In the opener of day three of the League of Legends World Championship, two Asian titans faced off in the most anticipated match of the event so far.
It was a rematch of the Midseason Invitational final in May, where China’s EDward Gaming beat Korean titans SK Telecom T1 to ascend to the top of the international stage. But today the Koreans earned a smooth victory for former world champions Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, Bae “bengi” Seong-ung, and friends.
The draft phase went in favor of SK Telecom as they scored solid counter-picks to the juggernaut meta for their two carries. Faker grabbed the tanky mage Ryze and top laner Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-Hwan showed off his fabled Renekton. The Koreans gave up the highly contested Darius to EDward Gaming and their top laner Shek “AmazingJ” Wai-Ho, but MaRin quickly showed he had the answer.
The victory came off the back of SKT top laner MaRin. Due to a small error by EDG as they moved for an early dragon in the game’s opening minutes, MaRin was able to accumulate a farm advantage over AmazingJ and leverage it into an impressive game where he bullied the Chinese team in every fight.
And it wasn’t long before his offense item buys came in. He purchased a Tiamat, an area-of-effect offensive attack damage item that has been popular on Renekton for when a top laner has an advantage.
The item allowed him to kill more of his opponents in the next dragon fight while shutting down AmazingJ in the top lane, scoring solo kills. His Renekton became a menace for enemy AD carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu. MaRin posted a menacing 10/0/6 KDA.
SK Telecom took victories in several teamfights and cleanly closed out the game at the 35-minute mark.
That gave SK Telecom T1 a bit of revenge for their loss on the big stage at MSI. But it’s only the first step. The win puts the Korean team in the driver’s seat as they look to advance with the top seed in Group C. That could be extremely important later in the tournament: Whoever wins the group won’t have to face another group’s top seed in the quarterfinals.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr