Two weekends ago the North American and European LCS representatives for MSI were determined in two exciting series that resulted in CLG and G2 Esports emerging triumphant. Last weekend, two teams on the other side of the Pacific from the strongest regions for League of Legends were also decided to represent their countries at MSI. Both China and Korea have made their impact on the League of Legends scene since the game was introduced into both countries. Korea has dominated Worlds ever since Season 3 with China not too far behind. The champions from both regions are heavy favorites to win MSI especially the Korean representatives.
Royal Never Give Up
Photo Credit: LoL Esportspedia
The name fits the team well as this is a team that has seen the highest highs and the lowest lows. The Royal organization fielded the finalists of the Season 3 World Championships in Royal Club. Since then, the organization’s teams have been plagued by inconsistency and roster issues. Star player Uzi has moved onto other teams after citing conflicts with teammates and not getting results. Their other players have also departed for other teams or retired. Of the five players in the original Royal Club roster, none remain on the team. However, the organization acquired several high-profile players including Season 4 World Champion, Mata and Looper. The team has seen significant improvement since their roster changes and after a 3rd place finish at IEM Season X World Championship, the team returned to China with a staggering 13-3 season and grabbed the first seed going into the playoffs. RNG manage to defeat Team WE in a close 3-2 series in the semifinals.
In the finals, RNG met the dominant EDG. EDG contained Mata and Looper’s old teammate Pawn, who was also part of the Samsung Galaxy White team, the winners of the Season 4 World Championships. The series would be a test of which one of them would be able to read their former teammates the best and work with their new teammates from China. The first series was a very close game with both teams fighting for control before RNG ultimately triumphed. EDG responded back by taking the second game for themselves to even the score. Game three was also close in the beginning before RNG blew open the game with several team fights to secure series point. In game four, RNG won the majority of fights despite being down in objectives and farm in the early and middle stages of the game. They used their superior fighting to win the game and secure their spot at MSI.
Never Count out SKT
Photo Credit: Youtube
As the most decorated and famous team in League of Legends, it was surprising that most people wrote SKT out. Since the Season 5 World Championships, SKT has made two big roster changes with Duke in the top lane and Blank in the jungle. SKT did not have that great of a regular season, only securing the third place seed with a run of wins at the end of the season with both new additions stepping up. SKT has been a team that has built into their playoffs and it showed with their improved form from game to game in the playoffs. The first series against Jin Air Green Wings ended in a comfortable 3-1 for the two-time world champions. SKT’s semifinals match was against KT Rolster, who finished second during the regular season and was looking like a very dominant team. The pace of the first game was controlled by SKT who picked up the first two kills and never looked back. The second game was much closer with the gold lead being almost negligible for both teams until a team fight that SKT won opened up the game the quickly escalated into another SKT win. For game three, it looked as though KT were reminiscing about their losses in the previous games and SKT took advantage of that and stormed to an early lead that KT would never be able to overcome. With the final win, SKT took a surprising 3-0 victory over KT.
SKT’s opponents in the finals, ROX Tigers, had only dropped 2 matches in the regular season being one of the most dominant teams the LCK has ever seen. The only team that surpassed this record, ironically, was SKT after Season 3 World Championships. The first two games began similar to SKT’s quarterfinals match against Jin Air. SKT won the first map, but ROX answered back in the next. Game three was a tense and close match. ROX attempted to take the Baron at 26 minutes, but SKT got 3 kills and tried to close out the game except a last-ditch defense by ROX proved successful. SKT forced through another team fight at the end to drive that game home. Game four was a grueling affair with the game almost reaching 50 minutes before the final team fight pushed SKT over the finish line. The lesson of the series is clear, SKT should never be counted out of a series even if they have not looked at their top form before the game.