The League of Legends World Championship group stage kicked off in Berlin on Saturday. T1's Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok impressed on Day 1, and J Team and Team Liquid also had noteworthy performances.
The return of the 'Unkillable Demon King'
Faker and T1 showed up to their first worlds game since missing the 2018 tournament, handling Fnatic in the opening game of the day.
While T1's victory over Fnatic wasn't entirely due to Faker's performance, his stats certainly made it feel that way. Faker broke multiple records in his first game back on the big stage since getting swept at the 2017 worlds final.
Faker also grabbed his ninth career first blood at worlds, putting him alone at third all-time on the worlds first-blood list.
Meanwhile, in the other Group C game, Royal Never Give Up took care of business against Clutch Gaming, giving RNG (6-0) and T1 (8-1) the best records in opening games at international tournaments.
J Team giving the LMS hope
Group B featured a battle between two teams making their international debuts. J Team topped FunPlus Phoenix, giving the LMS its first win against a Chinese LPL team since the 2018 MSI group stage.
FunPlus Phoenix came into worlds as the LPL's No. 1 seed, having dominated the summer split (14-1) and winning the summer split playoffs. J Team similarly dominated the LMS (12-0) and also won their summer split playoffs. Both teams came into worlds with no international experience.
LMS teams improved to 5-29 against LPL teams, which remains their worst record against any other region.
In the second Group B matchup of the day, GAM Esports opened their game aggressively with three assassin picks. However, Splyce's Marek "Humanoid" Brázda on LeBlanc went 4/1/0 and outkilled GAM's entire team. Splyce's first victory gave them as many wins as they had during their previous worlds group stage appearance in 2016.
Liquid faces Korean nightmares
Team Liquid won their opening Group D game against Damwon Gaming, which was their first victory (1-6) over a Korean team. Teams from the North American LCS region improved to 11-45 against LCK teams all-time.
The victory was a complete team effort, with Team Liquid taking three dragons to Damwon's one. Team Liquid improved to 18-5 when taking more dragons than their opponent.
Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng contributed a quadra-kill and had a 7/1/5 K/D/A line. It marked his fifth career worlds game in which he had seven or more kills. Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong had a 2/2/5 line and shut down Damwon Gaming's Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon with his play on Aatrox. He even picked up a solo kill on Damwon's star top-laner. Jake Kevin "Xmithie" Puchero got first blood and has picked up first blood in Team's Liquid's past six international games.
Defending world champion Invictus Gaming calmly dispatched ahq e-Sports in the first game of Group D. In their past two international group stage appearances (2019 MSI and 2018 worlds), Invictus Gaming have compiled a 14-2 record. The Chinese team will look to improve upon that record Sunday against Team Liquid.