a League of Legends analysis blog
What makes SKT T1 ‘S’ tier?
Silly question, right? Asking how a team with talent in every role could possibly be anything less than Super Tier. Oh wait, KT Rolster actually did bring in top-notch talent—and got swept 0-3 anyway.
It is perfectly understandable that if you don’t follow SKT closely in the regular season over the years, you could very well be another Reddit user posting yet another thread about how SKT is so boringly dominant at every international tournament. Yet even though KT nabbed Smeb, an S-tier top laner known for his carry plays while SKT gained their own Huni-the-carry as well, their evolutionary paths could not be more different and SKT are the ones representing the LCK at MSI2017.
As predicted last post, SKT on red side for all 3 games banned out Smeb. Comfort carry picks Rumble and Kennen did not make it to the Rift, leaving Smeb on Jayce twice and Fiora once. Conversely, Huni’s champions this Playoffs—Shen, Camille and Gragas—are a testament to the power SKT T1 as an organisation.
Shen with a losing lane against Jayce? No problem.
Down in CS? Still alright.
Lose first tower? Ah forget it, just Stand United to get Fizz ahead.
KT’s team comp is typically what every team has tried to do against SKT all season: Draft a heavy-CC pick-comp to grab a lead early to mid-game…and maybe, just maybe, close for victory. KDM did it, so did BBQ, so did KT, yet over and over again SKT is able to rotate cross map to push for advantages that favour their team composition going into the mid to late game, and decide which objectives to give up.
LCK Spring finals 2017: Game 1 match-up
On the back foot until 27 minutes in Game 1, SKT opted for no wave clear in solo lanes, and chose to give up the first 2 turrets plus Rift Herald to KT before teamfights started to turn when KT’s pick-comp could not pick anyone off anymore.
LCK Spring finals 2017: KT’s gold lead in game 1
We can be sure that opponents at MSI will put together heavy-CC comps that excel early to mid game, so tune-in to observe how SKT controls the map despite being down in kills and gold.
“Their Baron game is on a different level to any other team in the world.” –PapaSmithy, LCK Spring finals 2017
…and I cannot agree more. Something about SKT’s Baron Control changed this year: They stopped leaving Baron up to 50-50.
In fact SKT added another meaning of what it means to have Baron Control beyond vision. A trend that emerged over the course of Spring, you’d notice that SKT developed a penchant for deciding when to turn on enemies while juggling Baron aggro instead of allowing it to reset.
After 3 members of KT went down in game 1, SKT start Baron. Smeb’s Jayce and Score’s Elise with smite are still alive and hanging around the pit:
a) Smeb pokes with Shock Blast
b) SKT intended to turn but Shen’s Taunt misses and they do enough to push Jayce away for now
c) Redemption heals up SKT
d) Chum the Waters connects, SKT kill Jayce—while Shen stays in the pit to continue Baron’s aggro
e) Shen attempts to taunt Elise over the pit but misses
f) Elise repels inside to eliminate Peanut—and SKT stop hitting Baron at 2.3k HP so that Elise cannot smite it off
Similarly in game 3 SKT made sure eliminate Score with Baron at 2.4k HP before finishing it off, establishing Baron Security rule #1: Always kill the enemy jungler when Baron is down to one-quarter HP.
No one saw this coming. Who would have thought that LCK Spring 2017 would see SKT go back to their classic ‘Protect the ADC comp’? Unseen for almost a year, SKT has been flexing Lulu and Karma mid way before structured flex picks came about with the 10-ban system.
Game 2 and 3’s flex picks: Karma and Lulu mid
It is one thing to put together team compositions and play the game effectively on the current patch, and another to do away with the high-damage CC mage mid and utility ADC altogether. With Bang on Twitch for 2-games, not only was this an unexpected yet classic SKT strategy prepared against KT, it also forces opponents at MSI to review their ban plans against SKT.
SKT has always been one step ahead. How can opponents possibly ban them out when they don’t need meta power-picks? They show-up opponents with particular champions way before the finals, and here they’ve given a clear warning to international teams of what they are capable of drafting beyond the meta.
As if it isn’t hard to play against SKT already.
Tune in to MSI live on lolesports.