Are SKT still the strongest team at Worlds?

With Worlds 2017 well underway in Wuhan, China it’s time to look at whether SKT still reigns as the best team in the world.

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After losing out in the Summer Split finals to Longzhu Gaming, as well as a disappointing second half of the split SKT’s reign looked like it may be over, with their attendance to worlds even being at risk, however they overcame their difficulties in the playoffs to beat Afreeca Freecs, fellow Worlds attendees Samsung Galaxy and Korean super squad KT Rolster.

Despite their dip in form and their loss in the playoff finals the main argument is–are there any other teams that can prepare as well as SKT? They have been the most efficient team ever for adapting and fixing their weaknesses and I fully expect them to come in fully prepared to challenge again.

The Rift

On day 1, SKT faced a very strong Cloud 9 team that stormed through the Play-In Stage making it look easy– but SKT are on a whole different level. While confidence and momentum is not to be taken lightly, SKT dominated from the beginning–notably in a 2v1 first blood for Faker, who’s looking in top form. Peanut showed his aggressive play style and out jungled Contractz, and Huni even showed his class against previous SKT top laner Impact. Not a single lane looked weak for even a moment and for the other favorites to win the tournament, that’s a worrying sight.

SKT’s second game versus Edward Gaming showed us one of the biggest comebacks ever seen in competitive League of Legends, as they overturned an insane 10k gold lead with a crisp engage using Rakan in the mid-game. That teamfight launched them to victory in a game that will be remembered for years to come.

SKT then surprised us again with Faker picking up Fizz in the match against AHQ. The assassin helped lead them to a third successive victory, with the two carries Faker and Bang finishing the game deathless. Bang pulled out the hyper carry in Twitch and showed no signs of slowing down.

Looking ahead

I firmly believe that the only teams capable of challenging SKT again this year are its LCK counterparts. With Samsung dropping a game against Royal Never Give Up and looking worryingly bad against 1907 Fenerbahçe, we may see them leave the competition earlier than expected. Although I have to mention the success RNG are having, as they are looking dominant in what everyone deemed the group of death, I do not think they will have similar success against the LCK powerhouses.

We cannot forget history and it’s surely on SKT’s side. For those looking for an upset this year, or even Western success, I think you might have better luck next year.