G2 Esports defeated SK Telecom T1 3-1 to secure their place in the 2019 League of Legends World Championship grand finals. This sets up a repeat of the China vs. Europe scenario from last year, when Invictus Gaming played Fnatic in the finals.
Unlike the series between Invictus Gaming and FunPlus Phoenix yesterday, SKT and G2 were much more evenly matched, often divided less than 1k gold at 15 minutes.
G2 took the lead in game 1 with Rasmus “Caps” Winther being excellent on Ryze, while Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok played an unimpressive Neeko, failing to secure impactful Pop Blossom in the key teamfight that decided the series. SKT led Caps have Ryze once again in game 2, but squeezed a lot of their comfort picks too, putting Faker on his favorite LeBlanc, and securing Lee Sin for Kim “Clid” Tae-min. Clid proceeded to steal the show, delaying Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski Jarvan IV early game and delivering several highlight plays that secured the mid game for SKT.
As the two teams picked up pace, so did the series and game 3 turned into one of the most memorable face-offs in all of Worlds so far, on par with the craziness of iG/FPX’s 59-kill match yesterday. SKT secured a great teamfighting composition and started bullying Martin “Wunder” Hanssen’s Camille top, giving two kills to their Renekton and slowing down Camille’s scaling. As Faker, now on Ryze, started to rack up gold, the game started feeling SKT-favored, despite G2 answering every objective perfectly, keeping the gold even.
The game was ultimately decided by two failed Baron plays by SKT. Even though they secured the objective both times, SKT ended up giving a lot of deaths in the immediate teamfights. The first Baron play net them +9 gold, while the second was straight up negative, as only Faker survived the 5v5 in the pit.
This was all G2 needed to muster a push into SKT’s base. Despite valiant defense by Park “Teddy” Jin-seong’s Kai’Sa, Luka “Perkz” Perkovic’s Xayah was a thing of beauty, putting G2 on a match point.
When game 4 began, it had all the signs that the series will go to full five games. G2 gave away Qiyana to Faker and SKT’s captain ran away with it. Roaming everywhere, Faker took kills all around the map, going 2/0/3 very early in the game — a nightmare for any team facing Qiyana. On top, Khan’s Vladimir was also in control of his lane and for the first time, the series arrived at a significant gold lead at minute 15: 5K in SKT’s favor.
But then, it all went wrong. Hailed as the one to lead SKT back into greatness, it was in fact Faker who will be blamed for giving away a game that was practically won. Several positioning mistakes and reckless engagements cost SKT every single major teamfight. This allowed G2 to claw back their way into the game, secure their own Baron, and go for the push. Faker kept being out of positioning and G2 kept taking advantage of his fundamental mistakes. A little after minute 35, G2 clapped SKT’s Nexus and punched their ticket into the 2019 League of Legends World Championship grand final.
G2 are facing FPX on Nov. 10 for the title. If they win, this will be the first time a western region has won the biggest League of Legends tournament. It would also complete the Golden Road for the “samurai”, adding a Worlds title to their MSI and two LEC first places.