SKT defeat ROX Tigers 3-2 to clinch berth in World Championship Finals


SKT will make its third Finals appearance in the World Championship after defeating ROX.

As ROX made its way back to the locker room after a Game three triumph, ROX jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-Ho emphatically signaled to the crowd, “one more game”. There was little doubt that ROX could pull off the series victory after rattling off two convincing victories, and finally settle their demons of never having defeated SKT in a series before.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

SKT would eventually bounce back from a 2-1 deficit to claim yet another series victory over their fellow Korean countrymen, on the biggest stage the rivalry has seen yet. Undeniably the initial pre-tournament favorites to win it all, it was perhaps a cruel twist of fate that the two teams were pitted against one another on the same side of bracket before the Finals, with the hopes of one deserving team subsequently cut short by an equally matched team in a battle decided by the slimmest of margins.

SKT Bengi in action. Courtesy of /

Series MVP

Noticeably cast aside for large spells at a time during the regular season in favor of upstart rookie Kang “Blank” Sang-Gu, veteran Bae “Bengi” Seong-ung was indispensable in SKT’s comeback victory. His reliable presence and teammate synergy, particularly with longtime teammate Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, were reflected in his 3-0 series record, a stark contrast with Blank’s ineffective Olaf play and 0-2 record. Bengi’s outstanding Nidalee play in Game 4, ostensibly his premiere on the champion in the competitive scene, saw him score multiple assassination kills, enable his teammates in team fights and largely neutralize Peanut. Not known to be as flashy as Blank or his other contemporaries, Bengi has demonstrated time after time again his role as a stabilizing pillar within the SKT lineup to level the playing field and grant his teammates the opportunity to carry.

Next: Faker gives SKT an 80 percent chance of winning it all

The Equalizer

No one expected to see Miss Fortune in action at Worlds in an AD Carry role, let alone as support. The bizarre surprise pick was reminiscent of early season shenanigans while the pick was fairly popular within the community as an oppressive AP poke support. However, Riot toned her base damages down considerably and rendered the pick seemingly unviable. No one, not even SKT, could have foreseen the havoc that a support MF would wreck in a competitive match with as high stakes as the Worlds Semi-Finals. Kang “Gorilla” Beom-hyeon played the champion to as effective a degree that ROX could have hoped for. Intended as a counter-pick to a suddenly highly contested Zyra support, Miss Fortune did wonders for the ROX bot lane, scoring multiple long-range kills with her ultimate in concert with Ashe arrows, and zoning off members of SKT in narrow corridors with “Make it Rain.” Curiously, Gorilla, outside of a Spellthief’s purchase, featured no other AP items in his build, opting to itemize grievous wounds and armor penetration, amusingly prompting the commentary of casters into the real effectiveness of the build. Nonetheless, the pocket pick conspicuously frazzled SKT, forcing their hands as they were forced to ban Miss Fortune in Game 4 and 5.

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The series featured a tug of war with both teams aiming to dictate the tempo of the game and construct superior team compositions. The first game was a tightly contested affair, with an otherwise close game being decided by a pivotal fight at Elder Dragon. SKT possessed arguably the upper hand in team fights, with the likes of Zyra, Orianna and Ashe each posing serious zoning obstacles for ROX to fight cohesively. ROX countered this threat by picking up the Ashe and Miss Fortune bot lane combination in Games 2 and 3, turning the Zyra pick into a liability for SKT, and leading to two swift victories. In Game 4, after SKT’s decision to ban the Miss Fortune, an unconventional look featuring Faker on Zilean, Jhin’s first showing in the semifinals, and Bengi’s superb Nidalee performance led to SKT snowballing the game to victory. Game 5 saw ROX flounder against a measurably more durable SKT lineup; key picks such as Nami to foil Jhin ultimates at all stages and turns of the game, and crucially Poppy, which went on to out-scale Jayce despite potentially a crippling early game disadvantage, sealed the deal for an SKT match victory.

SKT awaits the winner of the second semifinals match between Samsung Galaxy and H2K.

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