Smeb saves ROX Tigers from upset against G2 Esports

SmebCredit: lolesports
SmebCredit: lolesports /

Smeb, the best player in the world, helped ROX Tigers avoid a monumental upset to G2 Esports.

Day One of Worlds featured crazy upsets. Day Two was a day of chalk. And Day Three featured incredible comebacks. Teams like Albus Nox Luna, Rox Tigers, Cloud9 Gaming and even Team SoloMid came back from big deficits to win. Players like Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho and William “Meteos” Hartman came up with clutch plays after struggling.

Wait, ROX Tigers had to come back? Weren’t they supposed to easily win the group? After all, we called Group A the Group of Rox in our preview. And Smeb struggled? Isn’t he the best player in the world? What happened?

An arrogant draft…

Not many people gave G2 Esports a chance against the kings of the LCK. Apparently, ROX didn’t either. Their draft was interesting, with a surprise Nocturne pick for Han “Peanut” Wang-ho. But it was also extremely arrogant comp.

nocturne /

With Peanut building full-damage, Kennen in the top lane for Smeb, Malzahar mid, and a Soraka/Ezrela bot lane, Rox had no tank and no peel for their carries. Picking people off is an option, but teamfights would be tough.

Meanwhile, G2 went all-in on teamfights with Gnar, Olaf, Karma and Nami around Jhin. Crucially, ROX’s lack of a tank eliminated one of Jhin’s key weaknesses: a late game power trough. Against such squishy targets, Jhin’s flat armor penetration would last through the late game.

…followed by an arrogant early game

ROX played extremely confidently in the early game, shoving up lanes and positioning aggressively on the minion waves. Notably, Kim “Pray” Jong-in pressed in on Ezreal, hoping to keep even with Jezper “Zven” Svenningsen’s Jhin in the early game.

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Pushing that far in lane is a big “gank me” sign for the opposing jungler. Kang “GorrilsA” Beom-hyeon thought he had Kim “Trick” Kang Yoon’s jungle timing down but was a split second late warding the river bush. That led to blown flashes for both ROX duo laners.

A couple minutes later, Pray again pushed hard into the middle of the lane despite no flash and Peanut pathing to the top side. Pray’s disrespectful positioning was easily punished by Trick on a return gank that gave G2 a 2-0 kill lead.

Peanut saves the game

The rest of the early game went similarly.

With Rox fielding a mid-game spiking comp and facing a big mid-game deficit, Peanut played the hero as he helped his team stall. The catches with kurO were highlights, but he also controlled vision while farming for damage.

Of course, his biggest play of the game was stealing a Baron that could have been the nail in ROX’s coffin.

Smeb finishes the game

With plays like that, ROX held on — and their mid-game spiking composition got a few more items. G2 still had a fearsome teamfighting comp, but they’re not as accomplished team fighters, and if Gnar ever got separated from Jhin, crazy things could happen.

Eventually, ROX found their fight. They kited G2 out, separating the tanks and carries, and then Smeb came in with a ridiculous Kennen ult that ended G2.

That play won ROX the game.


This game proved that G2 belong on this Worlds stage. It’s going to be hard to make it out of the group with their 0-2 record, but they know they can put together a strategy and execute it. And individually, they know they can lane against some of the best in the world.

Rox need to clean up their approach and preparation, and need to properly respect the other teams in this group. Despite some struggles, they are on track to exit the group stage with the number one seed. But to make it further than they did last year, they need to play much, much cleaner.

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