With a match record of 16 wins and only 2 loses, SKT showcased the caliber of play they can deliver. However, having dropped 10 games through-out the whole split, SKT was as vulnerable as they were dominant. With the 2017 Spring playoffs just moments away, the world asks itself, “Between MVP, KT Rolster and Samsung Galaxy, who has the best chance of beating SKT?”
In the Early Game
The early stages of the game, before the 20 minute mark, are one of the best times to take out SKT. During this time, SKT’s vision control is still incomplete, allowing rotations for ganks especially in the mid lane where Faker is expected to shove in the first few waves. Furthermore, Peanut, who is an aggressive junlger, can often times be caught out while invading. Specifically hunting down Peanut as he moves through the jungle during his initial clear and invade can provide an opportunity for the enemy to snowball after killing him and securing first blood. From there, repeatedly shutting Peanut and securing objectives will give the opposing team an edge to take down SKT. In this regard, KT Rolster has the highest chance of defeating SKT. They boast the strongest early game in all of the 4 contenders and were able to snowball past SKT once. A vast majority of KT’s wins were due to snowballs in the early game often leaving their adversaries in the dust.
In the Late Game
If SKT manages to get to the late game, then defeating them boils down to strategy and execution. Nothing short of perfect shotcalling will enable a team to stand up to SKT’s late game prowess. Even the tiniest decision like stealing a blue buff before a fight or placing a deep ward before recalling can mean the difference between beating SKT and losing to them. Among the three, Samsung can boast the best shot calling during late game. Samsung has always been a late game monster. They performed as such during the championship finals last year and even in the Intel Extreme Masters XI Gyeonggi. With Crown and Ruler both favoring late game carries, Samsung has the cleanest transition into the late game, often hitting their power spikes within 4-5 items and executing late game shot calls like setting up fight lines during team fights and wave management.
With Mid game shenanigans
Interestingly, SKT has a weakness for unruly play style. Sneaking away a baron at 20 minutes or diving as five between two turrets has proven useful in taking down SKT. Furthermore, choking SKT with deep vision and denying them vision control on key objectives can lead to an advantage for the opposing team. Moreover, simply curling into a defensive five man unit while taking objectives helps prevent SKT from gaining ground. Specifically doing this when SKT has drafted a pick composition will diminish SKT’s impact on the map significantly. Afreeca Freecs has exhibited the best version of this play, besting SKT by sneaking away a baron and preventing an entry from SKT’s pick composition by moving as five throughout the game. With a disciplined formation, Afreeca was able to weather the worst of SKT’s team comp and reach a point where SKT simply missed the window for them to take out Afreeca. Luckily for SKT, AFS were defeated 0-2 by MVP in the WildCard round.
Overall, it seems like Samsung will have the best chance to take out SKT in the finals. Their ability to stall games long enough to achieve their comfort of 5v5 late game team fights will help them a lot since SKT prefers to close out games methodically, requiring both time and effort in making the perfect play. Additionally, Samsung has shown no signs of faltering during the early stages of the game. They were able to keep up with most teams in the first 20 minutes, which is not amazing but necessary.
KT however, have shown that the late game is not the time for them. With Samsung, Afreeca, MVP and even Kongdoo Monsters taking them down in the late game, KT is more than vulnerable when they can’t close out before the 40-minute mark. Furthermore, Samsung’s growth throughout the split has been greater than that of KT who went from being a top-2 team to losing to Kongdoo Monster. With MVP taking on KT, Rolster will be faced by a squad who has defeated them once and will make things extra difficult in the first round. Finally, Samsung’s overall synergy has broken through the ranks of KT and SKT once in the regular split. With the they’ve gotten to prepare, Samsung can grow even stronger, potentially strong enough to take down even the gods of Korea.
Do you think SKT can be defeated? Let us know in the comments!