SKT Telecom T1 certainly didn’t act like a team that had just won a million dollars and hoisted the Summoner’s Cup over their heads in front of a sold-out Staples Center crowd at the League of Legends World Finals. After sweeping Royal Club in three straight dominating games, Jung "Impact" Eon-yeong said the team wasn’t overly excited about the victory and “need to continue to improve.”
Meanwhile, the team’s star mid-laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok told reporters in a postgame press conference that the Korean team’s special celebration never really materialized.
"We’ll go back to the hotel and continue practicing,” he said.
Even a joke that Faker might eat 10,000 fried chickens became a sober declaration that the team would probably save all their newfound prize money.
It might seem comically severe, but SKT’s no nonsense approach and self-discipline served them well at Friday’s night championship match against a well-regarded Chinese team in Royal Club – a team that many experts had picked to win at all. The Korean quintet didn’t look fazed by the spectacle of taking part in North America’s biggest ever eSports event. Instead, they stayed focused on their goal in bringing down their opponent’s Nexus each time.
They set the tone early in Game 1, when Faker notched first blood and a quick second kill with the booze-guzzling dwarf Gragas before the five minute mark. They pushed the advantage with a teamfight that saw them take down four Royal Club members with only two casualties – followed by a dragon farm to give them a three thousand gold advantage. A major battle later at the 29 minute mark spelled victory for SKT.
Royal Club put up a better fight in Game 2, vanquishing everyone on SKT’s roster early on to earn an ace and push their kill advantage to 10-7. Yet, SKT’s impeccable farming meant that the Korean team still kept a gold advantage. Several minutes later, they got ace of their own in the jungle and extended their advantage in turrets and treasure. The game lasted 38 minutes, but a push into Royal Club’s base and a quadra-kill from bengi's Jarvin spelled the end.
Many fans in attendance tried to rally Royal Club with a repeated chant of “Let’s go Royal, let’s go!” that reverberated around the Staples Center at the start of Game 3, but it seemingly fell on deaf ears. The Chinese team looked out of gas by mid-game. At the 14 minute mark, a possible double kill on the bottom lane ended up a stunning two-fer for SKT as Faker’s Gragas finished the destruction with a well-timed exploding barrel. Things just got worse for Royal Club, as another series of deaths led to a 19 minute Baron farm for their opponent. Less than two minutes later, SKT steamrolled their Royal Club’s vulnerable base and won the match.
After a quick exchanging of pleasantries, Royal Club quickly disappeared backstage, leaving SKT alone to bask in their sudden glory as the world’s #1 League of Legends team.