Banner by Patrick "Zombienot" Young
Let’s be honest, the last semifinal bout between Samsung White and Samsung Blue was a major letdown. It was up to the Star Horn Royal Club vs. OMG matchup to deliver the League spectacle fans clamored for. As it turns out, the Chinese squads delivered as the series went the full 5 games.
The games were explosive right out the gate, and every bit the bloody brawl we expected. The familiarity between both teams was evident, as is expected from their numerous battles throughout China’s LPL seasons.
Royal Club knew that their primary target was OMG’s star top laner, Gao “Gogoing” Di-Ping. Likewise, OMG was prepared to focus Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and stop him from reaching the Finals once again.
The dynamic of this series was much different from the previous semifinal matchup. While many predicted the star power of Gogoing and Uzi to win the day, both players largely took a back seat for most of the series. Nearly everyone on both squads stepped up to the plate at one point during, and thus we cannot dissect the showdown in terms of individual players. To make sense of all the action on the Rift, let’s take a look at the series game by game.
Royal Club are a team that look good when they’re ahead. Get them down early, and you get to see the complete opposite. As a team, they only have one mode: go. Despite an early jungle fight that saw OMG’s jungler, Yin “LoveLing” Le steal Choi “inSec” In-seok’s blue buff, SHR kept coming at OMG as if they were ahead.
Their confidence quickly turned into their downfall as LoveLing made repeated bot lane ganks to shut down Uzi and get the ball rolling for his AD Carry. As a result, Guo “san” Jun-Liang’s Lucian ended the game with nearly 60 more farm and a much better score than Uzi at 7/2/11, despite the latter’s reputation as a much better AD Carry.
OMG simply sealed the deal with dominating teamfight presence, backed up by mid laner Yu “Cool” Jia-Jun taking a page out of Samsung White’s book and using Jayce. His shockblasts made it all too easy for LoveLing and san to clean up after.
The second game was retribution for Uzi, as he paired with support Yoon “Zero” Kyung-sup repeatedly force OMG’s bot lane to recall and miss out on farm. OMG’s poke composition of Corki paired again with Jayce from Cool wrested control from under SHR’s noses, but an overzealous Baron call, typical of Chinese teams, spelled doom for OMG. SHR made quick work of them and used the momentum to close out the game.
Game 3’s champion select shocked the world as inSec brought out Fiddlesticks, and on the world stage, no less. Forming a powerful area of effect team fighting composition with Maokai and Orianna, Royal Club hoped to gain an advantage through their explosive team fighting.
OMG had other plans however, and Cool brought out the card master, Twisted Fate, and Gogoing on Nidalee brought even more split pushing power to OMG’s lineup. Despite running SHR around the map and causing them to bleed towers, OMG seemed to get suckered into team fights that played right into Royal’s hands.
Though Gogoing was heavily fed, his dueling superiority was negated by OMG’s strange desire to group up, giving inSec the chance to land Crowstorms that scattered OMG to the winds. Though they were down a devastating 9k gold at one point, SHR pulled off the win with the biggest gold deficit in any World Championship event.
OMG shouldn’t have lost game 3, and a loss like that could cripple most any team in the world. For OMG to come back in this match is a testament to their resolve. If LoveLing and san spearheaded their first win, and Gogoing’s spears nearly netted them the win in the last game, game 4 was all about Cool and OMG’s support, Hu “Cloud” Zhen-Wei.
With Cool looking to redeem his performance on Twisted Fate, Cloud launched his Death Sentences with pinpoint precision, which usually gave Cool room to port in with Destiny to secure kills and objectives. Once Cool got fed (with an eventual score of 7/0/10), he ran SHR ragged around the map with his split push pressure, and OMG tied up the series.
If it was Uzi that steeled himself to carry the last game against EDG in the quarterfinals, the rest of Royal Club seemed to have learned the trick from him for this series.
Zero showed that he could also play Thresh to devastating effect. The surprise jungle pick came from inSec again, this time bringing in Pantheon to land Grand Skyfall initiates. Maokai was picked up by Jiang “Cola” Nan in the top lane and managed to hold his own against Gogoing’s Rumble.
The player to step up this match was Lei “Corn” Wen, however, who picked Ryze for the mid lane. His play on the Rogue Mage dominated every team fight, and he got so fed that he was able to come out of a 4v1 with a kill before being taken out.
Of course, one must not forget who this team is centered around. Uzi ended the series-winning game with a thunderous double double, going 11/1/10. His immaculate Lucian play saw him gain a near 100 minion lead on san, as well as pull off this triple kill.
The Road Ahead
OMG fought to the last, but in the end, despite spirited performances by Cool and LoveLing, only one Chinese squad could earn the right to face Samsung White in the Sangam Stadium for the chance to lift the Summoner’s Cup. With this win, Uzi becomes the first player in League of Legends history to make two World Championship finals in a row.
While the rest of Royal Club upped their game for this series, most notably in inSec’s deep and wildly unpredictable champion pool as well as the laning performances of both Corn and Cola, they are still up against the force of nature that has been Samsung White.
Are you ready for the finals this Sunday? Before that, stay tuned for our preview article to weigh in the chances of the ‘Royalution’ against the Korean overlords.