The League of Legends World Championships is the stage where the most skilled professional players face one another. The best teams from around the world come together to play against one another, creating the most skillful games of League of Legends. While in theory, this should occur at the World Championships, in reality, this is not always the case. In the 2016 World Championships, many teams had surprisingly disappointing showings. Teams predicted to go far in the tournament failed early on, performing much worse than they did domestically.
Whenever one of these teams performed poorly, the inevitable KT Rolster joke would be made. This joke basically implied that KT Rolster would have performed better in the tournament than said team. Although this joke is meant as pure satire, there is actual merit to it.
It is true that KT Rolster definitely did not have the most impressive showing in the LCK regional gauntlet. But due to the recent meta shifts, as well as the strength of some of KT’s players in relation to the players at the tournament, the Korean team would have been a strong contender for the Summoner’s Cup.
The Flyest Aurelion Sol
One of the highly contested picks at this year’s World Championships is Aurelion Sol. This champion, alongside Syndra, has proven to be best mid lane pick in the tournament. While most regions have adapted Aurelion Sol into their team, Korea has still refused to play the champion. Ever since he was enabled for competitive play, no player in the LCK tried to play or learn Aurelion Sol. That is, every player except for KT Rolster’s mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun. In the summer split, Fly played Aurelion Sol a total of 11 times. The only other player to even try Aurelion Sol in the LCK was the ROX Tigers’ Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng, who played the dragon only once. Alongside Counter Logic Gaming’s Choi “Huhi” Jae-hyun, Fly was known around the world as the best Aurelion Sol.
Coming into the World Championships, KT Rolster would have been the only Korean team to run Aurelion Sol. After watching the group stage games, it was clear that the strongest teams were those who had at least a decent mid laner who could play Aurelion Sol. Having the opponent ban Aurelion Sol meant that they would almost always leave open a borderline broken champion, like Syndra or Nidalee. This would have allowed KT to almost always grab an overpowered champion for one of their stronger lanes.
The Mighty Score
Without a doubt the most disappointing position at this year’s World Championship is the jungle. Junglers like Han “Peanut” Wang-ho and Ming “ClearLove” Kai, who were predicted to dominate their opponents, have fallen short of expectations, at times losing to players thought to be much worse. Considering his competition, if KT Rolster’s AD Carry turned jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin was at Worlds, he would have destroyed his competition.
Having the highest KDA and first blood percentage of his position, Score was far and away the best jungler in Korea, and almost definitely the world. During the summer playoffs, Score comprehensively out-jungled every single jungler he played against. Score’s early jungle pathing and ability to read where the enemy jungler is on the map was second to none.
Not having arguably the best jungler in the world attend the World Championships is a tragedy. Just think of the storyline that could have been: Score and Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong, two Korean veteran players who role swapped to jungle in season five, meet again at the season six World Championships as the two best junglers in the world.
Up until the LCK summer finals, Kim “ssumday” Chan-ho was in contention of being considered the best top laner in the world. Both Ssumday and Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho were vastly superior to any other top laner in the world. Statistically, Ssumday and Smeb were neck and neck in KDA and first blood percentage.
After losing to the ROX Tigers and Smeb in the summer finals, Ssumday seemed to be tilted off the face of the earth. Coming into the regional gauntlet, Ssumday looked like the loss in the finals still affected him. Ssumday would play over aggressively, causing him to die to ganks that were easily avoidable. Combine his play with KT’s horrible team comp and No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon never getting to play Jhin the entire series, and you get Samsung’s upset victory over KT.
While his performance against Samsung was much worse than expected, it is ludicrous to believe that Ssumday is now not a world class top laner. The World Championships would have been the stage where Ssumday could have redeemed himself for his play in the finals, and possibly got his rematch against his rival, Smeb.
Back to Reality
Having such a strong and solid roster, it’s a shame KT Rolster didn’t make it to Worlds this year. With a few top Korean players inevitably leaving for China at the end of this season, it will be very interesting to see where KT Rolster’s players wind up at the end of the year. If the players do end up leaving the organization, this iteration of KT will forever be added to the list of teams that should have made Worlds.
How do you think KT Rolster would have done at Worlds this year? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on twitter @SmashhLoL.
Photos courtesy of Fomos/Yong Woo “Kenzi” Kim