After four weeks of epic battles on the rift that included a multitude of upsets, heartbreaks, and dominating performances, the 2015 League of Legends World Championship comes to a conclusion.
In the end, SK Telecom T1’s assertive performance crowned them the first-ever two time World Champions in League of Legends competitive play history.
Rivaling the run that Samsung White had in last year’s Worlds, SKT has dominated in every series this year, only dropping one game in the finals the entire championship.
The end to Worlds
Heading into Worlds, many prognosticators thought the field would be filled with contenders, with a legitimate five teams having a shot to win it all.
While there were plenty of upsets to back up that claim, it was SKT that rose above the rest to become the premier team. They were arguably the best team the entire year, despite their loss to EDG at MSI.
At the time it felt like SKT was playing a game of chess while their opponents were playing checkers. They worked extremely hard to get to this point after a disappointing 2014 season where they didn’t even qualify for Worlds.
Faker clearly stated before this season even started this his one and only goal was to become a World Champion again. Mission accomplished.
How SKT made the Finals
The only blemish on SKT’s magnificent run through Worlds was a game three loss in the finals to KOO Tigers.
In fact, they didn’t even let a team sniff their base until the Knockout Stage when they faced Origen. It was that very series against Origen that SKT looked human, with subtle weaknesses starting to show. Their early game rotations weren’t as crisp, and Origen was able to take early leads in both the first two games.
Despite their early deficits, SKT remained calm, slowing down the game and looking for small advantages. It wasn’t long before SKT’s relentless map pressure and coordination just overwhelmed Origen in the mid-to-late game.
SKT is not a team that excels by creating chaos all over the map and fighting anytime, anywhere. There’s a calm demeanor to their approach, and they’re perfectly content with giving up small gold leads early on, like they did with Origen. They know the enemy team will make a crucial mistake somewhere in the mid-to-late game, and they’re always there to take full advantage of it.
In their semifinal match against Fnatic, a team many thought would be able to compete against SKT, a dominating show of skill was on full display. A final test against a surprising finalist in rival LCK team KOO Tigers was all that stood in their way from becoming champions once again.
The Finals: game by game analysis
Game 1: The Bang Bang MaRin show
Game 1 started decently for the KOO Tigers, with an early tower push and first blood going to jungler Hojin.
At the ten minute mark, the KOO Tigers had a 1,000 gold lead over SKT. It all unraveled from there, though. SKT executed a perfect five man dive on bottom lane, picking up three kills (all three kills went to top laner MaRin).
It was all SKT from there, with beautiful Rumble Equalizer ultimates from Marin that allowed Bang’s Sivir to shred the KOO Tigers. After a decisive game one win, MaRin and Bang combined to go 17/0/19. Wolf had a ridiculous 95 percent kill participation (19 out of 20 assists).
Game 2: We’ve come so close…
While the KOO Tigers came into the finals with a perceived weak early game, they also realized from game 1 that SKT had an early weak game as well. The KOO Tigers decided to prioritize Rek’Sai for Hojin, giving them that early lane pressure from the jungle position in hopes of creating an early game lead like they did in game 1.
For the first 20 minutes of game 2, it looked like a brilliant move. Skirmishes took place all over the map with the KOO Tigers often finding themselves with slight victories. The KOO Tiger’s mid laner, Kuro, had four kills on Viktor in just the first 15 minutes of the game.
They quickly built up a 4,000 gold lead and it looked like just maybe the KOO Tigers could turn this into a series. SKT didn’t panic though, after experiencing this same situation against Origen in the Knockout Stage. They patiently waited for the KOO Tigers to make a crucial mistake in the late game and took full advantage of it.
After some excellent team fighting and shot calling, SKT turned a Baron win into a 5-0 ace of team KOO Tigers, taking Game 2 in an extremely close matchup.
Game 3: So they’re human after all
The KOO Tigers had found a weakness they wanted to exploit, and they grabbed one of the premier early game junglers in Lee Sin. Smeb also was able to play Fiora, one of his favorite champions, and GorillA was gifted Thresh.
Hojin’s Lee Sin was phenomenal, and the KOO Tigers picked up five kills in six minutes thanks to his timely ganks. SKT had built an early game team comp, but their early game deficit proved to be insurmountable.
Kuro’s Kassadin, combined with PraY’s Ashe and Hojin’s 7/1/18 Lee Sin were too much for SKT to handle late game, leading to SKT’s first loss of the championship.
Game 4: the crowning of a champion
Game 4 can be summarized by this simple phrase: Faker is a League of Legends god.
Faker single-handedly made sure that SKT would not be going to a 5th game in this series. He pulled out rarely-seen Ryze and went on to participate in all of SKT’s 13 kills, securing nine of them for himself. Who said Ryze is a late game champ?
Faker’s flawless skill shone through, and a focused Faker was too much for KOO Tigers to handle.
SKT started off the year strong, going 17-1 in their series during the summer split and 35-6 overall. They finished the regular season and playoffs in first place, dominating the LCK.
They drew Group C, which also featured Chinese team EDG, a team many thought was as good as SKT after beating them at MSI. That proved to be not the case, as the Chinese region as a whole fell flat at this year’s Worlds. They swept through the group stage, knocked out both European hopefuls, and finally defeated familiar foe KOO Tigers.
The end result is another championship for Faker and Bengi, and a claim as the best franchise in League of Legends.