FunPlus Phoenix advanced to the League of Legends World Championship Final Saturday, defeating defending champions Invictus Gaming 3-1. FunPlus Phoenix became the first team since 2016 Samsung Galaxy to make the final in its worlds debut, and will aim to become the first to win outright since 2013 SK Telecom T1 when, on Nov. 10, it faces the winner of Sunday's semifinal between SK Telecom T1 and G2 Esports.
Saturday's semifinals will be remembered for being one of the most fast-paced and entertaining series in worlds history, setting multiple kill records in the process. With 168 kills in 131 minutes, the series gave us the most kills per minute (1.28) in worlds knockouts history.
Fifty-nine kills in Game 2 and 55 kills in Game 4 became the second and fourth-most kills in worlds games, respectively, and the most seen in a worlds game since 2013. After a relatively slow start to Game 1, the series quickly became defined by FunPlus Phoenix's aggression; however fast it wanted to play, Invictus Gaming would simply try its best to match. In the chaos, FunPlus Phoenix picked up three of four First Bloods, three of four First Towers, and all four Rift Heralds throughout the early game, putting a stranglehold on the series in the process.
In Game 1, the story was all about Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang pulling out a Rumble in the mid lane for the first time at worlds since 2011. He carried his team to victory while putting up a 10/1/5 KDA on the champion, garnering the most kills by a mid laner at this tournament at the time.
In Game 2, Song "Rookie" Eui-jin (10/5/12) matched that performance with 10 kills of his own on Lucian, in a drawn-out, back-and-forth affair with countless teamfights. The game ended with 59 total kills between the two teams, and became the fourth game this tournament in which the losing team ended the game with more kills than its opponent.
The remainder of the series became the Gao "Tian" Tian-Liang show. The FunPlus Phoenix jungler put up back-to-back outstanding performances, clinching the series. In Game 3, he joined Choi "DanDy" In-kyu (2014 Samsung White) and Han "Peanut" Wang-ho (2016 ROX Tigers) to become the third jungler in worlds history to have multiple games with nine kills with a 9/1/7 performance on Qiyana. He followed it up with 7/4/18 KDA on Gragas, matching the third-most kills-plus-assists in a game in worlds history. Tian's 69 total kills at worlds 2019 give him the third-most kills by a jungler in worlds history behind 2014 DanDy (84) and 2016 Peanut (71) -- and he still has a series to play.
The series was certainly not won only by Doinb and Tian. Support Liu "Crisp" Qing-Song was able to amass 22 assists in Game 4 on Tahm Kench, marking the most assists in a worlds game since the 2017 Quarterfinals (Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming, 22). Top laner Kim "GimGoon" Han-saem was able to keep what has been one of the best top laners at worlds, Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok, at bay. TheShy came into the series with a tournament-high 4.6 KDA among top laners. Despite TheShy getting multiple counter matchups like Quinn vs Renekton and Lucian into Gangplank, these four games dropped that KDA from 4.6 to 3.0. GimGoon even picked up his fourth First Blood of the tournament in Game 3, giving him sole possession of second place on the First Blood leaderboard behind Griffin's Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong (5).