SK Telecom T1 are League of Legends Season 3 Champions!
The Season 3 championships for Riot’s League of Legends took place on Oct. 4, when Korea’s SK Telecom T1 (SKT) showed off their brooms to defeat China’s Royal Club in a shocking 3-0 sweep for the $1 million first place prize.
Unlike Royal Club, who was seeded directly into the quarter finals, SK Telecom T1 fought their way through the group stages, and defeated Gamania Bears in the quarter-finals and Najin Blacksword in the semi-finals in order to emerge victorious and gain the right to play against Royal Club in the finals.
Royal picks: Orianna, Elise, Sona, Vayne, Malphite
SKT picks: Corki, Jarvan IV, Jax, Thresh, Gragas
Royal bans: Vi, Shen, Lee Sin
SKT bans: Zed, Annie, Renekton
I was looking forward to an awesome first blood matchup at level 1 and it was close to actually happening, as all five champions from both teams headed into the same brush and almost caught each other — but it didn’t happen. Instead, both teams led off with a traditional start and secured respective buffs for their junglers. The first tower in the top lane went down first with first blood kicking in a little more than six minutes in, with a battle between Faker’s Gragas and Bengi’s Jarvan coming in from the side.
However, Royal responded a couple of minutes later in the bottom lane by diving and securing two kills of their onto their bottom tower. Meanwhile, SKT continued to chip slowly away at lanes and securing kills. While the snowballing was slow, it did eventually amass in favor of SKT, as Royal’s failed dive in the middle lane proved fatal. A final ace toward the end of the match led to SKT winning the first game. Faker’s Gragas? Unbelieveable!
Royal picks: Vayne, Jarvan IV, Sona, Rumble, Kassadin
SKT picks: Zed, Zyra, Jax, Ezreal, Lee Sin
Royal bans: Shen, Orianna, Vi
SKT bans: Annie, Renekton, Corki
Even the match analysts and commentators were confused by Royal’s Kassadin pick, because SKT’s Zed has an easy time against him (or Zed can force a 2-on-1, as the commentators mention).
Royal’s gameplan was to run a Kassadin teleport composition for heavy mobility throughout the map. Despite being down two kills early on, Royal managed to counter with two more of their own when Royal members Lucky’s Jarvan and Whit3zZ’s Kassadin sneaked into the bottom lane to catch SKT’s Piglet and PoohManDu off-guard. Piglet’s Ezreal was able to snipe through and take down Uzi, however. A massive team fight resulted in a complete ace for Royal a little over 15 minutes into this match.
Despite winning the ace, Royal continued to be down in gold. SKT’s Jax continued to split push, while Royal stayed grouped up and doing what they could to take objectives, but Royal was unable to get in as deep as they wanted into SKT territory. At 20 minutes in, there weren’t as many wards out and Royal was down three towers, while SKT only lost their first middle tower.
Another team fight happened later on, with Royal having a slight advantage before losing it by over-committing. SKT tried to disengage and Royal followed — at that point, they should have gone after the dragon. Instead, Piglet’s Ezreal came in from the back side and picked off Royal members. It didn’t take much after that, as SKT snagged themselves a baron and then followed up by taking down Royal. SKT was now 2 games up.
Royal picks: Sona, Caitlyn, Lee Sin, Kennen, Fizz
SKT picks: Jax, Zyra, Corki, Gragas, Jarvan IV.
Royal bans: Orianna, Shen, Vi
SKT bans: Annie, Renekton, Zed
Game 3 lasted no more than 21 minutes.
SKT carried a 2-0 advantage going into the final match. A fatal early game face-check in the top brush caught Godlike’s Kennen off-guard with the 2-on-1 lane. This violated a personal rule of mine, which I constantly preach to new players coming into the game: Never face-check brushes! Kennen could have used a Thundering Shuriken to scout the brush. There’s almost never a good reason to check.
SKT scored the first dragon of the game and didn’t relinquish the driver’s seat at all for the rest of the match. There’s not much else to add about this lopsided game. It seems like Royal was well off their game mentally, and had a tough time recouping. At 20 minutes, there was a difference of well over 10,000 gold between the two teams, with SKT having a baron advantage. Royal fell so far behind that there was no way for them to catch up unless SKT threw the game hard.
It amazed me that in all three games, Royal allowed Jax to go through completely uncontested, and you can see the strength that Jax brings with his split pushing capabilities. But the word was that when Royal Club and SKT scrimmaged before the match, SKT had a huge advantage by playing Vi repeatedly, and Royal was unable to adequately counter her; that’s why you saw those Vi bans. It would’ve been nice if the teams had not scrimmed each other beforehand, so that the audience could watch Royal make that adjustment, but I understand them making that call, especially with the world championship on the line.
I originally pegged Royal Club to take the championship, but alas, I was wrong. All in all though, what an end to season 3!