The Telecom Wars Are Back: SKT vs KT Match Preview
The Telecom Wars
This is a rivalry older than League of Legends itself. When SK Telecom T1 and KT Rolster meet on the rift, no matter their condition, hype arises. Despite SKT’s success in the previous World Championships, the two organizations have been trading blows for years. The most recent bout between the two organizations occurred in the LCK 2016 summer playoffs, when KT reverse swept SKT in the semifinals, very reminiscent of the 2013 summer finals in which the exact opposite occurred.
Fast forward to 2017, and the two organizations are looking better than ever. With SKT shoring up their weaknesses from 2016, and KT Rolster dissolving their former roster to create a “super team," the two squads look far and away to be the two best teams in the LCK. After six weeks of waiting, we will finally get to see these two powerhouses go head to head, as they play in two best-of-three series this week. The first seed is on the line, but perhaps more importantly, is the pride of winning a Telecom War.
These Teams Have No Weaknesses (Almost)
Although they’ve looked quite dominant this split, both SKT and KT have lost one series. In their loss to the Afreeca Freecs, SKT looked out of sorts. Losing a member in the level one phase of both games, SKT appeared to be tilted. Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok was being far too aggressive, resulting in careless deaths, and Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon simply lost lane in both games, an oddity unseen up until that series. Before their loss to Afreeca, SKT never made these errors, and they never did again, making this loss seem like an outlier.
KT’s loss by comparison is much more worrisome. Throughout this split, KT have shown that they have a tendency to get caught out while traversing the map. MVP realized this, abusing this slight weakness to defeat KT in their week five match. Refraining from teamfighting, KT’s bread and butter, MVP amassed gold leads through picks onto the overextending members of KT. If KT haven’t fixed this issue over the extended break, they could be in real trouble heading into these two series.
After his less than stellar performance against Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-hwan, Huni has a chance to redeem himself this week when he goes up against Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho. The last time these two met was back in the semifinals of the 2015 World Championship. A series he would most certainly want to forget, Huni was manhandled by Smeb, barely having any positive game impact that series. Nearly a year and a half later, these two players meet again. While this win could mean Huni’s redemption, for Smeb this win could help solidify him as the best top laner in the world of the 2017 spring season (so far).
There have only ever been two players with the ability to consistently really challenge Faker: The General, Bae "dade" Eo-jin, and Faker's Kryptonite, Heo "PawN" Won-seok. While nobody knows what Dade is doing, PawN is gearing up to face Faker and SKT once again.
A player who has arguably caused the most problems for the best player in the world, PawN has earned his title as Faker’s Kryptonite. Now that he is back in Korea and surrounded by a new team, PawN is looking to dethrone Faker. With assassins like Zed and even Ahri (thank you An "Ian" Jun-hyeong) returning to the meta, this mid lane matchup could be very reminiscent of the last time these two matched up in the LCK/OGN years ago. No matter what, you can expect the mid lane to be jam packed with action in these two series.
Two Series In One Week
Having SKT and KT face off twice in one week will foster some interesting strategies. While their first meeting will most likely see more conventional champion picks and strategies, their second bout later on in the week will almost definitely have some oddities. The counter strategies created between the first and second series will be clever or hilarious depending on the results.
In terms of seeding, this is unarguably the most important week for these two teams. Barring any future upsets, whoever comes out on top this week will be the front runner for a first seed heading into playoffs. When having the first seed means going directly into the grand finals, it becomes very important to attain. With so much on the line, this week’s Telecom Wars will be something you won’t want to miss.
Are you excited to see SKT and KT play? Let us know by tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on Twitter @SmashhLoL.