Yesterday was another exciting day for League fans around the world. Worlds 2019 continues to deliver exciting moments for each game. Whether you’re from the East or from the West, almost every game will leave you on the edge of your seat, cheering your heart out at every play. With that said, today’s recap will cover Group C, the dreaded “Group of Death”.
1. RNG vs SKT T1 (Winner: SKT T1)
This game basically decides the 1st seed out of the group. SKT winning this game meant they’d have the tiebreaker advantage over RNG in case they manage to go 2-1 today. Moreover, Fnatic will need Clutch Gaming to upset SKT, on top of going 3-0 today, in order to have a tiebreaker against SKT for first seed. For RNG, this is their redemption game. The last time they played, SKT only won because of a clever map play.
Given the importance of this game, it’s not surprising to see both teams try to take the advantage early. Both teams engaged in skirmishes and traded kills all over the map early on. With their multiple AOE ultimates, RNG took a slight advantage early. However, their support Ming constantly overstepped and conceded some of the advantage they gained back to SKT.
The LCK champions didn’t wait too long to strike back. After a messy dragon fight split RNG’s members, Teddy and Clid exploited the gap and snatch the lead. Unfortunately, RNG’s quicker rotations allowed them to set up traps in the bushes, catching SKT’s top laner Khan off guard. A pick on him and a turn on SKT’s support Effort a few moments later swung the ever-changing advantage back to RNG.
The seesaw action didn’t stop there. While RNG sieged the mid inhibitor turret of SKT, Ming again overstepped and got punished as a result. After a few minutes, he repeated the same mistake, causing RNG to lose in a close Baron fight. Moments later, Khan got himself picked off by Karsa, setting both teams up for a staredown in the middle of the map. SKT then showed a master class on how to play a team fight, completely aced RNG and pushed onwards to a 4-0 record.
2. Clutch Gaming vs Fnatic (Winner: Fnatic)
Clutch Gaming ended the first half of groups with 0 wins and 3 losses. That meant they had to win every game in the second half in order to have a chance of qualifying for the Knockout Stage. Fnatic earned a slightly better record at 1-2. However, that doesn’t mean they have it easy coming into Day 7 of Worlds 2019. Only two teams will qualify out of every group and Fnatic are currently third, losing once to both of the teams above them in the standings.
With so much on the line, you’d think both teams will start slow and just punish their opponents’ mistakes. Well, we were wrong. The game started in a hilarious 5v5 in the bot lane bushes. Fnatic came away with 2 kills and gave up none, allowing them to start the laning phase with a huge lead. However, that wasn’t the craziest part of the game. Clutch Gaming’s Huni and Cody Sun definitely didn’t want to go home early. Despite the early game mishap, Clutch Gaming’s main carries managed to punch back, making a comeback.
If I said the previous game was a seesaw, this game was an entire theme park. Seriously, the number of times Hylissang’s Leona engaged on Cody Sun’s Heimerdinger should easily win the game, but Fnatic were repelled each time for a long time. Both teams traded objectives and kills for 48 minutes. Then, in the strangest call of I’ve ever seen in my 7 years of playing and watching League of Legends, Clutch Gaming decided to fight Fnatic in a base race. Yes, with Fnatic having both Baron and Elder buff. I almost laughed as Bwipo just shrugged his shoulders. I guess he also couldn’t believe how absurd that call was.
3. SKT T1 vs Fnatic (Winner: Fnatic)
For Fnatic to advance to the Knockout Stage, they needed to win this game. That, or hope that Clutch Gaming can take a game off RNG and then win in a tiebreaker against the LPL representatives. SKT are pretty much a lock for first seed anyway, but if they drop this one and the CG game, they could potentially lose the 1st seed.
Fortunately, Rekkles stopped picking Garen in the bot lane and went back to traditional marksmen. Fnatic did make some mistakes in the early game, feeding Teddy’s Kai’sa a few early kills. Thankfully, they managed to recover bit by bit. SKT made the right plays, setting up vision and preparing dives with multiple members. However, Fnatic trusted in themselves and each other, successfully navigating every fight and coming out on top. That was evident in the mid lane dive that Broxah outplayed, as well as Nemesis solo killing Faker a while later.
