Photo: Daily eSports (데일리e스포츠)
Welcome to our second half of the OGN Champions Summer preview. This time we will look into MVP Ozone vs. SKT T1.
Will be SKT T1 able to get revenge for their last brutal defeat at the hands of MVP Ozone or will MVP be able to win once again and get a shot at the title defense?! Find it out tonight at OGN.
By: Chexx & Frost
Inven: Congratulations on reaching the semi-final. What are your thoughts so far?
Homme: We're just very happy. We won’t stop at the semi-final and we will prepare with the intention to advance to the grand final once again.
DanDy: Because we reached the semi-final again I feel happy. I feel very good since we came so far two times in a row.
Imp: It seemed like we just casually reached the round of 4. It's the second time that we reached the round of 4 but we hope to show a good performance.
Dade: We reached the semi-final properly. I think we deserve to come this far. (laughs)
Mata: Happy that we've come so far. We will train even more.
Inven: You will face SKT T1. What do you think about that?
Mata: We don’t have any particular concerns. We are a team that does not worry a lot.
Dade: I think SKT is a team with a strong mid lane. From now on, we intend to destroy it. This season they are the dark horse and we will try so that they will remain the dark horse forever. (laughs)
Homme: They seem to be the dark horse in this season. But CTU was a dark horse, too. Our specialty is putting dark horses to sleep. (laughs) We defeated CTU and we prepared with the intention in our minds to put SKT T1 to sleep too.
Imp: Our team seems to be very alive. SKT T1 was mostly placed against weak teams but we will find out if they can show a good performance against a strong team. This time, we will show a form that will be well-matched to our opponents’ record.
DanDy: I think we’re dealing with an easy opponent here. I’ve got no special opinion about that.
Inven: Let’s talk about SKT1’s weak points for a bit.
Mata: I’m not really bothered, I don’t really care that much, so I wouldn’t know. (laughs)
DanDy: They’re easy to beat. I can’t think of a weakness in particular.
Homme: It’s an alright team overall, but the individual players seem to care a little too much about their personal mechanics.
Imp: I consider Piglet as a player who can win with any champion he chooses, but by choosing Vayne, he continuously seems to want to show his best perfomance. He always Tumbles very well, (laughs) but compared to last season, he doesn’t seem to have made much progress. It’s similar to when I last checked.
Dade: Bengi doesn’t appear to have much lane presence.
Inven: What do you think about your lane’s counterpart?
Mata: I think they are not really good. They are not a perfect duo. I feel they have only a high KDA because they met a lot of weak teams. This time we will use our true strength.
Dade: I think he is a good player. But like last time he will lose again.
Homme: In comparison to the old days, Impact improved a lot. In fact, I thought that he wasn't a good player in the past. In the past he was boastful and overestimated his ability but now his form seemed to have improved a lot.
DanDy: He is a weak jungler as it seems. His ganking route is very obvious - this seems to be a weak point.
Imp: They're a bot duo that plays decently? But PoohMandu's champion pool is really small. He said he has a card up his sleeve, but he has no impact in the game even though he has prepared.
Inven: Which point or variable will you need to pay the most attention to?
Mata: Mid needs to be balanced.
Homme: That Faker runs amok?
Imp: Faker’s genius?
Dade: When I don't worry that I will win. (laughs)
DanDy: Piglet’s Vayne.
Inven: Which advantage does MVP Ozone have over SKT T1?
Dade: Our teamwork is strong.
Homme: Unfailing teamwork and individual strengths.
Imp: Normally we have a weak mental state but in a tournament setting, it gets better. (laughs) And good communication and great confidence in each other.
DanDy: DanDy’s sharp ganks.
Inven: Please say something to SKT T1 before you meet each other!
Mata: My style is to say something after I win, not before. We will win and seal the ticket to the world finals.
Dade: We will win and seal the ticket to the world finals. And I will destroy Faker.
Homme: We will win and advance to the world finals.
Imp: I will play like I usually do. We will vanquish our evil foe through teamwork. (laughs)
DanDy: I will give him a lesson in jungling. When I show them the difference we will win.
Inven: Hello! Congratuations on reaching the semi-final. First, let’s hear your thoughts on reaching the semi-final twice in a row.
Impact: I thought it was only natural for us to reach the semi-final!
Piglet: I feel great about it. But, I think I will be happy only when I beat MVP Ozone.
