Minions Have Spawned

a League of Legends analysis blog

Apologies, SKT T1 are back Better than Before

You would think that after losing form, a team who bounces back would aim to be on par with their prior condition. But after 8 games and 4 matches later, SKT cannot afford to. To be as good as they were before Rift Rivals is not enough to beat KT Rolster or fight through Playoffs.

SKT did not win a single game on patch 7.13. This week they jumped right into 7.14 aka the tank-CC-teamfighting meta.

713 winrate

SKT’s win rate on patch 7.13

The world is still on edge. Will SKT make it to Worlds? Could SKT even make it to Summer playoffs? Is SKT good enough to take down any squad now in the LCK?

They won 2-0 against both EEW and ROX, but these questions linger. Perhaps unable to shake off the uncharacteristic 8-game losing streak, commentators and fans continue to doubt. Bottom tier teams are one thing. KT and other top-tier teams, is another.

LCK ranking_1AugLCK Standings as of 1 Aug 2017

Yet here I am throwing you a curve ball—SKT are better than before. They fixed jarring problems that exploded on patch 7.13 which were exacerbated by sub-optimal drafts. It’s the little things that happened quietly which have been convincing.

For a start, SKT not only played the meta on 7.14, they played it their way.

  1. Meta-full

Consider what the winning teams were drafting already on 7.14, starting with SSG vs KT. Exemplifying what this patch is all about, KT laid down 4 tanks in game 2. Four tanks to protect one Kalista. Most teams after drafted three tanks.

Winning team comps 714 before SKT

How do SKT’s compositions differ?

SKT winning comps

Notably, in the jungle. Fielding their starter, Peanut in all 4 games wasn’t made to play Grag or Rek’sai again, or even consider a Maokai flex. Elise was prioritized. They also showed a new Jarvan IV jungle pick who suits his style.

Peanut needs to be on a champion that does damage to go in for the kill. When he does, it brings out SKT’s strengths instead of trying to make do with junglers who cannot replace bengi. SKT had already tried the 7.14 meta in 7.13. It did not work. On hindsight this was the unexpected silver lining around the 7.13 cloud.

Peanut Sejuani vs LZLZ vs SKT game 1: Team fight during mid game

Faker’s Galio and Peanut’s Sejuani going in for the kill while immobile Varus is dying while Hero’s Entrance is still available? Yup. Trust Faker and Peanut to do just that. Maybe Untara, Huni and Wolf should be on tanks/peelers next time.

Faker lucianROX vs SKT game 2: Mid laning phase

Outside the jungle, mid lane has been about wave clear. Blind-pick Lucian made a surprise rise in 7.14. Faker on Lucian is not to be mistaken with WE’s version. For SKT, his job has been about poking enemies, keeping them low while dodging ganks with E. This keeps enough pressure on his opponent while freeing Peanut up to invade the enemy jungle and gank bot. When the enemy jungler is sourced out, Faker increases pressure and pushes up.

  1. Improved Rotations and Vision

    a) Peanut no longer a battle ward
    b) Top roams to mid

‘Battle Ward’ ROX Tiger Peanut was about invading the enemy jungle then solely relying on his team to bail him out. The Tigers were so skilled and tight, that together that this usually resulted in a snowball.

These tendencies still manifest. In a game that SKT won against MVP three days before Rift Rivals, glaring vision mistakes were made.

Here we have a pushing bot lane. SKT’s next logical objective on the map is bot turret which will further open up dragon control. And yet, check out bot side jungle – it is littered with MVP wards.

Sure the price paid wasn’t much; a single kill onto SKT’s jungler. But this is so uncharacteristic of SKT, going beyond the vision line, taking unnecessary risks.

In this instance Bengi’s methods are terribly missed. Before he counter-jungled he made sure to know where the enemy jungler is and deep wards were thrown down. Before he rotated for a kill or objective, those MVP wards would have been SKT’s instead.

eew vs skt g1_peanut warding enemy jg1rox vs skt g2_Peanutwarding enemy
SKT vs EEW, ROX vs SKT mini map showing SKT’s bot side vision

Against EEW and ROX, a change happened. Peanut started to ward out the enemy jungle before
i) taking away camps
ii) while being in sync with bot who were pushing into the enemy turret to keep the duo occupied
iii) the layer of vision further allows SKT’s strong duo to keep pushing into the turret, as opposed to leaving lane to help him if he gets in trouble which sets off a chain of events that do not sit well with SKT’s objective-based game plan

Peanut dropping wards.JPGPeanut getting deep vision at bot

A noticeable tweak that goes hand-in-hand, is SKT’s top laner roams to mid: Push the wave, lay vision in the enemy jungle/river; level 6 onwards, gank with kill pressure. Such a set up differs from the roaming support meta.

Watch Untara’s Rumble. Before rotating for a gank mid, he wards first.

Similarly against ROX, even before level 6 Untara pushes the wave and gathers round mid lane with Peanut. No kills are obtained, but he gets vision around raptors and burns the opponent’s Ghost.

Why is SKT doing this?
To protect their mid laner.

We don’t need to be reminded of what’s been happening for 2017 SKT. When Faker applies pressure, there’s a 50-50 chance Peanut is nowhere near mid and busy farming a camp. Blank then subs in.

Statistics reflect his tendencies for early clears. Peanut’s CSPM is higher than Blank, yet Blank has more assists per game and damage per game on average. Overall their effective gold per minute ends up equal which shows that Blank participates more with the team and is doing more with less individual resources. Essentially, more bengi-esque.

Peanut vs Blank Spring and Summer

Peanut vs. Blank statistics: LCK Spring and Summer 2017

Moving with the meta, the 4 victories indicate that old issues that have all along plagued SKT are being addressed. Perhaps SKT needed it to rain in order to finally find the necessary compromises to balance the weight of 4 carries. Untara starting reduces the unstable pressure cross map, plus there’s a favourable meta to accommodate. As long as they keep up the early-game ebb and flow with flexible drafts that bring out individual strengths that work for the lane and in teamfights, SKT can only get better.



One comment on “Apologies, SKT T1 are back Better than Before

  1. “In this instance Bengi’s methods are terribly missed.”
    ikr, it was his mark, his playstyle, the reason many got so nervous when Blank played (oh, the memories)

    i’m so ready for what comes next in lck, thanks for this article!!!


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This entry was posted on August 1, 2017 by in jungle, objective control, Picks & Bans, teamfight, vision and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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