SKT defends MSI title against G2

Bae "Bang" Jun-sik poses on stage with SK Telecom T1 at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational. Provided by Riot Games

The finals of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational finished the way most fans predicted, as SK Telecom T1 retained its crown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The dynastic boys in red overcame some early struggles in their 3-1 series victory over G2 Esports.

SKT mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok had a rough start in Game 1, as his Cassiopeia struggled to deal with persistent gank pressure from G2 jungler Kim "Trick" Kang-yun's Ivern. Led by mid laner Luka "Perkz" Perkovic's Jayce, who shined early in the series, G2 built a small gold lead on early kills until it lost a teamfight around the 24-minute mark that allowed SKT to secure a Baron buff. SKT didn't get much out of its first Baron buff but kept the pressure on until another big teamfight win gave SKT a second Baron. Flooding across the Rift, SKT knocked down turrets and took an Elder Dragon before scoring one final ace to pick up a Game 1 win.

In Game 2, Europe's G2 came back with a strong early game, courtesy of Trick's early plays on Lee Sin, securing first blood on SKT jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho's Ivern. SKT showed signs of life in the mid game as it evened up the kills at five apiece and knocked down some turrets. G2 regained control, though, after it started and won a fight in SKT's jungle, trading 4-for-1 before transitioning into a Baron secure. SKT tried to stop G2's Baron empowered push but couldn't stop G2 from taking Game 2, as the tournament favorite lost its third total game at MSI.

SKT recovered quickly in Game 3, picking up first blood through Peanut's Lee Sin and top laner Seung-Hoon "Huni" Heo's Rumble. G2 lost out on neutral objectives and turrets throughout the mid game but found some breathing room by rotating for easy picks 26 minutes in. The kills didn't yield many objectives, though, nowhere near enough to erase G2's gold deficit. Around the 32-minute mark, both teams were in a stalemate in the middle of the map until SKT support Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan hit a beautiful, three-man Stranglethorns as Zyra to lead SKT to an ace. SKT wasted little time as it took the Baron after and methodically pushed to a 2-1 series lead.

Peanut's Olaf got SKT off to another good start in Game 4 as a bottom lane gank near seven minutes secured first blood for SKT. The defending MSI kings continued to group in the bottom lane early to build a small gold lead. G2 answered back with a few kills in the mid game, but it wasn't enough to stop SKT's Baron power play, giving SKT a 6,000-gold lead at 23 minutes. G2's hopes were dashed after getting aced in a fight around the second Baron of Game 4 as SKT took the final Baron kill of the tournament. SKT faced little resistance from G2, as its second Baron power play destroyed what remained of G2's base, finishing a 3-1 series victory and winning the Mid-Season Invitational for the second year in a row.