With the Group Stage firmly in our rear-view mirror, it’s time to look at who the best player of the group stage was. For us, JDG’s Bai "369" Jia-Hao comes out on top.
If there’s ever a time for a pro player to build a reputation against all comers, it’s in the Worlds Group Stage. In just over a week, the teams play a double round robin with the first half being over several days and the second taking place on a single day of showdowns. JD Gaming, the LPL champions, could not complain of not having the opportunity to showcase their talents, facing off against LCK third seed DWG KIA, the LEC spring champions and summer finalists G2 Esports, and the LCS third seed Evil Geniuses. JDG proved to be the top dog and for us, no one did it better than their top laner Bai "369" Jia-Hao.
JD Gaming came to this group as favorites as the LPL champion, but there was a lot of uncertainty about just how well they would fare against several teams that were seen as likely challengers. Their top laner delivered a series of strong performances and kept exerting pressure from the first game, where his Sejuani proved key in shutting down Jeong "Impact" Eon-young’s Gangplank. He was more subdued in the following game against DWG KIA, playing a more supportive Ornn, before being instrumental in a series of wins against EG and G2 esports that solidified JDG’s position in the top 2.The one blemish on his record was the Kennen game in the rout JDG suffered in the rematch against DWG KIA, but the LPL team bounced back in the tiebreaker. There, 369 was firing on all cylinders as he led his team to victory and to the first place in the group with a standout performance on Aatrox.
While he was famous in LPL for his unreliable performances (fans would often type “3” in chat when he had an off day, or “9” when he was really on point), 369 has been 999 for most of the series. Despite having a hard time in his team’s one loss to DWG KIA, he maintained a healthy 2.95 KDA over the course of 7 games. What the starts did not say, however, is just how much pressure JDG's top laner exerted on the map and how key he was for several of his team's wins.
|Game 1: Sejuani||4||3||14|
|Game 2: Ornn||0||4||7|
|Game 3: Renekton||4||4||4|
|Game 4: Fiora||5||3||2|
|Game 5: Renekton||4||0||7|
|Game 6: Kennen||1||7||3|
|Game 7: Aatrox||10||1||11|
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JD Gaming will be facing off against Rogue in the first playoff series. Will 369 remain a dominant force or will Rogue manage to pull off the upset? Don’t miss it!