Chinese team OMG and SKT Telecom move on to the semifinals at League of Legends' World Championship.
Royal Club Huang Zu’s underdog status lasted all of 33 minutes, the length of their first quarterfinals game against their fellow Chinese rivals OMG. After that victory, if they were not instant-frontrunners, they were at least one of the most frighteningly expert, aggressive teams remaining in the League of Legends World Championship race.
Neither Royal Club nor OMG held anything back. They went straight at each other from the opening seconds of both their games, with constant gank attempts and early roaming pressure, turning the entire map into a war zone. Royal Club jumped out to an early but narrow lead in Game 1 after giving up first blood, picking off OMG members and taking objectives at a steady pace. But OMG still seemed to be the better fighting team, annihilating Royal Club 4-0 on the back end of a dragon, and cutting the lead to a thousand gold and seemingly putting Royal Club on tilt.
Suddenly everything was blowing up in their faces. Wong “Tabe” Pak Kan and Jian “Uzi” Zi Hao were killed in the bottom lane and gave up a tower to Gao “Gogoing” Di Ping’s powerful Jax, while jungler Liu “Lucky” Jun Jie lost a red buff before getting murdered by Yu “Cool” Jia Jun. OMG just looked like a more coordinated team, and Royal Club didn’t seem like they could get back into the game.
But nobody reckoned on Uzi’s uncannily perfect Caitlyn play, least of all OMG. With Royal Club desperately pushing mid, OMG looked to get the crushing teamfight that would let them begin the endgame. In a manner of speaking, that’s exactly what they got as Uzi melted down to a sliver of health… and then just refused to die. There he was, just unloading on the OMG team as they began shifting to other targets. Gogoing went down and Guo “san” Jun Liang reacted too late to deliver the killing blow and perished a second later.
OMG still had a lead, but Royal Club weren’t hesitating to take an advantage. They immediately started Baron, and sure enough, OMG showed up to break up the attempt. While Cool killed Tabe right at the start, the rest of the team turned the fight to make it a 3-1 exchange. Meanwhile, Gogoing was trying to even the game by single-handedly taking down the bottom inhibitor, forcing Royal Club to defend that lane. It didn’t work, however, as Royal Club took a dragon, then cleared the bottom lane before initiating a siege on OMG’s own inhibitor turret.
OMG’s positional edge was wiped out as their super minions ran straight into the full Royal Club squad. Finally, Royal Club came in and took the inhibitor after a short, sharp fight. Rather than turn around, however, they kept pushing in to the nexus as OMG were still down a Zyra and Jax. They fended off OMG as they came back to full strength, then took down the nexus to put OMG’s back against the wall.
OMG never really came back. While they started Game 2 just as aggressively, Royal Club were firmly in control of the game from the first exchange through to the end. A huge part of their power, once again, came from Uzi and his unbelievable AD play. Royal Club got their first ace shortly at 17 minutes, then took a blisteringly fast Baron to really leave OMG teetering. They took an in mid inhibitor while they had the Baron buff, then rotated to top and waited to spring their trap.
WIth the full Royal Club squad skirmishing along OMG’s inner top turret, OMG had no choice but to defend, but the waves of super minions marching up the middle lane to the nexus turrets eventually forced OMG to split up. Cool headed back to the nexus to clear out the wave… and in the meantime Royal Club sprang forward to crush the suddenly under-gunned defenders. Before Cool could come back, three of his teammates were dead and the game was now firmly out of hand. OMG staked everything on one last teamfight a few moments later… and got shot in the back by Uzi’s Vayne, who ended the game at 9/2/4.
The scary thing is there wasn’t much you could point to OMG doing that was wrong. They just weren’t able to keep pace with Royal Club’s perfect fight choreography, and ability to push their champs right up to the edge. If OMG ended up getting beaten so badly by Royal Club, the rest of the Worlds semi-finalists may have a problem on their hands. Fnatic have four days to find a solution before their Saturday semi-final at the Galen Center.
SK Telecom T1, on the other hand, may still have what it takes to dominate this tournament. They ran over the Gama Bears without breaking a sweat, never really letting the Taiwanese hopefuls into either game. While the Bears were game enough, even showing SKT some aggression in the first game, the Bears were really bad at managing fights well enough to land a killing blow. Time and again they’d watch SKT players retreat to their towers while their own spells were on cooldown and their summoners spells were burned, while all of SKT’s gank attempts hit home.
By Game 2, Gama Bears’ top laner Chou “Steak” Lu Hsi was effectively broken, unable to do anything in his lane except feed kills to SKT whenever they had a moment to come gank him. That, in turn, helped cause the disaster to cascade across the the rest of the Bears squad, as they fell to SKT with 28 deaths and just five kills.
But it wasn’t a victory with many lessons. SK Telecom entered as heavy favorites, and they met the expectations set out for them. But all the teams remaining in the tournament are far more dangerous, and SKT may not be able to be as methodical and controlled as they were tonight. Especially not if they end up playing the utterly fearless Royal Club.
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