To say that the last few matches of this year’s league of legends world championship were competitive does the final series a vast injustice in regards to just how close both teams were to victory. A five-game set that seemed all but over after two exploded into a nail-biter of a match that left many people wondering just how far the underdogs Samsung Galaxy could push incumbent champions SK Telecom off the podium, and likewise wondering just how much more their hearts could take, as play after play turned game after game on the edge of a straight-razor.
As the clock wound down to the forty-three minute mark it was a fatal mistake by Kang “Ambition” Chang-yong, getting caught in the jungle as Olaf by Bae “Bang” Jun-sik’s Ashe, which forced him to blow his ultimate Ragnarok, that would cost Samsung the final game. Without Olaf’s ability to run into the fight without facing significant amounts of crowd control (Which Ragnarok provides invulnerability to), it was a simple matter for SKT to start up the Baron, certain that if Samsung’s jungler approached, that they could burst and kill him instantly.
With baron secured and Ambition dead following the ensuing teamfight, SKT were free to break open the Samsung base, and push for the nexus with Ambition’s Olaf still dead. Even so, it remains a grand achievement for Samsung to have played as well as they did in the series, taking two games off of the Korean Powerhouse and giving SKT one hell of a job in Game five for them to win the game. It should be noted that at the thirty minute mark, Samsung were ahead of SKT by some two thousand gold. It was a matter of SKT making amazing plays and punishing a few small mistakes from Samsung that swung the game back around.
This off the back of what many were calling the world championship final already being over, following the semi-final berth between SKT and the ROX Tigers, a series that while having the same game score of 3-2, didn’t feel nearly as close. I felt that while ROX may very well have been the favorites going into this tournament, their performance against SKT was much more muted than the showing of Samsung, despite all the hype for it supposedly being the better series. It seems strange that the #1 Korean seed would wind up appearing to be the #3 team from their region given their appearance against similar competition, but I feel it only goes to show how close the top Korean teams really are to one another, and how no matter what happens, Korea seems to constantly and consistently produce the best teams in the world.
While the series is over, the closing ceremony has been finished and the medals and summoner’s cup awarded, I highly advise you go back and watch these games again, as the sheer determination and skill exhibited by both of the teams in this series was phenomenal. I for one will be watching and re-watching Ambition’s Lee Sin and Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk’s Jhin in games three and four over and over. Likewise, I can only compliment Bang for his clutch arrows in Game 5. While he was hit and miss at times over the series, it was he who won the game for his team, and I cannot speak enough of his skill to land a final, blind Ashe ultimate and force the issue that would assure that Midlaner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Jungler Bae “Bengi” Seong-ung would win their third Summoner’s Cup.
Once again saluting SKT, they have become the first Dynasty team in League of Legends, picking up three championships over the course of four years, and the first back-to-back championship in the six year history of professional League of Legends. Coach Kim “KkOma” Jeong-gyun can be proud of the team he has once more lead to success, and the world falls silent once more in awe, bringing life once more to the saying that you should never, EVER bet against SK Telecom.
Games can be found at the r/loleventvods subreddit. Much love to the people who make it easier for me to do my job.