The last group of the League of Legends World Championship (Worlds), Group B, needed every single game to determine its final two teams. At one point, there were three teams with a record of 2-3 with only two games left to play for the day -- it truly was a free-for-all group. In the end, the defending Worlds champion, SK Telecom T1 (SKT) and Cloud 9 (C9) qualified for the quarterfinals.
Winner of the day: SK Telecom T1
The cream of the crop showed up in elite form for the final day of the group stage. SKT showcased its versatility in the draft phase and its game play. The South Korean team snowballed the teams it was expected to beat (I May) and played disciplined and calculated League of Legends to prevent potential upsets against C9 and Flash Wolves. Scarier still, every member of SKT played a standout game. Whether it was the support, the AD carry, or even the weaker top lane, it was a balanced attack and dominant day. SKT should be the favorite for the rest of Worlds if its group play was any indication.
Losers of the day: I May and Flash Wolves
I May almost lucked itself into a quarterfinals berth, but the sloppy play that plagued the Chinese team continued until its exit from the group stage. I May was either out-drafted in composition (SKT's poke-heavy lineup) or just outplayed (C9's winning the early game). Even in its lone victory over the Flash Wolves, the team played aimlessly after it took an objective and gold lead. I May was simply not ready to move on and every team, with the exception of Flash Wolves' throw, exposed the gap.
Flash Wolves fell into this category based off of its record and schedule. Flash Wolves needed to beat the top team from the group, SKT, in order to enter a tiebreaker with C9 but failed to do so. The team did not necessarily play poorly, it just couldn't hang long enough to force a tie. One team needed to lose out of C9 and Flash Wolves and the better team exited.
Team that needed improvement: Cloud 9
C9 played well enough to qualify out of its group, but there were still many shortcomings and errors in its outings. All in all, the North American team looked strong in one and a half games and rather weak for the rest of its matchups. The team's damage-dealers were wholly inconsistent and individual play was necessary at multiple situations to bail the team out. In its game against SKT, it was just Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong that made a lasting impression, but then he disappeared for the rest of the day. After that, there were only isolated standout performances from each of the core farmers of C9, Nicolaj "Jensen" Jensen and Zach "Sneaky" Scuderi.
C9 played most of its games with the late-game in mind and forced the opposition to crawl at its pace -- which was a positive if the opposition was also weak in that department. But, the downside to the strategy is that it's simple to beat: just aggressively punish C9's weaker lanes and rotate for advantageous forced fights. If C9 wants to continue its Worlds journey, it needs to adapt and develop different strategies outside of its mid and late game focus.