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Samsung survives Longzhu challenge in thrilling series

The Worlds runners-up started its LCK season in style.

Samsung Galaxy beat Longzhu Gaming in a thrilling three-game series on the LCK’s opening night, coming back to win two games in a row after a strong Game 1 win from Longzhu. Samsung joins KT Rolster as day one winners on top of the standings.

Samsung Galaxy made a surprise run to Worlds last year, running through the Regional Qualifier and upsetting KT Rolster to ultimately make it to the tournament. Once there, the team made the most of it, going 5-1 in the group of death before back-to-back knockout stage sweeps of Cloud9 and H2K. In the finals, Samsung fell to defending World champions SK Telecom T1 3-2. Samsung kept its entire starting roster from that Worlds run.

Longzhu Gaming unveiled its 10-man super team last year, but that roster resulted in bitter disappointment. This year, the team has a promising new pairing in the mid lane and an experienced bot lane used to success with each other.

Longzhu dominated Game 1, using an innovative team composition with surprise picks in the solo lanes (Singed and Taliyah) and a first-pick Rengar in the jungle. Samsung picked a composition extremely reminiscent of the teams it used at Worlds, with Poppy, Lee Sin, Viktor, Ezreal and Zyra. The problem? Samsung was unable to reliably protect Crown’s Viktor or get to PraY’s Jhin.

Fly picked up First Blood on the Taliyah thanks to an early roam, heading to the bottom lane with Crash’s Rengar to pick up a two-for-one trade. That helped PraY build a gigantic lead with his Jhin in the bottom lane, and by ten minutes both Crown (playing his signature Viktor) and PraY had CS leads of at least 20 for their respective teams.

At 10 minutes, Crash returned to the bottom lane, picking up a kill and the game’s first tower for Longzhu. Even with that small lead, it looked like Samsung was going to be able to pull off its signature winning strategy — stalling out the game until late and winning with superior team-fighting — but Crash’s Rengar and PraY’s Jhin proved too much to handle.

By 32 minutes, that small lead ballooned into a large one, as Longzhu led 17-5 in kills and 13k in gold. By 33 minutes, the game was over, as Longzhu won 22-6 led by an outstanding 10/1/10 performance from PraY’s Jhin.

In Game 2, we saw our first Camille pick of a top-flight league, as Longzhu for some reason left the ridiculously strong new champion available for Cuvee to first pick. Samsung, for its part, banned Taliyah and Singed after the amount of trouble those champions caused in Game 1.

Samsung took a small early lead thanks to a proactive gank mid by Haru earning Crown First Blood, and Cuvee was able to build a lead of his own with Camille against Expession’s Jax. But the biggest lead of the early game came from PraY’s Varus, who after an excellent Game 1 had yet another strong performance in Game 2, leading by 32 CS at 10 minutes.

Samsung was finally able to break open the first tower at 15 minutes after a Haru double kill in the mid lane, and that’s when Cuvee’s Camille really started to get the freedom to make plays around the map. At 19 minutes, he solokilled Expession. At 21 minutes, he solokilled Fly’s Ekko before being killed by Expession.

At 26 minutes, after a pick of Crash’s Elise, Cuvee showed exactly what Camille could do by diving over a wall into Longzhu’s bottom lane and killing both of them.

That set up a Samsung Baron, and the team never looked back from there. Samsung won the game 16-5 in 33 minutes, with Cuvee putting together a 7/2/3 scoreline on Camille.

Game 3 started perfectly for Samsung. After banning away three jungle champions from Crash, Haru’s Kha’Zix lay in wait to disrupt Lee Sin’s opening clear.

With the stolen buff and First Blood, Haru was able to make Crash’s early game miserable, following him around the map and bullying him away from jungle creeps. But a gank top from Crash at 10 minutes picked up a kill for Expession, giving Crash’s Lee Sin a window back into the game.

Two minutes later, Crash solo killed Haru by catching him out in the jungle. The resulting pressure allowed Longzhu’s bottom lane, which already had a large lead (PraY and GorillA had yet anothe rexcellent game), to take the first tower of the game.

After taking the tower, Longzhu tried to continue its pressure in the bottom lane by firing PraY’s Ashe arrow at Ruler. The ultimate connected, but Longzhu didn’t know Haru’s Kha’zix was nearby. Even though Longzhu was able to start the fight, Samsung ended it with three kills.

Haru’s Kha’Zix had four kills by 16 minutes, and ended up 7/2/5 in a strong performance after replacing Ambition following the first game. When Samsung picked off Haru in the jungle at 23 minutes, the team immediately turned for Baron, taking the advantage, winning a 3-1 trade and putting the game squarely in its control.

Things got a little shaky for Samsung towards the end of the game, as Crash outsmited Haru for Baron at 38 minutes. Samsung still won the resulting trade two for one, however, and took Elder Dragon two minutes later, simply waltzing into Longzhu’s base to end the game 15-8 at 41 minutes.