SSG dethrone SKT (again)
In an almost unbelievable twist, SSG finally took down the titans of League of Legends. It looked as if the reverse sweep was on after SKT went 2-0 down with Peanut as their jungler. As one of the casters said during the cast, “It’s match point and you’re 2-0 up against SKT, right where they want you.” This is a joke, but there’s some element of truth in these words. SK Telecom T1 have a history of making amazing comebacks, huge reverse sweeps and in general never giving up. In game 3 they were ahead in gold, but it was SSG’s turn to never give up. In the end, it was a flash Varus ulti onto Faker, by Ruler, which led to the end of the game and to SSG winning the LoL Worlds 2017 final.
Most people, in hindsight, will say that this was the weakest SKT have looked and it was therefore obvious that SSG should win. However, this was SKT. Most people thought that they would take this series, despite their weakest showing at Worlds so far. Even though they lost this best of 5 and many people will start to question Huni and Peanut, they still managed to make it to the final. This is despite all of the roster problems they’ve encountered over the summer split. Furthermore, the final game they subbed in Blank and still lost, so not all the blame can be loaded onto Peanut, as some people may try and do.
LoL Worlds 2017 Final – SSG vs. SKT Game 1
SSG played the beautiful macro game which they had played against World Elite in the semi-finals. Game 1 was incredibly impressive from SSG as they took turret after turret. Despite a baron steal by Peanut, first blood was secured at 24 minutes by SSG. This only delayed the game and the second baron of the game was picked up by SSG. With triple Mountain Drake and baron buff the game was easily closed out by SSG. To play such an impressive macro game vs. SKT was unbelievably impressive.
LoL Worlds 2017 Grand Final – SSG vs. SKT Game 2
Huni was obviously feeling confident, as he picked up Yasuo in the second game. This was an exceptionally risky pick, as it’s very all or nothing. SKT were playing in an incredibly confusing manner, as they were ahead in the early game but then threw their lead. They were team-fighting needlessly across the map, and an amazing 21-minute SSG fight led to baron. To beat SKT in late game team-fighting was impressive also. Not only could they out-macro SKT, in game 2 they were showing that they could also out team-fight them. SSG were now one game away from winning LoL Worlds 2017 and getting themselves a set of Samsung Galaxy skins.
LoL Worlds 2017 Grand Final – SSG vs. SKT Game 3
Peanut was swapped out for Blank and this had an instant effect. Blank was making the early game ganks happen, unlike Peanut who was obviously struggling. A decent early game lead made it seem as if SKT were going to easily take the game. 100% kill participation by Blank, sitting at 0/1/9 into the mid-game was a great showing by the substitute jungler. Ruler was playing incredibly well, despite having an entire early game of just farming. A huge team-fight at 20 minutes meant that SKT secured baron.
Unfortunately for SKT, a failed dive by Blank after securing baron meant that SSG were back in the game. This was swiftly followed by a team-fight in favour of SSG and this led to a baron for them. A desperate defence by SKT meant the game was extended and was more exciting than it could have been, however the damage was already done. A fantastic flash ulti by Ruler on Varus caught a flashless Faker off guard and SSG ended the game off this play.
What does this mean?
A sight which many of us thought we wouldn’t see, for this year at least. SKT Faker distraught at the end of a best of five series, which ended in just 3 games. SKT still have the biggest legacy in League of Legends history, but they are currently not the best team in the world anymore. Samsung Galaxy looked ecstatic, after waiting an entire year to have a chance at redeeming themselves from the finals of last year’s Worlds. They did exactly that, taking on SKT again but this team beating them. This is with the exact same roster, so for all of these players, it must have been an amazing feeling.
The main thing we’ve learned from the LoL Worlds 2017 is that the Asian teams are still vastly superior to the Western teams. Furthermore, Korea is still (by far) the best region to play League of Legends. There’s a reason why the final was an all Korean affair. There’s a reason why the teams always go to Korea for a pre-Worlds Bootcamp. Congratulations to SSG, but it’s hard to see that SKT will simply give up.
Potential Roster Changes?
Faker will probably stay on at the organisation, and perhaps there will be a re-shuffle of the other positions. Peanut and Huni’s positions on the team are definitely going to be questioned. Bang hasn’t had the best tournament, despite managing to carry a few games.
There’s a small chance that they will keep the same roster, which would be an interesting tactic by an Esports organisation. Many organisations (for example Team Liquid) are far too eager to replace their players. It would be good to see them show faith in Huni and Peanut, who are, without a doubt, amongst the best players in the World. If they are shown this kind of faith, then who knows, they could pay back in kind at next year’s Worlds and help carry SKT to victory next year. Huni and Peanut cannot accept all the blame for the losses, Faker, Bang, Wolf and Blank must accept some responsibility also. In the final game, it was Blank who could be blamed for throwing the game with a botched tower dive initiation. It’s hard to say what will happen in the fallout after SKT’s loss.