This past Friday, August 23rd we had one of the most awaited and uncertain matchups from this entire OGN Champions Season, the reigning champions MVP Ozone coming of a 3-0 easy win against CTU during the quarterfinals, facing-off against SK Telecom T1, who were on a 9-0 winning streak, and had shown signs of great improvement as a team from their previous seasons on Champions.
Both had been showing such a great level of play, and neither of them had yet been faced with another team of their caliber, so there was not much room for predictions as to what would actually happen in this best of five series. There was though, a lot of well deserved hype.
For this article, we will be analyzing two games out of the four that were played during this series, first will be Game 1, showing what MVP Ozone did to get their only win of the series, and on the second part we will be reviewing Game 3, showing one of the strategies that SKT run to take back the lead and end up winning the series.
Picks and Bans:
SKT Telecom T1: Played a late game AOE oriented team composition, with the threats of Twitch and Karthus offering late game sustained damage while having a beastly frontline in Singed and Jarvan IV. For their AOE they had a long range engage on Jarvan’s Cataclysm followed up by a Sona Crescendo with Karthus flashing or walking up to the enemy backline.
MVP Ozone: Had a counter for every threat SKT’s composition could offer, they had one true frontline on Nasus, having Wither up on Twitch everytime it was possible (important during Spray and Pray), Elise and Zyra (Grasping Roots/Cocoon) to keep Karthus away from their backline until it was already too late for him to get in and deal the damage he needed to, Zed to kill Karthus while he was still under the CC effects coming from Elise and Zyra, and Caitlyn to safely put down as much pain as she could from the back.
MVP Ozone started the game with a clear intention of doing a lane swap, using Nasus wave clear with Spirit Fire at maximum potential, while taking advantage of Signed’s early weaknesses against 1 v 2 lanes. Ozone sent Imp-Mata to the top lane to crush Impact and left Homme to deal with Piglet and PoohManDuh.
At 10 minutes, Dandy placed a ward on SKT’s red side jungle entrance and waited there, predicting that Faker is going to place a pink ward in that same location around that time. Dandy’s predictions became true as he, with the help of Dade jumping over the wall, managed to take down Faker with ease.
A couple of minutes later, a 3v3 engagement occurred soon turning in a 5v4 in favor of MVP with both top laners simultaneously teleporting in and with Dade rotating down from the mid lane. The fight started with PoohManDu using Crescendo on Caitlyn followed up by Cataclysm and Twitch’s Spray and Pray.
Mata landed a perfect Stranglethorns, allowing Dandy to join the fight even though was the bloodthirsty support who got the kill on Piglet’s Twitch. Right when SKT was looking for shelter under their turret, Zed’s Dade came in, killing Sona and flashing out of turret range while Homme died right after. All this time, Faker was pushing the mid lane as Karthus, making it a good overall trade for SKT.
Now we got to the turning point of this game, where MVP Ozone took their definitive advantage over SKT and never looked back.
At 15 minutes, with a 3-3 kill score, 1 turret, and 1k gold lead in favor of MVP Ozone, SKT Telecom T1 made the mistake of wanting to contest dragon while having their main ultimates on cooldown (Cataclysm, Crescendo, Requiem), as they were just used on the previous fight less than two minutes ago. Having no chance of winning, the fight turned as a 3-0 trade and an uncontested dragon in favor on MVP Ozone, giving Dade a 4-0 score on Zed.
After a period of safe farming in lanes, and a 2 for 1 turret trade for SKT, at 21 minutes, even though the Telecom team had spent money into vision control (various members getting pink wards and PoohManDu using oracles), Ozone easily took dragon with just a couple of wards because their lead was too big for SKT to risk an ace trying to fight over dragon.
25 minutes in, while the vision control war raging at its best to see who had the best ward coverage over the river-Baron area, PoohManDu and Bengi got caught by Homme, Dandy and Mata with the rest of both teams joining in seconds later.
The fight split up in two, having Homme zone out (and killing) Piglet, with Jarvan falling too, while on the other side of blue buff wall, Faker who was zoned out of the fight by a Zyra root, died to Dade and Imp, resulting in an overall 4 for 1 trade in the hands of Ozone.
Two minutes later, after clearing the Baron-river area from vision, SKT forced MVP into a full 5 on 5 teamfight that they so much needed, catching out and instantly blowing Mata up before the fight even started. Even with being a 5v4 from the start, Ozone was already too ahead of SKT and was able to clean up the fight 5 for 1, being a key point of the fight that before dying, Mata was able to land a root on Faker’s Karthus, separating him (and forcing him to flash after root-cocoon effect was over) from Ozone’s backline. After cleaning up the fight, even with their health bars low, MVP took an uncontested Baron.
At 31 minutes, on a desperation play SKT T1 engaged on a fight near their inner mid turret even though Ozone still had Baron buff on four of their five members. The fight would, as expected, turn in MVP’s favor, resulting in a 5 for 1 trade that would also mean the inner turret falling.
