After finishing my last recap for Samsung Galaxy OZONE vs CJ Entus Frost, I figured I would keep doing recaps for the rest of OGN Winter. Thanks so much for the support on these!
KT Rolster Bullets vs SK Telecom 1 K has been a storied rivalry in OGN, with the teams clashing at the finals of OGN Summer, as well as the tie-breaker to determine who would be the final team to attend the Season 3 World Championships. If there was anything we could count on, is that this series would be explosive; in my opinion, it may not have lived up to the hype.
The first game in this series started off in a bit of a weird direction, as the picks banned out four supports and left a very depleted pool for Piglet and Mafa to choose from. KTB made a bit of a gamble on picking Alistar as their support because the rest of the composition did not have much tank; they wanted to shunt that ability towards their Mafa, who could crowd-control, stay alive with the items from his role’s greater income, and allow the rest of his team (namely Insec) to play comfort champions.
Unfortunately, Piglet had other ideas by playing Vayne. With Silver Bolts’ true and % maximum health damage, there really wasn’t much Alistar could do to keep from dying multiple times. This caused the whole plan of offloading tanking duties to him to fail, as well.
On the other side of the Support role was ManDu’s Nami, which, as the commentators noted, was a much more comfortable (and meta-appropriate) choice. The way that Aqua Prisons and Tidal Waves were used were inhuman; ManDu’s play is the exact type of skill you want on your team, because the consistency that he brings is almost unfair. While Mafa was able to land several key multi-man Pulverizes, he often had to be in an unfavourable position away from protecting his carries to do it; it became really clear that one tank (and one at a natural disadvantage) was not enough to handle four threats with multiple gap-closers.
It really feels that in KTB’s desire to keep Faker from getting too huge on LeBlanc, they neglected to remember that there are two other very capable players in Impact and Piglet; both got absolutely huge during the course of this game, and most engagements boiled down to Alistar dying way too quickly, then the rest of the team crumbling when Impact’s Shyvana dove on top of them. While Faker didn’t end up getting too ridiculous, it didn’t matter: Score’s Sivir could not scale to keep up with Piglet’s Vayne, Insec’s Lee Sin floundered, and SKT’s composition was simply better suited to deal with variable threats. KTB started off this series with a series of questionable decisions, and that was a running theme through the following games.
Game One Winner: SK Telecom T1 K at 44:15, with a score of 20-10 kills, 80.9k to 62.6k gold, and 8-4 turrets.
For this game, KTB managed to snag a couple of choice picks away from SKT in the hopes of replicating their success in the first game. However, spending a ban to get rid of Piglet’s Vayne from the last game opened up a quick first-pick Annie for ManDu, which I don’t think was worth the price.
Otherwise, a number of picks were switched up as KTB grabbed the Shyvana and Elise that served SKT well in the previous game; their composition featured a healthy amount of poke from Nidalee and Lucian, but the rest of their composition (rounded out by a Mafa Nami) felt disjointed and lacking cohesion. On the other side of the rift, SKT’s Annie pickup was supplemented by a strong throwback to Season 3, as Caitlyn and Nunu provided sufficient pushing power later on in the game.
In my previous recap I made a point of saying that Nunu felt like an oddball pick when played by CJ Entus Frost; in this matchup, however, Bengi didn’t have an amazing amount of problems purely because of how the lanes turned out. Everyone pulled their weight in kills, allowing SKT to pull out to an early lead which was never really challenged; Insec’s Shyvana didn’t reach the same amount of insanity that Impact’s did in game one, and an early three deaths made him a non-factor.
By the end of the game, Impact’s Renekton served a similar purpose to his Shyvana in Game 1, while Faker’s Gragas picked up kills that he lacked in game one; it’s extremely important to note how well ManDu’s Summon: Tibbers were as Annie, since they made easy targets for Explosive Casks.
As the commentators noted, this game didn’t feel very competitive purely because of SKT’s lead and KTB’s inability to get any towers until far too late. If you were both a SKT fan and believer in momentum (which you should be), it looked extremely likely that the world champions were going to progress to the finals based on how this game turned out.
