League of Legends World Championship Season 6: Semi-Finals
If you are behind on Worlds Coverage, check out the previous article discussing the Quarter Finals.
Greetings, Summoners, from the Fields of Valoran! This weekend saw the top four teams in the League of Legends world pair off for the Semi-Finals. Just like Quarters, teams would face each other in a Best of Five Knockout. Reigning champions SKTelecom T1 relived their championship match by going against ROX Tigers. After, Samsung Galaxy challenged H2K for a change to take on the winner. So, ready to learn who moved on to Finals? Here we go.
SKTelecom T1 vs. ROX Tigers
ROX Peanut started out quickly, wanting to set up a gank in bot. SKT saw the play and avoided the death while Bengi out-farmed Peanut in the jungle. The teams danced around each other for a while, with ROX trying to make plays and being chased off. SKT steadily took a Gold lead until a confrontation in the river let to First Blood for ROX, two Kills total, and an Infernal Drake.
Even with the success, ROX only leveled out the Gold. First turret went to Faker of SKT, widening the Gold lead once more. Another fight just after led to SKT Duke claiming the first Kill for his team. The teams clashed just before the 20-minute mark, with SKT making a move in the bottom lane. They claimed three Kills and a turret before Smeb turned around for a Double Kill against SKT. ROX then moved to take the second Infernal Drake, but SKT was ready for them. Bang Shut Down Smeb, but ROX still claimed the Drake. ROX Peanut was caught in the Dragon Pit, but a lucky ward from SKT Wolf to look for the other 4 ROX members gave Peanut's Elise the escape he needed to survive.
The teams danced around each other for a while, exchanging damage and Kills. ROX moved for the third Infernal Drake, but SKT took advantage of the lack of top-side wards to claim the first Baron Nashor. SKT used the Buff to push turrets, expanding their Gold lead in the process. At the 36-minute mark, ROX took advantage of a slip in SKT's attention when SKT went for Cloud Drake to rush for a Baron. SKT tried to teleport and rush for a steal or challenge, but ROX held them off until they claimed the buff. 42:30 saw a team fight for Elder Drake, with SKT Bengi claiming the Drake before all-but wiping ROX off the map.
SKT then pushed for ROX's base, taking down mid and the nexus for Victory #1
Picks and Bans started the excitement early, with ROX taking Ashe ADC with a Miss Fortune Support while Karma went mid. The break in tournament meta had Casters both excited and "desperately trying to figure out what is going to happen" (as per Caster Jatt). Peanut headed top at 3:43 to set up a counter gank and seize First Blood for ROX.
SKT moved to turn the game around at 6, claiming a Kill in mid and in jungle, but ROX retaliated by setting up a gank in bot and taking down SKT Wolf. ROX then gave a brilliant performance juggling the turret's aggro to make sure they all made it away alive.
ROX also claimed first turret at 12:40, expanding the gap in Gold and other leads. Teams clashed over the Drake at 15, but Peanut secured the kill for ROX before his team wiped 4 SKT members, with Bang the only survivor. SKT made a move for the Rift Herald in an effort to catch up to ROX. ROX tried for the steal, but SKT was successful in claiming the buff for Duke. ROX punished them by pushing top lane and taking the outer turret. Despite the heady lead, ROX started playing a little messy. Duke was able to push the side lane, and even the Blue Buff challenge in SKT's jungle didn't work out. Kuro was then taken out in mid, with SKT changing the Kill count to 11-4 in an effort to close the gap currently in ROX's favor. The teams moved to meet outside the Baron Pit, with a 4-for-2 trade in ROX's favor as Peanut secured Baron for his team.
ROX pushed mid to take down the lane, including their first inhibitor. They then rotated top. They took down the turret but got greedy going for the inhibitor, so Duke led SKT to wipe four members of ROX, with only GorillA escaping with his life.
SKT moved to push mid and take Peanut down in the bot lane, but ROX was pushing top and took down another inhibitor and both nexus turrets. A clutch Ashe Arrow prevented the first recall, buying the team time.
The back door was exactly what ROXneeded to tie up the victory score.
7:40 saw a fight in bot lane that ended in a 2-for- 1 trade. PraY took First Blood just before GorillA fell. Peanut came in with a glorious Lee Sin ult to hit Bang out from under the tower and give PraY a Double Kill.
SKT wouldn't roll over, making a move to claim the first Cloud Drake. Despite their efforts, first turret fell to ROX in bot. SKT evened out the Kills at 15, taking down Smeb in the top. ROX made an aggressive counter-play to take down Wolf before dodging down into river for an Ocean Drake. Gameplay was running slower this match, which let SKT play comfortably in an effort to match ROX's aggression. A 2-for-2 trade with PraY's Ashe getting Shut Down certainly helped their cause.