Ozone took Baron at respawn while SKT was trapped inside their base after top turret falling down and having Homme late game Nasus splitpushing the bot lane, they managed to take him down but completely gave up Baron over to MVP who moved on to take dragon and wait for Homme to respawn.
A couple of minutes later, Ozone took down mid inhibitor and rotated down to bot lane where before turret went down SKT engaged on to them. Same problems from previous fights were present on this last fight of the game; Faker was never able to get to the back line of Ozone without dying and the Elise-Zed-Nasus combo was too strong for Piglet’s Twitch. MVP won the fight on a 5-2 trade featuring a Homme Nasus triple kill. After the fight they moved on to push down both Nexus turrets and finish out the Nexus ending the game.
|MVP Ozone Dade||Zed, Mid||10/0/7||387||482||68%|
Keys to MVP Ozone winning Game 1:
- The lane swap from top-bot coming from MVP Ozone was crucial to stop all hopes of Impact’s Signed from ramping up and becoming that proxy-Signed we all hate in solo Q. The 2v1 swap also favored Nasus good early wave clear with Spirit Fire while hurting Signed, which made it much easier for Homme to deal with Imapct later once lanes were swapped back.
- Early kills that Dade was able to get on his Zed (4-0 at 15 min) had him completely wrecking Faker in lane and in every teamfight, killing him instantly or dropping him so low that he would die shorlty after. With a fed Zed, Dade was able to output more global pressure than Karthus simply by roaming and creating favorable picks for MVP.
- One of the turning points of this game was the 15 minutes Dragon fight, where SKT T1 blindly tried to contest Dragon after just using all of their main cooldowns (Crescendo, Requiem, Spray and Pray, Cataclysm) in a fight that had happened less than two minutes ago. The major cooldown war only affected Mata’s Zyra (Stranglethorns) and Homme’s Nasus (Fury of the Sands) coming from MVP Ozone’s side. Their other ultimates (Ace in the Hole and Death Mark) were already up, even though they were of course not as crucial to their composition as Requiem-Crescendo were for SKT’s composition.
- One of the focal points as to why MVP Ozone won fight after fight were Zyra’s Grasping Root and Elise’s Cocoon. There was not a single fight in this game, not even when Mata got instantly blown up, where he didn’t get a perfect Grasping Root onto Faker, followed up by a Dandy (Elise) Cocoon, holding Faker back enough time for Dade (Zed) to kill him (or leave him almost dead) with his Dead Mark. Faker had no way to ever get on MVP’s backline (Caitlyn-Zyra-Zed) without flashing in, and when he did, he was already at 20%hp from Zed’s Death Mark.
- The other key point of MVP Ozone winning teamfights, and this one became even stronger later on, was Homme on Nasus, beasting the frontline, soaking up all the damage while keeping Wither on Piglet (Twitch) anytime Spray and Pray became active.
Picks and Bans:
SKT Telecom T1: Was running a pretty uncommon composition, mixing up the well known split push-duelist top lane Vladimir with a double AD Carry composition, going for Caitlyn-Ezreal duo, having in the end a sort of fast objective push composition. Teamfights could go well when fighting under their terms and when their backline (double ad is double danger for a backline) is safe from the enemy frontline.
MVP Ozone: Went for a frontline Zac engage, followed up by Zyra’s Stranglethorns and scattering the enemy team between Twisted Fate’s Gold Cards, Zyra’s Grasping Roots and Elise’s Cocoons. These distractions would allow Vayne to go through the enemy team wrecking havoc as cleanup duty. They had a strong composition to dive the enemy double AD backline with Zac-Elise-Twisted Fate, or at least it was theoretically.
During the level 1, both teams had a passive start, with Ozone placing wards on SKT’s red side jungle entrance and the red buff itself. In turn, SKT warded their own red entrance, MVP’s red side entrance and top lane tribush as well.
Ozone started the game with a 2v1 swap, sending their botlane top to deal with Vladimir, avoiding one of Zac’s only weak matchups early on. MVP’s Dandy went to help Homme bot lane around 5 mintues to make sure lane phase lasted as long as possible, not allowing Caitlyn and Sona to have an edge over Vayne and Zyra before they could hit 6.
The first turret of the game came in hands of SKT in the bot lane, followed up by Ozone taking top outer turret as a response. After both outer turrets fell down in the side lanes, SKT grouped up mid and using the siege power from their double AD composition, managed to take down Ozone’s mid outer turret in a matter of seconds.
At 11 minutes into the game while Ozone tried to take down Impact’s Vladimir on a 3-man gank at the top lane, which he was able to escape by using Pool, Ghost and Flash, allowing SKT T1 to take advantage of Ozone’s poor positioning by pushing and taking down MVP’s inner bot turret.
With a Twisted Fate Destiny, Ozone was able to take down Faker’s Ezreal in river and take down the second dragon of the game right on respawn, almost leveling the overall gold even with Impact finally taking down MVP’s top outer turret giving SKT a 4-1 turret lead.
