Photo Credit: Red Bull
When the dust settled in the Staples Center on Saturday, SKT once again were triumphant and hoisted the Summoner’s Cup for the third time, twice more than any other team in history. Faker and Bengi are the only two members of the team from the original Season 3 SKT team who won the first Worlds for their organization and the only players in the world to have three World Championships. Bang and Wolf each have two from being part of last year’s team while the two rookies, Blank and Duke, have won their first Worlds. Overall, the only obstacle standing in SKT’s way is themselves as they break record after record in League of Legends. Their win on Saturday not only puts them as the only team to win three Worlds, but also marks the first time a team has managed to win back-to-back victories. Their opponents, Samsung Galaxy, gave them a good run for their money, but ultimately, Faker and his teammates triumphed.
We’ve covered the semifinals, quarterfinals, and group stages in some of our previous articles, so this one will focus solely on SKT in the finals. The first game was a back and forth brawl between the two teams as SKT grabbed a decent sized lead in the early to mid-game with a combination of kills, objectives, and farming. An attempt to end the game early soured as Crown from SSG was able to get a double kill and help his team hold onto their base. Just when it looked like SKT had faltered and would lose their lead, they won a very close team fight in Samsung’s base which spelled the end of Game 1.
Game 2 also began in a close affair as both teams sought to pull away, but it wasn’t until SKT got three solo kills across the map that the tide began to turn. After that, it was vintage SKT as they choked Samsung out across the entire map and methodically took objective after objective until they forced SSG into a corner where they were forced to team fight. A wipeout of the entire Samsung team meant that SKT was one game away from hoisting the Summoner’s Cup once again.
However, Samsung did not want to fall easily. SKT ran up a huge lead in the third game, going up 7-0 in kills and threatened to completely shut out their fellow Koreans. A poorly managed team fight at Baron gave Samsung the opportunity they needed to get back into the game and the match soon stalled out in the longest game of the tournament, reaching well over 70 minutes. Just as it looked like SKT would be able to secure the Elder Dragon, Ambition made a hero steal for his team that culminated in the Elder Dragon, then Baron, then all three of SKT’s inhibitors. By then, it was too late for SKT as minions flooded into their base and SSG took down the nexus.
Samsung stamped their mark of authority on Game 4 as they quickly grabbed the first dragon as well as two kills to put themselves in a cushy lead. But SKT would not go down with a fight and by 40 minutes, SKT was actually up 11-10 in kills despite being down in gold. Contention at the Elder Dragon led to a messy, drawn out team fight that Samsung eventually came out on top of. With the death timers at 45 minutes being too long, Samsung was able to break into SKT’s base and pick off more members of SKT to secure their second victory and tie the series at 2-2.
The stage was set for a dramatic conclusion to the series. SKT had gone up 2-0 and looked like they were about to sweep the series before SSG made a huge comeback to tie up the score at 2-2. The final game began just as expected, with actions straight out of the gate. First blood was drawn in the bottom lane as Bengi came down to gank and helped kill off CoreJJ, the Samsung support. This was immediately answered by Ambition killing off Faker, but unfortunately for him, he took an extra turret shot that traded the kill right back. After that, Samsung enjoyed a slight lead, but a misstep at 36 minutes allowed SKT to take two kills to one, the Baron, and finally the Elder Dragon. That one mistake cost Samsung the game as SKT began to snowball their advantage as they grabbed another Baron and Elder Dragon and begin to break into Samsung’s base. Losing all three inhibitors was the nail in the coffin for SSG as it was simply a matter of time before SKT was able to walk in and take down the nexus, winning their third World Championship.