ROX melted SKT Faker before pushing for Baron. Blank wanted to stop them, running in for the steal only to die a horrible death while ROX secured the buff. ROX pushed a turret in mid before rotating down for their third Ocean Drake. A push bottom saw Faker delete PraY as punishment for getting greedy. SKT made a move top, taking down three members of ROX. PraY flashed into a 4-vs-2 and turned the fight around, working with Peanut to claim an Ace.
ROX made another push for Baron, melting the health bar before shoving up mid. SKT tried to come up behind them, but ROX annihilated the inhibitor. ROX rotated top, disengaging for a bit before pushing again. A beautiful Ashe ult hit Faker and Bang so that Peanut could shove in and use his Guardian Angel, with ROX claiming a turret. The team pushed through to melt the nexus turrets as ROX claimed victory #2.
Match point for ROX saw SKT bring Bengi back into their line-up while banning Miss Fortune. They let ROX take an Ashe/Zyra bottom lane while first-picking Nidalee for Bengi. Faker took Zilean for mid, leaving most of the damage to Bang's Jhin and Bengi's Nidalee. Bengi set up several ganks in the first five minutes, but several good Flashes from ROX strung SKT along until a good set-up in mid allowed Faker to take down Kuro for First Blood.
ROX kept up the pressure in top and mid, with Smeb winning the 1-v-1 and ROX powering through bot with Peanut's assistance to take first turret. Gold and objective stayed pretty even, but SKT took a Kill lead going 3-0. ROX did take the first Mountain Drake, but SKT remained in the lead. A 21:40 push up top saw Smeb melt under his turret. A good use of Zhonya's Hourglass spared him for a little while, but it wasn't enough against the gank. GorillA's Zyra did take down Faker's Zilean, but SKT took a turret and another Kill.
They rotated down to take a Mountain Drake as well. An SKT push mid resulted in a Double Kill by Bengi. 29 saw Bengi Shut Down by GorillA and his teammates in the bottom jungle. The teams continued to trade, but SKT kept coming out on top before claiming a second Mountain Drake. ROX tried to force a Baron, but SKT answered strongly with several kills and a base push. They took out an inhib and pushed right up to the nexus turrets, but a lack of minions forced the disengage. After regrouping, SKT pushed the Baron and Elder Drake. ROX tried to mount a defense, but SKT put the final nail in their coffin with an Ace. After taking down the nexus, SKT tied up the series 2-2, forcing the teams into a Game 5 tiebreaker.
The Hype was real going into Game 5, with both teams fighting for their life to make it into the Finals. Jayce made it through Picks/Bans for the first time. ROX had the better comp, but the CC on SKT's side was formidable. An early jungle-v-jungle led to First Blood for Peanut and ROX.
The teams skirted around each other a bit, with ROX taking an early 1K Gold lead. A gank in bot led to SKT Wolf melting under PraY's Jhin. 9:30 saw ROX GorillA fall to SKT before SKT moved up to claim a Cloud Drake. At 11:50, the CC chain came into play as Faker helped Bengi take down Peanut.
Down in bot lane, first turret fell to SKT. ROX started pushing back, evening out the Kill and turret counts by 17. SKT answered by taking a second Cloud Drake, relinquishing top-side pressure for trade. ROX pushed for a 22-minute Baron, with SKT Bengi's smite down. SKT still challenged, jumping in to claim 4 Kills despite ROX claiming Baron.
Teams kept fans on edge, exchanging damage and Kills. SKT maintained the turret and Gold lead. Even when ROX started dominating fights, Faker proved his mettle with a beautiful escape.
30:20 saw a good set up by SKT, sending three players mid as a distraction while the remaining two took Baron. Duke worked on pushing outer turrets while the rest of SKT rotated ROX's base. ROX's defense kept them away from the inhibitor turrets. SKT started to take charge, with their champions far too tanky for ROX to effectively answer. After taking down PraY in an exchange, SKT rotated for another Baron and an Elder Drake. SKT pushed mid, shoving through to take down turret and inhibitor before a lack of minions forced the disengage. Smeb's Jayce tried to set up a team gank during the retreat but missed the mark. SKT pushed top after the regroup, taking down the turret and inhibitor once again thanks to Bengi Shutting Down PraY. SKT moved to the nexus turrets from there, ending the most epic series in Worlds history.
Final Victory: SKTelecom T1
H2K vs. Samsung Galaxy
The first Pick/Ban of the second Semis saw Miss Fortune Support making an appearance for Samsung Galaxy. Time would tell if the tournament meta change would work as well for SSG as it had for ROX. H2K came out swinging, taking down Ambition before the first minute had passed.
Jankos set up a gank bot to take down CoreJJ, but Ambition answered by downing Ryu in the jungle before Smiting the Scuttle Crab from underneath Jankos' axe. A misplay by Ryu led to his second death at Ambition's hands. At 7 minutes, teams were tied with 3 Kills a piece and no turrets, but SSG had a 200 Gold lead. Jankos' Olaf set up a gank top to help Odoamne melt CuVee.
