Even if you’re new to eSports, it’s hard to look anywhere in the scene without hearing about SKT. They have been a looming presence in the scene ever since longtime midlaner Faker debuted for the team in 2013, dominating their competition, and are statistically the most successful team in competitive League of Legends, having 2 World Championship titles under their belt. A feat which no other team in the world can match. Despite a mediocre season, SKT managed to make it to the LCK Spring finals, and defeat rivals ROX Tigers in a tense and exciting series to qualify for MSI; which is the only competition they have never won. SKT come into Mid-Season Invitational as strong favourites, looking very determined right now, and are especially known for showing up in international tournaments. They have a terrifying win rate of 88% (50-6) against international (Non Korean) teams, with only 3 teams ever taking a game off them, and only 1 team beating them in a best of 5. However, it is worth noting that 5/6 of those international losses came at last year’s MSI, so could it be that MSI is SKT’s Achilles heel?
Since winning the 2015 World Championships, SKT have made 2 roster changes. The first was replacing Worlds 2015 MVP MaRin with former NaJin toplaner Duke. Coming into SKT, Duke had pretty huge shoes to fill, considering the praise his predecessor was given in the previous months. It has taken some time for him to fully gel with the team, but now, Duke has shown that he is a more than worthy successor. Duke plays whatever his team needs him to, and is a solid addition to the team.
Whilst Duke has filled his predecessor’s shoes, Rookie SKT jungler, Blank brings a different approach to the jungle. Bengi was a player who shone, not through his mechanical abilities, but through his creative jungle pathing and good coordination with laners. Blank brings a different approach. He opts for aggressive champions, like Graves and Kindred, who he is very adept with, and can act as a carry for his team when he needs to, a role which Bengi always tended to shy away from. Although Bengi is still a substitute for the team, the meta heavily favours Blank’s playstyle, so it is likely that we will see him play most of, if not all, of SKT’s games at MSI.
SKT’s midlaner, is a young man of 19 years, who goes by the name of Faker, (the Unkillable Ddemon King). He is the standard to which every great player is judged, and is considered the greatest league of legends player of all time. What makes Faker special? There are other players who come close to his skill in terms of mechanics, TSM’s Bjergsen, EDG’s Pawn and even former SKT sub Easyhoon can all contend with him in a 1v1 lane. Faker encapsulates everything that a player should be. He can play virtually any champion and style, being equally skilled on utility mages like Lulu and Oriana, Control mages like Lissandra and Azir and Assassins, like his infamous Zed and LeBlanc. He is also never afraid to bring new picks into the midlane. In the 2015 Worlds, BKT’s G4 tried to surprise Faker with an Irelia midlane pick, to which Faker responded with Olaf, a champion who is played in top and jungle as a tank/bruiser, but has never been played before in the midlane. Faker then preceded to Solokill G4 at level 2. It is this kind of play which sets Faker apart from other midlaners. The ability to play seemingly anything to the highest level, and make huge game winning plays, consistently in high pressure situations. Impossible to predict, impossible to ban out, Faker looks onto the other midlaners at MSI, and smiles to himself, confidently.
SKT’s AD Carry is Bang. Bang joined the team a little over a year ago, and made his name through a very aggressive playstyle, whilst still staying safe. During SKT’s group stage, Bang only gave up a single death in 6 games racking up a monstrous KDA of 71.0, and is a constant threat on the backline. He has shown a preference towards strong laning champions, like Lucian and Kalista this season but is also confident on scaling champions like Tristana, and his Ezreal, which is considered one of the best in the world.
Rounding out SKT’s roster, there’s Wolf. Together with Bang, he is part of one of the scariest botlanes in the world, showing tempered aggression, and often making huge plays on roams. His signature champion is Alistar, who he is an undisputed master of, and opts for tanky supports like Trundle and Braum when the cow is not availible, but is also a very good Bard player. Overall I predict that SKT will win MSI, possibly without conceding a game, but I am also ready to be surprised, as many of the other rosters are internationally untested.