Worlds 2016: Bengi Leads SKT to Staples Center
Today's action in the 2016 World Championships quarterfinals for League of Legends featured SK Telecom T1 (SKT) vs. ROX Tigers (ROX), both of the LCK.
Here is a recap of what happened:
A game that was meant to be settled in the final would have to be contained to the semifinal, as the top two teams of the LCK were pitted against each other for a chance in the grand finals.
An aggressive start was made by both teams, poking each other out. A scare from SKT Bae "Bengi" Seong-woong being cocooned set the scene for what was to come.
SKT was tracking ROX so well at the start; they had clearly done their research prior to the game. A surprise three man gank top lane by ROX failed to secure a kill and gave SKT a chance to increase their CS lead.
Another gank in the mid lane against SKT Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok turned into an exact replay with Faker being able to escape after burning a few summoner spells in the process. SKT kept their slight gold lead with first blood still not found.
A team fight in the 15th minute set up two kills for ROX and the first dragon secured as ROX closed the gold lead to break even. This did not last long though, as SKT secured the first tower of the game a few minutes later, as well as earning their first kill of the game.
ROX was able to answer back by taking their own first turret, which allowed them to cut SKT's gold lead, forcing a fight down bot side that ended in two kills for each side.
If anyone was expecting a rest, there would be none as a dragon play opened up a chance for SKT to secure their first dragon. However, ROX stole it and took two kills from SKT, punishing SKT's over-extended play.
The match went to the 30-minute mark until another kill could be registered, this time by SKT, which gave them vision control around Baron. SKT took Baron as ROX was unable to contest at all and push their gold lead to 5000. The Baron led to SKT gaining three turrets and a near 10k gold lead, giving them complete vision control.
ROX, however, was able to punish SKT and kept the game going, pulling an SKT to steal a Baron under the noses of the SKT players at the 35-minute mark to allow ROX to take back control of the map.
They were able to close the gold gap slightly, but at the cost of some of their inner turrets after it wore out. The three infernal drakes secured by ROX did some work to help them stay alive this late into the game.
The final play of the game was a fight over the Elder Dragon. SKT not only secured the Elder Dragon, but also destroyed ROX in the process and stormed up the mid lane to take the base and win the first game in convincing fashion.
SKT 1 - 0 ROX
ROX looked to make up for their mistake and tie up the series, starting with a shocking support Miss Fortune pick for Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon.
To kick off the game, an SKT gank up top backfired as Han "Peanut" Wang-ho waited for them to arrive, securing a quick first blood for ROX Tigers.
A flash engage in the mid lane then gave SKT a kill right back, punishing Lee "Kuro" Seo-haeng's early flash, but this gave ROX's bot lane a chance to secure some kills for themselves to level everything up and give ROX a well-deserved 1k gold lead in the first five minutes of the game.
The Miss Fortune support showed just how effective it can be, helping to secure a kill for ROX in the bot lane as soon as both MF and Ashe hit level six.
ROX then sent all five of their members down bottom to secure a single kill and first tower blood, taking two towers for themselves. SKT was quick to respond by taking two towers of their own to keep up with the ROX Tigers.
ROX then attempted to take a sneaky dragon and secured it. Not only that, but SKT walked right into an entire team, losing four of their members in the process to give ROX a commanding lead, plus taking another tower.
SKT was looking to find some way to respond, taking the Rift Herald from under ROX's nose. They even secured a kill from ROX being too greedy, as they tried to get a kill on one of SKT's low health members. Just moments later, a rare Faker flash-fail gifted ROX with a kill, another mid turret and another dragon to add to their stash.
Despite, ROX's lead, SKT looked like they were coming back into the game. ROX knew they had to do something insane, so they went for Baron. They danced around Baron with SKT and secured not only the Baron, but four unexpected kills from SKT as well to increase their lead.
ROX, however, got too complacent and dove a few minutes after into SKT's base, resulting in ROX losing four of their members to keep SKT alive in the game.
Yet, ROX responded by baiting SKT out of their base, as two members of ROX took down the Nexus to tie the series, showcasing an impressive team display to keep their hopes alive.
