Warning: Spoilers ahead! (For those who haven’t yet watched Worlds and are going to watch the replay).
As expected by many commentators, players, and youtubers alike, SKT T1 has emerged victorious for their third time winning the League of Legends World Championship.
This world final was between SK Telecom T1 (SKT T1) and Samsung Galaxy (SSG), where SKT were competing for their 3rd Championship win. The event opened with the remix of Zedd’s ‘Ignite’ accompanied by a whole orchestra, holographic visuals and the announcement of the teams.
What was unexpected, however, was the manner in which it happened. I, like many others, believed that the finals was going to be SKT T1 destroying their opponents in a 3-0 victory in the best of 5. What actually happened was a 5 game series, the first time this has ever happened during a grand final in the 7 years that the Championships have been running.
The first game was close with a few deciding factors contributing to SKT’s victory. SKT managed to get both of the nexus turrets due to super minions, forcing SSG to play far more defensively. SSG defends, manage to get Baron and push up to the enemy base. SKT turns it around by taking Elder Dragon, and Faker jumps in and removes Crown’s Viktor from existence. Ruler crits Faker out from the game, and promptly gets 4th shot by Bang on Jhin. With their damage gone, SSG loses to SKT in this last fight and SKT win the game straight off of it.
The second game began fairly evenly, with most kills having an answering kill. Then SKT T1 took off, and started getting many kills without any response from SSG, who were constantly being caught out. Some of these were due to lack of vision, and some of these due to mistakenly engaging. The game finished with a kill score of 20-3, where those 3 kills occurred within only the first 12 minutes of a 31 minute game. SKT T1 snowballed out of control and just dominated until they could comfortably push in, remove the inhibitor, and destroy SSG’s nexus, while picking up an extra 2 kills.
After being stomped in the second game, it was a pleasant surprise in the third game when SSG turned around after looking so dejected at their 2-0 losses to claim victory. SKT seemed to be in control and about to beat SSG at 28 minutes, with a 10k gold lead. However, at this time SKT attempts to take dragon, and are engaged on by SSG, who then make short work of Faker, Wolf and Bengi and take the Baron, which became the turning point of this game. This fight, along with their superior dragon control (they had four of the dragons) meant that SKT also had to focus to ensure that SSG never got the Elder Dragon because while Elder Dragon did not give enough of a boost to SKT, it would be
a huge buff for SSG.
Eventually SSG held out for long enough that the gold difference which was originally looking like a definite loss became meaningless, as both sides had all 6 of their items. Later on, it was SSG Ambition’s Elder Dragon steal and their subsequent Baron buff that helped SSG make a great comeback, also making this game one of the longest in Worlds history.
The fourth game SSG turned the tables on SKT T1 and dominated the game for a great win. Bengi had been subbed out for Blank, who played Zac in the jungle. Part of what led to this was, again, superior objective and dragon control from SSG. They did a good job at shutting Fake Down and making sure he wasn’t able to participate in team fights. Another part of what seemed to lead to that loss was some misplays by Blank, including jumping from Baron pit into red buff, and being caught by the entire enemy team, forcing him to blow his Guardian’s Angel and his passive, reducing his pressure as a tank.
The other comment made was that he used his Elastic Slingshot to incorrectly position himself, which shouldn’t have been done in the first place. If you are using it to fight, it should always be used to engage on the enemy team, not for positioning, as all of Zac’s positioning is about setting up his Elastic Slingshot.
This leads to the fifth and final game. SSG had Ambition as Olaf jungle who spent much of his time invading the enemy jungle and trying to farm up. This allowed SKT T1 to focus more on objective control, resulting in SKT T1 taking the dragons that they had been missing in the previous games. They also managed to secure the Baron as well. SSG’s objective control was not as strong in this final game. Most of these last fights, and the Baron fights, could have been far different if Ambition was not forced to blow his ghost and ultimate just to survive after being caught out numerous times. Eventually SKT T1 had taken all 3 inhibitors, pushed into the base and ended the game extremely quickly.
These games are also a great way to see why Faker is considered to be the best mid laner in the world (especially game 4 kappa). SKT have won League of Legends World Championship for the second year in a row, a historic feat. They are our 2016 World Champions.
Even though I love SKT’s lineup, I personally was rooting for SSG, so these 5 games were an emotional roller coaster. I absolutely loved watching all of it, and am even more keen to go to a viewing at a cinema next year. #thehypeisreal