Well Koo would have seen that coming? Certainly not me, but here we are, headed for an all-Korean final after SKT swept Origen and Koo Tigers rounded out the weekend with a three-game sweep of Fnatic.
Origen vs SKT
I’ll start with Origen vs SKT, where I can at least say I predicted the victor correctly, though I did anticipate Origen managing to snag one victory in the series. Sadly SKT proved too dominant; EasyHoon looked solid in mid and was keeping pace with Xpeke through the two games he played. Then in came Faker and did the Faker thing of running rampant on Ryze.
Marin was the easy winner of the top lane, breaking out the Fiora in game one; something Origen should have planned for, though their strategy left a lot to be desired in terms of dealing with it. As predicted, Soaz looked totally outclassed throughout the three games, notching up a total of four kills for the entire series (including a zero kills, six deaths performance in game three).
Niels and Mithy played admirably and were perhaps the most solid performers of the series for Origen, putting up decent numbers in two of the three games. Throughout the series, it seemed that if anyone was going to help Origen pull one back, it was going to be their duo in bot. I’d already predicted a big day for Bang in this one, and he did not disappoint, showing the usual outstanding synergy with Wolf through all three games. His seven kills, one death, five assists scoreline in game two was his most impressive outing. Even more impressive is the fact that Wolf ended the game with seven assists as well, and proved to be a factor throughout with well-executed roams around the map.
Amazing was reliable in jungle; in fact I’d go so far as to say he got the better of Bengi for the most part. He certainly put up better numbers, however it just wasn’t enough to help Origen surpass the sum of SKT’s parts. It’s also fair to say that Amazing looked most comfortable in the third game, when he selected Lee Sin and was instrumental in several Origen kills, including a stellar ultimate to kick Faker back towards the turret and pick up the kill.
Fnatic vs Koo Tigers
Let me be the first to admit it: I was wrong. I totally saw this series going the other way; I simply couldn’t see Koo surpassing Fnatic, who came into the series riding a hot streak after their sweep of Edward Gaming last week.
Initially it seemed like Koo’s replacement jungler, Hojin, was struggling, especially in game one when he elected on the rarely seen Zac jungle. This certainly paid dividends, though, as he was involved throughout the game. Despite not securing a kill of his own in game one, he did put up 18 assists, which served to bolster his confidence through games two and three, resulting in a total of 42 assists on the series. On the Fnatic side, Reignover was as dependable as always, breaking out Rek’Sai in game one. Unfortunately, as with the Origen series, the reliable performance of one player was just not enough, as Fnatic crumbled around him; Reignover was left with little else to do but watch.
Kuro and Febiven, as predicted, were about as evenly matched as you could imagine, with both players trading very well across all three games. Unfortunately, Febiven found himself victim to superb roams from Koo’s other lanes, and was caught over extending at times. This was a flaw the Koo used to exploit the cracks in Fnatic’s armour as a whole, putting up team scorelines of 24 – 8 in game two and 24 – 7 in game three.
Down bottom, Rekkles and Yellowstar simply struggled to get anything going and looked out of sync for the better part of the series. At times they were able to trade well and showed off their impressive mechanical play, but unfortunately as they stuttered and tried to get things going, their opposite numbers on the Koo side would not let up. Gorilla had one of the best series I’ve seen him play, and backed by stellar play from Pray, Koo were able to dominate bottom lane. In game two, Pray put up 10 kills, one death, nine assists, while Gorilla on Tahm Kench came away with three kills, two deaths and 16 assists. Rekkles, meanwhile, was held without a kill, going 0/5/6, with Yellowstar having an equally unimpressive 0/4/7 performance.
Meanwhile up top, Smeb got the better of the matchup all day long. It was fairly clear from the outset of game one that Koo’s strategy was to pressure Huni and keep him on the back-foot – and it certainly worked. In only one game was Huni able to avoid a negative KDA, while Smeb put positive numbers on the board each and every game. It wasn’t really a surprise to see Koo adopt this strategy, or to see Smeb go off like an atom bomb. In fact, the latter was to be expected. What was a surprise, however, was how much Huni struggled in the series – especially in game three, playing his world renowned Riven against Smeb’s Hecarim. The numbers here speak for themselves: Huni 0/8/5, Smeb 9/1/7.
With this riveting and thoroughly exciting set of semi-final games now in the bag, we move on to the all-Korean finals due to be played Saturday, October 31 between SK Telecom T1 and Koo Tigers. The opening ceremony begins at 11am GMT, with the first game tipped to start an hour later at 12. The winner takes home the all important Summoners Cup and a serious cache of bragging rights.