IEM Katowice: Recap of the playoffs


IEM Katowice has given us a lot of great games, and today’s semifinals and grand final did not disappoint.

The last two days of group stages at IEM Katowice were nice, but today was the day everyone was looking forward to. There were only four teams that made it out of group stages: SK Telecom T1 (SKT), Royal Never Give Up (RNG), Team SoloMid (TSM) and Fnatic (FNC). One team from each of the four major regions (Korea, China, North America and Europe) to determine a champion – the dream for every international tournament.

Here’s how it all went down.


Game one: The early game actually had a decent amount of action. SKT took the first 1K gold lead of the game by getting first blood at eight minutes, but moments later Soren “Bjergsen” Bjerg got an exciting double kill with LeBlanc on Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. TSM got their first gold lead of the game at 11 minutes when they killed Faker again which allowed them to take the middle tower. Unfortunately, that was about it for TSM.

The game really broke open at the 19-minute mark with a fight around Dragon. TSM started the Dragon, but SKT came in strong and were able to get a kill, Dragon and also their second middle tower of the game to get a 4K gold lead.

At 25 minutes, SKT pick off two members of TSM which allow them to take Baron and an inhibitor to go up 10K gold. SKT made their game-winning push moments later.

Game two: It was a very slow and even game for the first 20 minutes, but then SKT came in strong with a fight that took down three members of TSM and then immediately went for an early Baron. TSM went in desperation mode and attempted to stop SKT from getting a free Baron, but it only led to SKT getting four more kills as well as the objective.

SKT were up by 7K gold at this point and TSM couldn’t do anything at all. It was only moments later that SKT made their final push that took down all of TSM, their base and the game.

TSM were eliminated, SKT moved to the finals.


Game one: The first fight broke out at eight minutes, and FNC dominated the moment by getting three kills and a tower that created an early 3K gold lead. FNC played the map so much better than RNG and had complete control of the game, but then they went a little too hard under a tower at 10 minutes that allowed RNG to kill two of them and cut the gold lead to 2K.

However, things went right back in FNC’s favor when the picked an amazing fight that got them four kills, Dragon and pushed their gold lead to nearly 4K. The game got out of hand at 19 minutes when FNC nearly aced RNG and also took down Baron to give themselves a gold lead of 11K. A few minutes later, FNC did their final push which results in killing all of RNG and taking the game.

Game two: Picks and bans finally went a bit different as RNG pushed FNC off of Jhin and pulled out the surprising pick of Ezreal middle.

There were a couple of skirmish throughout the beginning of the game that resulted in small gold advantages, but the first major fight happened 15 minutes in. RNG found a great opening and were able to get two kills, but FNC played the fight perfectly which got them four kills and a 2K gold lead.

Things started to go RNG’s way around the 20-minute mark when they got two kills and a Dragon due to FNC being too deep in their territory. Five minutes later, FNC made a really weird call to rush Baron, but RNG were able to stop them, get two kills, one tower and a small gold lead. Their lead shot up to 3K at 31 minutes when they get two easy picks and Baron. Soon after that, RNG made their winning push and got four more kills in the process.

Game three: FNC didn’t do anything special, but they played the early game so much better than RNG and it resulted in a quick 2K gold lead. Things really started to snowball for them at around 22 minutes when they aced RNG to go up 5K gold. Two minutes later, another fight occurred that ended in FNC getting three more kills and Baron to push their gold lead to 8K.

FNC started to overwhelm RNG at the 32-minute mark by getting three more kills, Baron and an inhibitor to push their lead to 16K gold. Right after that, FNC decided to go ahead and end the game since they were so far ahead and knew RNG could not stop their push.

RNG were eliminated, FNC moved to the finals.


Game one: The only exciting moment from the beginning of the game was when Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten solo killed Faker for first blood at 10 minutes. Even with that, though, the game was even for the first 20 minutes.

SKT slowly started to grow a little gold lead over FNC from playing the map better, but FNC tied things up at 23 minutes when they were able to kill four members of SKT and take Dragon. That was the last positive thing FNC did, however, as SKT got two picks and Baron at the 31-minute mark which pushed their gold lead to 4K. Soon after that, SKT got a couple more kills and started to take down the base of FNC. It was at 36-minutes that SKT made their game-winning push.

Game two: Faker is known for bringing out champions that no other professional is playing, and he did that this game by playing Vel’Koz.

FNC played the lane swap much better than SKT which resulted in an extra tower and 1K gold lead, but they didn’t do anything with the early lead and the game stalled out for the first 20 minutes. At the 21-minute mark, SKT caught out FNC and got a clean ace as well as Dragon to go up 3.5K in gold.

The game really opened up for SKT at 27 minutes as they aced FNC yet again and killed Baron to push their gold lead to 6K. The game was pretty boring for the next 10 minutes, and then things got crazy again as FNC got a single pick and decided to go all-in from desperation, but SKT were able to ace them one last time before rushing into FNC’s base to win.

Game three: To put it nicely, FNC had nothing left to give for this game.

They tried to force a fight 11 minutes in while the game was tied, but SKT responded wonderfully and killed three of them to take a decent lead. Five minutes later, FNC tried to force another fight that ended in SKT acing them to push their gold lead to 6K. At 21 minutes, SKT kills three more members of FNC and take Baron. To the surprise of everyone, FNC then surrendered the game and championship to SKT.

SKT are the 2016 IEM Katowice champions.

That does it for IEM Katowice. It was a great international tournament that displayed some of the best League of Legends teams in the world. Some teams rose to the occasion and became better for it, and others fell apart and were sent home early. In the end, it was the international powerhouse SK Telecom T1 that dominated the competition.