Final coverage on game 3

positioning      Look at the image and ask yourself, which team is in the better position? In this case it would go to SSG, you can’t see it but the SSG CuVee on Poppy is threatening to cancel whatever teleport come out from SKT Duke who’s gained a couple of kills so far into this game. The rest of SSG are contesting SKT for midlane ambition ready to go on SKT Bengi or Bang depending on who does what, and SSG Ruler and CoreJJ ready to go over the wall if need be. Even though they’re behind they utilize the (at this time) smaller benefits from the two dragons they’ve taken while SKT takes towers and are contesting for map presence.

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Keep an eye out on the blue eyes

Look at the map I enlarged, do you see the numerous blue dots that are placed around SSG’s jungle? They emphasize constant vision in spots that are very informative if SKT is making a move onto their side of the map. Not yet able to gain much sight on their side of the river SSG can make a bead on the location of the members of SKT. With this information it allows them to make macro decisions without the worry of being punished too hard. As shown earlier Samsung Galaxies team composition shows clean disengage while Aurelion Sol can keep most of the siege engines at bay. This in part is what allowed SSG to never lag too far behind SKT and what propelled them onto equal footing for when the won that fight at baron 30 minutes into game three. These small incremental leads turned into a real threat and what cost SKT that game turning into a 5 game tussle.  steal

This steal by SSG Ambition is what led up to the baron that helped close out game three, a four drake powered Elder dragon is not something to take lightly and SSG were lightly contested when they went for the play on baron. For this game SSG Ruler and Ambition could be crowned MVP, however the consistent top tier performance of their teammates is also not something to take lightly.

Speculation into game 3

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Pick composition coming into game 3

This would be my third post talking about the third game of the 2016 finals, but I just can’t help myself. There’s a lot of elements that come into play for this game, one of which I touched on in the last post. Being the performance SSG Ruler showed on Ezreal, him and ambition played an incredible game for this match, with Ruler’s aggressive plays on Ezreal complementing the champions mobile kit.

Let’s first crack into the each teams compositions for this match, both teams showing champions that have often reoccurred throughout the tournament. When you look at SKT you see a team that’s focused around picking off the enemy team in a bad position and being able to burst them down, dragging this strategy out into the late game. Usually for a team that has an advantage of skill compared to their opponent this is quite easy to do. While SSG’g composition you see a team that’s in part is emphasized on the early game, snagging early advantages and carrying them into the later stages. Champions like Lee Sin are known for being early game play makers, and SSG Ambition is great at that, Aurelion Sol is better known for his ability to do early game ganks (including at lv 1), and Zyra is a very lane dominant support who’s ultimate is great form of crowd control.

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     Please right click the images and view in another tab to enlarge them

     This is where it starts to fall apart, SSG Crown tries to pull off an early game gank to try and capitalize on his early presence but his bottom lane is too far behind to join him so quickly. With SKT Bengi coming in and a nice shot from SKT Bang the gank gets turned around on it’s head. Notice how the game was fairly even at this point, the only incremental leads being top lane with a match up up against a Trundle who has a fairly easy time fighting Poppy, and the midlane where Aurelion Sol can push up quite easily against an early Orianna. Yet with their strategy going around in SKT’s favor SSG remains strong, and how they do it goes in the next update.

SSG vs SKT game 3 first half

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20 minutes into game 3 and things do not look good for SSG

Game 3 was one that many expected to end in a clean sweep, and for the initial phase of the game it did. Above you can see a screenshot taken 20 minutes into game 3, SKT has both a gold, kill, and tower advantage. By all means knowing the methodical and punishing play style SKT performs with this would mean the games theirs and SKT is now the 3rd time world champions. Except it doesn’t. SSG galaxy may may be losing on paper but they never really get pushed back past their second tower, retaining some presence and even managing to gain multiple drakes to SKT’s 0. Mid game SKT manages to claim 2 Fire, an ocean, and a cloud drake, meaning that stat wise they aren’t too far behind.

