What a ride it’s been through the 2015 World Championship Series: a gruelling group stage and an enthralling knockout stage has all been building to this point. Two teams, mano a mano, winner takes all. SKTelecom T1 versus Koo Tigers. Two evenly matched teams, both hailing from Korea, square off for the right to say they’re the best League of Legends team in the world.
Roster-wise, only one thing per team is worth noting. On the Koo side, the team is sticking with Hojin, who was recently moved in to the starting roster. Given his outstanding performance last week against Fnatic, this certainly makes sense. The more exciting news however comes from SKT, who appear to be starting Faker in middle lane, after giving the nod to EasyHoon last week. EasyHoon enters this week on the bench.
I think it’s fair to say that the most exciting matchup this week is going to be up in the top lane in Marin versus Smeb: it’s delicious and sure not to disappoint. Both players – just like their respective teams – are on a hot streak right now, and performed exceptionally last week.
Smeb absolutely got the better of Fnatic’s Huni, who is comfortably the best top laner in Europe. Anyone who’s seen Huni play knows that when he’s good, he’s very good, but when he’s bad he’s essentially missing. This wasn’t the case last week, when Huni was good; Smeb was just better. Simple as that.
Marin was able to hold Origen’s Soaz to just four kills across their three-game semi-final series and was a huge part of SKT’s undefeated march to the finals. That’s not to say that without Marin, SKT wouldn’t be here – they overmatched Origen in all departments – but he was certainly on point last week, including a dominating performance on Renekton in game two.
Jungle, at least in my eyes, is not a contest. This one goes to Koo Tigers all the way. SKT’s Bengi has been good all throughout worlds, but I feel like he’s a lost commodity sandwiched between Marin and Faker. You can count on Bengi to be there when a team fight jumps off, and you can count on him to contribute, but he’s just going to get lost between the superstars of SKT.
As I hope you’ve gathered by now, I’m the first one to admit where I got it wrong, and boy did I get it wrong last week with Hojin. I predicted him getting benched after Koo’s first game, but instead he came out and balled. Playing Zac, he was all over the map and kept Fnatic on the back-foot throughout, finishing with a statline of 0 kills, 4 deaths, 18 assists.
I’d be a fool to bet against SKT if they’re starting Faker, and it should come as no surprise that they are. Look, Kuro performed admirably last week. He dominated Febiven in a way no-one expected; his roams were better; his KDA was better. Everything was just better, but it’s Faker and you just simply can’t bet against him. Faker’s only outing last week came in game three and he was true to form, selecting Ryze and proceeding to spend the entire game pushing xPeke around.
SKT’s ADC/Support combo of Bang & Wolf will have their work cut out for them if their opposite numbers for Koo, Pray and Gorilla, show up like they did last week. Both partnerships have been stellar throughout the tournament, but just like last week a lot of it falls to the support play to the determine this matchup. SKT’s duo have been rock solid and Bang was able to come up big when it counted last week, though this time out he’s got a less favourable matchup. Pray was also the consistent player that he’s expected to be and surpassed Europe’s top ADC, Rekkles, quite handily.
The deciding factor is going to be how well Wolf and Gorilla perform, and which one can get their ADC fed the fastest. With both guys being quite evenly matched I’d say it ultimately comes down to if Gorilla – who has historically been hit or miss – especially if he plays like he did last week. It’s hard to find fault with a player who throws up 24 assists in the first game, and then almost repeats the performance with 19 assists in game three.
This one could quite easily go either way, and I like Koo Tiger’s chances of handing SKT their first loss of the World Championship. That being said, my money is not only on a game five, but on SKT to clinch what looks to be a very close series. Regardless, however this shakes out, it’s bound to be on heck of a finals. Final prediction: SKT 3 – Koo 2.