With SKT losing in 3 games to CJ Entus, and also dropping their 17 game winning streak against KT earlier in the week. I looked for similarities in the loses to find maybe a slight weakness in SKT’s armor. What I found was, Marin and Bengi share a weakness when it comes to two meta picks in their respective roles. For Marin, its Gnar, and for Bengi, its Gragas.
While Marin is pretty lane dominant with this champion, he can be easily exploited due to his tendency to play aggressive. This was very evident in the Spring on multiple champions and has been a problem for Marin in the past. This summer season though, he has noticeably tuned down his aggressive nature. Even on the Gnar we see games where he can find a sort of middle ground, and turn his lane dominance into a significant CS gap. Which is why I think this is maybe just a slight weakness, but could be the difference in a Worlds Final. In 15 games this year, Marin has a record of 10-5 on Gnar. When compared to his other two big champions, [Maokai 19-1 and Rumble 10-2] its a considerable drop off. To many, he still has a good record, but teams are going to be looking for little ways to edge the game in their favor, and this is one of them.
Bengi is where I think teams can really start to limit SKT a bit. His Gragas is shaky at best, posting a 4-2 overall record on the champion this season. When we look deeper into his champion pool you see 9-1 on Reksai, and 8-1 on Evelynn. What we don’t see, is the likes of Nidalee. I think even SKT has taken notice to this which is why we saw the strange Gragas first pick out of them. My theory is that they simply wanted to get Bengi some games on the champion before worlds to hopefully get it prepared. With Eve getting some nerfs that many think will bring her back to a lower tier stature in the jungle, Bengi really has some problems. Reksai is an extremely contested pick already, and with Bengi not having any expertise on Nidalee, where does he turn? He will be back to the Snowball throwing, ward placing, Nunu, that simply isn’t as strong. Just to add to this, if he is forced into taking Nunu against top competition, this more then likely will have SKT pigeon holed into an Azir for Faker, or a hyper carry for Bang. Both of which are not the preferred champ/style for these players. Sure Faker can play Azir well, and Bang has shown some hyper carry games on the likes of Vayne and Kallista, but its not their strongest champs.
In my mind, right now. The most efficient way to play SKT in Pick n Bans is to do one of these scenarios. Either ban out Rumble, Maokai and Reksai, or ban out two of them and first pick the other. If you have a strong top laner like Smeb, Shy, Duke, Huni, Koro, Acorn, Flame etc. You can first pick the Rumble on blue side, which will open up a ban for Wolf’s Alistar, or if you are thinking SKT will opt into Nunu then ban out the Azir.
I am going to start going over all of the games leading up to Worlds for SKT as well as the other play off hopefuls in Korea. Focusing on mainly Pick n Ban phase and statistics. Thank you.