Bengi: This time, we will do our best to have better results than last time.
Faker: I am really happy we reached the semi-final twice in a row.
PoohManDu: I share the same feeling. To be honest, I have nothing to say other than saying that I feel great. But we will do better!
Inven: What are your thoughts on meeting MVP Ozone as your opponents?
Impact: They're a strong team? I thought they played well since the spring season, but I did not expect them to win the whole thing.
Piglet: The team that we lost to because we didn’t play well. They are strong, but I think we are stronger now.
Bengi: Nothing particular. I’ll hold my thoughts until we win.
PoohManDu: The team where the jungle, mid, and top laner shines. But I think it will be an easy win for us this time.
Faker: Mm. A natural enemy for us.
Inven: What are your thoughts on MVP Ozone’s weakness?
Impact: Nothing comes to my mind at the moment. The metagame right now is good for MVP Ozone. MVP Ozone’s Homme plays like a tank and not a carry which suits him perfectly in this meta. If I were to pick one, I think they are not able to close out a game when the timing is right for them to win.
PoohManDu: I think they only look at their win/loss ratio against their opponents and will play lazily. To be honest, I was shocked watching their games against CTU.
Piglet: The fans will be able to see their weakness with their own eyes after watching this semifinal. I think their form is not up to our level after watching their recent games.
Bengi: I am a stronger player than Dandy is (laughs). Other than that, I think their control of in-game tempo is lacking. After watching them drag the games out against CTU, I don’t think they play that well.
Faker: I think Dade plays extremely well, but I think he will play lazily because of that.
Inven: What are your thoughts on your lane counterpart?
Impact: I think Homme is the same as me. We both have barely any impact on the game. (laughs) I think it will depend on how the picks go, but Homme plays extremely well with bruisers.
Faker: I feel Dade just gets carried by the team.
Bengi: I thought they played well, but not after watching some of the recent games. The drafting will be important.
Piglet: We will win our lane if PoohManDu plays better than Mata. Not even that, if PoohManDu lands at least 2 more skillshots than Mata, then we will win. PoohManDu really cannot hit his skillshots.
PoohManDu: What are you talking about! That’s not true. I land skillshots excellently. But I think Piglet will play really well regardless. (laughs)
Inven: Anything particular that you need to watch out against MVP Ozone?
Piglet: It will be important how we play the early game. Also, map control through wards.
Piglet: Nah, I don’t think they will invade?
Bengi: The jungler and support. They are extremely important in gaining map control.
impact: Jungler and support for me too as well. I have no idea in which direction the support will come from.
Faker: I don’t think they prepared any special strategies so there won’t be anything hidden.
Inven: How about strengths that SKT T1 have, that MVP Ozone lack?
PoohMandu: We have me. (laughs)
Faker: No way. That is our biggest weakness..
Bengi. Actually, he might evolve his play when we least expect it. PoohManDu “evolved” his play about three times during the two seasons. (laughs)
Impact: He’s a support that drains his own team’s energy and not the enemy’s. I once tried to mute him because he was so noisy in the chat.
PoohManDu: Okay,okay. Mmm, I am good at getting onboard. Taking the bus is my specialty.
Bengi: We have our “coach” who was a legend in Chaos before he left for the army (T/N: Korea’s equivalent of WC3 Dota) supporting us. There is no way we can lose.
Faker: I think we are good at dictating the tempo of the game.
Piglet: Faker is too serious. (laughs). Mmm, there is no way we can lose with our “Psychopath” , “Crazy High School Student”, “Best Jungler in the World”, and hopeless PoohManDu.
Impact: That’s right. We have “Best Jungler in the World”. We also have Piglet who thinks every AD carry is beneath him, Faker who always says “I win” when we warn him of an incoming gank, and PoohManDu who plays more mid than support. Therefore, we will not lose.
Inven: Any last words for your opponent, MVP Ozone?
Bengi: I won’t be sure until playing the first set, but we will win easily.
Impact: I think the first set is the most important. If the jungle plays out okay, then we will win. If everyone does what they are supposed to do, we will win.
Piglet: This time, I will get a kill and win. I will carry.
Faker: We will win 3:0.
