Carried on the back of Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk, Samsung Galaxy became the first team to take a series against SK Telecom T1 at the League of Legends World Championship. Featuring a rematch of last year's world championship, an epic that took 4 hours and 12 minutes, Samsung Galaxy dispatched SKT in a quick sweep that lasted 1 hour and 52 minutes.
Samsung became the second team to sweep a world finals match, and it did so against the historically best team of all time in SKT. SKT suffered its first series loss in world championship history having entered the series 11-0.
How did Samsung take down SKT?
Games 1 and 2 featured stifling map control from Samsung Galaxy, which took all 11 towers in both games and yielded only three total turrets to SKT. In the past three years at worlds, SKT had taken fewer than three towers in a game only once (2017 Quarters vs. Misfits, Game 2).
While Games 1 and 2 featured suffocating map control from Samsung, Game 3 saw Samsung behind in the early stages, with it losing control of early kills, towers and dragons.
A series of mistakes from SKT and teamfight wins from Samsung saw the game level out and culminate in a play that will be long remembered.
SKT had just put up a valiant base defense and took Elder Dragon off the end of the sequence. It was able to siege up Samsung Galaxy's base with the buff, but as the buff wore off, it retreated toward its base. Ruler struck, flashing forward and catching Faker out of position with his Varus ultimate. The game was over in that instant, with Ruler standing out as both player of the game and the series.
Ruler went 10/2/21 (kills, deaths, assists) in the final for a 15.5 KDA, the second-largest KDA in the past three years in a series at worlds. Ruler stepped up for Samsung Galaxy in the knockout stage, posting five games with zero deaths, more than any other player in knockouts in the past three years.
Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in, playing on support champion Janna, played a big part in victories in Game 1 and 2. Samsung Galaxy was previously 2-0 at worlds in games in which it picked Janna support, and CoreJJ didn't disappoint in the final, as he went deathless in both games. It was Janna's 21st and 22nd game without a death at this worlds. The next fewest games without a death for a support was eight (Lulu).
SKT dynasty falls
As well as Samsung Galaxy played, this series featured a number of failures from an SKT perspective
Samsung Galaxy had choice of side in Games 1 and 3 and chose blue side both times. Interestingly, SKT chose to stay on red side in Game 2, giving away first pick Janna to Samsung. Blue side seemed to have a distinct advantage this tournament with a .552 win percentage before the finals, including a 7-2 record in the semifinals. SKT was also 7-1 on blue side and 4-4 on red side prior to the finals.
Unlike last week's semifinal in which he played Galio in all five games, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok was put on three different champions in the finals matchup. He amassed a 1.6 KDA in these matches, lowest for a mid laner in a series at this year's worlds. Faker had only four kills in three games. In his previous two world finals appearances, he had six individual games with at least four kills.