The Season 3 World Championship arrives at the Staples Center this Friday. Korea's SK Telecom T1 and China's Royal Club proved themselves the top teams on the planet and now they'll duel for the Summoner's Cup. Catch up on the semifinal action and preview the Championship right here.
10/04 8PM PST
To get to the Championship, SK Telecom T1 faced down their Korean rival, NaJin Black Sword in a 3-2 slugfest. Although the series went to five games, SKT's victories were assertive showings, while NaJin claimed wins only after tug-of-war struggles. Even Game 5, which appeared to be close, ended suddenly when Faker caught three champs in an Orianna Shockwave that led to an SKT ace and a quick end to NaJin Black Sword's championship hopes.
SKT's opponent in the final, Royal Club forced Fnatic's exit to win their way to the championship showdown. Though Europe's last team posted one convincing victory, Royal Club's dominant (and duet-ing) bottom lane duo overwhelmed Fnatic's overmatched Puszu and YellOwStaR. Royal Club either had their way with Fnatic outright, or clawed their way back from the brink by consistently outfarming their European foes. Even when Fnatic won Game 3 by a near-criminal 24-1 kill margin, Royal Club responded with remarkable poise, winning Game 4 by relying on Uzi to put down a hard-charging Puszu in one of the best Marksman showdowns of the entire tournament.
These teams are the best in the world, but they've each dropped games and shown weaknesses. To raise the Summoner's Cup, each team needs to minimize their shortcomings and exploit their opponents. The team that does a better job of that will take home the Summoner's Cup.
Throughout the semifinals, NaJin constantly picked off the out-of-position PoohManDu. Another uncharacteristic performance from the SKT support would prove devastating if the dazzlingly talented Uzi and Tabe snowball into the midgame. SKT may find themselves relying on their jungler Bengi to pressure and gank the dangerous Royal Club duo.
Bengi controlled the pace of the lane-phase for SKT with Lee Sin, but jungler proved to be a problem position for Royal Club's semifinal performance. Lucky failed to post a single positive K/D ratio throughout the series against Fnatic. Because there are lanes where SKT holds a decided advantage against Royal Club, Lucky needs to step up his play and lift his team beyond tough lane matchups.
Speaking on tough lane matchups, Royal Club shrugged off both Cool and xPeke on their way to the finals, but neither of those top midlaners is Faker. To win, Royal Club's Wh1t3zZ must hold his own against who many consider the world's best midlaner. The Chinese player has so far proven unflappable, but there might not be enough preparation in the world for what Faker brings to the table when the Summoner's Cup is on the line.
While the cameras linger on the prolific midlaner, the most pivotal matchup may be in the duo lane. Uzi, Royal Club's marksman played stellar games on Ezreal, Vayne and Caitlyn in the semifinals. If Royal Club is to win, their rallying cry of “Protect the puppy!” must ring true. If his team can keep him alive, the young Uzi has proven time and time again that his mechanical skill and positioning know-how enables him to own games.
Even so, he'll face SKT's top-notch marksman, Piglet. Though he's played second-fiddle to the Faker hype train, Piglet turned in phenomenal performances in the semis. Throughout these playoffs, neither team won a single game without a first-rate performance from their marksman. If the statistic holds, the team that gives their marksman the most opportunities to shine will win the Summoner's Cup.
The end is here. SK Telecom T1 brawls with Royal Club for the Summoner's Cup. Which team takes it home? Find out Friday at lolesports.com.