a League of Legends analysis blog
LCK is such a tease. The first rematch in the 2nd half of the Spring Split for SKT is against the same opponent they lost to before the break. Luckily perhaps, their wounds were covered in IEM glory, and their nightmares, overwritten.
That’s still not to say they’re back in form. Game 1 was a repeat performance of their losses versus Afreeca last month. Game 2 showcased a more decisive SKT, as each team swung from one objective to another. Finally getting their act together with the help of a questionable draft by Afreeca, a clean Game 3 sealed their victory.
Game 2 of 3
In Solo Q it’s not always easy to deal with a split pushing team. Instigated by Mickey’s TF, SKT demonstrated solidly how to respond to split pushing in Game 2.
Afreeca’s 3 carries had burnt their Flashes before the 3rd dragon spawned and could not contest. SKT was doing it peacefully for mere seconds before turning into a pack of bloodthirsty wolves.
“Do not hesitate.”
The moment Poppy pushed the wave in mid just a little further down the lane and TF showed himself top, SKT abandoned dragon.
Coming into this play they knew exactly who their trump card was: Duke’s Fiora, with a summoner spell advantage over Afreeca who had none. AF burnt all their flashes in the last 2 team fights, turning themselves into tasty targets for Fiora with double gap closers. Afreeca’s one hope of disengage with Trundle’s pillar was completely negated with Duke’s flash. Fiora’s aggression was further intensified with Lulu, jumping under turret with Wild Growth in order to force Afreeca off, unable to defend.
With Mickey constantly applying pressure in the split push lane, doing a dragon would have costed SKT time—and timing is everything for both the team carrying out the split push and the ones fighting against it. If SKT took drag, TF would have pushed down a lot further into top, taken turret + inhib, and SKT may not have gotten mid turret due to Afreeca’s waveclear and 4-man defense.
Even though that did not happen and SKT intentionally forced a fight mid, TF was still able to take a turret to match SKT, trading equally.
The 2nd tactic is to deal with the split pusher himself. This is slightly harder with a TF who has an out of jail card called Destiny, Teleport as insurance, plus wards to spot approaching enemies.
Afreeca’s wards were definitely in the right place. Red pings went down early and all 4 members of SKT were spotted, and yet…
Mickey was safe in the bush but emerges to finish clearing the wave, and the next moment he’s dead, possibly due to a miscalculation. Blank’s Explosive Cask definitely knocked him right out of his epicenter.
But have no fear; 5 minutes later split push Mickey is at it again. He even cut travel time to the naked inhibitor with Destiny because Teleport was available for a quick retreat.
“Up we go!”
Yet it came down to the microsecond again, and Mickey emerged with the short end of the stick. Faker’s TP channeling, Whimsy and Wild Growth were on point—a fraction later that TF would have disappeared. With the inhib saved by Lulu and SKT grabbing one at mid, it opened a 3rd Baron attempt, this time without any interruptions by TF.
TEAMFIGHT: We took a good look at SKT’s zone control during teamfights in their game versus KT, and recently at IEM against FNC. It’s still a pleasure to watch how well-timed their combined spell use is as a team.
Afreeca already took down SKT’s outer mid turret and SKT wants a piece of theirs as well. In what looks like a desperate attempt by AF to defend their turret and flank with a Poppy TP, it is equally a huge mistake on their part to attack with 4 flashes on cooldown.
“Precision and grace.”
Poppy’s combo with Trundle’s pillar onto Lulu was a good engage, but should have been saved for another time. Duke responds with a TP onto the pink ward which SKT deliberately played around. A ticking time bomb about to explode, Duke’s Fiora threat was real, smacked in the middle of AF—definitely not where they wanted to be.
TF approached the fight with a simple Gold Card above his head, only to be dramatically thrown away by Blank’s Gragas ult. Quickdrawing in, Wolf’s instant exhaust onto LirA muted Graves’ follow-up damage. All these delays served to tip SKT’s advantage with Fiora entering the fight.
SKT’s opportune timings earned them 2 turrets in mid to recover from the gold deficit at the turning-point 18 minute mark, and eventually the game.