SK Telecom T1 added another international League of Legends tournament win to its prolific trophy case Sunday, sweeping Fnatic 3-0 in the IEM Katowice finals.
When the tournament started Friday, SKT was expected to be in contention to win it. Sure, the defending Worlds champions have started the LCK split with a disappointing 5-4 record, clocking in at sixth place in the standings, but SKT was the only LCK representative in the field and still has a star-studded roster.
But Fnatic? Just like SKT, Fnatic raced through the 2015 Summer Split with an undefeated domestic campaign. And just like SKT, Fnatic has struggled this spring after the loss of its star top laner (and jungler, and support). The defending European champions are 8-6, in fifth place in the EU LCS. A last place finish in a tough Group B wouldn't have been too much of a surprise at Katowice.
Instead, Fnatic upset defending North American champions Counter Logic Gaming and first place Chinese teams Qiao Gu Reapers and Royal Never Give Up, meeting SKT in the final. And the defending World Champions greeted Fnatic with a 3-0 sweep.
Here's how it went down:
Game 1: SKT win
Bans: Jhin, Lissandra, Nautilus; Lulu, Nidalee, Kalista
|Duke (Poppy)||Gamsu (Trundle)|
|Blank (Gragas)||Spirit (Lee Sin)|
|Faker (Corki)||Febiven (Zed)|
|Bang (Ezreal)||Rekkles (Kog'Maw)|
|Wolf (Braum)||Klaj (Alistar)|
After a pretty even early game, Fnatic managed to take a mid-game lead thanks to some very good picks from Lee Sin and Zed. Ultimately, the European side didn't draft enough waveclear to deal with SKT's poke composition, and once Faker bought a Quicksilver Sash it was too hard for Spirit to lock him down. Fnatic's heavy, attack damage-focused composition also allowed SKT to counter hard by stacking armor. Duke's Poppy was just about unstoppable by the end of the game.
Fnatic looked in pretty good position after laning phase, winning a fight 3-1 at 23:50 after Febiven solo killed Faker for the second time. But SKT maintained objective control, grabbing the first three Dragons pretty much uncontested.
At 29 minutes with the kill lead, Fnatic engaged a team fight in the mid lane and took out Bang. But SKT turned the fight around, getting two kills.
Two minutes later, SKT took Baron. Two minutes after that, Game 1 was over.
Game 2: SKT win
Bans: Gragas, Kalista, Corki; Jhin, Nidalee, Lulu
|Gamsu (Nautilus)||Duke (Poppy)|
|Spirit (Lee Sin)||Blank (Elise)|
|Febiven (Lissandra)||Faker (Vel'Koz)|
|Rekkles (Kog'Maw)||Bang (Ezreal)|
|Klaj (Thresh)||Wolf (Braum)|
Like the first game of the series, Fnatic used its composition to pick off SKT members and set up some advantageous opportunities. But like the first game, SKT's poke and peel were far too much to deal with, as Duke had another fantastic game on Poppy while Faker and Bang just dealt loads of damage throughout.
This was Faker's first professional game on Vel'Koz, and while Bang's Ezreal had another standout performance the Vel'Koz was particularly effective at destroying Fnatic in tight corridors. After a strong lane swap started the game in Fnatic's favor, SKT picked off Spirit and won a fight to help even up the tower score at 2-2. Less than a minute later, SKT pulled off a clean ace to set up Dragon 2.
SKT pretty firmly held control of the game from there on out, but Fnatic was able to extend the game with a few picks from Gamsu, able to play his strong Nautilus after it was banned out in Game 1. A pick on Blank 37 minutes in looked like it could set up Fnatic for a Baron and start the comeback in earnest, but SKT was able to win the resulting 4 vs. 5 fight, 5-0, marching into the base to pick up the win.
Game 3: SKT win
Bans: Jhin, Lulu, Gragas; Poppy, Braum, Ezreal
|Duke (Nautilus)||Gamsu (Graves)|
|Blank (Nidalee)||Spirit (Lee Sin)|
|Faker (Zed)||Febiven (Corki)|
|Bang (Lucian)||Rekkles (Kalista)|
|Wolf (Alistar)||Klaj (Thresh)|
Fnatic went ahead and banned the Poppy, Braum and Ezreal that SKT won the first two games with, but it didn't matter. Gamsu picked up First Blood seven minutes in after a nicely-timed tower dive, but from that point on it was all SKT. The defending Worlds champions won a 3-0 fight 10 minutes in and asserted their lead from then on out.
At 15 minutes, Fnatic attempted to dive Duke but it went horribly awry. The ensuing fight went 5-1 in favor of SKT, and the advantage just pressed on. Another attempted pick by Fnatic went 5-3 in SKT's favor at 19 minutes, and Fnatic surrendered just a few minutes later.