Samsung Galaxy White makes a statement in emotional semifinals at Worlds
White had never beaten Blue on the field of battle. In the last two seasons of Champions, Blue eliminated White 3-1 in the semifinals, their late-game style outlasting White’s early pressure until Blue’s superior mid and late game rotational play gave them the win.
But today, White looked better in every facet of the game. White out-picked Blue, in part due to what seemed like superior champion pools, and every one of their players individually out-played their counterparts on Blue. That even include the mid lane matchup.
Samsung Galaxy Blue’s Bae “dade” Uh-Jin, nicknamed “The General” for his outstanding skill and role as battlefield tactician for Blue, the team famed for their in-game strategic prowess, failed to live up to the title of “best mid laner in the world.” White’s Heo “Pawn” Won-Seok was on a mission all tournament, solo killing mid laners left and right, and last night was no different. Heo didn’t just beat The General, he destroyed him.
In game one, Bae got his Yasuo. Many analysts called it the most feared player and champion combination at the entire tournament. For Heo, though, that combination was simply food. His Jayce posted a 7/0/11 KDA line while Bae put up a dismal 0/7/2 KDA. Part of that’s due to Heo’s superior early game support—jungler Choi “DanDy” In-kyu’s Rengar was unstoppable. But there’s no denying Heo outplayed his rival.
Even Bae saw this match as the passing of the torch. He handed his prized lucky jacket, one he’d superstitiously worn throughout the year like some kind of mystical armor granting him mythical powers, over to Heo after the match. It was an emotional moment that underscored the fact these teams weren’t just rivals, but truly teammates, part of the same organization and group that’s strived together for the past year to produce the best brand of League of Legends in the world. And they’ve succeeded—together.
For White this match wasn’t just about finally beating Blue. It’s also about breaking the mold and reaching the next level of their development. When Heo first came to the team, he discarded his favored assassins like Fizz for safer champions, fitting like a puzzle piece into White’s aggressive machine, playing more of a backup role. At Worlds, he's come out of that shell, showing he’s a world class player with any style.
Heo, leading all mid players in damage through the Semifinals, put up a 27/3/28 KDA with an absolutely ridiculous 739 DPM through the three games. His Jayce nearly doubled the damage output of every single other champion in the server in both games one and two.
Top laner Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok experienced a similar breakout. Famous for playing steady champions who can back up White’s aggression with perfectly timed teleports, Jang proved he has carry potential today and a wider champion pool than expected In the first game, he pulled out Akali and carried the match, posting a 9/08 KDA line while dealing more damage than both marksman. Game two showed his tank style was still sound with a top level performance on Maokai. In game three, White unleashed Jang yet again, this time with Kassadin. His triple kill at dragon at the nine minute mark was the pivotal moment that swung the game into White’s wheelhouse, snowballing the game from an early lead.
Jang posted a 19/1/38 KDA line while dealing about 419.55 damage per minute.
Of course, mentioning the solo lane prominence while neglecting White’s jungler, Choi “DanDy” In-kyu, would be negligent. Choi is the best jungler on the planet and this match proved it. Blue’s Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon had a superb tournament so far, but Choi obliterated him. Choi posted a 19/5/35 KDA with about 399.3 DPM. In games one and two, he pulled out Rengar, a champion he had been saving specifically for this game, and crushed Blue so hard they were forced to pick it early in game three to deny it from Choi.
The series itself was catastrophic for Blue. A quick glance at the gold advantage graphs in the match history reveals just how one-sided the affair was: Blue’s only lead after the six minute mark came for about 50 seconds in the third game. But Blue bungled that advantage in short order with a catastrophic dragon fight seeing Choi “DanDy” In-kyu, the “Prince of Thieves,” steal the dragon before a four-for-two kill trade in White’s favor.
It was the most one-sided series of the entire tournament. So far White has dominated at Worlds, only dropping a game to Team SoloMid in a match where they were clearly a bit unfocused. But this game was different—White was at a level higher than even their dominant form during the past few weeks. At no point did Blue look like they were in control. White was looking forward to this moment, their chance to finally beat their sister team and establish themselves as the best squad on the planet.
But they still have one more task ahead of them, a monumental game against Star Horn Royal Club or OMG. With this match behind them, this showcase of their insane skill, the battle they’ve been preparing for for months, will Samsung Galaxy White suffer a letdown in the finals? Or will White continue their epic run, completing one of the most dominating months of League of Legends ever? That’s the question that will be answered next week, when two teams battle for $1 million and the ultimate prize in League of Legends: the Summoner’s Cup.
Image via Riot Games/Flickr