SK Telecom T1 is your newest League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational champion. After a rough start to the tournament that at one point saw SKT with a 2-4 record, the Korean champions won 10 of their last 11 games to storm through the playoffs and win it all. It all culminated in a 3-0 sweep of North American champions Counter Logic Gaming in the final Sunday in Shanghai.
For SKT, MSI was the final tournament it had yet to win. In the inaugural MSI last year in Tallahassee, SKT finished as runners-up to Edward Gaming, losing 3-2 in the final. Now, SKT can count itself as champions of Korea and the world three times over, currently holding championships in every possible competition: Worlds, the LCK, IEM and MSI.
While it may be disappointing for CLG not to pick up a win in the finals, the tournament was still a massive step forward for North America. CLG became the first NA team to ever make a major Riot final, and gave SKT a hard time in a few of the games.
With MSI over, there's now only about two weeks until the Summer Season starts again. These teams will be hitting the Rift again in their respective regions, hoping to qualify for Worlds.
Game 1: Counter Logic Gaming vs. SK Telecom T1
Win: SK Telecom T1 (16-9, 34:53)
Things started disastrously for CLG in all lanes, as SKT picked up kills for Duke, Faker and Bang at three minutes. It started with Bang picking up First Blood on Darshan after CLG's top laner underestimated the amount of minions present,and then SKT collapsed on an invading Aphromoo in their jungle.
CLG held a small gold lead at 20 minutes despite a 6-1 kill deficit thanks to a tower advantage and a massive farming lead for Xmithie. SKT told the gold lead back after Blank caught a vulnerable Aphromoo with cocoons twice, allowing his team to follow up for the kill. SKT stayed too long after one such kill, hoping to take an inhibitor, but CLG killed Faker and went straight to Baron. After Huhi picked up another CLG kill by taking out Wolf, CLG forced another favorable fight and took out Bang.
CLG caught Faker again at 27 minutes, killing him and Wolf and taking an uncontested Baron. With the Baron buff, CLG took Dragon (stopping SKT's fourth of the game)(, took down another turret and got the gold lead back by 30 minutes. As soon as the buff expired, SKT hid out of vision before popping out to kill Xmithie, Stixxay and Aphromoo. The resulting push broke open CLG's base, taking the middle inhibitor.
SKT aced CLG 5-2 at 34 minutes, and a whirlwind game ended in favor of the world champions.
Bans: Alistar, Sivir, Maokai; Aurelion Sol, Bard, Ryze
|Darshan (Poppy) 2||2/3/2||211||Duke (Trundle) 2||2/1/8||279|
|Xmithie (Nidalee) 3||4/5/4||187||Blank (Elise) 2||6/1/3||125|
|Huhi (Ekko) 1||2/1/2||297||Faker (Azir) 1||4/3/7||314|
|Stixxay (Lucian) 3||1/2/4||305||Bang (Ezreal) 1||3/2/7||271|
|Aphromoo (Soraka) 2||0/5/6||16||Wolf (Nami) 3||1/2/10||26|
Game 2: Counter Logic Gaming vs. SK Telecom T1
Win: SK Telecom T1 (15-7, 34:27)
These teams pulled out the exact same team compositions in Game 2 with zero hesitation, but without three early deaths for CLG it worked out considerably better for the North American squad. CLG was able to repeatedly collapse mid to kill Faker, using the zoning tools of Poppy, Ekko and Soraka to pin him into place and finish him off.
At 20 minutes, CLG held around a 2k gold lead. By 27 minutes, SKT evened it up, thanks to a few picks and successful responses to CLG engages. Another fight engaged at 30 minutes by CLG went 4-0 in SKT's favor, leading to an uncontested Baron for the Korean side. With the Baron buff, SKT broke open CLG's base, taking all three inhibitors and ending the game.
Bans: Alistar, Sivir, Maokai; Aurelion Sol, Bard, Ryze
|Darshan (Poppy) 2||2/2/4||182||Duke (Trundle) 2||1/2/6||281|
|Xmithie (Nidalee) 3||1/2/3||185||Blank (Elise) 2||2/1/8||105|
|Huhi (Ekko) 1||2/5/4||210||Faker (Azir) 1||8/4/5||286|
|Stixxay (Lucian) 3||2/3/1||296||Bang (Ezreal) 1||4/0/7||288|
|Aphromoo (Soraka) 2||0/3/4||11||Wolf (Nami) 3||0/0/11||22|
Game 3: Counter Logic Gaming vs. SK Telecom T1
Win: SK Telecom T1 (24-7, 34:23)
This time, the two teams changed team compositions, as CLG was able to land both Maokai and Kindred early in the draft. They got an early lead for Darshan five minutes in, picking up a kill for him against Duke, but per usual, SKT found small advantages and exploited them. CLG teleported in for a fight at nine minutes, but SKT countered with a teleport of its own, getting two kills. Now armed with a small gold lead, SKT snowballed it into a larger one, eventually picking up another pair of kills at 18 minutes.
At 25 minutes, SKT aced CLG without losing anybody, taking Baron and a big advantage in the game. Two minutes later, it was another ace, including a triple kill for Duke. SKT kept pushing forward but CLG's team composition was able to hold them at bay, winning some fights in their base and getting a lot of damage out of Stixxay's Caitlyn.
Despite strong fighting from CLG, SKT still secured uncontested Baron and Dragon 5. SKT used those buffs to march into CLG's base and destroy it, taking the sweep.
Bans: Alistar, Sivir, Ezreal; Aurelion Sol, Bard, Ekko
|Darshan (Maokai) 1||1/5/6||199||Duke (Poppy) 2||6/2/12||290|
|Xmithie (Kindred) 2||1/5/6||178||Blank (Elise) 2||1/2/12||114|
|Huhi (Cassiopeia) 3||1/5/6||257||Faker (Ryze) 1||6/1/8||302|
|Stixxay (Caitlyn) 3||4/3/1||316||Bang (Lucian) 1||10/2/9||375|
|Aphromoo (Soraka) 2||0/6/6||13||Wolf (Nami) 3||1/0/20||27|