At this point it isn’t even a story when a team from North America or Europe beats an Asian side at the League of Legends World Championship. Or maybe the story is that it’s become so routine.
When Team SoloMid opened today’s games with a win against LGD Gaming, it was barely a surprise. Few teams have collapsed as sorely as LGD Gaming, who are quickly becoming one of the biggest disappointments in the history of the game.
But KT Rolster was different. Through two games, the Korean side looked like the same team that dominated their region excepting games against SK Telecom T1. They won two convincing games against Team SoloMid and LGD Gaming playing mistake-free League of Legends. But they couldn’t beat the Europeans of Origen in front of their home crowd in Paris.
KT Rolster looked like they could have the game in hand through the first 15 minutes, though. Their dangerous roaming combination of jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin and support Lee “Piccaboo” Jong-Beom showed their global map pressure as KT Rolster picked up kills around the map.
But despite picking up plenty of kills, leading Origen 10 to 4 at the 20 minute mark, KT Rolster couldn’t parlay that into objectives or even a gold lead. Origen staved off their decimation thanks to mid laner Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martinez and AD carry Jesper “Niels” Svenningsen building big farm leads in their lanes and solid rotations giving them a lead in towers killed despite more time spent respawning.
If Martinez retires after this season, it’d be a damn shame. Martinez continued his superlative play at Worlds with an impressive display on Twisted Fate, punishing KT Rolster’s average mid laner Kim “Nagne” Sang-Moon despite a relatively poor matchup against Ekko. Martinez’s individual plays—like a fight in the mid lane where he pulled the Red Card to use its area damage to finish off a target out of his auto attack range—were incredible.
But KT Rolster still had a better scaling team composition with Kog’Maw and Olaf building into terrors. Origen needed a big play to give them a lead they could leverage into a victory, and they got it just before 22 minutes. As KT Rolster postured near Dragon, Origen made a decisive Baron call, securing the power play before the Koreans could respond.
Origen eventually closed out the game, putting them undefeated at the top of what many thought was the toughest group of the tournament.
No one expected the Europeans to perform at this level. Few thought they’d even make it out of the group against Asian sides as talented as KT Rolster and LGD Gaming. But now they’re the favorite to take the top seed out of Group D and a near lock to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Korean players continue to spout praise for European teams in interviews, and based off the results, we’d do well to take them at their word. At this point it’s barely a story when a team from North America or Europe beats an Asian side at the League of Legends World Championship.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr