The first quarterfinal match-up of the day went as expected but not without a few bumps along the way. SKT plowed their way to the semifinals through Splyce, Europe’s 3rd seed. The greatest organization in the history of League of Legends may once again lift the Summoner’s Cup this year, their 4th overall. They’ll have to win two more best of five series though, the next against the winner of the G2 Esports – Damwon Gaming series. G2 ousted them a few months ago in the semifinals of MSI on their way to the title. Meanwhile, they handily won against an inexperienced Damwon Gaming in the LCK multiple times. Korean fans will surely rally behind their favorite team no matter the competition.
Before all that, let’s talk about what led to SKT’s quarterfinal win against Splyce:
Stylistically, Splyce is an easy matchup for SKT. The LCK champions can play through literally any lane. On the other hand, Splyce has only one win condition: get Kobbe his items and group up for 5v5 team fights. SKT drafted a composition designed to prevent that from happening, with a Lucian top for Khan against Vizicsacsi’s Gangplank. Khan amassed a huge lead early on, at one point having a 3 kill and 30+ cs lead. However, Splyce refused to just lay down and die. They made huge plays in bot and mid to catch up to SKT’s lead.
The nature of Lucian top made it difficult for Khan to snowball SKT’s lead. All of SKT’s gold advantage stayed in his pockets without any profit. Fortunately, Splyce’s inexperience exposed their mid-game flaw. The European team made mistake after another and SKT capitalized. A Baron take allowed SKT to control the entire map outside Splyce’s base and applied their signature choke hold on the game until its bitter end at 29 minutes.
SKT T1 1 – 0 Splyce
In game two, Splyce adapted to the top side camp by drafting Poppy for their top laner as a response to the Fiora. SKT tested Xerxe’s early game and while he did pretty well, Clid just played a hell of a lot better. Despite Splyce’s early kills, they couldn’t translate it to objectives due to SKT’s superior macro. Additionally, Kobbe failed to get an early lead in the bot lane, due to Kai’sa-Nautilus outplaying the Ezreal-Pyke duo. Pyke, in particular, needs to snowball the game through gold generated by his ultimate.
SKT could’ve ended this game a lot sooner, to be honest. They did not give Splyce any window to fight back. Even if Splyce managed to stall until the 50-minute mark, Khan’s Fiora alone will destroy anyone in Splyce’s composition. SKT just played it clean and calm, ending at around 27 minutes.
SKT T1 2 – 0 Splyce
Now we’re talking. Splyce managed to take a game off SKT by playing their signature style, a raise the puppy composition around Kobbe. SKT fielded in Mata, my OG support role model back in S3-S4, but ended up losing the game.
Splyce played the map extremely well this game. They executed plays within the tiny windows of SKT’s resets. Xerxe, in particular, out-jungled Clid in a big way. After a series of good plays from Splyce, SKT won a team fight in the mid lane. However, it didn’t account for much and Splyce went right back on the driver’s seat. The LEC representatives won the more the important team fight that allowed them to take Baron and control of the map.
SKT showed their championship poise after successfully defending their base. Well, it was more of an overstep from Splyce, due to their inexperience. However, when SKT tried to make the comeback play, Kobbe dodged a Skarner ult with a perfectly timed Stopwatch and won the subsequent fight. That, in turn, allowed them to take another Baron and finally, a win.
SKT T1 2 – 1 Splyce
SKT decided to put the ball back in Khan’s hands, drafting Quinn against Vizicsacsi’s Renekton. Splyce’s drafted a decent composition, but not one that would allow them to bridge the gap between their level and SKT’s. Humanoid’s Syndra, for example, needed to maintain lane priority against Faker’s Ryze, which is in itself a losing proposition. Despite Xerxe and Kobbe’s best efforts, Splyce simply got outclassed by SKT in both micro and macro.
With all three lanes winning, Splyce failed to mount any resistance against Clid and Khan’s rampage throughout the map. Also, Khan deceptively sucked in so much pressure by effectively eliminating Vizicsacsi from the game. Top lane difference is definitely one of the main stories of this year’s Worlds, with most winning teams simply owning that lane. Think of TheShy and Nuguri, as well as Khan and Wunder. Every other top laner has a weakness the other team can exploit.
In the end, Clid’s magnificent jungling allowed Khan to wreak havoc and allow Teddy to fire away from the backline all game long. SKT punched their ticket to the semifinals after a 31-minute Game 4 win. GG.
SKT T1 3 – 1 Splyce
Winner: SKT T1
SKT will await the winner of the G2 Esports – Damwon Gaming series. It will either be a rematch of LCK Summer Playoffs or MSI 2019 Semis. Stay tuned for our next recap.