SK Telecom T1 has advanced to its third consecutive MSI final, sweeping the Flash Wolves 3-0 in Brazil Friday. Flash Wolves entered the day 8-2 all-time against Korean teams, and 4-2 against SKT.
After Flash Wolves took an early lead in Game 1, SKT’s protect-the-Caitlyn composition turned online at 25 minutes and dominated the game. Faker’s Cassiopeia earned SKT an easy Game 2 win by completely shutting down Maple’s LeBlanc at the beginning of the game, and a relatively simple Game 3 win for SKT secured the sweep.
SKT will face the winner of the G2 Esports vs. Team WE semifinal, which will be played Saturday afternoon. SKT is the defending champions of the tournament, having beaten North America’s Counter Logic Gaming in last year’s MSI final. At the first MSI, in 2015, SKT finished runners-up to China’s EDward Gaming. MSI 2015 remains the only international tournament SKT has entered and not won.
4:10 p.m. ET — Here’s the problem with an early lead against SKT: once you make a mistake, they will capitalize.
At six minutes, Karsa tries to extend Flash Wolves’ lead with a gank in the bottom lane, but misses his abilities, takes a tower shot and gives a kill to Bang. A minute later, a 2 vs. 2 outplay for SKT earns Bang a kill against Betty, as Peanut comes down to finish off SwordArt.
Add in a kill for Faker against Karsa, and it’s now 4-1 SKT at 10 minutes, with nearly a 2k gold lead for the Korean title defenders.
4:05 p.m. ET -- With their backs against the wall, Flash Wolves has taken an early game. Karsa, playing Ivern for the first time in competitive play, ganks mid at three minutes, earning First Blood for Maple’s Lucian.
SKT lost to Lucian mid previously in the tournament, but Flash Wolves is going to have to snowball this advantage fast.
4:00 p.m. ET — Game 3 picks and bans:
Flash Wolves pulls out the Lucian mid Team WE beat SKT with, supporting it with Galio, Ivern and Karma. But Huni gets his nearly unbeatable Rumble as SKT brings out a three-carry composition looking for the sweep.
SKT: Rumble, Graves, Orianna, Twitch, Lulu
Bans: Zyra, Syndra, Lee Sin, Fizz, Gragas
Flash Wolves: Galio, Ivern, Lucian, Ezreal, Karma
Bans: Caitlyn, Kennen, Cassiopeia, Shen, Fiora
3:41 p.m. ET -- SKT ruthlessly uses massive early solo lane advantages to snowball an easy Game 2 win, taking a 2-0 lead over Flash Wolves with a 9-2, 27-minute win.
3:24 p.m. ET -- SKT has taken a big lead in the early game, picking up three kills across the map in the first 10 minutes.
Faker opens the game with a 14-0 CS lead as Cassiopeia vs. LeBlanc, forcing a level one back from Maple without any creeps killed. At seven minutes, Huni earned First Blood by killing Karsa in his own jungle, and picked up a solo kill three minutes later against MMD in lane.
3:12 p.m. ET — Game 2 picks and bans:
Flash Wolves swap out early Twitch and Fiora bans for Caitlyn and Ivern, targeting SKT’s Game 1 composition. SKT bans Lee Sin and Flash Wolves first-picks Graves, leaving Peanut with fourth-choice Olaf (1-0 this tournament).
Flash Wolves rolls out a similar draft from Game 1, mixing it up a bit in the side lanes, but SKT has a scary three-carry composition.
Flash Wolves: Shen, Graves, LeBlanc, Varus, Tahm Kench
Bans: Kennen, Caitlyn, Ivern, Kog’Maw, Fiora
SKT: Fizz, Olaf, Cassiopeia, Twitch, Braum
Bans: Karma, Lulu, Lee Sin, Rumble, Galio
2:50 p.m. ET: As usual, SKT takes just one advantage to win the game. After trailing by 3k gold in the mid lane, Bang’s Caitlyn is enabled perfectly by SKT’s team composition to fight to ultimately an easy victory. Bang finishes the game 5/2/5, as SKT wins Game 1 10-6 in 31 minutes.
2:48 p.m. ET -- Peanut’s down 1.7k gold to Karsa, but he still sneaks SKT’s second Ocean Drake of the game at 25 minutes.