As the analysts perfectly put it, confidence fuels Fnatic’s play. If they tried to make plays and fail, their level of play falls down significantly. However, whenever they string a few successful ones together, they can and will go toe-to-toe with literally anyone. This game proved that to all of us more so than any other game Fnatic played the entire season. They ran at SKT over and over again, forcing SKT to play out of their comfort zone. After 26 minutes, Fnatic finally broke SKT’s backs to keep their Knockout Stage hopes alive.
4. Clutch Gaming vs RNG (Winner: RNG)
If you ever wondered how difficult it is to play against the top players in the world, look no further. This game just showed how far ahead Uzi is compared to arguably the 2nd best ADC in North America. Despite getting first blood, Clutch Gaming still suffered from a .5k gold deficit solely to the bot lane’s cs difference. Pre-10 minutes, Uzi already possessed a 27 cs lead over Cody Sun, as well as a 2 for 1 2v2 trade. Quite unfortunate for Huni and Lira because they played a wonderful game overall. Cody Sun played his best as well. However, RNG’s bot lane duo just showed how big the gap is between the top tier bot lanes compared to everyone else.
RNG’s top laner Langx had a horrible early game, dying thrice to Huni and Lira. When the team fights started, RNG’s better composition and execution ultimately allowed everyone to play better despite Huni’s dominance. RNG finally ended Clutch Gaming’s suffering around the 30-minute mark and formally ended their Worlds campaign.
5. SKT T1 vs Clutch Gaming (Winner: SKT T1)
Everyone knows Clutch Gaming’s win conditions depend mostly on Huni and Lira pulling ahead in the early game. Unfortunately, if your opponent can play a similar game, but infinitely better, you’re in for a rough time. Such is the story of Clutch Gaming’s Worlds run. Despite explosive games in the Play-Ins, they just had to have the misfortune of going to Group C. Anyway, SKT didn’t need to do much to assert their dominance over Clutch Gaming. Clid ran his usual pathing and found multiple Elise cocoons on Damonte and Huni; Lira’s Skarner always a step or two behind.
Credit to Clutch Gaming though, they tried to make the most of the game and didn’t just go down without fighting. They successfully took a Baron right under SKT’s nose and almost did it twice, Clid stealing the second one. Finally, at 33 minutes, SKT marched towards a 5-1 record in Groups and will advance to the Knockout Stage as the first seed.
Also, this is Clutch Gaming’s last game as “Clutch Gaming”. Starting next season, they will be rebranded as Dignitas, a name old League of Legends fans have not heard for quite a while.
6. Fnatic vs RNG (Winner: Fnatic)
While this is a regular Group Stage game, this game is basically a tiebreaker for first seed. Whoever wins this game gets the second seed out of Group C. Fnatic have just taken down SKT in their previous game. Historically, Fnatic have been eliminated at Worlds more than once by this same RNG team. For this time to be different, it was up to Rekkles to vanquish his demons once and for all.
And vanquish he did.
Fnatic played fantastic from start to finish. Knowing Uzi almost always beats Rekkles in lane, they managed to bait RNG into overextending in the bot lane and punishing them accordingly. Fnatic’s support Hylissang showed everyone why he gets Pyke perma-bans back in Europe. Using their early game lead, Fnatic secured two early mountain drakes that they then used to rush a 21 minute Baron. Like I said in earlier, Fnatic may be a volatile team but they are fueled by their confidence. For better or worse, once they string together a number of good plays, the leads they get feel much bigger than they really are.
At 32 minutes, RNG made their last stand at their bottom inhibitor, their last. Xiaohu tried to Realm Warp Langx’s Gnar into Fnatic’s backline but Fnatic instantly turned on him. Without their main engage tool, RNG watched Fnatic rip their base apart, along with their Worlds run. Fnatic has successfully won all three games of the day to take the second seed out of the Group of Death. GG.
Tomorrow, we will recap the final games of the Group Stage of Worlds 2019. Group D will be sending their representatives to the Knockout Stage. Who will it be? Stay tuned for our daily Worlds recap.