Hello everyone and welcome to week 2 of the Quarterfinals of Champions Summer 2014.
Today we have a big rivalry match between Samsung White and SKT T1 K. This rivalry goes back all the way to last spring and has played out in every Champions season since then. White is also the only team in the world who can boast a winning record against SKT, currently sitting 11-9 in OGN matches. This is also a match with important Worlds implications with both teams sitting at the top of the circuit points ladder.
So without further ado, lets get into the games.
Right from the get-go we can see this is going to be an interesting matchup. On one hand we have White with a crazy late game scaling comp, picking up the Tristana that has been growing in popularity recently as well as Ziggs. On the other hand we have Faker breaking out the mid Zilean, something he has been playing pretty heavily in Solo-Queue but still quite surprising for a competitive game. SKT has a hugely aggressive team-comp for making picks and they will need to make maximum use of it to pull far enough ahead of White.
The game starts off with reversed standard lanes thanks to a double lane swap. SKT will make full use of this setup with a very quick gank onto the top duo allowing Bengi to secure First Blood just as the timer hits 4-minutes. This is a huge start for K as it quickly turns around their only losing lane matchup and gives them an important early gold boost. However due to scaling they will need a much stronger lead if they are going to beat Samsung’s frightening team.
After a couple of failed attempts by K to push their edge however the moment will come with the first big fight around dragon. White gets overeager and tries to initiate 5v4 but a timely teleport and very good positioning from Piglet allows K to completely outmaneuver White. They are able to take a clean fight with an almost ace, as well as taking the dragon to top it off, and at this point are in a very good place to start snowballing the game in their favor.
Snowballing off a single mistake has been a cornerstone of SKT K’s gameplay and this one will be no different. Once Twitch is able to get rolling the stealth bomber combo starts to really kick into high gear and assassinate people left and right. Combine the additional speed from Lulu and nobody can outrun the rat, allowing SKT to take objective after objective and decisively crush White in the first game.
SKT leads Samsung White: 1-0
Unsurprisingly we see Zilean banned by Samsung in game 2; Faker’s skill with the unconventional pick making it simply too risky to be worth dealing trying to deal with. They also try to clean up their comp somewhat by going less all-in on huge late game power.
Samsung will opt into a lane swap to keep Twitch safe for the early game, allowing him to farm until he can get the items to deal with Kog. As a result both teams will play rather conservatively with both teams just trying to farm early. Once the fights start happening the blows are dealt back and forth and the teams trade fairly evenly, however stronger objective control will slowly allow SKT to crawl out to a minor gold lead.
Finally the first major action will kick off around the 24-minute mark, once again happening in a fight around dragon. This time around it is SKT who makes the mistake of fighting and it is once again Twitch who is able to rip through the opposing teams lineup and secure himself a triple kill.
Again the teams will begin trading blows back and forth. Every time one team makes a move the other is able to counter it but eventually the pick power of Twitch and the siege pressure of Ziggs will become too much for SKT and once the line of the base is broken it is only a matter of time until White is able to clean up K and take the second match.
Samsung White victory
Samsung White ties SKT: 1-1
Despite a lackluster performance in game 1 Imp will once again opt to take Tristana; this time around it will pay off in spades. The teams will start in standard lanes and Rengar’s early pressure will keep Imp safe from ganks and allow him much more lane freedom than in game 1. Bengi will eventually attempt to gank bot lane after he is able to secure a second pair of buffs, but this time Samsung is ready. An immediate teleport from Looper and a mistaken canceled teleport from Impact will allow White to turn the fight, giving Imp a triple kill complete with double buffs and even giving White the dragon.
Despite it not being insurmountable, White is not the kind of team to let that lead slide easily and the will use their advantage to quickly snowball a couple extra kills and the full outer ring of towers. Once that happens there is really no way for SKT to win fights and no way to stop the terrifying damage coming out of White. It is a simple matter for Samsung to crush the base of SKT and secure the win.
Samsung leads SKT: 2-1
With both teams once again opting for standard lanes we see Tristana able to shove the lane in early, however right from the start it is clear Piglet is less practiced on the pick than Imp was and he is not able to bully the Kog as successfully. An early gank from Rengar, despite not getting a kill, will give Imp enough breathing room to even gain a CS lead over Piglet. Continuing to take advantage of the early weakness of Nocturne, DanDy will follow that up with enough top lane pressure to secure a kill and give Ryze a solid early lead. Thanks to the early fights White is able to slowly begin growing their gold lead.
The real decisive plays will once again come out of the bot lane. This time around it is Mata making the big plays, repeatedly hooking Piglet mid jump and giving Imp a massive lead. This wills allow Samsung to establish complete vision control, creating picks and securing objectives. Eventually White will be able to kill Baron and once that happens it is basically all over for SKT. Using the buff’s power spike they will smash through K, taking down the towers and gaining a huge lead in gold and kills. Despite SKT putting up a valiant fight there is really nothing they can do and White will eventually make their way into the base and secure the final win over SKT.
Samsung beats SKT: 3-1
So for the second season in a row Samsung White will take down SKT K 3-1 in the quarterfinals match and send the to NLB. An unfortunate loss for SKT K as they are unable to secure their trip to Worlds today, however they are certainly still a favorite to make it and even have a shot at making the top 2 with a win in NLB. Despite the heavy losses they suffered today they looked quite good and even had some impressive innovation with their Twitch/Zilean/Lulu combo, so it is unlikely to be the last good things we hear from them this season.
As for White they move onto the semifinals to face the winner of Samsung Blue and Jin Air Stealths. Just making the semis puts them in a very good position for Worlds, although the will need to make the finals if they want to guarantee themselves a spot. Interestingly enough, a 3rd place finish from White and an NLB win (effectively 5th place) for SKT will actually cause them to tie in circuit points and potentially force a tiebreaker match for the second place slot for Worlds.
As a fan, we can only hope.