Friday’s action in the 2016 World Championships quarterfinals for League of Legends featured SK Telecom T1 of the LCK (LoL Champions Korea) and Royal Never Give Up of the LPL (LoL Pro League).
RNG wasted no time asserting their individual dominance, as Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok used Jayce’s ranged advantage to kill Lee “Duke” Ho-seong’s Poppy at five minutes. Looper’s lead was exacerbated as he had a 20 CS advantage over Duke at 8 minutes.
A skirmish broke out in the bottom lane, as Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao and Bae “Bang” Jun-sik traded blows, but Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong’s Zyra proved more potent as the RNG duo nearly killed Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan and took a free first blood turret to obtain an early gold lead.
At 14 minutes, RNG engaged a fight in the top lane in which Uzi’s Jhin ult finished off Wolf. Then, Duke completed his teleport in the middle of the RNG team, suiciding and giving away an uncharacteristic free kill and subsequent top outer turret. RNG then headed to the Mountain Drake where three of them secured it, and they held a 3.5k gold lead and complete map priority at 17 minutes.
At 20 minutes, while it took all of RNG, they were able to find a pick on Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s Viktor. Later, Looper used his massive lead over Duke to poke him out of lane and take the top inner turret, multiplying RNG’s map pressure.
RNG initiated a fight in the mid lane onto Faker at 27 minutes, but their Looper’s Flash overextension proved fatal as SKT finally put a kill on the board. A few minutes later, SKT caught out Liu “Mlxg” Shi-Yu in the top river and eventually took him out, however, the kill was quickly traded back when Faker was caught out by Li “xiaohu” Yuan-Hao. RNG’s gold lead began to diminish as Faker and Bang’s wave control and picks caught them back up.
36 minutes in, RNG tried to engage a fight near Baron, but it backfired and Mlxg was picked out immediately and the game returned to stalemate. When Mlxg came back up, RNG immediately snuck a Baron, and SKT turned to Elder Drake to retaliate, but RNG recalled and arrived fast enough to push SKT off Elder Drake and take it for themselves. By 40 minutes, RNG looked to complete the Game One upset with heaps of momentum and a 6k gold lead.
Duke’s rough game continued when he got caught out by Mata and Mlxg in the top lane and went down to help summarize his 0/4/2 scoreline. As Baron came back up, RNG found an incredibly effective initiation with the Jhin ult where Faker got caught out early and went down, and Bang got chunked out. RNG killed Duke, Faker, and Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong, and marched down mid to take a surprising Game One off of defending champions SK Telecom T1.
Royal Never Give Up 1-0 SK Telecom T1
SKT found a few more kills in the bottom lane as Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan dominated their lane, and roams from Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Blank led to a 5-0 kill score and 4k gold lead by 10 minutes.
RNG found their way back into the game as Lee “Duke” Ho-seong’s troubles continued, and he was picked out twice in a row by Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok and Mlxg. However, SKT picked out Uzi and Mlxg in the top lane a few minutes later and took two early Cloud Drakes and a 5k gold lead by 18 minutes.
SKT attempted a Baron at 24 minutes, but Looper’s Poppy hammered Blank off the objective, preventing it to temporarily stop the bleeding. For the next 10 minutes, the game was at a stalemate as SKT continued to grow their gold advantage to 9k at 32 minutes. However, SKT’s drakes were extremely unlucky as they netted a pair of Cloud and Ocean Drakes, and it seemed as if RNG could eventually outscale SKT if the game went long enough.
At 34 minutes, SKT took a Baron after their poke composition forced recalls on vital members of RNG. A few minutes later, SKT began their siege and pushed down the bottom lane. SKT found a pick on a flanking Looper and took the bottom lane inhibitor. At 39 minutes, SKT held a commanding 12k gold lead and took an uncontested Elder Drake.
