Group D, or the so-called "group of death," was full of upsets and suspense until the very end of their League of Legends World Championships round-robin stage. With three potential world-class teams -- Team SoloMid, Samsung Galaxy and Royal Never Give Up -- and one massive European underdog, Splyce, it was the ultimate "prove it" group -- each team was touted and hyped, but unproven.
Splyce and TSM provided plenty of feel-good moments, but ultimately Samsung Galaxy and RNG prevailed into the quarterfinals.
Winner of the day: Samsung Galaxy
Samsung Galaxy lived up to their lofty expectations. The team performed brilliantly with an undefeated Saturday, a record of 5-1 and the top seed out of the group. Not only did the team win, but they won in dominant fashion -- two victories inside the 20-minute window. Kang "Ambition" Chang-yong carried most of the lane phase to overcome many of the bottom-lane deficiencies and kept Samsung Galaxy even into the mid game. From there, it was a complete team snowball. From the support to the middle lane, everyone's contributions led to a dominating group-stage exit for Samsung Galaxy.
Loser of the day: Team SoloMid
The North American all-star lineup exited the group stage with a Week 2 record of 1-2 and the taste of bitter disappointment after they failed to capitalize on a solid Week 1. In both of their losses against Samsung Galaxy and RNG, TSM failed to play at their own pace or with their offensive identity. While Yiliang Peter "Doublelift" Peng did his part on the offensive end, the rest of the lineup fell flat. Against Samsung Galaxy, both Søren "Bjergsen" Bjerg and Kevin "Hauntzer" Yarnell played poorly. From the lane phase to the most critical team engagements, Bjergsen and Hauntzer contributed little at key moments -- either one failed in positioning or was too passive in an approach. Against RNG, it was just a wash. Outside of one great fight to potentially start a comeback, it was all RNG from the first minute.
Overall, the North American lineup did not recognize the oppositions' defenses or take advantage of the miscues that the enemy provided. It was an uncharacteristically poor showing from the usually strong team.
Team that needed improvement: Royal Never Give Up
RNG suffered a 23-minute battering from Samsung Galaxy, a defeat from Splyce and needed a final game against TSM to qualify out of the group stage. It was a humbling day for the team-fighting super squad, but it was still a qualification. There are so many holes in RNG: early game (the bottom lane), rotations and overall map control. RNG's team-fighting prowess was well-documented, but if the team cannot enter the mid game without any momentum, it was negated. The team needs a full early-game draft makeover and aggression from either the jungle or the middle lane, or RNG will not survive past the first round of the quarterfinals.