After missing the League of Legends World Championship last year, T1 have won 14 of their 21 matches at major international events (the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational and this year's world championship), including a trip to the semifinals at MSI. Today, T1 punched their ticket to the knockout rounds by winning two of their three games and finishing atop Group C with a 5-1 record.
T1 started their day by beating Royal Never Give Up, improving to 12-5 against RNG at MSI and worlds, their most wins against any team in a major international event and their fourth-best record against any opponent they have faced at least five times at MSI or worlds. Conversely, RNG's 5-12 record (.294 win percentage) against T1 is their worst against any team at MSI or worlds. In fact, T1 is the only team against which RNG has a losing record in those tournaments.
AD carry Park "Teddy" Jin-seong led T1 with six kills and zero deaths against RNG, tied for his most kills without a death at MSI or worlds. In contrast, mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok had just one kill, his fewest in a win at worlds since Game 5 of the 2017 semifinals also vs. RNG.
After losing two of their first three matches in the group stage, Fnatic won three straight matches Saturday to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals. This was the fifth time they have started 1-2 or worse at worlds, and the fourth time they have managed to advance to the next round.
Fnatic got off to an interesting start against Clutch Gaming. Top laner Gabriel "Bwipo" Rau drew first blood 41 seconds into the match, the fastest first blood since at least 2014, which is as far back as ESPN's data goes for that stat. Entering today, the average first blood was drawn 5 minutes, 16 seconds into matches during this year's group stage. The rest of the match was the opposite of fast, lasting a total of 48 minutes, 35 seconds, the longest match at worlds (excluding play-in games) since Game 1 of the 2017 quarterfinals match between Team WE and Cloud9. Entering today, the average group-stage match was 32 minutes, 54 seconds at worlds 2019.
After winning their first two games of the day (also defeating T1), Fnatic still needed to defeat RNG to secure their spot in the next round. Entering the match, Fnatic had lost six straight and nine of their past 10 matches against RNG at worlds and MSI. On top of that, Fnatic were riding a four-match losing streak against Chinese teams, dating back to being swept in last year's worlds by Invictus Gaming in the final.
RNG will not make the knockout stage at worlds for the first time since their first full LoL Pro League season in 2016. Clutch Gaming will also miss the next round after going winless (0-6) in the group stage, making them the first North American team to not win a group stage match since the current group stage format at worlds began in 2014 (six matches for each team across four groups).