During the mid game SKT continued with their push strategy, applying never ending pressure with their double AD-split push Vladimir composition, grouping up whenever Ozone was not well positioned and taking advantage with turret kills. At 18 minutes Ozone had to give up their second inner turret of the game after SKT grouped up top while Twisted Fate had to go back to base.
Soon after SKT transitioned down to mid lane, leaving Impact to split push top, Dade tried to engage on the double AD composition by using Destiny to close the gap, but he was forced to Flash away before locking anyone up because of a very well timed Trueshot Barrage by Faker. To followup, Impact used Ghost to catch up to Ozone backline and tried to get a Hemoplague initation and a teamfight broke out.
Even though MVP was able to quickly take down Vladimir and corner SKT’s backline in the jungle, a perfect 3-man Crescendo turned the fight in SKT’s favor; with Twisted Fate in base and with Destiny on cooldown, SKT was able to clean up the fight, killing 4 and only losing Vladimir.
Right as the fight ended SKT Telecom T1 took down the last Ozone’s inner turret and got another kill on a mispositioned Dade.
22 minutes in SKT took their first dragon of the game (previous two where taken by Ozone), finally ensuring their map-vision-objective control over Ozone, being 6-1 in turrets, and 8-3 in kills, with a 5k gold lead.
Two minutes later MVP Ozone took advantage of a poor positioning from SKT having four members pushing bot and only Faker near mid lane, Ozone was able to quickly drop Baron and in response, SKT managed to kill destroy both the bottom lane inhibitor turret and inhibitor. It was almost an even trade, but with how the game was evolving it was an unnecessary trade for Ozone since it only delayed SKT’s persistent pushing.
27 minutes in while SKT tried to siege down MVP’s mid inhibitor turret, Homme engaged with Sling Shot+Lets Bounce combo, followed up by Dade porting in the backline to deal as much damage as possible to Faker’s Ezreal. The brawl ended with a 3 for 2 trade in favor of Baron’d up Ozone, showing that the power-window SKT’s double AD-Vladimir composition was decaying with Zac beginning to stack more armor allowing him to survive longer in teamfights.
Three minutes later and with a very similar sutiation where SKT was trying to push down Ozones mid inhibitor turret, Homme and Dade tried to engage once again, but this time SKT’s backline was able to escape and peel off Zac’s Sling Shot + Lets Bounce while Twisted Fate had already ported in behind Telecom’s backline, leaving him zoned out from his team into a sure death. From that point on the fight turned in SKT’s favor, going 4 for 0, destroying both middle and bottom inhibitors, and forcing a 31 minutes surrender from MPV Ozone.
|SKT T1 Impact||Vladimir, Top||4/2/3||246||358||50%|
Keys to SKT Telecom T1 winning game 3:
- Impact was able to ramp up his split pushing Vladimir early on despite the 2v1 swap Ozone went for, since Vladimir typically outfarms Zac in a 1v2 lane, as he has a ranged auto attack, ranged skills, AOE wave clear and even/more sustain than Zac.
- One of the best decisions SKT made for the entire series, was to have a 5-man group really early on to push down Ozones mid outer turret, giving them the early objective lead they needed for their fast-push double AD composition to get rolling, gaining map and vision control, as well as the early gold lead.
- SKT nullified Twisted Fate early global presence by taking map-vision control from the hands of MVP Ozone. If Dade ever decided to teleport to another lane to have a kill opportunity, Ozone was most likely to lose a turret for it.
- The final two teamfights had more than one similarity, one of them was the positioning from both teams and the other one most importantly, was the way MVP Ozone initiated both fights and the mistake they made. Both fights were initiated the same way: Dade using Destiny on Twisted Fate and Impact’s Zac following up the start of the Destiny Teleport with his Sling Shot+Lets Bounce combo. What went wrong? Well, it should be started the other around as Destinty’s teleport should follow Sling Shot+Lets Bounce, after the initiation has been secured. This mistake wasn’t punished the first time since SKT’s backline couldn’t get out of Impact’s initiation anyways, but during the second and final teamfight of the game, when SKT was able to escape Impact’s initiation, the mistake was punished. Dade was completely zoned out from his team, facing a 1v3 instant death.
Next week will be the final week for this OGN Champions Summer Season, it will feature the best of seven Grand Finals between SKT Telecom T1 and KT Rolster Bullets, as well as another best of seven series for the 3rd/4th place match, having MVP Ozone and CJ Entus Frost facing each other. Both finals and 3rd place match are upmost important for all four teams, since those two series will decide who inmediately joins Najin Black Sword in the World Championship and who has to still battle on the Korean Regional Finals for the last remaining spot at Worlds.
For those of you who desire more information about how Korea’s Circuit Point is going (or how it works for that matter) and what are the chances of every team in every possible scenario, you can look up this Spreadsheet I made.