BY BRYANT "HUSKKIEE" NG
Day 2 of Worlds 2017 saw a massive bloodbath between LCK’s SK Telecom (SKT) and LPL’s Edward Gaming (EDG), ending with SKT upsetting the home crowd by making a gigantic comeback despite being on the back foot of almost the entirety of the game. Although considered legends for years on end, SKT has faced their fair share of challenges when going up against the powerhouses from other regions. It’s easy to say that legends never die, but to truly figure out how SKT pulled themselves back from the brink of defeat, it is crucial to look into the game and pinpoint the loopholes that SKT capitalized on for their eventual victory.
Setting The Tables
Right off the bat, both teams drafted a solid team composition that plays to their comfort but at the same time, possesses different playstyles and objectives that must be optimized in order to fully unlock the potential of the lineup. EDG’s draft screams aggression and skirmishes, opting for champions that excel at picking off their enemies and winning 1v1 duels while SKT opted for a lineup that performs best in a full blown 5v5 scenario.
EDG has one single mission to accomplish during the early to mid game phase in order to propel them forward against SKT, and that is for Clearlove7’s Rek’Sai to be active on the map, applying pressure to SKT and for Scout’s Lucian to exploit his stronger mid lane matchup against Faker’s Orianna. On the other side of the coin, SKT’s game plan is to absorb EDG’s pressure, to not taking skirmishes, to have vision control and jungle proximity, and to scale into the late game which is the phase that they outshine EDG.
Camera, Set, Action!
The first 2 minutes was a display of grinding between both teams as they focus on farming up their laners. There was little to no exertion over vision control, until at 2:53, Clearlove7 decides that it is time to slowly tick the conditions for them to snowball the game off the list; a perfect gank that caught Faker off guard and sublime juggling of tower aggro allowed Scout to pick up the first blood, essentially spelling the end of Faker’s dominance in the mid lane until the later phases of the game.
With Scout getting the lead, Faker has essentially 0 chance of dueling with the Lucian without backup. Clearlove7 knowing that he has set Scout up for success, proceeds to be active on the map, ganking whenever possible and netting EDG kills, then turrets, then dragons, until the point where they broke all of SKT’s outer tier turrets and securing an almost 10k gold lead. At that point, EDG has strapped themselves in the driver’s seat and most of the time, a lot of people would’ve considered the game a loss for the Korean titans, but SKT had something else to say about that ‘certain loss’.
With the crowd roaring for EDG and SKT being put on the verge of utter defeat, EDG felt confident to continue pushing onwards for their first victory of the group stage; but unbeknown to them, a fatal mistake of not having vision around Baron turned into a sour meltdown for the LPL troupe.
At 29:02, SKT cleared out the minion wave in the mid lane and proceeded to duck into the fog of war around Baron as EDG group up in the middle lane. SKT, knowing that EDG was blind and oblivious about their whereabouts, launched an ambush that caught EDG off guard and secured themselves a crucial fight that was desperately needed for them to crawl back into the game. Wolf’s Rakan flashed in with The Quickness and Grand Entrance followed by a massive Feral Scream and Rupture from Huni’s Cho’Gath prevented EDG from using any spells due to the massive disables and control; but things went from bad to worse as Faker lands a 4-man shockwave followed up by Peanut’s Jarvan IV sliding in with his flag and drag, all the while Bang’s Twitch fire at the entire EDG lineup from the back.
“Faker shockwave will find them all, and SKT with a hell of a response, will take down four!” - CaptainFlowers
Within a blink of an eye, EDG disintegrated and SKT went from having an almost 10k gold deficit to just less than 4k deficit, topped with a Baron as the icing on the cake. That single teamfight not only depleted EDG’s lead, but also prevented them from being as aggressive as they were before because SKT was able to purchase core items that allowed them to be on par with EDG’s lineup and also to scale into the late game. With that in mind, SKT used that lead to slowly push forward; Despite dying a few more times in the process, they eventually managed to grab an Elder Drake, the second Baron, and the tempo of the game to net themselves a victory while simultaneously crushing EDG’s hope of a triumphant victory.
EDG had a strong lead due to their near perfect execution to snowball their lanes in the early stages of the game, prowling on SKT’s weak early game time and time again. On paper, that set EDG up for a steamroll over SKT due to how strong they were and how behind SKT were for the first 29 minutes of the game.
Sadly, one fatal vision error from EDG caused them a fight that allowed SKT to bounce back and despite EDG’s best efforts to right their wrongs, it wasn’t enough to stop SKT from harshly punishing them for that mistake.
“One mistake, and a team like SKT will punish you and they will take it all!” - Deficio
Overall, EDG put up heck of a performance against the 3-time-champion on the internal stage, but sadly they fell short to their overzealousness and lack of attention of details. It was heartbreaking for the squad to come so decisively close to victory, only to have that crushed and turned against them.
This game was a lesson for EDG, SKT and the rest of the summoners. It doesn’t matter how far behind you are, long as you don’t give up, you will find that opening to strike back; It doesn’t matter how strong you are, because one tiny error might just light the spark that burns you down. EDG’s loss was heart-wrenching, but it’s also a testament that proves one single fact - legends never die.