On October 19, 2017, Longzhu Gaming clashed with Samsung Galaxy in the Quarterfinals of the 2017 World Championship. They entered the match as the overwhelming favorites, yet as the series progressed, it became evident: Longzhu were going to lose. Not only that, but Samsung dismantled them in a quick 3-0 sweep.
So how did the #3 LCK seed kick-start an upset against the league’s champions? We’re going to be breaking down everything—from draft to in-game plays—while showing timestamps for key moments.
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
To be frank, we’re not huge fans of Longzhu’s draft.
Their bans are mostly standard with the exception of Gnar, which—combined with Khan’s tendencies—declares their intent of playing a top lane carry. Samsung read the situation and save the top lane pick for last, allowing them to counter Jax with Kennen.
Not only that, but Longzhu take Xayah in the first rotation, which makes it all too easy for Samsung to secure godlike initiation with Rakan and Sejuani. Of course, you can’t give up both bird people here, so you have to first-pick one or the other… Or you could just leave Cho open and use the freed up ban on Xayah with the intent of camping for Jax in the top lane.
But Longzhu have a different idea, and take Jarvan and Thresh in the second rotation. The latter pick is particularly important because it puts Longzhu at the monumental disadvantage of not having Ardent Censer in the late game.
Samsung also decide to spice things up by picking Malzahar and making their single-target lockdown even more powerful. Longzhu answer with Syndra who’s capable of bullying Malzahar in the early game, but becomes a sitting duck at level 6—especially if her lane opponent has flash.
In the end, LZ’s draft relies on getting Jax rolling and turning him into a splitpush threat to the point where SSG have to answer him with two or more champions. Meanwhile, the rest of Longzhu want to pressure turrets/objectives and get picks with Jarvan combos and Thresh hooks.
On the other hand, Samsung have a very traditional team comp with an Ardent Censer support, several strong initiators, and a robust frontline. It’s a bit heavy on AP damage, but the Tristana/Rakan combo is a big enough threat to prevent the enemy team from stacking MR. Another thing to note is that it’s very easy for SSG to force an engage on LZ’s 4-man core.
The early game
Longzhu start the game by playing to their win conditions and trying to get Khan’s Jax ahead with an early 2-buff gank. But Samsung read the setup and place a ward to counter it. Still, this forces CuVee to play further back than he would have liked to, and allows Cuzz to go for an invade.
Once he finds Ambition chunked out at his Raptors, Bdd takes full control of the mid lane in a winning matchup.
With Syndra securing an early 20 CS lead, and Xayah and Thresh winning the push in the bottom lane, things are looking good for the LCK champions. But they’re about to get a whole lot better once Bdd solo kills Crown at 6:45.
Both mid laners use flash, which sets up Cuzz with an easy gank at 8:30. Syndra’s ultimate is still on cooldown, so they don’t manage to get a kill, but the free damage on Crown is more than enough to break open the mid lane.
And then Bdd makes a mistake.
At 8:48, he pushes the wave in and tries to pressure Crown under his turret, which would’ve been fine and dandy if Ambition wasn’t lying in wait nearby. Bdd takes a few steps too far forward, and Crown suppresses him with Nether Grasp, making it all too easy for Ambition to follow up with his ultimate.