I feel SK Telecom K is going a bit insane this game
SKT T1K managed an unprecedented 15-0 win-loss record in Champions Winter with Faker often pulling the strings and winning many MVP awards. It was odd to see both him and T1K to play so recklessly. Over the whole of Champions Winter Faker managed a 7.04 KDA which has so far been eclipsed by his Master’s KDA of 15.8. For Faker to be 1/3/1 11 minutes into the game was peculiar.
When you’re the star player of the best team in the world it’s obvious that you will be scrutinised for every mistake. Faker was first blooded by HORO because of his over aggressive positioning. Bengi had already shown his location in the top lane so it allowed HORO to gank the mid lane without fear of a counter. Faker then proceeded to repeatedly trade a kill onto Easyhoon for his own death which is rare for Faker considering his high KDA ratio. It even led to him falling slightly behind Easyhoon in both creep score and global gold.
Even though Faker’s performance was not up to his pristine standards, it would be extremely harsh to soley blame him for T1K’s defeat. In fact, T1K were ahead for much of the early-mid game. Even when behind, T1K kept their gold difference to a minimum. T1k’s short comings were down to a few major factors: they didn’t utilise the strengths of their team composition to an acceptable standard; they played very sloppily and both Easyhoon and Wolf team fought to a very high level.
T1K’s sloppy plays
K [are] making a surprising amount of mistake this game
It’s not as if SKT T1k played incredibly poorly throughout the game, they made some nice plays but lacked a certain crispness and quality around the dragon fights.
An example of a good play they made was their 3 v 2 dive at 09:45 which secured a 2:1 kill advantage combined with the gold from taking the tower. It gave T1K a 2:0 tower lead and an early edge.
That said, there was some early foreshadowing of T1K’s sloppy play right from the start. The mistakes were not impactful in the game yet they still suggested a lack of cohesion that is so often the difference between T1K and other teams. Their early 3 v 1 tower dive at 03:50 was well countered by HORO who almost managed to firstblood Piglet had Piglet not timed his spell shield to perfection.
As stated before, Faker was first blooded by HORO at 05:40 because he didn’t respect Bengi’s top lane presence and the pressure that relieved for HORO in the mid lane.
T1K then lost a 2 v 2 fight in the top lane at 06:50 which almost resulted in Piglet’s death as Wolf brilliantly flash stunned him. The three early plays can be summarised as slightly too aggressive and perhaps even slightly disrepctful of their sister team.
One final strange occurrence was Bengi dying when recalling. Frankly, it’s an amateurish mistake and it proved that Bengi was not completely focused on the game even when T1K were ahead.
T1K’s utilisation of their team composition
SKT T1k did not use their global dominance to gain any real advantage. During the period that the SKT teams were contesting the second dragon, Impact should have stayed in the top lane and used the minion wave which was already pushing down the tier two tower to take an easy objective. They would have probably lost the dragon but the map pressure you get from the tower is far superior to a slight gold deficit. Yet Impact got to the dragon fight late because MaRin had out rotated him. It was an odd decision to not take the top tower especially when you consider that T1K may not have been contesting so aggressively had Impact stayed top Another good example of a teleport misplay was right in the beginning when Impact had to cancel it because he misjudged the dive.
T1K’s team comp is a very effective movement speed composition. Talisman of Ascension combined with On The Hunt combined with Whimsy combined with Frozen Domain makes for an unbelievably quick Trundle. It shouldn’t have been an issue for T1K to reach T1S’ backline but it became one when Bengi performed questionable ultimates.
I really feel that Bengi’s Grand Skyfall’s were lacklustre in team fights. He used them well in the laning phase and picked up a few kills for T1K but his poor ultimates in team fights caused T1K to get kitted extremely hard. If you look at the above image you can see that both Bang and Easyhoon have already escaped the focal point of Grand Skyfall. Faker can’t use Wild Growth to knock anyone up of real value and Impact is getting kitted by Wolf and Bang. T1K’s compositional weakness shouldn’t have been a problem had Bengi landed more ultimates onto the backline of T1S considering that they don’t actually have a lot of peel for Bang.
Easyhoon and Wolf’s brilliance in team fights
Easyhoon has really been taking it to Faker in this mid lane
Wolf provided a few moments of excellence which proved to be game changing.
Knowing that MaRin had out rotated Impact, he flash stunned both Bengi and Casper. It allowed MaRin to then freely use Dragon Descent to devastate the 4 members of TK1. The fight was a swift but brutal one as both Beni and Casper were despatched with ease. Wolf was so aware of how intrinsically important his flash Tibbers were to SKT T1S’ team fights that he upgraded his boots to the Distortion enchantment very early on.
For me, the most impressive play was from Easyhoon. In a fight around dragon at 30:20, he used his Satchel Charge to knock Bengi away as he finished his Grand Skyfall. Not only did it completely annul Bengi’s only real method of access to T1S’ backline, but it wasted Faker’s Wild Growth knockup. Faker had used it presuming that Bengi was about to jump onto Bang, T1S’ marksman. Perhaps most crucially of all, it allowed T1S to kite Impact’s ultimate and as soon as the Subjugate had finished, Wolf pounced onto Impact securing the team fight.
Wolf then used his Tibbers to create zones of pressure which stopped T1K from both harassment and trying to steal the dragon. A further pick onto Bengi by Wolf gave SKT T1S the confidence to Baron and secure a comfortable gold lead for the first time in the game.
To end I’d like to point out that it’s very easy to comment on how ineffective SKT T1k were compared to their normal standards and not focus on just how well SKT T1S player the crucial fights in the game. HORO’s early counter ganks kept T1S in the game; Wolf’s Tibbers’ stuns were game changing and Easyhoon successfully lane and also out cs’d Faker while nullifying Bengi in team fights. It will be interesting to see if SKT T1S can use this result to overcome their closest rival in the group: the KT Arrows.