SK Gaming is the best in Europe
Today the two best teams in Europe clashed for control of League of Legends’ top league, in a game with a bit of a brewing rivalry.
But perhaps the more interesting storyline entering the match was the battle between bottom lane paragons Martin “Rekkles” Larsson and Konstantinos "FORG1VEN" Tzortziou, the two biggest player acquisitions in Europe’s offseason. The frank Tzortziou said he was "by far" the most skilled bottom lane in Europe last week, leading many hoping he’d prove it in a head-to-head game with Larsson, who stood out from the pack with a record-breaking season statistically last Summer.
While Elements put up a good fight, at one point leading the match with 10 kills against 2 for SK Gaming, a critical mistake in the jungle saw SK seize control of the game and never let up.
SK seemed to start off well with a lane swap that Elements tried to counter sloppily. When their pressure on Simon “Fredy122” Payne in the bottom lane failed to score a kill, they looked a little confused in how to deal with SK Gaming’s pressure.
But things quickly turned around when Ilyas “Shook” Hartsema and his Rengar hit level 6, as the jungler quickly made things happen with a number of successful ganks. While SK Gaming secured two dragons, Elements took more towers and seemed to slowly be building momentum.
That is, until a critical mistake in SK Gaming’s red jungle turned the match around. Hartsema pushed just a bit too far and SK Gaming collapsed on the Elements team, scoring 4 kills against 1 and subsequently securing the Baron.
“We were a team that was playing from behind. Up to a point the score was 2-10, 2 kills for us and 10 for them. The moment they made a mistake we just capitalized on it and made the game like it was 10-2 for us,” Tzortziou said in a post-game interview.
In the play, you can see jungle Dennis “Svenskeren” Johsen trap multiple members of Elements with his Jarvan IV ultimate, leading to an impeccable flank from top laner Payne, whose Azir shreds through Elements, scoring a double kill.
"For me [Fredy] was the MVP of the game, even if he got insanely focused," Tzortzious said.
Elements mid laner Henrik "Froggen" Hansen knew that was the moment they lost the game.
"It was just miscommunication," Hansen said shortly after the match. "Yesterday we went in no matter what basically and that’s the mentality we had today but it just backfired. We missed the Leona ultimate but still went in, and they could just clean us up."
The victory moves SK Gaming to 6-0 with a stranglehold on the top of the standings, while Elements falls to 4-2, now in third place behind Fnatic.
As for the Larsson and Tzortziou rivalry, SK Gaming’s fiery marksman seemed to get the better of the matchup. Larsson stole away Graves, the champion the two prioritized in their previous LCS matches so far this season, but his Greek opponent managed to outpace him in lane with Lucian’s strong ability to poke. Tzortziou finished the match with a 5/0/6 line, while Larsson ended nearly as strong at 5/1/3. But it was often clear who the real bully was through the game.
Tzortziou, though, was a bit uncharacteristically humble after the game.
"It feels pretty nice to have competition in someone that is equal or better," he said. "Even if I say I am the best by far it doesn’t matter. It’s up to people to judge who is better."
Based off the response to the match on Twitter, it’s safe to say people are in the Forg1ven camp—even if its largely thanks to his fresh honest attitude and his concise yet telling “by far” quip last week.
At this point, the Tzortziou and Larsson debate is really academic. The thing that really matters? SK Gaming is the team at the top of the standings.Image via Riot Games/Flickr