Game Two Winner: SK Telecom T1 K at 31:05, with a score of 12-3 kills, 54.5k to 37.8k gold, and 10-1 turrets.
When you’re on the cusp of seizing a finals berth, giving up a loss can be a bit scary; you don’t want to risk anything that could lead to the other team gaining momentum. KTB knows this all too well, as their loss to SKT in the OGN Summer Finals came as a result of that exact same scenario.
SK Telecom’s plan for this game was to resort to comfort picks to coast to a three-game series, and for the most part, it worked out extremely well for them. Despite KTB taking a gold lead early with a tower and two kills, SKT never seemed to be shaken up as much as their opponents had been in the previous game.
Instead, what resulted was probably one of the most infuriating comebacks that I’ve personally witnessed; Faker’s Riven got two kills in skirmishes where SKT did not emerge unscathed. Then a third when KaKAO’s Olaf decided to disengage from a dragon fight by running into SKT without the rest of his team. Then a fourth after a group tower dive. Then a fifth on a face-checking Nami. Then a sixth on a roaming Olaf. And a seventh when Score’s Vayne tumbled into him. Despite trailing 8-7 in kills, all of the kills were loaded onto Riven.
And we all know what that means.
At this point, I can only imagine how on tilt KTB would have been. Having Faker fed on any champion is intimidating, but having him playing one of the most versatile and deadly characters in the game would have made things all the more terrifying. Any one of his attempts to get in deep made everyone‘s attention shift to him, letting Piglet’s Caitlyn to do damage without much trouble involved.
The game ended in a bit of a nail-biting fashion, as a teamfight in SKT’s favour allowed them to take a mid inhibitor turret, mid inhibitor, both Nexus turrets and all but 200hp off the Nexus. KTB’s spawns chased them off, leaving only Bengi’s Elise and ManDu’s Zyra alive. Zyra’s attempt to Flash over the wall to kill the Nexus was rebuffed, leaving multiple members of KTB chasing down the mid lane to hopefully end the game. However, they made a crucial mistake in trying to kill Elise instead of seizing turrets, an inhibitor or even Baron Nashor; Elise’s key Cocoons onto Score’s Vayne also robbed KTB of attack speed in taking down what they could.
What could have been an amazing turnaround ended up falling flat, as SKT re-spawned, killed a diving KTB and punched their ticket to the OGN Winter Finals.
Game Three Winner: SK Telecom T1 K at 43:37, with a score of 21-18 kills, 67.9k to 67.9k gold, and 7-4 turrets.
A couple personal thoughts about this series:
- KTB seemed ill-prepared in terms of their team compositions in the first two games, and they paid for it dearly. Lacking proper tanks in the first game and a “true” poke composition in the second left me feeling like they brought 3/4ths of a team against one of the world’s best.
- There’s something to be said for SK Telecom’s ability to capitalize and punish mistakes, but I feel like KTB made more than they should have for a professional-level team. Score’s positioning became an issue in multiple team fights, as he routinely tumbled into Faker’s Riven in the third game while getting caught out as Sivir in the first.
- On a note of Faker’s Riven, I feel that his success in game three was less of a testament to his skill and more to the amount of opportunity he had to snowball. When a Renekton fails to itemize against your champion, you’re going to keep punishing him for trying to bash his head against the same wall. When a Nami or Olaf stray way farther than they’re supposed to, you might as well send them a thank-you card afterward. SK Telecon T1 K could have lost that game – with both teams’ gold totals, that was a real possibility – if not for the KT Bullets telling them “we don’t really want to be in the finals.”
- And as a personal, final note, I’m beginning to find snowballing champions (specifically the Rivens, the LeBlancs, the Zeds) completely boring to watch after they reach a certain threshold. When there is literally no possible outcome in a fight besides an enemy getting blown up in seconds, I begin to mentally tune out. While I cannot deny the mechanics and skill it takes to get to that point, I find it utterly mind-numbing to have to wait through predetermined conclusions in order for the match to end; it’s even worse when that process is expedited by opponents making poor choices.
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