Ambition's answer was to solo Mountain Drake. 17:30 saw a repeat, with a gank in top leading to Mountain Drake #2 for Ambition and SSG. An engagement in mid just before 19:30 saw a 2-for-4 trade in H2K's favor, including a Shut Down on Ambition and a Double Kill for Jankos.
H2K later collapsed on Ambition in the top to gank him down. CuVee teleported in to help, but when his Ekko started melting he took advantage of his time abilities to port back to bot lane. H2K made a move for their first Drake, claiming an Ocean. H2K traded 1-for-1 mid while CuVee split pushed up to H2K's bottom base turret. When he backed off, H2K made a move for a 28-minute Baron. SSG answered, melting their forces with a Triple Kill for SSG CuVee.
Despite the Ace, SSG disengaged from Baron and moved to regroup. Though down four Kills, SSG took the Gold lead again with help from an Infernal Drake. 36:50 saw SSG claim the first Baron while split-pusher CuVee opened up the H2K base. Despite a slow start, CuVee became a monster in the lane, often using Chrono Break to Recall, buy items, and pop right back into lane. With CuVee's Ekko carry, SSG shoved into H2K's base to end the Game with victory #1.
Meta note: AP Miss Fortune seems a good answer to Zyra, but Ashe/MF struggled against Olaf's ganks. The previous series saw MF struggle against an opposing Caitlyn ADC. Keep these in mind before you jaunt off to SoloQ
This game started slower than Game 1, but a gank by Jankos top saw H2K take First Blood yet again.
In response, SSG Ambition took an Infernal Drake. Crown took down Ryu just before 9:30 to put SSG on the board with a Kill and claim a 200 Gold lead. H2K Ryu took down Ambition, but the use of his flash left him vulnerable. Crown and Ruler took advantage of that to claim a Kill, but H2K claimed first turret. An engagement in bottom saw Jankos score a Double Kill before H2K moved for their first Infernal Drake.
SSG struck back with Crown taking down Jankos. SSG started striking back, overtaking H2K in Kills and Gold while defending their objectives and pushing down H2K's turrets.
H2K took Ocean Drake, but SSG made a move for Baron at 21:30. SSG pushed to open H2K's base. Odoamne Shut Down Crown, but it came at the cost of a turret. H2K pounced Crown's Cassiopeia in the Jungle, but CuVee's Jayce started to turn the fight around. it ended in a 1-for-1 trade that put some Gold in H2K's pockets but allowed SSG to take an Ocean Drake. SSG moved for Baron at 29:30, with H2K looking to challenge. SSG melted H2K, taking down three in exchange for one, and then moved right back to Baron. Ryu and Vander hoped for a Steal, but couldn't make the miracle happen as SSG secured the buff. SSG rotated the map to push to H2K's base, melting any resistance to claim their second win.
Match point for SSG, Do or Die for H2K. Game 3 weighed heavily on the last team of the West's shoulders. Jankos had a strong showing in previous Games, but SSG was consistently outplaying their opposition. The crowd was all-in with the excitement, taking Picks/Bans to gift viewers with a classic round of the Wave. Ambition and CuVee came together top at 4:20 to take down Odoamne for First Blood to SSG.
Vander and Jankos caught out CoreJJ in the Jungle before melting him and Ruler, though Ruler took Jankos down to prevent first turret and keep the Kill count even. Ambition and Crown came together at 9:30 to take down Ryu and boost SSG into the lead with Gold and Kills. Shortly thereafter, SSG took down Jankos, Ryu, and Odoamne before claiming first turret and a Cloud Drake. At 16, SSG also picked up a Rift Herald for that extra boost. CuVee was challenging Odoamne up top, but some assistance from H2K led to the fight being turned around and Ryu killing the SSG top-laner. SSG took their second Drake, an Ocean, at 19. H2K Ryu made a play against Crown, but CoreJJ's arrival allowed his teammate to survive and take down Ryu instead. After an exchange at 21 with no deaths, SSG took a 21:30 Baron. They pushed up the mid lane before splitting to take mid and top, SSG took down the top inhibitor in H2K's base. They pressured all three lanes before disengaging to regroup. They took an Infernal Drake in the meantime for an extra boost. They moved to push again, pushing H2K to their fountain before taking down bot and mid inhibitors. At 26, SSG set their sights on the nexus turrets. H2K tried to mount a defense, but SSG continued to overpower them. With the final nexus sweep, H2K was sent packing while SSG secured their spot in the Final.
Final Victory: Samsung Galaxy
What's to Come
SKTelecom T1. Samsung Galaxy. These two teams have bested the competition to secure the two finals spots in Worlds. Next week, these top two will face off to claim the Summoner's Cup. Who will walk away victorious? Will it be the reigning champs, SKT? Or will SSG continue this Worlds cycle of upsets?
I'll see you on the Rift to find out.