With 77 games in the books at the 2019 World Championship, we can definitively look back at this year’s iteration of the tournament as the most diverse Worlds ever. Over the course of the World Championship’s main event, which spanned from Group Stage all the way to Grand Finals, (but excluded the Play-in Stage), 92 champions were contested from start to finish.
Of course, Worlds 2019 saw its most prominent characters play a massive role in the foundations of the tournament’s meta, but with surprise picks sprinkled throughout, this year showed off the most diverse champion lineup for a single World Championship in the history of professional League of Legends.
Never before had more than 80 individual champions had been picked and banned at a single World Championship, but in 2019, 92 champions had been either picked or banned throughout the entirety of the main event at Worlds. Whether that’s because of players deepening their champion pools, or simply due to the ever-expanding champion roster, it’s reasonable to claim that the factors at hand are making international League of Legends a healthier, more intriguing game.
The highlight of the champion diversity discussion this year definitely belonged to Pantheon, who was banned in all 77 contests at Worlds. The character’s 100% ban rate put him in elite company, as he joined Zed (2013), Alistar (2014), Gangplank (2015), Nidalee (2016), and Kalista (2017) as the only champions to ever be involved in every single champion select at the World Championship. However, Pantheon was the first since Kalista two years ago to be banned at the top of each game.
Let it be known that Pantheon did sneak through the ban phase once during the Play-in Stage of the tournament when Nuttapong “G4” Menkasikan of MEGA used the champion in a win over Lowkey Esports.
However, beyond Pantheon dominating the pick/ban portion of the game at Worlds, there were some other interesting champion storylines to pop up throughout the past month. For starters, Qiyana was picked or banned in 92% of games at Worlds, even netting herself playtime in the Top lane, Mid lane, and Jungle throughout the tournament. Only 7 other characters – Kayle, Yasuo, Ezreal, Tristana, Lucian, Irelia, and Poppy – were played in three different positions at the World Championship. Poppy is an especially interesting case among those mainly due to the fact that she was only played in three total games, yet still managed to be utilized in three different lanes.
Additionally, some off-meta picks were taken up during Worlds at least once or twice, with oddball characters like Yorick, Bard, and Zilean getting some playtime on the Worlds stage.
Regardless of which champions got picked up, which ones got infinitely banned, and which ones got tossed to the wayside, it’s undeniable that this year’s World Championship was the most diverse when it came to champion presence.
Photo Credit: League of Legends, Riot Games, Lolesports