In one corner, South Korea's SK Telecom. In the other, Europe's G2 Esports. No one seems able to touch them.
Blowouts highlight Day 4
SK Telecom T1 (3-0) rolled over Clutch Gaming (0-3) in record fashion Tuesday, improving to 16-1 against LCS teams. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok (7/0/1) showed up on Akali with a second deathless performance this tournament. Kim "Khan" Dong-ha (7/0/1) matched his teammate's scoreline on Aatrox and also matched his personal best for kills in an international game.
Notably, T1 won without giving up a single objective to its opponent, marking its 10th such game on the international stage since 2014. No other team has more than four such wins in that span.
Immediately following, FunPlus Phoenix (2-1) pulled off the exact same feat against GAM Esports (1-2). The feat certainly isn't common, as we saw it occur only three times throughout the entirety of worlds 2018. FunPlus Phoenix did set their own record, however, finishing off GAM in 23 minutes, 33 seconds, the fastest game in this group stage thus far. It was the 17th-fastest game in worlds history and fastest since Royal Never Give Up beat Gen.G in 22:54 in the 2018 group stage. Gao "Tian" Tian-liang was the primary carry with his 7/1/6 performance on Qiyana, the best KDA on the champion at worlds.
Group B play concluded with a nontraditional steamrollering in which Splyce (1-2) used a lane swap to take an early gold and tower lead, but Chu "FoFo" Chun-lan put in a worlds-best 6/0/6 scoreline on LeBlanc, and J Team (2-1) was able to take every major objective thereafter. When the game ended, J Team had six dragons and three barons to its name, a feat no team has pulled off at worlds and which only two others have ever pulled off internationally: 2015 wild-card qualifiers (paiN Gaming) and 2018 MSI play-ins (Gambit Esports).
Bizarre battles in the bottom lane
Royal Never Give Up (2-1) has always been Fnatic's bane, as coming into the day, Fnatic was 1-8 against the club. It didn't have more than five losses against any other team. Fnatic (1-2) decided to switch up its draft, picking an international first Blitzcrank/Morgana bottom lane duo. The decision didn't pan out, as Martin "Rekkles" Larsson finished 0/2/5 on Morgana and Jian "Uzi" Zi-hao (5/0/8) shined in late-game team fights on Xayah. Uzi improved his career KDA against Rekkles to 8.85, while Rekkles saw his drop to 2.73 against Uzi. Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-hao (4/1/8 on Ryze) also helped secure the win raising his tournament KDA to 8.25, good for 2nd among mid-laners.
This loss puts Fnatic in very familiar territory, as they are no strangers to starting off a worlds tournament poorly. In fact, out of the three previous times Fnatic have started the group stage format 1-2 or worse, they has made it out of their group twice.
Group A also saw some unusual bottom lane picks with Griffin (2-1) picking up Garen/Yuumi and Cloud9 (1-2) giving Sona/Tahm Kench their tournament debut. Griffin came out on top, with its bottom lane posting a combined 10/0/17 combined scoreline -- giving them a combined tournament KDA of 5.40, 2nd to G2 Esports bottom lane (6.73).
G2 Esports (3-0) got off to a slow start and were losing to Hong Kong Attitude (0-3) eight kills to three at the 20-minute mark, but Luka "Perkz" Perkovic (5/0/3 on Yasuo) and Rasmus "Caps" Winther (6/2/4 on Syndra) turned the game around to net G2 Esports its eighth consecutive international victory. Caps now sports a tournament-best 12.67 KDA, and his bottom lane counterpart, Perkz is second among AD carries with 8.75.