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This is it, this is for all the marbles. The 2016 season comes down to a single game between two world championship organisations.
SKT are looking to repeat their 2015 heroics after their grand final win against Korea’s KOO Tigers (known as ROX Tigers in 2016). Samsung are trying to prove that not only did they deserve the final Korean spot over KT Rolster, but that they are just as good, if not better than the organisation’s previous winners, Samsung White in 2014.
The final two teams converge on the Staples Center. Home to the Los Angeles Lakers, a different kind of sport, a different kind of history is to be stamped in this storied arena. There couldn’t be a better place to discover the best team in the world.
Location: Staples Center, LA
Teams: SK Telecom T1 (KR) vs Samsung Galaxy (KR)
Date: Sunday October 30, approx. 10.30am Sydney time
1st – USD$1658000
2nd – USD$621750
* – prizes correct as of Oct 9
Viewing link: twitch.tv/riotgames
|SK Telecom T1|
SKT are regarded as the favourites coming into this match. After going 5-1 and rolling through the group stages, they faced the hardest road into the finals and dispatched the best Chinese and the consensus best Korean team to reach the grand final.
Constantly have they shown the grit and determination seen only in champions. With ROX Tigers at 2-1 and needing one game to eliminate SKT, the squad rallied back to win two in a row and book themselves into the grand final.
Bang has shown up time and time again and it shows in his stats, having the best KDA in the groups stage and the second best in the knockout stage.
SKT have done this before, they have the experience of playing at this stage of the world championships. Faker, Bang, Wolf and bengi were all part of the world championship squad of 2015. Faker hasn’t been performing as expected, so the rest of the team have seamlessly picked up the slack to fill in this hole without making Faker a liability.
From a sports perspective, think of SKT as the Phil Jackson/Kobe/Shaq Lakers era. They’ve created their dynasty, they’re already legends of the game, and this match is simply their way of cementing their legendary status.
Like the Lakers analogy, look for Faker to link up with bengi/Blank, with kk0ma’s guiding hand, and the solid support cast of Duke, Wolf and Bang.
If there was an underdog story to rival Albus NoX, this is it. After stealing the third and final Korean qualifying spot from KT Rolster, Samsung were discounted before the tournament had even begun. The team they whisked the spot away from, KT Rolster, were one of the highly regarded teams in the world, even scoring a No.3 spot in ESPN eSport’s LoL Power Rankings.
Samsung’s road to the finals wasn’t guaranteed in the group stage. Often seen as the third strongest team in Group C, they took a beating from North America’s Team Solo Mid (4th in ESPN power rankings) in week one, then stormed to a 5-1 record, enacting vengeance on TSM, and defeating China’s Royal Never Give Up (ESPN’s 6th) and Europe’s Splyce (ESPN’s 10th strongest team) to clinch the group’s No.1 seed.
In terms of statistics, Samsung have been barnstorming through the knockout stages, with Crown, Ruler and CoreJJ in 3rd, 4th and 5th highest KDA respectively. Samsung’s macro play has allowed for strong laning phases, and even stronger team fights.
However, Samsung could be accused of having an ‘easy’ road to the grand final, after going through North America’s 3rd seed, Cloud9, and Europe’s 2nd seed, H2K. While SKT fought through China and Korea’s number 1 seeds, Samsung have had a relatively simple task.
Crown and Ruler are out to prove a point, and they’ve been tearing it up while doing so. CuVee will need to enable them to wreak the most havoc for Samsung, and possibly shut down Bang and Faker if they have any chance of winning.
3-1 SK Telecom T1 defeat Samsung Galaxy. SKT have shown their worth against the best region’s best teams. Samsung have the skill, but Bang and Wolf have been playing on another level, and the SKT bot lane will be a major factor in the organisation achieving an unbelievable three world championships. You don’t shut down the best team (ROX Tigers) and the consensus best player in the world (ROX Smeb) only to lose to a team that most felt didn’t really deserve their spot.