PoohMandDu: As for me, I will take the bus. (laughs)
A Dish Best Served Cold
If we assume the past performances of both teams to be consistent, the second semi-final of Champions Summer between SK Telecom T1 and MVP Ozone may well be the less interesting of the two. With imp at the helm, Ozone systematically took down SK Telecom in four games, completely playing around the rookie team's Faker-centric strategy. However, even in their 3:1 victory, there is something to be said about MVP Ozone's treatment of SK Telecom. Despite being one of the best aggressive mid laners of Korea, not once did dade attempt to outmuscle Faker in lane. DanDy rarely showed his face in the mid lane, opting to help other lanes instead and shut down bengi as per his usual counterjungle-oriented playstyle.
On the surface, one could not be blamed for assuming that Faker simply did not pose a threat to MVP Ozone. Ozone's play seemed to flow logically – their mid laner is not a threat, so focus on shutting down other lanes instead. However, careful analysis of the match reveals a much different story. Their treatment of Faker, in fact, was one that was born of massive respect for his skills. Looking at his games in the two seasons of Champions he has played in so far, Faker has never been down to the point where he isn't contributing to his team. Even in brutal 1v2 lanes, Faker still manages to amass items and have an impact on the game (even on Kassadin, a notable weak 1v2 laner).
Ozone's solution was genius. They realised it would take far too much effort to shut down Faker, but they also realised that League of Legends, especially in Korea, has progressed to the point where one player cannot solo carry his team. Resources that would have been inefficiently (or even wasted) against Faker were instead redirected to his team instead. Without the necessary support network that a carry like Faker needs to fulfil his role, SK Telecom T1 crumbled under MVP Ozone's superior carries.
And now, the two teams meet for a second time in the semi-final round. SK Telecom T1 comes in strong, having not dropped a single game out of the nine they have played in Champions Summer. If we count their victory in the third place match over CJ Entus Frost, the team is sitting at a whopping twelve wins in a row, rivalling CJ Entus Blaze's streak last season. Outside of a grand final finish, their performance last season was as good as any rookie team could wish for. The team has clearly grown since, with Impact and Piglet seriously stepping up their game. SK Telecom T1 is no longer reliant on their mid laner, and is now a two- or even three-threat team.
This time last year, MVP Ozone were an underdog team that had defied expectations by humiliating KT Rolster B and were looking to ride the hype train to the grand final, and possibly beyond. No one actually knew if they could do it – KT Rolster B simply looked weak, pressured by incredibly venomous netizen comments and choking, despite being the favourites to win at the beginning of the season. MVP Ozone looked like a team that just caught a lucky break, and questions still hung in the air as to whether or not they were championship material.
Once again, MVP Ozone are shrouded in mystery. Despite winning 3:0 over Chunnam Techno University, they did not look like the team that put down the rampaging beast that was CJ Entus Blaze in the grand final of Champions Spring. The optimist would conclude that they are hiding their cards, that they do not need to perform at 100% against lesser teams like Xenics Storm (whom they owe their one loss of the season to) or CTU. The pessimist would believe Faker's claims that Ozone have not had any quality practice as of late, that they have carried over bad habits from solo queue. The realist, however, is forced to acknowledge the possibility that MVP Ozone have regressed.
It seems insane that MVP Ozone have gotten weaker relative to other teams, but at this point in time it may well be reality. Though it may be true that they held back against CTU in terms of revealing strategies, there is no excuse for sloppy play. Ozone struggled to close out games against CTU, and often gave up early leads. Admittedly, it is not unusual for Ozone to suffer from early-game gold deficits, but as the team has improved over time, they have lost the early game less and less. The final wrench in the optimist's thinking is Ozone's weak drafting in their match against CTU. Their Zed pick in game 1 was sorely out of place, being picked into Ahri and Nocturne in a team composition featuring a high-dive frontline and high-peel backline. Ozone clearly suffered a little, not having a reliable way to kill NonameD's Zac, but clinched the win with dade's splitpush.
The last key factor of this semi-final is that it will be played on patch 3.10. Although patch 3.10 has nerfed the early fast push strategies utilised by some teams, the quarter-final round of Champions Summer has already shown us that teams were moving away from those strategies anyway. Additionally, patch 3.10 has been live on the Korean server for a while, so it can be assumed teams were practising on it. The true impact of patch 3.10 lies in its nerfs to popular champions, particularly Elise, Ryze, Twisted Fate and Vayne. With those champions being highly popular picks in Korea up until patch 3.10, different picks may be expected from the teams.
