Samsung Galaxy made history today at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing by taking down 3-time champions SKT T1 at the League of Legends 2017 World Championships. This year’s Finals was a rematch of last year’s, with Samsung coming back for revenge with the exact same lineup. This year also held a lot on the line; could Faker win his 4th title and prove once again that he is the best player in the world? Could SKT prove everyone wrong again that despite their flaws, they were still the best team in the world? Could Samsung get revenge against SKT for last year? Could Ambition, who was the first midlaner Faker had to dominate in his debut to become the legend he is now, get revenge? All of these questions were answered in a dominating performance by Samsung Galaxy.
Samsung’s game plan was clear: focus on Faker. With Crown picking up Malzahar in the first pick phase and banning out Syndra and Taliyah, they forced Faker on his Cassiopeia. The early matchup went as you would expect, the early harass from Malz outclassed that of Cass. Coupled with jungle pressure from Ambition and superior vision control, Samsung took control of the early game. SKT wouldn’t go down that easy though, and for 20 minutes both teams were at a stalemate.
The first big fight, and the first blood, came in at 22 minutes when Samsung started Baron and Peanut Body Slamming in with the steal. Samsung were quick to answer though, picking up four big kills. From there, it was all about maintaining the lead and maintaining map control. Samsung were able to snowball to victory, only conceding one turret in an almost-perfect game. In an episode of The Breakdown, Zirene touched on Samsung’s ability to win games without fighting, and that style was on display in Game 1.
SKT opted to remain on the red side to prepare counter picks against Samsung. With Huni locking in Yasuo into Cuvee’s Gnar, League fans all over the world got pumped for Game 2. But Samsung had the momentum, and shifter into the next gear. Upping the tempo, Ambition on Jarvan IV was able to make successful early game ganks and helped Samsung’s bot lane get the lead over SKT’s bot lane, arguably SKT’s weakest link. Once more, with their superior macro, Samsung were able to run circles around SKT. In a teamfight near the Dragon Pit around the 20-minute mark, Samsung ace SKT and go for the Baron.
Backs against the wall, SKT decide to switch it up. Wolf picks up Leona and Faker on Karma for the Ardent Censer backup. They round it out with Trundle and Gragas for the frontline, and Tristana for the damage. Samsung go with the Cho’gath and Sejuani frontline, Varus and Lulu botlane, and put Crown back on Malzahar. Things seem to go SKT’s way, with the early game going better for them than the past two games. One big factor was Blank subbing in for Peanut, and with his more aggressive early game, helped Huni and Faker get early kills. SKT upped their vision control and tat did wonders for them. By the 15 minute mark SKT were up 2k gold and 3 kills. By adapting and matching SSG’s control, SKT managed to secure four elemental Drakes.
As SKT siege down the mid lane, Blank aggressively engages under the tower and SSG pick him off. This helped SSG put a finger back on the wheel, and a huge 3-for-nothing teamfight near the Baron pit put them back in full control. With the Baron buff SSG come crashing into the mid lane and demolish SKT’s base, leaving the Nexus exposed. SKT manage to hold on however, as Huni manages to fend off and kill 3 Samung members. SKT then secure a huge Elder Dragon, and stall out the game for the time being.
No one was prepared for what happened next. Ruler on Varus flashes in for the Corrupting Chains onto Faker, and SSG pick him off. With the Demon King finally down, Samsung rampage through the mid lane, nigh unstoppable. In 40 minutes, they do what no team has ever done; take down the Gods and cement their own legacy, with the Summoners Cup held high above their heads in glory.
Feature image from the LoL Esports Flickr page.