BY BRYANT "HUSKKIEE" NG
Worlds 2017 has finally concluded at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, China. It was a historical moment for League of Legends. Kings were crowned, overlords were slain; cheers were thunderous and heartbreaks were shattering.
The entire world witnessed Samsung Galaxy’s (SSG) overthrowing of SK Teleceom T1 (SKT) and tear-jerking weeps from the legend, Faker. As a new dynasty begins, let’s reminisce the moments from the grand finals and take a trip down memory lane to relive the fight.
Crossroads of History
History repeats itself, and it couldn’t be more true for the rematch between SKT and SSG. After a disappointing 3-2 loss to SKT at Worlds 2016, SSG were shattered by the close shave that hindered them from lifting the Summoner’s Cup. While SKT made roster changes to further propel themselves forward, SSG made the decision to stick together and sharpen their blades for the coming year.
Despite shaky starts from both teams, SKT always seem to pull through at the clutchest of moments, making comebacks and smashing expectations. On the other hand, SSG remained humble without ever flinching nor diverting from their ultimate goal - revenge on SKT.
It was beyond the expectations of many to witness so much edge-of-the-seat moments throughout the journey of Worlds for both teams. SKT, the team that was there to defend their legacy, struggled from the group stage up till the grand finals. Meanwhile, SSG, the team that a lot of people were expecting to be knocked out in the quarterfinals, ploughed through their opponents, sending them into the finals for another shot at revenge after one year.
Overthrowing the Throne
Faced with one final obstacle standing between them and the Summoner Cup, SSG’s thirst for vengeance and their tactical brilliance were the key factors that contributed to their victory over SKT. Instead of the conventional ‘start fights, win fights, win games’ ideology, SSG had one clear goal - to choke the life out of SKT by turning the lights on their maps off and to starve them economically.
Every game was the same story for both teams. SSG’s minimap was as bright as a christmas tree while SKT’s minimap was as dark as Nocturne’s Paranoia. The galactic warriors of SSG were winning the vision game left and right, having the highest number of control wards purchased per game while SKT was the complete opposite with the lowest number of control wards at Worlds. SKT often found themselves corralled into a corner as a result of SSG’s frequent visits to clear out any specks of vision from their jungle. This allowed SSG to have access to as much resources as they needed while SKT played in a permanent state of fear of ambush.
With Summoner’s Rift all to themselves, SSG were able to control objectives without any interference from SKT. Despite Baron going to the defending champions in the first game due to Peanut’s miracle smite, SSG were still able to nearly ace their nemesis and eventually take over momentum for the win.
Each member of SSG played a part in the vision game. Their inventory always had one slot for control wards and they also navigated as a unit, all while establishing or clearing out vision instead of going on a one-man mission. Their vision advantage also prevented SKT from pulling off surprise gimmicks like a flash engage or an ambush in the wild, effectively denying SKT entrance through any of their doors. The defending champions were forced to operate in the dark while SSG slowly let them bleed dry.
The Great Depression
Other than flipping the light switch out, SSG went on to cut off SKT’s income through their immaculate macro and perfect teamfighting, with the help of mistakes from SKT’s side as well of course. Mistakes aside, the success that SSG found through pinpoint shotcalling greatly impacted SKT’s momentum despite them having the upper hand in the early stages of the games.
Throughout the entire series, despite losing early lane pressure in the 2nd and 3rd game, SSG were always able to bounce back through superior lane control by sending CuVee to intercept a pushing lane and only taking fights when there's a clear window of winning it. Their drafts also enabled them to teamfight if SKT decided to start a brawl. The constant map pressure and starvation pushed SKT to the brink and forced them to do exactly what WE did when facing SSG in the semifinals, that is to force an engage and win the fight.
Although SKT start their engages off well, they always end up losing the fights due to SSG’s calm manner in playing the team fight. The consecutive mistakes from SKT were saving graces for SSG as the repetitive mess-ups allowed for a counter-attack. Poor micro-management and decision making from SKT enabled SSG to bag the rewards and extend their lead.
CuVee was definitely the MVP for the series. His teleport timings were spot-on, he always keeps Huni in lane and draws him away from his team, allowing SSG to always have the advantage due to the difference in team compositions. The constant repetition of SSG’s 1-3-1 strategy applied immense pressure to SKT’s side of the map, caging them within their own base and allowing SSG to slowly increase their lead through uncontested objectives. Eventually, SKT cracked under the pressure and succumbed to SSG.
Fall of a Dynasty, Birth of an Era
SSG swept SKT off their feet with a 3-0 tally, crushing their reign and dethroning them to become the kings of a new era. It was a crushing defeat for SKT and a prideful victory for SSG.
SSG were underdogs and a lot of people placed them only up till the semifinals, but they proved everyone wrong and showed their capabilities to the fullest. They have come a long way just for that one moment, with the same roster, with an unsatisfied hunger, and a common goal to topple the giants.
The one-year grind has rewarded SSG with a well deserved win and with a new era on the horizon and a new season approaching, the possibilities for another future king is endless; but for now, SSG will bask in their glory and pride. Legends do die, but their legacy lives on; SKT might have lost their crown, but they will forever remain the team that has brought upon so many unforgettable moments during their reign over League of Legends. To draw the curtains on Worlds, let us all reminisce this one last moment from Game 2.