We’ve finally reached the last game of the knockout stage with one team left to advance to the semifinals to play against Fnatic in the 2015 League of Legends World Championship.
Today begins the best of 5 (BO5) knockout stage series between KT Rolster and KOO Tigers. Let’s take a look at the two teams facing off against each other.
Road to Worlds
KT Rolster entered the year as a somewhat unknown. Their past failures and departure of key players to China’s IG had many analysts predicting a tough season for KT.
However, what transpired was a quick and lethal rebuilding process. What many thought were mediocre players before the year were allowed to shine on the new KT Rolster team. After experiencing three straight years of losing in the LCK Summer Finals, KT Rolster has taken full advantage of their first-ever trip to Worlds and have a legitimate shot of continuing forward.
While they were swept by SKT again in the LCK Summer Finals, their ability to navigate through Korea’s Regional Qualifiers and beat Jin Air Green Wings finally was enough to get them to Worlds.
Strengths and weaknesses
KT’s exquisite use of vision to control objectives and segments of the map is their biggest strength. Can they use that vision and settle their nerves to beat another fellow Korean team, KOO Tigers?
The addition of support Piccaboo has bolstered the team’s communication as well. His synergy with jungler Score has also allowed KT to make aggressive plays in the early-to-mid game.
Much like China’s EDG, KT excels at creating mismatches via lane swaps.
We’ve already talked about how the addition of Piccaboo has added a new dimension to KT Rolster, but the person to watch on this team is top laner Ssumday.
The arrival of the juggernaut patch for this Worlds fits right into his playstyle. His ability to consistently win lane and control the map with rapid rotations and key teleports is the reason he was named LCK Summer Split MVP and why KT has an excellent shot at advancing.
He’s unquestionably been the premier top laner in this year’s Worlds.
Road to Worlds
The KOO Tigers are essentially composed of two former teams, that being Incredible Miracle and Najin.
The honeymoon started out great, with the KOO Tigers having an excellent Spring Split, going 20-2. However, things began to unravel at the IEM Katowice.
After dispatching North America’s Cloud 9 and European’s SK Gaming, the KOO Tigers suffered one of the most embarrassing losses ever in League of Legends competitive play, losing to Chinese cellar dweller Team WE. >
After a tough start to their Summer Split, KOO Tigers went 15-1 before being manhandled by SKT. They were rewarded the 2>nd seed after SKT knocked out KT Rolster in the finals.
Strengths and weaknesses
When they play at their best, the KOO Tigers can take SKTelecom T1 to five games. This team prepares like no other and is able to identify and exploit the weaknesses of their opponent, starting with the champion ban/select stage.
Behind coach NoFe, the KOO Tigers have been able to consistently adapt to the playstyle of their opponents and shut down their biggest strengths. They do have flaws, such as a weak early game and an inability to consistently apply pressure with their jungle position (clearly the weakest position on this team).
Expectations are at their highest now, and KOO Tigers will have to dig deep in this matchup.
All eyes will be on KOO Tiger’s support, GorillA. The bottom lane is one of the bright spots for the KOO Tigers, as GorillA and Pray have exhibited tremendous synergy.
GorillA is regarded as one of the premier supports in Korea, with an extremely well-rounded game. His early placement of wards and continual roaming has helped KOO Tigers cover up some of their early game weaknesses (and inefficient jungle plays). Smeb, KOO Tiger’s top laner, will also be required to make smart, informative shot calls.
eSports betting prediction time
These two teams have a lot of history against each other, with both teams hailing from the same region. The KOO Tigers are not an extremely popular team amongst fans of their own region, and were widely disregarded as having a chance to win Worlds (some prognosticators had them as the 5th best team in their own region).
In looking at these two teams most recent matchup against each other, it was a very close 5 games series with KT Rolster winning. In addition, KT Rolster went 5-1 in a much more competitive group then the KOO Tigers faced. KOO Tigers were heavily favored to take the one seed from their group but couldn’t handle the Flash Wolves in their head-to-head matchups.
All of those factors combined have eSports betting odds favoring KT Rolster (1.431) vs KOO Tiger’s odds at 2.940. I believe this series goes another five games, with KT Rolster winning again.
KT Rolster 3-2