SKT 1 - 1 ROX
We're back for another game! Game 3 of the series, Game 2 of MF support! (that second part is in the entire history of competitive League) pic.twitter.com/vCccxXE8X1— LoL EsportsWikis (@LoL_ESWikis) October 22, 2016
With all the craziness of game two behind them, both ROX and SKT were looking to stake their claim for that spot in the finals by taking the next game and putting pressure on the other LCK team.
The game took a significantly longer duration than the previous games for any action to happen, with most of the players remaining in their lanes and trying to take vision control over each other.
Once ROX hit level six in the bot lane, a replay of game two occurred with Ashe firing the ultimate and securing first blood, as well as a bonus second kill thanks to Peanut’s superb outplay maneuvers.
Additionally, the second time was the charm, as ROX’s bot lane had their ultimates came back off cooldown and a repeated fight took place, securing a single kill, but enough to extend their lead as a whole.
SKT was able to secure a dragon to try and keep themselves in the game. Faker found Peanut farming in his jungle and was able to get himself a kill on the board after the 10-minute mark.
Thirteen minutes into the game was when ROX took the first turret due to their superb bot lane pressure.
SKT, looking to find some map pressure themselves, looked to the top side to secure a kill for SKT Lee "Duke" Ho-seong from a successful gank, getting a flash in the process.
In turn, ROX roamed up top as a team to secure two kills for themselves off of SKT, as well as the top tower to apply their pressure on the map.
ROX continued to slowly push their lead throughout the game until the 23-minute mark, where a team fight broke out and Rumble got a kill and another dragon for ROX. Peanut got a bit greedy afterwards, trying to get some aggressive play, which backfired and led to his death.
Faker then got caught once again in an odd positioning for the legendary mid laner. ROX capitalised on the misplay and went straight to Baron, securing it and getting a kill in the process.
ROX gained a mid tower and a dragon from their buff, as well as extending their lead as they went to the bot lane, where Kuro finally fell after a beautiful ultimate by Faker.
A sloppy fight up top at the 30-minute mark saw SKT take on three members of ROX as a full five, with ROX trying to make up for their mistakes. However, ROX turned the fight around, and somehow secured the ace, only losing three of their five members, even with the odds against them.
It would take us until the 35-minute mark for ROX to get another quick Baron. Unable to respond due to the sheer swiftness of the Baron play, SKT forced themselves mid to try and get something but were unable to find anything.
ROX took this opportunity to run down mid themselves and used the Baron buff to push up take an inhibitor. They then went towards the top lane to take another inhibitor. Continuing to push forward into the SKT base, ROX shut down SKT to take the second game and the lead against SKT in this best-of-five series.
ROX 2 - 1 SKT
Game four presented ROX with the opportunity to make history and give them their first best-of-five victory against SKT in order to book themselves a place in the finals against either Samsung Galaxy or H2k-Gaming. A ROX win here would arguably give a new team a chance at the Worlds crown to join the likes of SKT, Fnatic, Taipei Assassins and Samsung White.
A jumpy start from ROX saw them burn a lot of summoner spells to avoid kills from an early ganking Nidalee. However, it was only a matter of time for the Nidalee to assist in an early first blood by Faker after a successful tower dive.
SKT kept their control of the match as Nidalee was able to steal jungle creeps from ROX, who were none of the wiser to what was going on.
ROX was able to apply their own pressure on the bot lane and secured the first tower of the game, but SKT was quick to respond, sending all five of their members down to secure a kill and take a tower back in response.
Both teams prioritised vision control for most of the early game after the initial drama, with both teams dancing around each other and playing safe, not willing to face check or engage. This finally changed when ROX secured the first dragon of the game at the 15-minute mark, which led to a team fight in the middle of the rift. ROX came out on top, burning a lot of SKT’s summoner spells.
The two teams returned to farming after constant unsuccessful ganks turned the game into a vision control matchup. A fight up in the top lane finally broke the silence, as SKT counter-ganked ROX to take two kills for one and extend their minor gold lead into the mid-game. This gave SKT their first dragon of the match to tie up dragon control with ROX.