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This image doesn’t do justice to how advantageous of a spot SSG is in

From the image of the game at 20 minutes in we can see that SSG is losing all across the board except for in one section, dragon control. Almost 30 minutes into game 3 and they’ve increased the amount of dragons they gained, when they go for their second fire drake SKT pushes for baron, hoping to catch them in an awkward spot. Rather it’s SKT that’s found in an awkward position SSG Ruler has reaches a significant power spike due to his upgraded items, both the dragons and items result in a culmination of advantages that simply means he does a lot of damage. The first target Ruler chooses is also very important, targeting SKT Bang who is on jhin, the lack of mobility on the champion and surprise burst causes him to flash out of the engagement and retreat. All the while SSG Ambition helps threaten kill potential forcing a kill on SKT’s support. With Aurelion Sol help herd them out of baron SSG makes quick work of SKT Faker, eliminating whatever kill potential SKT had for that fight.

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With a 16% damaging stat boost and a finishes Muramana SSG Ruler dished out large amounts of consistent damage. The benefits of having those drakes meant that the more damaging stat items they bought the more benefits they received from the drake, mixed in with the threat of gaining Elder dragon (the benefit of which being huge) SSG has a huge chance of taking game three.

 

SSG vs SKT1 Games 1-2

The final showing was a match that I’d highly recommend anyone to check out if they missed any of it. Next post is where we really crack down into the thick of the excitement that everyone’s excited about. As usual people came into the first game to judge the rest of the competition and Riot did a good job of leading up to it. The first few minutes of the game had everyone watching with baited breath trying to spot who would gain first blood, and there were some very close calls at the start. There was even a moment where SSG Crown gained a 1v1 kill versus SKT Faker, planting the idea that This wouldn’t turn into the 3-0 stomp that many casters at the time where speculating it would be. Hell the consensus was that since SSG was still a strong team they could manage to pull out one win.

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SSG might have been the crowd favorite but the general community agreed with the casters

Sure enough SKT met all the expectations that were set out for them, gaining smaller leads and turning them into huge advantages such as a 10k gold lead that was often seen. SKT showed an overall very dominant prescence that they’re well known for, showing the precision it takes to be the 2 time world champions that they’re known for. With that game came the fitting expectation that SKT could possibly pull a 3-0 sweep again against a team in the world finals similar to their performance in 2013.

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Stats for the end of game 2

Often times I talk about how for events such as this when your harsh but realistic expectations are met there’s not much enjoyment taken from it, teams like Albus Nox, TSM, and Rox (one of these things is not like the other)  were the crowd favorites coming in but got snipped at the bud. Game 3 is where Samsung Galaxy had to show some fight.

H2k vs SSG analysis on game 1

After the games showcased the previous days there were some high hopes coming into this game. Even though people jokingly refer that the “gap is closing” H2k put up a strong performance coming into week 2 of group stage and transitioning into the semi finals. Their opponent Samsung Galaxy had some slight hiccups in the group stage but showed an overall very solid performance that Koreans teams at the highest level are known for. So all jokes aside there was some hope that the series could go into a fourth or even a fifth game. game-1-chart

Lets go into the series of events chronologically, game one is a prime example of the first game setting the tone for the whole series. Now H2k comes out swinging with a tactic that many Korean teams seem to be caught off guard by, early aggression. Now why does it seem that when a team is backed into playing against a professional Korean team they fall into relying on early game dominance in the laning phase. Well if you were to simply call a League of Legends team Korean then they already have an ounce of credibility. Many see the LCK as a gauntlet where the best of the best are weeded out amongst the other aspiring talent yet to take root. Worlds is an exciting event that many come to watch, yet if you looking for potential talent and looking for high level consistent players duking it out you could just watch the LCK split. This is partly why thinks like the “Korean Exodus” occurred,  that’s the opinion that most seem to have anyway, teams such like H2k are no exception simply playing to their strengths and capitalizing on the early game.

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We’ll use this snapshot of the first game for reference

If you pull out a lead in the laning phase that can often snowball into a victory, often times in solo que this is the case, the only way to lose being throwing the game in numerous back to back bad calls. Korean teams are often credited with incredible team play ability leading into other things such as, map presence, objective control, and closing out the game. As often said “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile”, even when behind you can never count them out since things are never as bad as it seems for them. For the entirety of the game H2k was always ahead in kills, sometimes by 1 number but often times by either 5-7. Yet the kicker is that even with this kill lead SSG was always in the lead game wise.If you simply look at the image above and view the kills and deaths divvied up between H2k, you would assume that they’re winning. Then take a closer look, you see the large CS differential to SSG’s key players, you even notice Crown is on Viktor, how did that happen? After which you see dragon control that SSG had that game, 2 Earths and a Fire to give a good mix of damage and objective control that makes sure SSG will take whatever they feel like. The coup de grace is the baron that SSG currently control, further cementing their win. It then becomes all too clear as to why SSG won this game, and why the finals shows promise for becoming a spectacle that’ll possibly rival the previous semi final bout.

