BERLIN -- The deadliest group in League of Legends world championship history has come to an end, and South Korea's T1 along with Europe's Fnatic will be making their way to Madrid for the quarterfinals. For T1, it was almost the perfect start to what they hope is a fourth world championship, only losing a single game throughout the stage. On the other hand, it was another run back for the ages from Fnatic, a team known for its dramatic comebacks and streaks. They won all of their games on Saturday, knocking out both North America's Clutch Gaming and China's Royal Never Give Up. For the first time in worlds history, all three European seeds will advance to the knockout rounds as the home crowds continue to spur them on.
Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon, 4: An improved second half of the group stage didn't make up for a disastrous first three games of the main event for Clutch's superstar player. For CG to have had any chance of making it out of the toughest group in worlds history, Huni would have had to play at an 8 or 9 level, and he was nothing close to that in Berlin.
Nam "Lira" Tae-yoo, 3: This was not the worlds debut Lira was dreaming for after years of trying to make it to the international stage. In a group with some of the best junglers in the world, the South Korean jungler was outclassed in almost every metric.
Tanner "Damonte" Damonte, 4: It would be a lie to say Damonte wasn't outmatched in Group C, but for the most part he held his own, only really being bullied by Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok. This world championship was about the experience for the young American mid laner, and he should be a much stronger player come the 2020 campaign due to what he learned from this event.
Cody "Cody Sun" Sun, 4: Like Damonte, this tournament was about more than just winning for Cody Sun. After being benched last year on 100 Thieves at the world championship, Cody finally got to play, and although he didn't pick up any wins, he proved that he can be an important piece on a top North American team.
Philippe "Vulcan" Laflamme, 5: I don't think anyone could have predicted that it would be Vulcan, the Canadian support, who would leave the world championship as Clutch's best player. Yet, throughout the course of the group stage, he was the redeeming feature in Clutch's defeats, his picks on engage-oriented champions leading to the best moments of the tournament for his team. Coming off this event, North America might be seeing the rise of its next great homegrown talent.
Kim "Khan" Dong-ha, 7: This is a statement tournament for Khan, wanting to make up for a disappointing 2017 when his squad Longzhu Gaming flamed out in the quarterfinals. He wasn't at his peak level in the group stages, although I do commend him for being one of the only Gangplank players this tournament to actually connect with his barrel chains.
Kim "Clid" Tae-min, 9: Outside of T1's single loss to Fnatic, Clid was on fire throughout his group stage. Tarzan received a 9 from me yesterday in large part due to his mastery of the champion Lee Sin, and it's the same thing today, as Clid's Lee Sin might be the scariest in the entire tournament. The question of which South Korean jungler is truly the best will wage on as both T1 and Griffin head to Madrid as No. 1 seeds.
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, 8: The GOAT himself, Faker started this tournament on a mission and blasted through the first week of the group stage. Come the second half, he slowed down a bit, especially in the loss versus Fnatic where he threw himself into the enemy's arms time and time again. His mechanics weren't as sharp as Clid's, but his experience and game sense is still second to none in the competition. T1's first win over Royal Never Give Up through a teleport backdoor is going to be remembered for years to come.
Park "Teddy" Jin-seong, 8: Teddy is the late-game win condition. Aside from Royal Never Give Up's Uzi, there might not be a better AD carry in the tournament when the time crosses the 30-minute mark and it becomes a game in which the best positioning coupled with precise mechanics usually wins the game. This was one of the more difficult rating decisions for me, as I flip-flopped between an 8 and a 9 before finally taking the conservative route.
Lee "Effort" Sang-ho, 6: The perceived "weak link" of South Korea's crown jewel, Effort was the weakest player in the starting five for T1 in the group stages. While he made some big plays, there were also instances where his green nature was on display, being caught out during clearing ward missions or waddling around the map. Luckily for T1, Effort is known for his calm, level-headed mindset, so an up-and-down group stage won't be affecting his performance.
Royal Never Give Up
Xie "Langx" Zhen-Ying, 6: RNG was criticized for not having a reliable top laner in the past, and yet the Chinese No. 2 seed failed to make it out of groups even with an admirable performance from their new starter in the top lane. His Gnar was something to behold, but Fnatic never quite let him be the game-changer he needed to be in the final group stage game that eliminated RNG from worlds.
Hung "Karsa" Hao-Hsuan, 6: You're going to notice a trend with most of RNG's players except for one when it comes to scores. They were good but not great, and in what will go down as the strongest group in worlds history, good wasn't going to cut it. In other groups, most notably Group B, Karsa's performance would have been strong enough to get RNG as the No. 1 seed. Instead, in Group C, he's going home.
Li "Xiaohu" Yuan-Hao, 6: For the most part, Xiahou did what the team needed him to do. On a team that prioritizes bottom so heavily, he was often left to his own devices to fend for himself. He did have a strong Akali game against the already-eliminated Clutch Gaming on RNG's final day, but when he was called upon to do more, there was a feeling of lacking from the experienced mid laner for RNG.
Jian "Uzi" Zi-Hao, 9: It's almost impossible to get such a high score when your team is eliminated in the group stages, but Uzi is the best AD carry in League of Legends history, and this group stage exit only supports that narrative. He was a steamroller in almost every single game he played, and in a cruel twist of fate, it was Fnatic game planning for RNG's tendencies that never let Uzi really get a chance to do anything. RNG has possibly the best player in the world, in form, and they're not advancing to the knockout rounds in Madrid.
Shi "Ming" Sen-Ming, 6: Ming began this tournament on fire with his Blitzcrank pick that torched Clutch Gaming and then began to fall off as the tournament went along. RNG needed someone other than Uzi to step up and make the plays needed to get out of this group, and that player just never came.
Gabriël "Bwipo" Rau, 6: The first week was a disaster for Bwipo. He was dying left and right, Fnatic was struggling to find their identity, and he was right in the center of the issues. Week 2, along with the rest of Fnatic, was his redemption, and even though he still made some baffling decisions at times -- CG vs. Fnatic will linger for a millennia -- his bounce back propelled his team to Madrid for a chance at a second straight worlds final appearance.
Mads "Broxah" Brock-Pedersen, 7: This was the Broxah people wanted to see in the first week. His Elise game to begin Week 2 versus Clutch was sloppy but had enough positive moments to get Fnatic the win, and then his two Gragas games to close out the day were near perfection. If this is the Broxah that Fnatic fans will be seeing in the knockout round, they should be excited about their next match in the quarterfinals.
Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek, 8: The rookie from Slovenia was spectacular in his first worlds group stage. In an all-important game against Faker, the best to ever do it, Nemesis had ice in his veins and outperformed the legendary mid laner, showing his champion depth by pulling out the magical shotgun known as Veigar.
Martin "Rekkles" Larsson, 7: Rekkles on mages? 3 to 4 rating. Rekkles on traditional AD carry champions? 8 to 9 rating. While I wanted to give Rekkles something higher than a 7, his Week 1 performance knocked him down. Still, this advancement to Madrid has to feel good after being denied so many times by Uzi in the past at previous world championships.
Zdravets "Hylissang" Iliev Galabov, 6: His 10 deaths in the game against Clutch on the final day of groups were all tactical.