The kings of League of Legends have been dethroned. Samsung Galaxy shocked the world by unceremoniously dumping three-time champion SK Telecom T1 in the League of Legends World Championship Finals at the Bird’s Nest on Saturday. It was the first championship for this iteration of Samsung Galaxy’s team and the second for the organization as a whole. After this victory, SKT and Samsung have combined to win the last five titles with SKT claiming the crown in 2013, 2015, and 2016, and Samsung lifting the Summoner’s Cup in 2014 and 2017.
League of Legends World Championships Breakdown
Samsung’s decision to bring back its entire team from last year proved to be a wise one. This same lineup roared back from a 2-0 deficit at last year’s World Championship Finals to push SKT to a fifth and final game, but came up just short.
In Game 1, Samsung set the tone for the rest of the finals. This game was played at a very slow pace with first blood not coming until after Baron Nashor had spawned. Samsung began to assert itself though and grabbed first tower thanks to a split push composition that SKT had a hard time stopping.
The keys to this composition were CoreJJ on Janna and CuVee on Kennen. Janna was one of the best picks all tournament with a win rate around 75 percent. She was the best support in the Ardent Censer meta and Samsung prioritized the champion so much that she was their first pick in this game.
The other key was Samsung’s last pick of Kennen. CuVee is one of the few top laners in the world that plays Kennen into Gnar and he was able to consistently push lanes and force Huni into tough positions.
That draft meant that Samsung won despite making a huge mistake. With the game mostly in its grasp, Samsung turned on Baron but allowed Peanut to steal the buff away. However, in the subsequent team fight they turned on SKT and killed four of their members thanks to an outstanding ultimate from Kennen.
The Baron steal ended up just stalling the inevitable and Samsung won the game in convincing fashion, with SKT grabbing just one tower and not picking up one kill.
Game 2 saw the teams decide to run it back through the first phase of the draft. The exact same sides and picks and bans came in with Samsung prioritizing Janna and Crown jumping on Malzahar in the mid lane, but the next phase featured a couple differences. SKT allowed CuVee to take his preferred Gnar because Huni had a surprise in store.
Huni selected Yasuo to the roar of tens of thousands of fans and was able to dominate his lane early. He pushed CuVee’s Gnar around with the help of Peanut and got out to a nice CS lead. The much maligned Peanut was also able to help Faker get out to an advantage over Malzahar’s Crown on Ryze.
However, a botched initiation from Bang led to Samsung turning the tide and they took the lead for good after a big team fight win. Samsung snowballed its way to a win and put the defending champs on the ropes.
SKT had been put in this situation before though. They had fallen behind 2-1 to both Misfits and Royal Never Give Up, but came back and won those series. This team has made a habit of winning elimination games and they were a heavy favorite to pull the series back.
Coach kkOma replaced Peanut with Blank in the jungle and SKT got off to a fast start. They grabbed the first five kills of the game as Faker’s selection of Karma in the mid lane looked very good. Once again, team fights were SKT’s undoing though. Despite taking the first Baron and getting out to a 7k gold lead, SKT lost a big team fight and then another and then another.
In the last team fight, Ruler flashed and used his ultimate on Faker to isolate and kill him. Without Faker there to attack and heal, SKT fell apart and it led to Samsung destroying the nexus and taking the title.
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