SKT’s main objective was all about the vision at this point in the game, making sure they could control the game and the objectives to their leisure. Bengi found himself out of position and the ROX Tigers pounced to take a kill and complete the move by securing their second tower of the game at the 30-minute mark.
ROX traded a kill in top lane for a mid lane turret in order to get some vision control back on the map as SKT tried to hammer down on ROX's base, but found themselves being pushed off.
SKT and ROX kept cycling vision control until ROX tried to force SKT to make a play around the Baron. This backfired, as SKT gained three kills instead and SKT Duke continued to split-push to secure the bot lane inhibitor. ROX’s failed Baron play allowed SKT to try and close out the game to set us up for that fifth and final game, but it wouldn't happen as ROX kept the game alive, albeit with a ripped open base.
SKT then made a break for Baron to give them what they needed to finish the fourth game off, even securing an Elder Dragon just to be sure. These final two objectives allowed SKT to continue pushing into the ROX base and force that decisive game five.
SKT 2 - 2 ROX
This was the moment everyone was waiting for; the final game of the semifinal to decide which team would advance to the Worlds 2016 final. Both teams faced elimination and personal pride was on the line as SKT and ROX were set to battle it out in game five.
Both SKT and ROX started aggressively, forcing summoner spells to make a very intense early matchup between both sides, as the junglers took precedent with early ganks galore.
ROX Peanut read the map pronominally for him to get a clutch solo-kill first blood against SKT Bengi to set the scene for the match ahead.
ROX was then able to take an early lead from a dominant early game display as they looked to close out the game early before SKT even had a chance to get back into the swing of things. ROX picked up another kill on the bottom lane with Peanut being involved once again.
SKT did get the consolation prize in a cloud drake and a kill down bottom after ROX Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon was caught out of place by a roaming SKT jungler ganking the bot lane.
Peanut then found himself walking into Faker’s shockwave to give SKT another easy kill, giving away an unnecessary kill that allowed SKT to cycle bot and take the first tower of the game and a gold lead after ROX was leading for such a long time.
Both teams were looking for that one mistake to capitalise on to give them the kill that could lead to an objective and open up the lead needed to push for the much-needed victory.
ROX was able to secure a mid tower but SKT responded instantly by taking their second cloud dragon of the game. Peanut and Faker, to this point, were showcasing amazing performances in an attempt to carry their teams into the final.
An SKT Ashe arrow caused problems for ROX Kim "PraY" Jong-in as they gifted SKT a kill and the mid turret. But Faker became complacent and lost his life in a fight in the process. ROX headed to Baron to contest a smiteless Lee Sin and ended up losing four lives; they did secure the Baron, but at what cost?
Following the tumultuous team fight in the Baron pit, ROX was completely pressured out of their side of the map. SKT forced ROX into fights they weren't expecting, which gave SKT more kills and increased their gold lead. ROX looked shaky in the mid-game and was unable to contest after such a strong start.
SKT and ROX then proceeded to meet each other in a fight, with both sides coming out even. It wouldn't be until the 30-minute mark when SKT secured a Baron with no contest whatsoever. SKT played ROX Tigers like a puppet on strings to take complete control of the map, using the Baron buff to extend their lead more than before.
SKT then looked to make one final push up the mid lane to open up the ROX base and secure their series win. Baron came back up at the 37-minute mark and ROX PraY died because he was out of position. This gifted SKT a free Baron and Elder Dragon, complete vision control and complete control of the game.
ROX, completely desperate, tried to force a fight, but SKT eased off after taking an inner turret in the mid lane, wasting ROX’s teleport. SKT simply had too much of a gold lead as they pushed the top lane, caught out PraY and moved onto the Nexus turrets as they took out the base to advance to the finals of Worlds 2016.
SKT 3 - 2 ROX
What did you think about the action in today’s Worlds semifinal? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Adam Newell is a journalist for @ and can be contacted in ways displayed below: