a League of Legends analysis blog
After last week’s performance taking KT into a 2-game series, SKT seemed like they finally hopped onto their hype train.
Yet within the first 2 minutes into champion select, doubts start to bubble. By the time game 2’s champions were locked in, those doubts solidified into a cold hard mess. “LZ…well-researched against SKT,” PapaSmithy said, and it showed the moment those seconds started ticking.
If you watch SKT enough, you know this team comes into every game with a decisive plan. kkOma’s handy notebook has proven to be worth its weight in gold. Usually they are able to play the game so well that they force their opponents to react to their macro strategy. Usually.
The 1-3-1 split push was very much last year’s Worlds go to recipe for SKT. Currently with Runic Echo Udyr holding a steady 57% win rate in ranked, on paper the fast clear and speedy jungler + Ez/Lucian wave clear with sustain and protection from Ali + second split pusher Fiora looked reasonable.
However the meta has changed, and SKT hasn’t executed the 1-3-1 with such clarity ever since. Those early green wards don’t exist anymore. This also isn’t dynamic queue where split pushing is easier to execute amidst the muddle. What SKT had laid on the table, LZ responded effectively:
–Lulu, a power-pick on her own but also the best champion to deal with an Udyr, Whimsy to zip around rotations, and Wild Growth to protect the Koggy
–Elise as an early game jungler with reasonably fast clear, a stun and added Rylai’s option
–Braum, firstly to be annoying, secondly to block Ez & Lucian’s ults decreasing their wave clear control, and a slow to buffer a charging Udyr
–Kog’Maw with that attack speed + hurricane clears minion waves fast, slowing down split push efforts; procs Braum’s passive quickly too
–TF to deal with the split push using Destiny, and as a split-pusher himself building Lich Bane
For insurance, run a double teleport on Lulu and TF. Altogether their comp is not just a way to deal with split push, but one that can catch someone out of position easily, and is superior at team fighting . LZ deliberately covered their bases.
With all of LZ’s packed CC, no one expected that just a single AOE knock up from Lulu could clinch their victory.
“C’mon you, let’s dance! Ha!”
After SKT’s well-played Baron fight catching out LZ, they rush mid and push right into the nexus but it’s not just the Wild Growth alone that delayed them. Pure and Expession did a great job on who to target: Lulu zoned Lucian away, disallowing the highest AD damage dealer from touching the Nexus while Braum placed Unbreakable in front of Ezreal.
It was anybody’s game. If SKT had positioned and CCed them better using Alistar and Udyr, they could have opened a tiny window for Bang to be much closer to the Nexus to clinch victory.
And what could be worse than Wild Growth, Whimsy, Cocoon, Gold Card and Glacial Fissure? More roots, more CC from the ADC and more AOE everything thanks to LZ’s choice of Lissandra, Kalista and Poppy in Game 2.
Ring of frost, ring of death
SKT are typically in Longzhu’s shoes. They’re so good at these counter plays into team fighting that they know how and when re-engage 4v5 to come out tops; just unfortunately not today. There’s only so much CC one can avoid, as it was proven in their losses to ROX.
LZ decided right at the beginning of Game 1 that they were going to shut down Udyr amidst the lane swap, and methodically did so to gain significant map control at the bottom side.
“I wonder what’s around next corner.”
The smartest placement was the single trinket ward up at top. LZ predicted that Wolf would do the same and poke in their jungle so the moment they spotted him heading to Krugs, they went straight for red and were not at all delayed. LZ’s jungle snowballed from there, giving Elise a 3-buff start, timings and control.
Besides shutting down bengi and therefore SKT’s vision control through bans or picking on him in-game, LCK Spring teams have also taken advantage of SKT’s individual disrespect for FoW. A rare one coming from Bang this game, and a 2nd kill conceded because Duke decided to take the risky route after pushing the lane.
“The spider, I. And you, the fly.”
“Come closer, I don’t BITE!”
This is not characteristic of the SKT we know. They are usually the ones using FoW to catch their opponents out at their slightest over extensions.
Even in the last series versus KT which they won, the FoW plays from their opponents certainly amounted with Faker’s Corki getting busted twice, and Wolf once. These numbers don’t even include the many other times bengi or Wolf were forced to flash or force their team mates to flash/use ults to save them from getting caught as they attempt to insert deeper wards into the enemy jungle.
Longzhu exploited SKT’s vulnerabilities to great effect, drawing from victorious opponents earlier in the split. JAG targeted bengi (no one can ever forget the Evelynn game) and SKT’s vision control. ROX outdrafted SKT with 2x more CC, grabbing SKT’s winning Kalista-Alistar combo while SKT tried to force the blue Ezreal to work as they tried to force Udyr here as well.
Maybe SKT are experimenting, maybe they’re taking informed risks with these drafts. Fans can hope they’ll address these issues and play at Worlds standard more often than not in what’s left of Spring going into Summer.