It’s no secret that SKT T1 have nosedived ever since Peanut and Huni left their team. The longstanding South Korean powerhouse made it to Worlds last year. In fact, they almost won it. SSG (now KSV), defeated them quickly, but the final match could have swung either way. SKT weren’t in full form at that moment, but then neither were SSG. They had both suffered plenty of defeats before sitting before the world for the last match of the year.
While it might seem like SKT T1 changed all of a sudden this year, they’ve actually been going downhill for quite some time now. Their downfall started last year during the summer season.
Up until then, they were the team who didn’t know what defeat was. It was nearly impossible to defeat them in a best of 3 match. This year, they’ve lost more often than they’ve won.
What Happened to SKT T1?
The reasons behind what happened can be quite long-winded and may go much further back than what we’d like. Therefore, we’ll wrap up the discussion and keep the time period confined to last year only.
The Peanut Factor
After losing the chance to win worlds during 2016, Peanut took the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach, and went over to join SKT T1, which were more than willing to have one of the most celebrated and hyped up players in the region on board.
The mistake that SKT T1 made after that was not letting Peanut play according to his own style for which he was famous for. For readers who don’t know this, Peanut excels at playing champions which have huge impacts during the early game. An example of this would be Peanut absolutely stomping his enemy team during last year’s MSI and having over 20 kills in the match.
The summer split changed all of that.
This was around the time when our beloved tank meta came out in full swing in the LCK. Tank junglers like Sejuani won games. Even mid laners, supports and top laners began picking tanky champions to adjust to the meta with the aim of outscaling their enemy and winning the late game. This was something Peanut visibly struggled with, but SKT forced him to play such champions all the same.
The worst part was that Peanut kept getting blamed for not playing well during those games. His losses would have him replaced with Blank for the remainder of the match. Blank, as we’ve mentioned in previous articles, is an excellent reactionary jungler. After observing the enemy jungler at work, he knew exactly how to counter them, resulting in him having an incredibly high winrate.
What About Huni?
Just like Peanut, Huni had to face getting benched from time to time. He was subbed out with Untara more than a few times. The only difference was that Untara sometimes played first, unlike Blank. Nevertheless, he worked far more than he was given credit for.
Both, Huni and Peanut, were putting in a lot more value than was plainly obvious. Only now that they’re gone is it plainly visible how irreplaceable these two-star players were.
Blank and Untara couldn’t fill their shoes
No matter how hard Blank tried, he ended up throwing games. He wasn’t half as good as a jungler as the world had come to expect of him. However, he wasn’t nearly as bad as Untara, who fell to the point where he was the worst top laner in the region statistically.
Were Peanut and Huni Right for Leaving SKT T1?
Indeed, we are. Huni and Peanut simply jumped off a sinking ship. They also showed the rest of us that sometimes loyalty doesn’t pay. Now both of these players are doing as well as they possibly could be. They’re in teams that are right on top of their regions, and by large margins too. The chances that SKT can rise up like they did last year are still there, but with their recent decision to include a new mid and bot laner to their team, they may have sealed their fate.
For now, it’s clear that Kingzone and Echo Fox are the best teams in their region. It’s no coincidence that these two teams are the ones that have the leaving members of SKT with them now. It proves that Huni and Peanut were substantial players who weren’t given the recognition they deserved, which they sought elsewhere.
The problem with SKT T1 still persists. Getting a sub for Bang and Faker won’t solve any issues, and might create further problems down the line. If things keep going the way they are now, we might even see Faker leave SKT for a western team this year, even though it’s a big call to make right now.
What are your thoughts on this analysis? Do you think that Faker might leave SKT T1 this year like we fear? Let us know in the comments below!