SK Telecom T1 (SKT), unrivaled for over 3 years has been defeated by another Korean team, Samsung Galaxy (SSG), in the League of Legends World Championships. Hosted in Beijing, China.
No one knew SKT would lose. They had insane stats like a 100% win rate in best of 5 games and they are the only team to have won 3 World Championships cups. They also have the best League of Legends player in the World, Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyeok, on their team.
Even with these great titles, people said they were unreliable with their brand new jungler, “Peanut” and top laner “Huni”. Peanut wasn’t playing as well as last year when he was on the team Rox Tigers. Huni was having a hard time improving. Their bot lane, “Bang” and “Wolf” were very unstable and unreliable. They made some undesirable plays and decisions, but SKT managed to finish the group stage in first place with 5 wins and 1 loss, which convinced people for the time being that they are still the SK Telecom they knew.
SSG was not playing as well as SKT in the Summer tournament, but they were still a formidable team. Even though they weren’t that good, SSG still had a chance to win against SKT and Longzhu–the 1st placed team in League of Legends Championships Korea (LCK). SSG were placed 4th and lost to SKT in the playoffs, but they managed to beat KT Rolsters in the Regional Qualifier and went on to the World Championships with SKT and Longzhu Gaming. Their group stage was slightly nerve-racking. However, they placed second with 4 wins and 2 losses, giving Royal Never Giveup (RNG), first place.
SKT was really starting to waver in the playoffs. Misfits (2nd placed team in Group D) were better than they thought. The Korean support player in Misfits, Ignar, was playing insanely well, and SKT couldn’t stop him. They almost lost to MSF 1:3, but with Faker managing to bring his team to victory, they turned the tables around and beat Misfits with the score 3:2 and went onto the semi-finals.
While SKT was facing off against Misfits, which people thought would be easy for SKT, but SSG had to compete against a team that was considered extremely strong: Longzhu Gaming. Longzhu was not a team to underestimate, winning against SKT in the LCK Summer Split finals and placed 1st in group B with 6 wins and no losses. Many people said SSG did not have a chance of beating Longzhu. How can a team who can’t even win against a second-placed team in China’s league, win against the 1st placed team in Korea? It seemed impossible. But the impossible suddenly became possible. SSG won against Longzhu with their constricting playstyle, limiting what Longzhu could potentially do, and ended with a shocking score of 3:0. Many people freaked out and began to think SSG had a chance to go to the finals. In the semi-finals it happened, and they beat the Chinese team, Team WE, easily with the score 3:1 and went on to the finals.
In the semi-finals for SKT, they had to face a strong Chinese team, RNG. With the ADC (Attack Damage Carry) centric state of the game, Uzi, the RNG ADC player, was playing really well while the SKT ADC player, Bang, wasn’t playing as well as past seasons. Many people guessed that SKT would actually lose against RNG. But again, they shocked everyone by winning with a score too close for comfort, 3:2, making another sweep (1:2 to 3:2). There was high praise for Faker, saying that he managed to solo carry the team, but everyone SKT contributed to the team’s success, which convinced people that SKT would win the finals. “Legends never die”, that’s what the most people said.
The final match was between two Korean teams. SSG and SKT fought in the finals of last year’s World Championship, which made many people even more excited. A vast majority of people thought SKT would beat SSG right from the start. Some people didn’t even watch the game because they were so confident that SKT would win, but they were very mistaken. SSG won the first game without giving any kills to SKT–an extremely rare occurrence. I really felt something different from them because they made no mistakes, while SKT made awful mistakes they would never make. In game two, SKT had a small lead from Faker’s 100% win rate Ryze (champion), but after a large mistake from Bang (crucial spells used at the wrong times and poor positioning), SSG managed to close out yet another game. Another title of Faker, “100% win rate Ryze in World Championships” was broken in game two. Game three was different. The substitute jungler, Blank, and Faker were going all over the map and helping their teammates gain a lead. They were winning and obtained a lead right from the start, but SKT still made small and bad mistakes in crucial team fights. Which gave time for SSG to come back. Finally, SSG did excellent in the last team fight (killing Faker then the SSG ADC, Ruler killing everyone) and finished the game, winning the 2017 League of Legends World Championships Cup.
It was shocking, no one knew Samsung would win. It was even more shocking to see the best player in the world, Faker, showing his tears in front of the camera. We have never seen Faker that shaken, Never. It made many fans and even other pro gamers feel cry in sympathy.
Bang’s mistakes were critical, but it wasn’t only Bang’s fault. Between Bang’s critical mistakes and the sympathy generated by Faker’s crying, all of the blame went to Bang. Some people even said Faker was crying because of Bang, but he was not. A legendary Starcraft 1 player in eSports–Lim Yo-hwan–said, “I understand Faker crying. He was just feeling tight. He has a lot of fans. He was just feeling sorry for his fans, making bad plays. Also some things that he could’ve played better. Instead of [throwing hate at] him, we should comfort him.”
Samsung played excellently in the Championship. Instead of saying rude and diminishing things to the players of SKT, we should congratulate our new champions, Samsung Galaxy.