It's Day 2 at a so far lovely IEM World Championships, and Group B kicks off with the face-off of two korean superpowers, SK Telekom T1 and CJ Entus Frost.
The other korean "mirror matchup" in Group A yesterday was often compared with a tutorial game, but this blockbuster went a complete different way. Take a look!
Group B Match #1:
| SK Telecom T1
|| CJ Entus Frost
The picks and bans were pretty straight forward. Both teams went for solid team composititions with two assasins each and a load of initiation on all sides. Frost banned out SKT's mid-laner, SuNo, almost completely. SKT on the other side bans Vi, Volibear and Thresh, obviously to protect their main carry Twitch.
Either of the teams decide to risk a lvl1 fight and went straight into their respective jungles to prevent any first blood shenanigans. After both teams wanted to a 2v1 switch, the bot-lanes met each other at top-lane.
After five minutes, we have a score of 2-1. First blood was shed in the 2v2 lane, most surprisingly without any jungler influence. Shortly after, the mid laners exchanged kills.
After that, the game slowed down quite a bit. Everybody was expecting the usual tower smashing that we are used to when watching korean matchups. But the next ten minutes were all about farming. At the 15 minute mark, SKT finally managed to gather around mid; they dove balls-deep, traded 2 for 2 and took the tower. Rumble joined the fight to pick up an additional kill for Frost and opened the opportunity to take dragon.
Frost tried to extend the lead they got by the dragon pickup and pushed midlane with 5. Sadly, you cannot simply push a tower as 5 against the impeccable waver clear of Lux, Twitch and Jarvan. They trade 3 for 2 but picked up the tower in the end.
At 20 minutes, the gold difference was bang even, and most of the champions completed their first items. Warmogs on Akali to provide additional tankiness, and Boots of Lucidity plus Deathcap for Lux, obviously for easier wave-clearing.
The second dragon spawned, and both teams wanted to contest it. That was the point where SKT's team composition showed its real power. Jarvan engaged onto Kha'Zix to take him out of the fight. Stand United got forced out, but both Shen and Kha are way out of position. SKT cleaned up the fight and took the dragon.
The old saying "If you have a lead, try to extend it" applies to competitive LoL as well, and that was exactly what SKT did. They had perfect map vision and successfully pushed all lanes at once. Frost needed to react and engaged 4v5 under their bot inner turret. The fight ends in a tower for SKT, but they also got aced in the process.
At 30 minutes, we saw a 3k gold advantage for SKT. This is of course not that big of a lead in a half hour game, but considering that Twitch got almost all of the kills, SKT had a clear lead at that stage of the game.
With the team composition they chose, Frost was forced to splitpush to do anything against the strong wave-clearing of SKT. All global objectives were down, and the Baron Boogie began. SKT had the oracle advantage, and Jarvan landed a clutch Cataclysm trapped three people, followed up by Lux Laser and Twitch Ult; Wombo Combo all over the place. SKT took baron and another turret.
SKT was 8k in the lead after that teamfight, but much more importantly, they had a 11/3 Twitch. Frost knew they had to build tanky to survive the initial burst by Lux and Twitch, and the Hexdrinker on Miss Fortune showed exactly that.
The final teamfight took place in mid lane after MF got caught by a single invisible rat, and Frost was forced to engage immidiately. The clutch flash-plus-shen-ult-engage by Kha'Zix looked quite beautiful, but SuNo answered witch the precise Light Binding on both of them. The rest of SKT cleaned up the rest of the fight and took the game.
After 38 minutes, we had a game of 28 kills for SKT T1 against the 16 of Frost; quite the opposite compared to the rather quiet and strategic match featuring Blaze and IM. In the end it only showed one thing: There is no "korean meta". Everyone plays a different style, and foreign teams need to prepare for every single one of them.