At every international League of Legends tournament, one question looms: can anyone beat SKT? With MSI 2017 fully kicking off this Wednesday, it’s time to start that question again as the defending champs suit up.
No, we’re not talking about actually knocking the Korean dynasty/living gods on Earth out of the tournament — don’t be absurd. Everyone knows SKT is going to win MSI. Here’s the more interesting question: who is most likely to beat SKT at all? That could be in a group stage best-of-one fluke, or taking a single game off the best team in the world in a playoff series later on.
This year’s MSI field is a little closer than previous competitions, but there still appears to be a pretty clear hierarchy. Here’s how we think the teams stack up, ranked by “most likely to win one, just one, game against SKT.”
1. Flash Wolves
SK Telecom has lost a grand total of six best of ones at international tournaments over the last four years. Three of them were to Flash Wolves.
In other words, if anyone at this tournament has a “good” shot at beating SK Telecom at MSI, it’s Flash Wolves. They even match up well positionally with SKT. Mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang is a strong roamer, jungler Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan has strong counter-ganks and unpredictable pathing, and top laner Yu “MMD” Li-Hung is consistently good on a variety of champions.
I’m not saying that Flash Wolves are definitely going to beat SKT in the group stage. But I am saying that if I had to design a team from scratch specifically to beat SK Telecom in a best-of-one, it would look a lot like Flash Wolves.
2. G2 Esports
If Flash Wolves are the team with the most historical proof they will beat SKT, then G2 is the team with the least. After all, they have disappointed in both of the international tournaments they have been to.
However, that makes them the team with the lowest expectations, with the least to lose from a poor performance and the most to gain from a good one. Even if they don’t make it out of the group stage, a win over SKT would look great for the European champions and maybe even earn them a little bit of international respect.
3. GIGABYTE Marines
Marines are going to have the easiest time catching SKT off-guard at MSI this year. Sure, it has been a while since SK Telecom were caught off-guard by a team, but if anyone is going to do it Marines have a good shot.
On top of that, they have MSI 2017’s best X-Factor in jungler Đỗ Duy “Levi” Khánh, who seems to possess an almost limitless potential to go off and take over a game completely.
4. Team WE
SK Telecom are not likely to come into any games against Team WE taking them lightly, and that’s bad news for the Chinese side. A fully prepared SKT would make short work of the team. Short of AD Carry Seong-jun “Mystic” Jin having a fantastic game, this is likely not going to be a great match up for Team WE.
5. Team SoloMid
Team SoloMid is one of the most popular teams in the world. This is not a good thing when it comes to how motivated SKT might be to beat them. While they may not be the best team coming into the tournament, they are certainly the highest profile, and any win over TSM is certain to be noticed by the rest of the world. SK Telecom are going to come into each of these games highly prepared for just about anything Team SoloMid has to throw at them.