But now we’re at the point where Caitlyn has two-and-a-half items, and with the shielding from Ivern, Lulu and Orianna, all of Flash Wolves’ crowd control and damage simply don’t matter. SKT wins the fight 4-0 with three kills for Bang and a jaw-dropping taunt-flash from Huni, tying the kill score at 5-5.
SKT picked up an uncontested Baron at 28 minutes off the back of that fight, and now lead by 2k gold.
2:43 p.m. ET -- Flash Wolves picks up an Infernal Drake at 18 minutes, managing to disengage from the fight just as SKT tried to collapse. At 21 minutes, it’s Flash Wolves who force a fight, catching and killing Bang with a combination Ashe+Nautilus+Graves ultimate combination, while just barely surviving Faker’s Shockwave in the process.
Just a minute later, Karsa get his third kill of the game by taking out Peanut in his own jungle. Flash Wolves lead Game 1 5-1, with a 1.7k gold lead at 23 minutes.
2:35 p.m. ET — SKT makes a mistake, and Flash Wolves capitalizes.
Bang gets caught by Betty’s Ashe arrow, misplaying his 90 caliber net and giving up a kill to his bot lane opponent. Wolf also dies in the play as Maple roams over, giving Flash Wolves a 3-1 kill lead and the gold lead for the first time this game.
2:30 p.m. ET — After trading kills, the two teams now trade objectives. As usual, SKT comes out with the advantage.
Both teams take two towers, but SKT’s tempo advantage picks up an Ocean Drake at the end of the play. It’s still 1-1 at 12 minutes, but SKT has a .4k gold lead. Most of that is from Bang’s First Blood, but Huni has a small lead over MMD in his lane as well.
2:24 p.m. ET -- SKT, hoping to take advantage of Flash Wolves’ weakness in the bottom lane, takes an early lead for the protect Caitlyn composition. Betty and SwordArt overextend,, looking to kill Wolf, but Bang traps Betty and takes him out for First Blood.
Flash Wolves pulls one back just a minute later, however, as Karsa ganks bot before his first return to base, takin gout Wolf and evening the kill score at 1-1.
2:19 p.m. ET — Game 1 picks and bans:
SKT curiously banned Lee Sin and have instead opted for the classic MSI 2017 Ivern+Caitlyn+Lulu composition. It’s been nearly unbeatable at the tournament so far, but Peanut’s looked less comfortable on Ivern than some of the other junglers in Brazil. With Shen and Orianna, SKT is running a pure “protect Bang” composition with an incredible team fight and fairly favorable early lanes.
Flash Wolves answers with the double-threat of Graves and LeBlanc, with a tank of their own in the top lane and a more supportive bottom lane in Ashe and Karma.
SKT: Shen, Ivern, Orianna, Caitlyn, Lulu
Bans: Zyra, Syndra, Lee Sin, Fizz, Rumble
FW: Nautilus, Graves, LeBlanc, Ashe, Karma
Bans: Kennen, Twitch, Fiora, Lucian, Galio
We’ve moved on from the group stage of the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational and have hurtled right to the semifinals, where defending champions SK Telecom T1 take on LMS challengers Flash Wolves in a best-of-five Friday in Brazil. The series is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. ET.
SKT went 8-2 in the group stage, meeting expectations and securing the first seed in the knockout round. But Flash Wolves was one of the two teams to defeat the Korean powerhouse, and this wasn’t the first time. Flash Wolves has defeated SKT three previous times in international competition, but the two have never faced in a best-of-five. Best-of-fives are where SKT shine brightest, but the Flash Wolves can learn from previous victories to shoot for the upset.
Flash Wolves entered the tournament favored to make it to the knockout stage, and with a fourth-place finish after a tiebreaker win over Team SoloMid, the team has done just that. The team has had success internationally in the past, but a best-of-five against SKT is the toughest possible challenge in competitive League of Legends.
SK Telecom T1
- Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon
- Han “Peanut” Wang-ho
- Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok
- Bae “Bang” Jun-sik
- Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan
- Yu “MMD” Li-Hung
- Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan
- Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang
- Lu “Betty” Yu-Hung
- Hu “SwordArt” Shou-Jie