Facebook reminded me of a recent memory.
“SKT once again came back 1-2 to secure a 3-2 win over ROX to secure their place in the final.”
“The most incredible, highest standard of League of Legends played today. Bengie carries his team on his shoulders as The Jungle. The smartest, most spectacular jungler ever. When his S game is on, his Sports management is unique,” I wrote four years ago.
Screenshot by Amanda Tan / One Esports
Obviously, I was a SKT fan. I supported them in a unique way from 2015 to 2017 – I watched every single one of their games and analyzed them on my blog.
Even if you are not a fan of SKT, I am sure you must have seen many highlight plays from both SK Telecom T1 and ROX Tigers from this match, as it is one of the best series ever in the history of LoL.
SK Telecom T1 coach Kekoma was under a lot of pressure during the World 2016 series against Rocks Tigers
2016 was supposed to be the year for the ROX Tigers. They were coming into the hot after finishing first in the LCK Spring and Summer Regular Seasons and winning the Summer Championship. The song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, Kim “Pray” Jong-in, Han “Peanuts” Wang-ho, and Kang “Gorilla” Beom-hyun developed an aggressive playing style and youthful camaraderie offscreen in-game.
Behind them came the screams of the fan girls. As teammates and friends, they loved to sing, joke and laugh, and were always full of energy. At ROX, these players were in their prime.
On the other side of the stage, SKT was defending world champion. After a strong 2015 with top laner Jang “Marin” Gyeong-hwan, he picked Lee “Duke” Ho-seong to fill the big shoes. In the woods, Bae “Bengy” Seong-woong slowly handed his baton to a more carry-oriented jungler, Kang “Blanc” Sun-gu, who started on top of him two thirds of the time.
With two major roster changes, SKT were vying for their third championship and made history by becoming the first team to win back-to-back titles.
Screenshot by Amanda Tan / One Esports
Thankfully, the meta of Worlds 2016 was fun for the audience as well. It was a control middle meta, with Sindra, Victor, Rez and Cassiopeia as the top picks. After the ban on the then top tier jungler Nidali, the teams played Olaf, Lee Sin, Alice and Reck’sai. This meant that the mid-forest synergy determined much of the early game.
Zyra was the top tier of that patch. He did so much damage that he could be played as AP support by advancing Leandry’s suffering as the first item. Along with Xin, he had high blast damage, crowd control and lane dominance.
During the semifinals, the ROX Tigers were one game down. Determined to make her appearance on the series, she surprised everyone in game two — and I mean everyone — by choosing Miss Fortune one last time.
“Oh! She is… an Instalock Miss Fortune,” said shockcaster David “Freak” Turley. “It’s an Instalock Miss Fortune … I don’t know.”
You can tell from the audio that the three actors were trying to figure out why Roux had chosen Miss Fortune when Ash was already locked in.
Turns out, ROX figured out a simple way to counter Zyra – by slowing her down with Make It Rain and using her plants against her with Double Up. The MF’s effortless high-speed motion also helps in dodging skill shots. Also, the moment Ash shoots an enchanted crystal arrow at a squishy target, all MF is required to do is press R for a painful combo.
Game Two was also the game where the highlights of Prey’s career took place. At 32 minutes, he shot a perfectly placed cross-mapped Enchanted Crystal Arrow to prevent Duke’s Ecco from teleporting back to the defense of his base.
ROX drafted the same Ash and Miss Fortune bot lane in game three against the Zyra support of Lee “Wolf” Jay-Wan. By winning the second game in a row, ROX beat SKT 1-2 in the series.
Game four determines whether SKT will remain in the series, or drop out of Worlds. Because it was an extremely important game, head coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun replaced Blank for “God’s right hand” Bengyi.
During the draft phase, Kokoma also forgot to ban Nidali.
Reworked that year and buffed to patch 6.15, Nidali just wasn’t the S-Tier. She was the signature champion of Peanuts and SKT made sure to ban her in the first three games of the series.
On top of that, Bengi was never known as a carrying jungler. He was a facilitator. On Elise, Rek’Sai, Jarvan, and Gragas, he played for his laners and manipulated the woods to support them.
Prior to this, Bengi had never played a professional game on Nidali.
To determine the fate of SKT in a game, the biggest game of his life on the world stage, he had to.
With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Bengie took on the role of Nidali – and he did it his own way.
Four minutes in, we see two Trinket Wards in the woods of ROX. Bengie was fully aware of where Peanut Olaf was and what he was doing. Gromp first, then wolves. As Bungie waited in the fog of war, shouting Mitch “Crepo” Wurspoles analyzed, “He’s not going to have a play on the mid lane, he’s going to wait for Peanuts, he’s going to take her on Wolves. Going to be challenged.”
What did Bengie do? He played for the mid lane.
He worked with the god, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, for the perfectly executed First Blood. Setting the pace from the opening game, Bengie did not clear his woods or counter-forest on Nidali. Instead, he used his apparent timing to gain a vision advantage, which allowed him to pressurize his lanes. And so with the remaining SKTs, the series ended at 2-2.
In the final deciding match, there was a clash between the two teams. Even though ROX managed to secure the first Baron, SKT in turn took four lives giving them a tempo advantage and a 2,000 gold lead.
The Tigers were not done though. He saw an opportunity to move Faker into the top lane, and the four of them took it together. With immaculate dodging, ghosts and a clutch shockwave, Faker survived 1v4 as the Madison Square Garden crowd roared loudly in the background.
When the next Baron was born, SKT kept their pair and top laner mid lane to continue a push. With ROX in sight, Bengie’s Lee Sin and Faker’s Oriana sneak up on the Baron. Along with the Elder Dragon Buff, SKT won the series, qualified for the finals and won the 2016 World Championship.
kkOma reflected on the series at The Longshot last year, echoing the sentiment of many LoL fans, “This is one of the greatest five matches of all time. I won’t forget this match until I die.”
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