 10 being the best.
Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong, 6: We'll never forget Impact's first game of the tournament where his Aatrox dissected Damwon Gaming top laner Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon's Vladimir. We also won't forget his last game, when Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok's Vladimir took Impact's Aatrox and sent it packing for the nearest airport in Berlin.
Jake "Xmithie" Puchero, 4: It's going to be an interesting offseason for the upcoming free agent. When he was on his comfort picks and could get involved early, he was great. The only issue is that those starts were hard to come by up against the likes of Damwon's Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu and the returning Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning of Invictus Gaming.
Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen, 4: After being the X-factor that got Cloud9 to the semifinals of worlds last year, Jensen had a rough tournament in 2019. His Anivia curveball vs. Damwon didn't work, and in an elimination game against Invictus Gaming, he was solo killed and outclassed by Song "Rookie" Eui-jin. Jensen is a much better player than he showed in Germany.
Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, 6: Once again, Doublelift failed to make it out of groups, but there was no shame in how he played at the world championship. Along with Impact, Liquid's ace in the bottom lane was the saving grace for the North American champions, even performing when targeted by the enemy side.
Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in, 5: The former world champion came away from the world championship believing he could have been a bigger factor. Like most of Liquid, his first game at worlds was also his best, where TL took the only game of the group stages from South Korea's Damwon Gaming.
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Chen "Ziv" Yi, 3: It would be an understatement to say that Ziv had a difficult time in the top lane at worlds. His competition? Possibly the best player in the world with TheShy, former world champion and veteran Impact and Nuguri, the fastest-rising top laner in the scene today. It wasn't in the cards for Ziv in 2019.
Chen "Alex" Yu-Ming, 3: He tried to make jungle Sylas work in this meta ,and I commend him for that. You tried your best, Alex.
Kim "Rainbow" Soo-gi, 4: His Qiyana play was legitimately fun to watch and was ahq's best player of the tournament. When the Taiwanese, already eliminated, took him out in the last game, guess what happened? Not good things.
Hsieh "Apex" Chia-Wei, 3: Apex played one game. He played Zilean. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to rewind time far enough to when ahq made the quarterfinals at worlds held in Europe back in 2015.
Tsou "Wako" Wei-Yang, 2: ahq probably would have upset Team Liquid in Week 1 of groups if it wasn't for Wako's lack of precision on Kai'Sa.
Wang "Ysera" Tsung-Chih, 2: Ysera wasn't great, but neither has the rest of the LMS the previous two world championships. Since 2018, the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds from LMS at worlds are now a combined 0-24 in the group stage.
Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok, 9: TheShy in form is the scariest player to face one-on-one in the laning phase, and look at that: TheShy is in form. In a game where TheShy's signature Vladimir needed to be a factor, he brutalized a fellow former world champion in Impact and made him look like an amateur. No top laner in the group stage was even close to TheShy's level, which could have been a perfect 10 with a few different plays.
Lu "Leyan" Jue, 5: As a rookie, Leyan did just fine in his debut on the worlds stage. His big brother Rookie led him around the map and made sure he would be safe, and although he was subbed out in the second half of groups, he was solid enough to set up Invictus to make it out of a tough Group D.
Gao "Ning" Zhen-Ning, 6: The reigning world final MVP is back, and so is his coinflip style. Against Damwon, he was ineffective and sloppy. In the do-or-die match with Liquid, though, he exacted a bit of revenge for his follies during MSI in Taiwan when TL ousted the world champs from the tournament; Ning outpaced and outproduced his counterpart Xmithie in every way imaginable. Who knows what we'll see in Madrid from Ning?
Song "Rookie" Eui-jin, 8: This most-recent summer season was one of the worst of Rookie's career. Heading into worlds, there were questions on if the superstar mid laner still had it in him to compete with the best internationally. Rookie answered those questions pretty early and put a stamp on his group stages by solo killing Jensen to open up iG's group-advancing blowout of Team Liquid.
Yu "JackeyLove" Wen-Bo, 5: After getting iG to worlds as their best-performing member in the summer season and regional qualifiers, JackeyLove had a bit of a step back in the group stage. It also resembled 2018 worlds, where the South Korean solo lane stars along with Ning's craziness lifted the Chinese squad to the winner's circle. He'll need to be better in their upcoming match with Griffin, whose bottom lane is in the zone at the moment.
Wang "Baolan" Liu-Yi, 5: Similar to his bottom lane partner, JackeyLove, it wasn't the most fruitful two weeks of Baolan's career. He did get to play (and win) on support Fiddlesticks, though, so that's something to write home about.
Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon, 6: Nuguri is one of my favorite players in the world to watch, and even I can admit that he didn't have the sparkling group stage debut he was hoping for. At times, he was too greedy, and others, he was just playing like it was a random solo queue match and not the biggest tournament in the world. Still, Nuguri draws attention every time he loads up onto Summoner's Rift, and his Kayle game against Team Liquid is proof of that. I expect better things in the knockout round.
Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu, 8: Canyon, like Ning, was somewhat of a mixed bag in his rookie season over in South Korea, but he was nothing but money after having some hiccups in the play-in stage. He played like someone who had been at worlds multiple times instead of a kid who only decided to go pro this time last year during the world championship.
Heo "ShowMaker" Su, 9: Worlds is all about watching regional talents become household names on the international stage. ShowMaker could be that player this year, having put on a stellar performance after stellar performance since landing in Berlin three weeks ago for the play-in stage. His Akali carry performance against iG is something we're going to bring up the next time a promising mid laner starts to make his name at the world championship, just like ShowMaker is drawing comparisons to Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and his worlds debut in 2013.
Sin "Nuclear" Jeong-hyeon, 6: Nuclear was supposed to be the player that other teams could exploit to navigate through their terrifying solo laners, but he played well in groups. He was proficient on mages along with his best champion in Kai'Sa while also showing he can do some damage on Xayah as well if Kai'Sa is banned or taken away from him.
Cho "BeryL" Geon-hee, 8: While Nuclear could be considered a weak point on Damwon's roster, don't group Beryl alongside him. The Damwon starting support was fantastic over the course of the nine-day group stage, setting alley-oops for his carries to dunk on in numerous skirmishes across the map. His Alistar could be the best in his world, and Liquid won't be forgetting his Gragas any time soon.