SKT again pushed their lead down top lane as they clinically used their poke comp to eat at RNG’s health bars and proceed to siege their top inhibitor. At 42 minutes, Blank’s Zac solo killed Li “xiaohu” Yuan-Hao and SKT, taking advantage of late game death timers, brute-forced their way into the RNG base to finish the game and tie the series at 1-1.
Royal Never Give Up 1-1 SK Telecom T1
Blank continued to use Olaf’s early game power as he visited top and bot lane to find three more successful kills in lane, and SKT strutted a 2k gold lead by the 10 minute mark. RNG started to make uncharacteristically poor plays and were individually outperformed by their counterparts on SKT.
At 11 minutes, Lee “Duke” Ho-seong solo killed Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok, and SKT took first turret gold in the mid lane with Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. At 17 minutes, SKT took a huge advantage in the mid lane when Bang popped off on the RNG back line, cleaning up to take four kills. More skirmishes fell in the favor of SKT as RNG fought at huge disadvantages over and over, resulting in an 11k gold deficit by 20 minutes.
At 22 minutes, another fight broke out, and Faker and Bang’s insane damage carried the teamfights, leading to a four-for-one advantage and a free Baron. At 24 minutes, RNG showed incredible resilience when Mlxg performed an insane Insec kick onto Bang, sending him into the RNG lineup and subsequently taking an even teamfight. However, Duke spent that time sending minion waves into the RNG nexus turrets, and both teams had to back off.
At 27 minutes, Duke outplayed Mlxg in an incredible chase, and the rest of SKT pushed into the RNG base, taking more inhibitors and eventually another Baron. In methodical, dominating fashion, SK Telecom T1 outclassed RNG through all stages of the game, whether it was pick/ban or in-game, and looked to close out the series in game four after an almost sub-30 minute game three.
Royal Never Give Up is still alive, but must win the next two games to upset SKT and reach the semifinals.
SK Telecom T1 2-1 Royal Never Give Up
In an intensely close bot lane duel which lived up to the hype the entire series, Uzi outdid Bang and killed Wolf for first blood on Ezreal. At six minutes, Xiaohu immiedately roamed to bot lane once he unlocked his ultimate to secure another kill on a flashless Wolf.
Things went wrong for RNG in the mid lane when they attempted a 12-minute dive on Faker. Faker’s Malzahar suppressed Xiaohu, taking turret aggro, and SKT took a two-for-one advantage. Meanwhile, on the bottom side of the map, Bang picked up a kill onto Mata with Jhin’s fourth crit.
In the top lane, both junglers showed up to gank and in an immeasurably close 2v2, the duo of Looper and Mlxg took an incredible two-for-zero advantage. A few minutes later at the 16 minute mark, all five members of SKT dove bottom lane and methodically picked off each member of RNG, resulting in a lopsided advantage and delayed ace for SKT.
Faker’s Malzahar continued to tear up RNG as SKT turned their pressure to top lane, where they found two more picks and turned the early game around for a 3k gold lead at 20 minutes. At 22 minutes, SKT turned to Baron but it was sniffed out and prevented by RNG. However, SKT peeled off and found more picks onto Mata, who was having an extremely unfortunate game at 0/3/2.
At 25 minutes, Mlxg’s Lee Sin picked out Faker, but SKT again took the better part of the trade as Bang’s Jhin helped pick off the retreating RNG players. SKT turned to Baron, and with all five members empowered, they began to pressure the RNG outer turrets.
RNG continued to engage fights but they simply didn’t do enough damage, and SKT easily won fights with the back line threat of Duke’s Irelia. At 30 minutes, SKT picked off the entirety of RNG’s lineup in the bot side jungle, acing them and pushing for the Nexus. SK Telecom T1 finished the final game of the series in a stomping fashion at 30:39 and bodied their way into the Worlds 2016 semifinals.
SK Telecom T1 3-1 Royal Never Give Up
While Royal Never Give Up has been eliminated from the tournament, SK Telecom T1 awaits the winner of tomorrow night’s quarterfinals match between ROX Tigers and EDward Gaming, who they will play against in the semifinals next week in New York.