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Suffice it to say the other games didn’t fare so differently

 

The SKT vs ROX games

The first day of the semi finals was probably the one that everyone looked up at with anticipation. This was a game that was widely agreed upon that whoever took the finalist spot would go on to take the cup. The ROX Tigers were the crowd favorite with their jungler Peanut being the teams poster boy and their top laner Smeb being ranked as the strongest player coming into this tournament. If Smeb had a chance to show he earned that title then this would certainly be the match to do it. Their opposition SKT1 was the team that everyone felt would actually win it but was hoping they wouldn’t, simply due to the fact that the team looked so strong taking the previous 2 championship titles that the community was hoping to see some new blood take up the cup.

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VODs found on KazaGamez youtube page

The first game is usually one that sets the tone for the rest of the matchup, that was especially so for the match up of H2K vs SSG the next day. When SKT1 showed a clean performance against their fellow Koreans there was some adamance at the thought that SKT would perform another clean sweep of the semi finals. That all the matches in the Knockout stage where people expected a constant back and forth between two teams of equal wouldn’t happen. So when the ROX Tigers stepped away from that first game and capitalized on their early leads to snowball in to two consecutive wins the crowd was staticky with excitement.

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Peanut reminding the crowd that they only needed 1 more game to secure their spot in the finals

The tables had turned, SKT1 only needed one more loss to lose their chance of becoming the 3rd time defending world championship team. Throughout the matches previously ROX managed to win based off both team play and individual talent, even securing 3 consecutive fire drakes in one game. Then the next game managing to get 3 earth drakes, having objectives shred under the claws of the ROX Tigers. Yet when you look at the gold leads and over map presence you couldn’t help but feel that SKT was never too far behind. The team has shown a masterful performance and overall awareness of how to play a losing game, even more so at taking these small advantages and turning them into something more. When players such as Faker manage to secure some small lead he will contest to the point that that lead managed to win him a 1v1. So even though the crowd was cheering ROX and many players where purchasing and upgrading their ROX icons SKT1 had a very real shot of coming back.

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SKT going into the fourth game, notice the support MF pick versus the Zyra

SKT didn’t give ROX the same chances they did that game, whether due to pure outplay, fatigue, or even sheer humanity ROX couldn’t secure that same edge that led to wins from their previous performance. SKT took game four and propelled themselves into the final game, pulling out the rug from underneath the Tigers. Yet even that showing, both seems seemed to accept the games for what they were and accepted the good and bad. I have a very strong feeling that next Year the ROX Tigers will provide another spectacular performance in the 2017 world championship.

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SKT celebrating their victory

Predictions for the semi finals

Now presumably my predictions in the past haven’t been exactly accurate, yes the two Chinese teams that I egged on along with everyone else made it into the Knockout Stage. However they were quickly put into star match ups that resulted in a rather one sided that ended favorably for the Koreans. Showing off both SKT1’s clean performance and the ROX Tigers dominance that lay their claim to fame.

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The final game that resulted in RNG’s knockout

So with the upcoming match up many consider SKT1 a shoe in for this years worlds yet again,yet they face some strong opposition in their fellow Korean teams ROX and SSG. The probable outcome is that we see a finals bracket that comes straight out of the LCK. With that in mind SKT has shown a history of defeating both ROX and SSG 2-0, again leading to the conclusion that SKT has a favorable chance of taking the world cup.

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Here we can see the LCK performances, taken from Leaguepedia page

The predictability in the outcomes for these worlds matches coming into the Knockout stage has been an issue to some, not that it’s mainly boring but it serves as some form of deterrence when you see a constant influx of Korean teams enter the finals and the same Korean team for the 3rd time in a row walking out with the cup. If next years worlds series has the same outcome as the ones in the past that could potentially  be a sign of stagnation. Just for the sake of mentioning it I mean no ill will when mentioning the desire for a shakeup, seeing teams trying their hardest and succeeding doesn’t mean I want to see their dreams crushed. Every one wants to be a winner and in a game like League there has to be a losing team, it encourages growth and friendly rivalries. Yet when lighthearted intentions turn towards hate and not merely being happy with having fun along the trail of winning, then there’s a problem.