After breezing through the the League of Legends World Championship play-in stage with a 7-1 record, Damwon Gaming lost their opening group stage match against Team Liquid before winning their next five matches and landing at the top of Group D. Damwon is the third team this year to qualify for the knockout stage in their worlds debut (joining Griffin and FunPlus Phoenix), the same number of first-year teams in the last two worlds combined (2017-18) and the most in a single worlds since four teams do so in 2016 (Flash Wolves, Origen, ROX Tigers, KT Rolster).
Damwon had a +26 towers destroyed differential and +11 dragons slayed differential in their three matches on Sunday, and had 47 team kills compared to 19 team deaths (13 of which were against Invictus Gaming). Damwon's last win of the group stage was against ahq e-Sports Club, giving them a winless group stage and their eighth consecutive loss at worlds (dating back to 2013), tying Mineski in 2013 for the longest losing streak in worlds history (excluding play-in games).
Reigning champions Invictus Gaming also advanced to the next round, their third trip to the knockout stage at worlds (also 2018 and 2012). They started the day by beating ahq e-Sports Club, winning their sixth straight match (and eight of nine overall) against LMS teams at major international events (Mid-Season Invitation and worlds).
Then, after losing to Damwon in their second game on Sunday, Invictus defeated Team Liquid in a winner-take-all match. Invictus drew first blood and destroyed the first tower for the 13th time in 49 matches at worlds and MSI, and they have now gone on to win 11 of those 13 matches -- including Sunday. Invictus as a team only had four deaths against Team Liquid, tied for their fewest in a major international event (MSI or worlds). Invictus top laner Kang "TheShy" Seun-kok contributed with 5/0/10 KDA, his second match without a death and third with double-digit assists (MSI or worlds).
Team Liquid did not receive a ton of help from star AD carry Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng, who was held without a kill for the fifth time in 36 career matches at worlds (second time as a member of Team Liquid). Doublelift has never advanced out of the group stage in four straight worlds appearances.
While Team Liquid was eliminated after losing to Invictus Gaming, they had an opportunity to improve their chances (or force an eventual tiebreaker) by beating Damwon earlier. Instead they lost their seventh match in eight attempts against League Champions Korea teams at worlds or MSI (only win vs Damwon earlier in the group stage). With Team Liquid eliminated, all three of the North American teams from the group stage are gone (also Cloud9 and Clutch Gaming), making this the second League of Legends Championship without an NA team in the knockout stage (also happened in 2015).
There are three different League European Championship teams that advanced to the knockout stage (Fnatic, Splyce, and G2 Esports), the most LEC teams in any single knockout stage at worlds (since 2012).
Here is a look at the single-elimination bracket for the knockout stage beginning on Saturday in Madrid.