What went down at the Red Bull Player One world finals

© Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
By Pieter van Hulst
Canada takes it 4-1 against Portugal in a thrilling final, as the Rift’s best solo players put their skills to the test in São Paulo.
League of Legends is often played in a 5vs5 format, yet players love blaming their team-mates for their mistakes. What if there was a tournament where you don’t have team-mates? Winning or losing, it’s all on you in Red Bull Player One.
Over the past few months, the competition held qualifiers all over the world for amateur players to compete in a 1vs1 format. The winners of those qualifiers were invited to play on the big stage in Brazil. Those finals were held this weekend, with interesting shifts in the meta during the tournament and a surprising grand final.
The rules are simple: kill your opponent, get to a 100 CS first or take the first tower. The ways to get there though, are plentiful. Some players opt in to just CS and ignore their opponent for as long as they can. Others opt for a more aggressive approach and dive on the enemy as soon as possible to get that spicy solo kill. The best players have multiple strategies in the back of their mind that they can pull out at any time. Without further ado, let’s dive into the Best of Seven finals where Canada’s Tristan ‘Jumong’ Cote-Lalumiere faced off against Portugal’s Jorge ‘znd1’ Silva, who unceremoniously dumped Red Bull Player One 2018 champion Erik ‘ZiViZ’ Lövgren out in the semi-finals.
Since the players are not as well known as popular professional players, an introduction is in order. Jumong is an ADC; during the championship he didn’t drop a single game. His favourite picks were champions like Tristana and Lucian, but the Canadian’s biggest strength by far was his great cooldown tracking. He would wait until his opponent used an ability on the minion wave, and then all-in them for great trades.
On the other side of the map stood znd1, a mid laner. His champions of choice were control mages like Orianna and Syndra. He did play the occasional ADC, simply because they are extremely strong in a 1vs1 scenario because of their great range. znd1’s strength was his great wave control, making sure that the waves crashed at just the right time to pressure their opponents in taking bad recalls which made them lose CS.
First up: znd1’s Ryze versus Jumong’s Lucian. Ryze has a hard time against Lucian in most match-ups because he doesn’t scale as well. It was clear from znd1 that he wanted to play for the 100 CS win condition. Yet, in the early game Ryze seemed to dominate. Lucian had a hard time hitting the rune mage down and kept taking bad trades. With znd1 playing aggressive, Jumong saw an opportunity for an all-in with his ultimate. With Exhaust and a full culling against Ryze’s back, he wasn’t able to dish out enough damage to retaliate. Jumong takes down znd1 and puts Canada on the board.
A photo of the Red Bull Player One finalists competing
Jumong and znd1 battle it out for the trophy
The second game znd1 went back to his roots and picked up Cassiopeia against Jumong’s Tristana. The early game was dictated by aggressive trades from Jumong’s rocket jumps for maximum trade effectiveness. Yet, the game reached a stalemate when both players hit level six. A well-timed ultimate almost won znd1 the game, but both players slipped away with a sliver of health. With the game going a bit longer than the other two games, things intensified around level eight, where Jumong was once again looking for rocket jumps. The Tristana player kept trying to bait out the miasma and ultimate, which worked. He got a great trade while both players were hovering around 80 CS. This forced znd1 back and gave Jumong the opportunity to come back in CS. The game was closed out on the very last minion wave as Jumong burst it with his Satchel Charge, making it 2-0 for Canada.
The third game of the series was a Varus mirror match. Jumong took control of the early game by pressuring his opponent under the tower with great poke. znd1 stood under the tower trying to pick up CS while facing a constant barrage from Jumong’s poke. znd1 picked teleport against Jumong’s double combat summoners. By forcing znd1’s teleport early, he created a massive summoner spell advantage. Five minutes in and Jumong had a big CS advantage which would have won him the game. With znd1 under so much pressure he had to come up with a plan, but it was too late. As soon as Jumong hit six, he went all in on znd1 and killed him. 3-0 for Canada.
znd1’s Irelia was then brought out against Jumong’s Lucian where the Portugese player hoped to pick up a quick victory with a kill. Irelia has no chance in lasting the long game, since Lucian will just be able to out-CS her with the range advantage that he has. That’s why znd1 opted in for the ignite, just for that little extra damage. Three minutes in Irelia finds the moment to dive in under the turret on Lucian and takes him down for the first blood, putting Portugal on the scoreboard.
The fifth game was once again a mirror match, Lucian versus Lucian. The players even took the same summoner spells and runes. The match-up is fairly trade heavy, as both champions have the same range and quick abilities. The biggest factor is cooldown tracking and experience on the champion. Hitting enemies with auto attacks reduces the cooldown on Lucian’s dash, so getting free hits as your opponent is CSing can create all-in opportunities. The game was fairly slow and both players focused on CS. Jumong was able to create a five CS gap around the 80 CS mark. znd1 wanted to close the gap by pressuring Jumong and got a favourable trade but wasn’t able to close the gap. All Jumong had to do was to finish out the game by farming effectively under tower, but opted in for the first blood win instead.
By winning the mirror match, Jumong picked up the 4-1 and the match, only losing the single map in the finals in the entire tournament along the way. He was cool, calm and collected as he lifted up the trophy with a smile. Congratulations Jumong, you're the new Red Bull Player One world champion!