by Aidan Adams / @ComradeAidan
LCK Champions Spring 2017
Match 27: kt Rolster vs Samsung Galaxy G1
It wasn’t a perfect storm. Far from it actually.
Two top Korean teams were the first match of Day 4 of Week 4 of LCK Spring 2017. The undefeated 5-0 kt Rolster versus the 4-1 Samsung GALAXY, a definite contenders match to solidify either kt’s top spot, or bring the standings even closer together. Both teams started off with a solid set of bans:
While Samsung focused on general bans, kt whittled down the possible ADCs. However, with kt having first pick and SSG only targeting lane monsters like Camille and Leblanc, Smeb got to secure a Rengar first pick, leaving a sour taste in Galaxy’s mouth. They responded with a prompt secure of their Marksman, having locked in Caitlyn and followed up with an appropriate Kha’Zix pick for Haru. Whether this was intentional mindgames or an appropriate back-up, this led kt to muster a botlane of Ziggs/Zyra, a truly oppressive force in lane. Thus giving Mata and Score two power picks, SSG locked in Karma for a more defensive support and proceeded onto the second ban phase.
Eliminating three powerhouse toplaners left very few options for either team, which prompted Samsung to secure Ryze for Crown. A definite turnaround in the draft phase, with Samsung amassing a solid composition of reliable laners and a snowballing jungler. Interestingly enough, the Ryze pick didn’t seem to phase the Rolster roster as they finished their draft with Rumble and Azir. With such a heavy ban on toplaners, there were few picks left other than tanks such as Poppy and Nautilus. While Poppy was debatably a good pick, Smeb banked on his laning skills and teamfight synergy to bring in a tank-shredding lane bully, who’s Equalizer can definitely help support or setup some Ziggs/Zyra mayhem, or help kite and zone the oppressive Ryze/Karma. Azir was yet another lane pick, as picks like Corki and Talon to round out the damage aspect of the composition were not exactly viable. Corki has a generally poor laning phase versus Ryze, while Talon has seen zero competitive play in Season 7, even with lethality changes. While the casters were discussing the AP-heavy composition of Rolster, CoreJJ locked in Poppy to finish Samsung’s lineup.
There are a lot of critiques for kt’s composition, with no real frontline and relying on Rengar snowball to force a gold commitment to armor on the enemy team, not to mention a lackluster performance on Azir previously, this was looking like a risky run for kt Rolster.
The storm began to brew, and the first thunderbolt cracked along with the four Thunderlord’s Decrees on kt Rolster. Only a few minutes into the game, the lanes began to show their advantages, with Azir consistently outranging/outtrading Ryze, Rumble pushing in Poppy and Ziggs/Zyra poking down Caitlyn/Karma. The game continued at a snail’s pace, until Crown was caught out at river by Score and Pawn, with Smeb securing the First Blood on Ryze. Even with the advantage, all seemed calm again, but clouds brooded in the distance.
Smeb and Pawn started to develop incremental CS leads, putting them a wave or more ahead of the opponent, while Score was able to grab a power buy and some of Haru’s camps with the assist. As these small leads built and towers started to crack, SSG began a three man rotation to the dragon pit, but was quickly spotted by Pawn. Launching Haru into the rest of kt with the Emperor’s Divide, kt picked up another free kill and further control of botside jungle.
As the game continued, no real lead seemed to form, with only 1k gold advantage for kt and no towers dropped. It seemed even for a while, until Score capitalized on Ruler and CoreJJ’s aggression. With such a long-range lane, SSG were able to consistently apply pressure to Deft and Mata, leaving them unable to gather an advantage in lane but rather rely on skirmishes and teamfights to rack up kills and assists. Due to this reliance, Ruler and CoreJJ consistently used their ultimates to pressure down Deft. Due to their waveclear, Deft and Mata were able to keep the lane even in waves, letting them be free to roam and keep control of botside jungle and lane brush. With Mata’s excellent vision control, Score snaked into the lane and helped secure Ruler with Zyra’s Stranglethorns and Rengar’s bush acrobatics, giving kt another boost in their lead. Now with botlane relieved of pressure, Mountain Drake was another checkmark on the list with an easy secure later in the game, giving kt a spotless score so far.
The clouds migrated even closer to Samsung, and with what seemed to be ample tools, they were helpless to kt’s macro play and pressure. Committing to toplane, Score helped Smeb takedown top tower, opening up redside jungle for continual pressure on midlane. As Pawn pushed in Crown and rotated towards botlane with Score, Deft and Mata were two steps ahead and caught out Ruler and bursted her down, leaving an exposed turret and a helpless Karma. With now four kills, two turrets and a drake, kt now sports a 4.5k gold lead and a vicegrip on the pace of the game. Kt had the game in the palm of their hands, setting up more aggressive vision and forcing Crown away to take tier 1 mid turret, the undefeated Rolster now had full access to the map at the 20:00 mark, giving them control over Baron, upcoming cloud drake and any rotations Samsung try and execute.
The stormclouds began to shudder. The gold lead extended to nearly 7k in the course of two minutes, kt secured absolute vision control along with yet another mid tower, putting them in an almost untouchable lead. Removing all wards Samsung tried to place near Baron or in the blind spots near their base, kt Rolster gave the final spark to ignite the thunderstorm. Taking Cloud Drake with 0 contestation and forcing Samsung farther and farther back, Haru makes the mistake of walking into his own jungle and is swiftly punished by the unstoppable Score, and enabling kt a free Baron.
Lightning flashed and thunder boomed, with another tower quickly falling, only to begin the oppression again with a rotation mid for a second kill on Crown, enabling two more turrets to be taken, leaving kt with eight turrets, two drakes, five kills and a still going Baron buff. The storm wretched and wrecked, with kt now 12k in the coffers ahead of Samsung, in an instance of dramatic irony, Pawn Shurima Shuffled Ruler to an inevitable death, while spotting Haru giving Rengar Kha’Zix’s head to adorn on his trophy wall. The terrible storm didn’t let up, as kt advanced into Samsung’s base, untouched and unstoppable, taking down every breathing inhibitor and every last turret, leaving a helpless Crown to yet again fall, and a Nexus to shatter, as the storm finished off Samsung Galaxy to leave kt Rolster with a perfect game.
Even with such an awkward composition, kt Rolster executed it with absolute grace and macro proficiency, leaving Samsung Galaxy completely outplayed on the map and unable to respond with such a deficit. Although kt Rolster was broadly predicted to have major success in LCK, and most likely the Worlds Stage, we’re beginning to see a possible contestant to dethrone the Unkillable Demon King and his powerhouse of a team SKT.