Hello everybody and welcome to the second match of the OGN Champions Summer Quarterfinals. Today’s matchup features two teams really looking to establish themselves as top tier threats: NaJin Black Sword and SKT T1 S.
This has been a promising season thus far for Sword. They have thus far managed to qualify for champions in convincing fashion as well as leave their group in first place, an impressive feat for a nearly brand new roster. S on the other hand has been around as a team for a couple of seasons now, but this is their first time appearing in the finals bracket.
This makes this series very important for both teams because of the chance to qualify for Worlds and compete for that all important prize money. Both teams need to make the Grand Finals to even have an outside shot at representing Korea at the World Championship.
So without further ado, lets get into the games.
The early minutes of game 1 will start off pretty slowly, with both teams rather content to farm. Buffs will be traded and a few ganks are attempted but nothing comes of it and a pretty standard laning phase will ensue. SKT will make the first aggressive move of the game, able to secure a dragon around 10-minutes thanks to better timing and vision control and get them out to a nice early lead.
Sword however is able to quickly turn the game around with a couple of aggressive ganks on top and bot. This brings the gold totals right back even and crucially gets Gragas and Kog’Maw an edge moving into the mid game.
Taking this early pressure Sword is able to begin setting up picks and create a snowball. In particular Duke’s ability to pull off Gragas combos is able to tear apart the backline on S and start winning them fights. Moving through the mid game they are able to repeatedly catch members of SKT out and kill them, quickly turning those kills into one or more objectives.
Apart from Gragas, the other standout on NaJin’s lineup is Ohq who puts up a brilliant performance on Kog. His item choice of buying a Blade of the Ruined King into Ghostblade is fairly unique for Kog, but it allows him to more easily duel Twitch and actually cuts off a key method of comeback for SKT.
Throughout the mid and into the late game, NaJin is able to slowly but surely pressure their way into SKT’s base, but the power of Ziggs makes it very difficult for them to continuously create map pressure. Even through a massive gold deficit SKT is able to hang on longer than expected but finally, after nearly 45-minutes, Sword is able take down the nexus and secure the first victory.
NaJin leads SKT: 1-0
Game 2 sees an interesting change in picks and bans, especially for Sword. They pick the Rengar probably to keep it away from Horo but Lee is not really known as a Rengar player. They also give away the Gragas pick that was a huge factor in their victory in the first game. Cain is also forced to pick Sona for the first time this season.
The game starts off with standard lanes and junglers trading buffs without anything big going on in the early levels. Both junglers will try for some early ganks to decent success, forcing the Flash out of top and mid for both SKT and NaJin Sword.
The second round of action however will go entirely in favor of SKT S. Lee’s Rengar is less than impressive and his ganks on Gragas are easily thwarted, while at the same time SKT’s bot lane will score a 2v2 double kill and Elise will solo dragon. This is a massive win for SKT and will wind up in a nearly 3k gold lead only 11-minutes into the game.
S will continue to slowly gain advantages on all fronts, but start to show a real hesitance to take their advantage and run with it. Despite the gold lead piling up and a significant team comp advantage when it comes to sieging, S seems overly content to farm endlessly. Finally after nearly 30-minutes and a 10k gold lead they will start grouping and crushing through towers and objectives. Once they put their mind to it they are able to quickly close out the game.
SKT ties NaJin: 1-1
Once again the game will start off in standard lanes, but this time around will see some early action. A quick level 3 gank from Horo will blow summoners and pick up first blood in bot lane, giving Bang a big advantage in an already winning matchup.
This advantage will also allow them to put pressure on dragon just a few minutes later. After these early game setbacks it seems clear that Sword is very shaken and possibly suffering from the pressure. Just like in game 2 their decision-making quickly becomes very sloppy and they allow SKT to walk all over them as far as objective control goes.
Although the individual skill from NaJin allows they to keep pace through fights, the map control has swung in favor of S. In particular the superior dragon control of SKT is able to keep giving them advantages despite kills being even. A crucial difference is the Sona/Nami matchup, with Nami’s Tidal Wave simply offering far more control over objectives than Crescendo. Although it is a slow, grinding game, SKT’s superior teamfights will eventually allow them to make their way into the base of NaJin and take game 3.
SKT leads NaJin: 2-1
Coming into game 4 it looks as if NaJin has been able to fix some of the team comp issues that plagued them. Duke is once again on the Gragas that has been a huge factor so far in the series and Cain is back on a more comfortable Nami pick.
Starting out we see NaJin opting for a lane swap, something that has become a bit more unusual as of late. Although this will take pressure away from bot and allow SKT an early dragon, NaJin trades this for a significant advantage in the Gragas/Lulu matchup.
This advantage will grow when a 2v2 skirmish in bot allows Duke to pick up first blood on Bang. Meanwhile there is little SKT can do in response as the ganks from Jarvan are repeatedly dodged by Sword memebers.
Once Sword gets rolling the lack of pressure from Jarvan allows them to begin shoving in and bullying all three lanes at once, taking towers and securing kills and dragons. The snowball forms quickly and once NaJin starts grouping the situation gets even worse.
The insane poke from Gragas/Xerath/Ezreal is simply too good at zoning and prevents SKT from making a meaningful response. As has been a continued theme through the night, the team ahead seems to be very hesitant to close and this game is no different. Although it is a slow grind, NaJin is eventually able to break through the defenses of S and take game 4, sending the series to blind pick game 5.
NaJin ties SKT: 2-2
Unsurprisingly in the blind pick match we will see a Gragas mirror match. He has been a key part of every win tonight so naturally both players should want to prioritize him. For the rest of the teams: Sword has a pretty good pick comp and good scaling, but S has an insane team for just turtling forever and pretty much doing the same thing that has worked all night.
Another lane swap from NaJin will catch Marin off-guard, forcing a flash and getting a good amount of early pressure as a result while in the meantime Duke is fine farming under his tower and slowly getting an edge over Marin. A successful gank around the 6-minute mark will give First Blood over to Kassadin and really set the Sword team off to the right start. S will quickly respond with a couple of kills for their side as well as the first tower, evening the game up.
Moving through the mid game, it really becomes a story of kills versus objectives. When they can find an engage, Sword is usually able to win the fight and come out ahead, but the power of Ziggs/Gragas is incredibly hard for them to deal with. Even as the fights go their way and the towers finally start falling, NaJin still does not really look to be a the team that is ahead. The wave clear is simply much too strong, and unless they can actually take out Marin or Easyhoon there is no way to win.
Finally after nearly 40-minutes Sword is able to find the fight they needed, allowing them to secure Baron and knock down a very crucial inhibitor turret. Once that is exposed they are finally able to start breaking into the SKT base, but S holds them off long enough to keep loses to a minimum. Again the teams will dance back and forth, but this time around it is S who wins the fight over Baron. The two teams will siege back and forth, but eventually it is just too much for NaJin. After just under and hour S will make their way into Sword’s base for the last time to take out the nexus.
SKT beats NaJin: 3-2
A very long and drawn out series, but S will eventually take the win and move on to the semifinals. Although this is good news for them, the manner in which the games played out does not bode well moving forward. S will face off against Arrows, a much more decisive team than Sword, and if SKT hopes to win they will need to really step up their decision making and closing speed.
NaJin too has a lot to think about as the move down into NLB. However they are a brand new team this season and as a whole are fairly inexperienced. All things considered this was a very impressive season for them and despite a somewhat disappointing end it does bode well for the organization as a whole.