The first quarterfinal match of the 2016 League of Legends World Championships pitted North America’s Cloud9 against Korea’s Samsung Galaxy. This series was completely dominated by Samsung, ending their quarterfinal match with a quick 3-0 victory.
This series displayed the strengths that brought Samsung from the LCK regional gauntlet, all the way to the semifinals of the world championships. While other teams in this tournament might also have similar strengths, Samsung is currently displaying these strengths better than almost, if not, every team in the tournament.
Before the world championships began, analyst and commentator “LS” made the bold statement that Samsung’s mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho was more mechanically skilled than the North American superstar Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. While LS was chastised and heavily criticised for his comments, by the end of the group stage LS was proven right.
On champions like his Syndra or his famous Viktor, Crown is unstoppable. His positioning and ability to mechanically outplay his opponents on these champions is unreal. In the early minutes of the first quarterfinal game, Crown was three man dove in the mid lane by Cloud9’s jungler, mid, and support. Instead of dying like almost anyone would, Crown masterfully weaves around the enemies, and transforms that gank into a kill for himself. Throughout the rest of the series, Crown continued to make jaw-dropping plays like the one mentioned previously.
Crown wasn’t the only player on Samsung who was mechanically amazing in their quarterfinal match. Samsung’s rookie AD carry Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk performance on Jhin was awe inspiring. From his solo kill onto Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi, when he used Jhin’s Curtain Call to take down Caitlyn from full health, to his masterful escapes from Cloud 9’s death brushes, Ruler was continuously demonstrating his mechanical prowess.
Samsung’s greatest strength is their team fighting. Samsung’s coordination in combination with their ability to calmly hold their summoners and ultimates in major skirmishes is by far the best in the tournament. In almost every single one of their wins in the group stage, Samsung acquired a noticeable gold lead through a major team fight victory.
In both the second and third game against Cloud9, Samsung broke the standstill through a beautifully played team fight. Whether it’s through an amazing positioned ultimate like Kennen’s Slicing Maelstrom, or their carry’s positioning in relation to the enemy team, Samsung always found that slight advantage. That advantage was what they used to come out ahead in every single one of their team fights against Cloud9.
Samsung’s Semi-Final Match
Coming into their semi-final match next week, there are two main aspects of the way Samsung plays that need to be improved upon. The first is Crown’s over-aggression in lane. Sometimes Crown will try too hard to get a kill on his opponent, causing him to be put in a very dangerous position. This usually results in Crown’s death. A prime example of this is in their first game against Cloud9, where Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen solo killed Crown. Having already gotten a kill on Cloud9’s support, Crown tried to push his lead even harder by trying to solo kill Jensen. This was quickly turned around by Jensen, netting C9 a return kill. Instead of pressuring Jensen to create a farm lead, Crown chose the very risky decision of trying to get a solo kill, ultimately causing his death.
The second improvement that needs to be made is Samsung’s Baron calls. Almost every Baron attempt by Samsung was incredibly risky. At any moment could the Baron have been stolen and Cloud9 could have possibly turned the game around. Against stronger junglers like Rox Tigers’ Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, there is a very strong chance that these Barons are stolen.
If Samsung can shore up these two problems, this team will have an easy ride to the finals of the world championship.
What are your thoughts on Samsung’s play in their series against Cloud9? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Photos courtesy of LoL Esports
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on twitter @SmashhLoL