SKT takes on Origen

By Riot Mirhi

After soundly defeating Origen 3-0 in the 2015 World Championship Semifinals in Brussels, SKTelecom T1 now follows in the steps of Star Horn Royal Club, becoming the second team to make it to two World Championship Finals.

Origen came out of the gates firing and looked to be in control of Game 1, but the game instead was a comedy of errors. The European team let their advantages slip away, allowing SKT back into the series. Origen was never quite the same afterwards.

The EU vs. KR showdown marked the first time that teams would take to the Worlds stage with Gragas disabled -- who had appeared in over 50% of the games at Worlds 2015 thus far. The absence was felt immediately, as Origen prioritized their bans around what some perceive as SKT jungler Seong-ung "Bengi" Bae's small champion pool, including Elise and Rek'sai. "After Gragas was disabled, we thought that we had to find more champions that we could play," says Bengi. "That's how we got to Jarvan IV." Bengi was unphased by the targeted bans, and responded with an excellent game on the Prince of Demacia -- his engagements and ultimates were key throughout the first game.

But that doesn't mean that it was all smooth sailing for SKT. Origen's jungler Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider had an early advantage after non-stop farming his own jungle, while Bengi had mostly unsuccessful ganks in the early game due to some crazy outplays from Paul "SoaZ" Boyer. Early advantages for Origen, combined with some mistakes by SKT, put Origen in the driver's seat. "We made a macro-level mistake, where Azir went down to bot lane to help out, and that eventually gave Origen the mid tower and a kill on me also," explains SKT top laner Gyeong-Hwan "MaRin" Jang. "That was not well planned out for us and that was one of the mistakes that became a snowball for Origen."

That snowball led to a stealth Baron call by Origen that net them a further advantage in the mid game. "Origen controlled vision for our top jungle area," MaRin recalls. "At this time, all we could control was our Blue Buff area, and that's when Origen had the opportunity to do a sneaky Baron, because we didn't have vision."

The series of errors that followed Origen's impressive Baron power play was demonstrative of the entire series. A cacophony of Origen mishaps resulted in the EU players continuously getting picked off across the map and giving up lane pressure and objectives. "For Game 2 and Game 3 we focused on protecting our outer turrets," Bengi explains. "If we could at least defend for one or two waves, that would mean our other lanes could get ahead of them, since [Origen] is focused on that one turret." SKT's defense and ability to turn around engagements eventually resulted in SKTelecom taking Game 1, and then the series, as the trend continued in Games 2 and 3.

Throughout the Semifinals, we saw what separated Origen from SKTelecom T1. While both seem to properly assess the next advantageous objectives to prioritize, SKT has been much more decisive about seizing the moment. "When it comes to objectives and macro level shotcalling, we usually have some rules that we follow," explains MaRin. "Prior to the 1:30 countdown before Dragon appears, we discuss what we're going to do with Dragon and make a decision then."

He continues, "With Baron, if we have vision and if we know that these guys can't stop it, then we'll go for it. Usually, the discussion happens really fast and there is not one particular shotcaller. It is decided quickly by a majority vote."

To contrast, Origen's hesitation in their decision making, and faulty execution, gave SKT breathing room. Disadvantageous team fights for SKT that started as 4v5s, often ended up as 5-for-1 team-fight victories for SKT -- largely resulting from Origen mistakes and miscommunication.

But above all, the key to the series was SKT's top laner MaRin, who pushed around Origen's own top laner SoaZ -- even when SoaZ was able to get an early advantage. Contrary to the previous series, this match featured zero instances of Darius. Given SKT's propensity for being top lane focused at Worlds, it was a bit surprising. Instead, MaRin expanded his range of champions played in the Bracket Stage to Rumble, one of his old favorites, and go-to carry top-lane champions. He spent the rest of the time using lane bullies Renekton and Fiora to take control of the game.

MaRin's split pushing opened up the map for SKT, and forced Origen to overcommit to try to bring him down. The resulting map control for SKT gave them several objectives, and sometimes nearly uncontested Barons throughout the series.

While SKT is grateful to discover their weaknesses in Game 1 against Origen, Bengi expressed some frustration over their lack of preparedness. "It's definitely good that we are able to analyze our weaknesses and faults in Game 1. But the better picture would have been if we had found those mistakes in a scrim and not made them in the actual game!" he proclaims. Given that this game marked among the largest gold deficits that SKT has suffered at Worlds, and they gave up their first Baron of the tournament, they still have room to improve. That's a scary thought for Fnatic or the KOO Tigers.

Looking ahead to the Final, MaRin actually isn't sure which team will make it there between the European champions Fnatic, and his Korean compatriots, the KOO Tigers. "I think the match is about even. I think it's .05% higher chance KOO wins. 3-2, 3-1, it could go either way, but KOO has a little bit of a [higher chance]."

To see which team will meet SKT in the Final, watch Fnatic vs KOO Tigers at 14:00 CET / 6:00 AM PT. To brush up on the key players in that series, read these articles on Kyung-ho "Smeb" Song and Fabian "Febiven" Diepstraten.



3 years ago


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