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2014 Worlds Semifinal Recap: A Complete Whitewash

October 14, 2014 Marco "TigerPoet" de Leon

Samsung White Crush Samsung Blue

There’s not really much else one can say about what happened last weekend between sister teams Samsung White and Samsung Blue. What was touted as the grandest display of League of Legends we could hope to see at this World Championship turned into one of the biggest stomps to ever occur on the world stage. Analysts and droves of fans alike were stunned at the result.

Both these teams know each other so well. Both these teams rolled over their opponents in the Group Stage. Both these teams also seemed to be sandbagging themselves coming into the semifinals, with key players on both sides hardly or even never using their signature champions.

That’s where the similarities end, however. Blue are the late game team fighting squad, who are said to be invincible if they’re not at a huge disadvantage at 20 minutes. White are the early to mid game snowball team with lightning quick rotations that strangle their opponents so hard the late game never happens.

The biggest difference in the end though, was that White’s strengths finally overpowered their sister team’s. Blue never found their footing to springboard into that late game as White nipped 3 quick matches in the bud. Let’s break down exactly how White consolidated their dominance.

Throwing Blue for a Loop

When we said that both teams were sandbagging themselves, we meant it. When the gloves came off, the pocket and power picks came raining in on both sides. Firstly, let’s talk about how that negatively impacted Samsung Blue.

Samsung Blue’s main fear was that they would not get to late game, and so they sacrificed a lot to build mid game team compositions that could somewhat go toe to toe with White. The biggest threats they saw to their strategy were Zilean, Alistar, and Tristana, which is what they banned the most during the series. Samsung White weren’t even interested in any of these champions and Blue tunnelling on these bans gave White the freedom to get the champions they wanted.

Aside from this, we saw Blue’s AD Carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu play Varus in game 1, and Choi “Acorn” Cheon-ju pick Galio in the top lane for game 2. These picks were flying so low under the radar and are so out of the metagame that Blue probably thought they would throw White off their game. The audience, caster crew, and analyst desk were stunned, true – but White were not.

Deft, despite having the best KDA of his whole team throughout the series, did not lock down any champions in team fights using Varus’ Chain of Corruption. He got one kill onto Gu “imp” Seung-bin in game 1 and that was it. Acorn’s Galio did not get a single kill, and Acorn generally had a horrendous series as a whole, with a demoralizing 1/17/4 as his final score.

Samsung White’s top laner, Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok, is a mystery yet to be unraveled by any team at Worlds thus far. He has played 9 champions in the top lane, the most diversity of any player at this tournament, and now sits atop the KDA ladder at 12.9 largely in part due to his whopping 19/1/33 scoreline. His counter surprise pick of Akali in game 1 and Kassadin in game 3 against Acorn’s Ryze was played to perfection, and even after this series, nobody knows what he’ll pick next.

The Prince of Thieves and the Broken Spirit

Every fan of Korean League of Legends around the world wondered where White’s jungler Choi “DanDy” In-kyu’s legendary Rengar was. The answer was that he saved it specifically to wield against his sister team and break their spirit. By break their spirit, we mean more than just their pride and will to fight. Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon was made largely ineffective by DanDy for the entirety of the series.

DanDy’s Rengar, once unleashed, was a sight to behold. His pressure was immense. He would force fights left and right, and it didn’t matter if it was between towers or in the enemy jungle. Every time DanDy would jump in, it would be to rip Samsung Blue apart and net an advantage for his team.

The fated clash between the Pridestalker and the Voidreaver was more of a real life cat squashing a bug as DanDy manhandled Spirit’s signature Kha’Zix, including this brilliant 1v1 outplay that just broke his opposite number’s mental state.

DanDy’s presence was so overwhelming that Blue had to pick Rengar for themselves in game 3 just so he wouldn’t get his paws on it. They forgot that DanDy is also the famous pentakick Lee Sin, and DanDy made quick work of Blue, feeding pick after pick into the hands of his mid laner, while Spirit was left ineffective yet again, unable to make the same impact on the knife cat.

PawN Becomes King

Speaking of DanDy’s mid laner, Heo “PawN” Won-seok is perhaps the least hyped member on White. He was traded in after Samsung Ozone’s loss at the 2013 World Championships, as Bae “dade” Eo-jin then moved to Blue. When Ozone became Samsung White, PawN had big shoes to fill, as dade was not only the main play maker of the team, but also its shot caller.

While the shot calling has since been left to DanDy and the vision control master, Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong, PawN has been exactly what his team needed, quite literally in fact. PawN will play anything to match the team composition that White tries to build. He does not look for the best lane matchups for him to win, nor does he necessitate early leads for himself. He quietly does his job and lets his teammates work their flow around him.

While seemingly true to his name, PawN has quietly racked up some surprising 1v1 outplays throughout his career. He solo killed TSM’s star mid laner, Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg more than once just this tournament. Many are also quick to forget he outplayed the mid lane god, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, of the 2013 Championship team, SK Telecom T1 K.

Like the piece in Chess, PawN slowly worked his way up the board and in this series, he finally transformed into a whole different beast. His Jayce pick in the first two games absolutely wrecked Blue. Whenever an objective was up for grabs, PawN’s Shock Blasts would home in, scaring or wounding Blue out of contention.

A ridiculous 16/3/23 score in 2 games gave Blue no other option but to ban Jayce in game 3, and in turn, they became the pawns as they fell into the trap of giving PawN an old favorite of his: Fizz. PawN used the Tidal Trickster sparingly throughout this tournament, but it was one of his signature champions early in his career. In his hands, he amassed a perfect 11/0/5, and bullied dade into submission: 0/7/3 for the General, despite dade’s wealth of experience on the Card Master.

In one of the most touching moments in all of e-Sports, PawN’s domination of dade was enough to for dade to hand PawN the signature General’s jacket, signifying a new king of the mid lane in Korea.

The Final Showdown

With Samsung White’s kiddy gloves off, they’ve transformed from an intimidating force into a League of Legends team the likes of which nobody has seen before. Their run of domination actually trumps SK T T1’s from a year ago. It would be foolish to bet against them as they enter the finals match massively favored.

Tune in soon as we break down the series that produced their finals opponent, with a recap of Star Horn Royal Club vs. OMG.

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