SK Telecom T1 took down the ROX Tigers 3-2 in one of the most anticipated matchups of the League of Legends World Championship.
The pairing of the defending Worlds champion SKT against the No. 1-ranked team in the world, ROX Tigers, went the full distance and absolutely lived up to the hype. It was a strategic drafting masterclass and a beautiful display of adjustments from lane phase to mid game.
SKT showed off its impressive champion selection depth and fundamentals to take down the ROX Tigers. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok was solid throughout the set on Orianna and Viktor. He never amazed, but his itemization and strong laning throughout the entirety of the set was the rock anchoring SKT's attack. The versatility came in the form of the best player at Worlds, Bae "Bang" Jun-sik. The AD carry was excellent on Jhin and Ashe but lackluster on his Caitlyn and Ezreal. Despite the up-and-down performances, Bang was still a matchup nightmare and outputted enough damage to really make a difference. Perhaps the best contribution from Bang was his fearless drive to initiate fights or dive for the important kill. The difference between Bang and his counterpart, Kim "PraY" Jong-in, was his aggression, and it paid off for SKT's overall teamfight. The X factor for SKT was its revolving lineup at jungle. Both Bae "benji" Seong-ung and Kang "Blank" Sun-gu played differently enough to confuse the opposition. Whether it was stronger lane presence from bengi or team fight from Blank, the team benefited from the multiple approaches.
The ROX Tigers suffered from the inconsistent performances of the team's core members -- Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho, Lee "kur0" Seo-haeng and PraY. Despite the individual strengths of its members, the team could never put together strong stretches of League of Legends. Each of the members made individual outplays but could not break through the fundamentals of their fellow South Korean opposition. On paper, ROX Tigers were stronger in the lane matchups, with Smeb as a winning lane and a tie in the bottom, but it never really came to fruition.
SKT will advance to the finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 29 against the winner of tomorrow's match between Samsung Galaxy and H2k.