We've finally arrived at this years League of Legends Super Bowl and the World Cup stadium in Seoul is sold out for possibly the biggest e-sport event in history. Before I go on I'd just like to advise everyone to just enjoy the marvel that is the production and organization it takes for these kinds of events and to just have fun watching the games!
Samsung White vs Starhorn Royal Club
Looper vs Cola
- Looper is a solid but relatively unexciting player in the context of some of the other legendary top laners in Korea but man oh man does he show up on the Worlds stage. Last year, as a rookie getting his first starts in some time, he was one of the only players to perform well on an otherwise disappointing Ozone team. He has a knack for finding these niche picks for certain scenarios and, as always, has been one of the better users of teleport (maybe the best?) in the world. Cola has mostly just been filler for his team if he's not on Irelia. As usual, SHRC is all about Uzi and Zero and to a lesser degree Insec so Cola and Corn often fall by the wayside. Looper is just the better player here and he's red hot to boot. There's a big disparity in champion pools here as well which gives White a big advantage in the draft. ADVANTAGE LOOPER
Dandy vs Insec:
- I'd call this an old rivalry as I'm sure the two have a lot of respect for each other but at this point in their careers Dandy is just miles ahead of Insec. He's likely the best jungler in the world (I tend to think KaKao is better but that's a different discussion) and Insec, while he has performed significantly better this Worlds than he did in LPL this split, just isn't on the same level. On the plus side for Insec, at least he's shown some proficiency on champions that aren't Lee Sin a Dandy is the superior overall player here. ADVANTAGE DANDY
Pawn vs Corn:
- Pawn showed everyone exactly what he's capable of and why he's one of the few to compete on a level with Faker, Dade, and Rookie. He's also playing out of his mind right now. I was wondering just how long it would take to see his Jayce in action and it certainly didn't disappoint during Semis. Pawn has a massive champion pool and the ability to adjust his style to what the team needs. He's extraordinarily difficult to ban out especially on patch 4.14 where you need to consider Maoki and Alistar bands for Looper from purple side. Corn has done well but is just outmatched here by a player in Pawn that is playing the best League of his career. SEVERE ADVANTAGE PAWN
Imp/Mata vs Uzi/Zero
- Once again we get to see two of the best bottom lanes on the planet face off, this time for the World Championship. Imp and Uzi are both extremely aggressive, playmaking AD carries that are the the focus for a lot of their teams. Zero has been arguably the most important addition to SHRC during the off season and has performed incredibly well this year at Worlds but let's be real here. Mata is the best support and possibly the best player on Earth right now. This will be a battle for the ages and maybe the best lane match up at this tournament with both bottom lanes running red hot. I think the difference maker here is White's willingness to lane swap while Uzi and Zero tend to opt into the duo vs duo lanes. I think White's bot lane is very, VERY slightly more well rounded and multi-dimensional but this is going to be an awesome standoff. SLIGHT ADVANTAGE IMP/MATA
Picks and Bans:
Much like the White vs TSM series, this is more or less already decided before the games even begin. Hypothetically if you were to factor out individual player and team skills and just look at the champion pools this series is very close to over. Unless SHRC have come up with a miracle fix to Maoki and Alistar which is something that Chinese teams have yet to show a willingness to adapt to, they will be must bans in every single game on purple side. That leaves Ryze and Irelia for both Looper and Cola but also leaves up Looper's now famous Akali, his old school Singed, and his standby Dr. Mundo picks as well as Kayle and Rumble all at his disposal. The Chinese teams have all picked or banned Rumble every single game as well as they don't seem to know how to fight around it that effectively. So just out of the top lane we already have more than 3 bans and a number of "must pick" champions available. The mid lane is going to revolve around this Jayce pick that Pawn has completely obliterated this knockout stage on. You can't forget about his Yasuo and Zed either but Corn can play both of those. Jungle is likely a place that Samsung White will focus some bans to knock out Lee Sin and Rengar in some order to either pick what's left away from Insec or ban both. As I said earlier, I don't trust Insec's small sample size on other champions as he hasn't really been that effective on them over a period of time. Bottom lane will be interesting too. Most people perma ban Thresh against Mata and you could make an argument for a Janna ban since Chinese teams have been tending to take that pick out as well. You could argue for Twitch and Lucian bans for Imp and Uzi but I'm just not sure we'll see that with all of the other possibilities here.
This is a nightmare for Royal Club. There isn't really much you can do in draft against White and it's my belief that they just need to come up with a team comp that they sincerely feel they can defeat White with and just ban the comp counters, not the lane counters or the player. There's simply too much to deal with. I would think their best case scenario is to get some combination of Rumble and Janna on first rotation as Chinese teams have no shown proficiency in playing against either and to get Uzi on an AD carry that can win lane, whether that be Corki, Caitlyn, or Lucian. They need to ban what they play poorly against and not get caught up in banning the players on White because that's next to impossible. Barring and incredibly strange pocket counter or strategy this series is already over.
MAJOR ADVANTAGE SAMSUNG WHITE
Overall Prediction: Samsung White wins 3 - 0
White is possibly the best team League of Legends has ever seen. I've been saying this since OGN Summer. SK Telecom T1 K as miles ahead of the next best team at worlds last year. This year, there was some debate coming in and you could make an argument for Blue being the best or possibly even Edward Gaming but White took that chatter and made sure to promptly shut everyone up by completely demolishing their sister team in Samsung Blue, the only team since January to defeat White in a best of five. The draft is a complete nightmare for SHRC, their playstyle is predictable and unadaptive, and White has shown a proficiency with a variety of team comps and styles to a degree where I'm just not sure what you can even do against this team. While SHRC has shown a propensity to be a huge momentum team, White has shown that they can quickly silence and momentum and really punish you both in the game and psychologically (see game one of White vs Blue). White is a team that will straight up embarass you. The only way a game is taken off of White is if White defeat themselves because I severely doubt SHRC can defeat them straight up. Then again this Worlds has proven full of upsets and I'm sure a number of fans will be hoping for a close series but the fact of the matter is that this Samsung White team is a juggernaut. A dynasty. And they're finally going to get their Championship.