SK Telecom T1 are one game closer to repeating their LCK championship. On Wednesday, the winningest franchise in LoL history defeated Afreeca Freecs 2-1 and moved to face SANDBOX in the next round, this time in a best-of-5 series.
The win is an important one for SKT and part of their reinvigorated form. The team struggled in the first half of the split up till week 3, but since then have been on fire. A nine-game win streak propelled them to the top 5 and were it not for some surprising losses towards the end of the season, SKT would’ve had a much higher seed. It’s a long and hard playoffs road for them still, but top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha is optimistic.
“We started at the bottom in the summer league, in the playoffs too. I really hope to keep on this winning streak,” he told InvenGlobal.
The key to beating Afreeca for SKT was understanding their preference for early game champions. SKT are a team that love to play scaling compositions, with Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok especially good on Azir, but for Afreeca they had to adjust.
“They liked to pick the champions that easily dominate the lanes,” Faker said. “So, we changed our comp to take advantage of skirmishes in the early game.”
The composition changes from SKT were several, and not ones that one would call orthodox. In game 1, Faker locked Renekton, a champion he’s never played before, and in game 3, Khan rocked out a top lane Jax — a champion that isn’t played often in today’s LoL meta. For Khan, however, this wasn’t a spur of the moment. SKT’s top laner expected Afreeca to target him, so he needed a pocket pick, something his opponents wouldn’t think of targeting.
“I actually prepared Jax before the game. I expected they will use many ban cards on top champions.”
Through SKT’s steady rise, Khan has also been converted from a skeptic who saw SKT finish towards the bottom to a player who believes the climb will end with conquering the LCK peak.
“When I heard “Starting at the bottom to win LCK” from Faker and kkOma, I thought it was bullsh*t. Now I deeply believe it. It is time to show what we believe.”
SKT play SANDBOX on Friday, August 23. Winner advances to play DAMWON Gaming in the LCK Summer semifinals. SKT need to win both these series if they want to secure a Worlds 2019 spot.