With prize money and circuit points on the line, the ends certainly do justify the means in Champions, but one cannot help but wonder if MVP Ozone are doing things right. It is incredibly difficult to tip them above SK Telecom T1 in this semi-final round based purely off results. However, everyone loves a surprise, and if any remaining team in Champions Summer is going to surprise us, MVP Ozone is the most likely candidate if their miracle run in Champions Spring is any indication of what they are capable of. SK Telecom T1 are out for revenge, and with Faker and Piglet at the helm, there is only one way to serve it up - ice cold.
Impact vs. Homme
Homme is looking to earn the right to defend his trophy
Impact vs. Homme
Homme is looking to earn the right to defend his trophy
Last time Ozone and SK Telecom clashed, the subtitle used to describe the match-up between Impact and Homme was Minimum Impact Gaming due to both players taking on defensive, team-oriented roles and selecting appropriate champions. Since then, however, the two top lane veterans have experienced an unusual amount of growth for players that have been around as long as they have. Impact has gradually been more, well, impactful on SK Telecom's games. Out of the two top laners, Impact is still more likely to carry a game, but his consistency has improved in comparison to Homme and he can now be considered a high-level top laner with the likes of Shy and Flame. Homme, similarly, has shown himself to be more capable of dominating his lane and contributing towards his team's wins, while retaining the consistency that was his greatest strength.
Impact's picks this season have been well-suited to both 1v1 and 1v2 lanes. Zac has finally taken off as a standard top lane pick in Korea, and Impact has happily integrated the green blob into his roster, picking him four out of nine games and drawing a ban once (the last game against CTU, where Riris and company realised that Impact's Zac was handing Ozone free wins). Shen and Kennen have made three appearances between the two, as Impact has proven his consistency on the defensive ninja picks. Singed made his return to Champions as Impact has selected him twice, utilising an unusual strategy in which he would proxy the first wave of the game, then use the push advantage to keep the enemy top laner confined to his tower for the rest of the laning phase. Lastly, Diana has come out once in a mostly joke game against MVP Blue, which SK Telecom ended up winning anyway.
Homme has proved himself to be the stalwart anchor of MVP Ozone once again, reflecting in his champion selections. Yorick made three appearances during the group stage, and so far only Homme has managed to claim victory with the Gravedigger. Shen, an MVP Ozone standard, has been picked up three times, including twice against CTU. Zac, Kennen and a throwaway Dr. Mundo pick fill out the gaps as Homme once again defers to strong tanks capable of winning lane. His Shen performance has especially been impressive, as Shen appears to be the champion that Homme is most likely to dominate on, both in and outside of the laning phase.
Both top laners do look quite strong at the moment, and while they have yet to achieve the same level of greatness as CJ Entus' top laners, their performances for the rest of the season may finally propel the defensive top lane playstyle into the limelight and overshadow the offensive carry style of players like Flame. The match-up will come down to champion selections – it will be unlikely for the Shen vs. Zac match-up to make an appearance as both teams are now aware of how heavily the match-up swings in Zac's favour (given minimal jungle interference). Drafting will be absolutely crucial for the top laners as they share a more-or-less identical champion pool.
Zac will be an incredibly important pick to contest in this match. If inSec's utter destruction of Frost on the Secret Weapon was anything to go by, Zac is an incredibly powerful top lane pick that cannot be allowed to fall into enemy hands. Impact and Homme have delivered impressive performances on Zac this season, as the tanky initiator is perfect for their supportive playstyles. The last meeting between the two resulted in Homme's victory, though at no point did Impact really look like Homme had his number – he was simply contributing less to his team. For this reason, more aggressive picks like Vladimir and Singed may make an appearance, allowing SK Telecom to enjoy the freedom of a strong split pusher and allowing bengi to devote his attention away from the top lane.
bengi vs. DanDy
DanDy, unchained and merciless
bengi vs. DanDy
DanDy, unchained and merciless
Two of Korea's best junglers come head-to-head, but under different circumstances. Though DanDy once looked like a jungler with incredible potential that struggled under pressure, he has now come into his own as a player, finally tapping into his potential and being released from captivity, much like Jamie Foxx's character in Django Unchained. bengi was DanDy's punching bag, the springboard that he used to become the absolute monster of a jungler he is today. Revenge is surely on bengi's mind as he has a new objective as a jungler – to continue his carnivorous role on SK Telecom T1 while evading the constant counterjungle force that is DanDy.
Unlike Watch or CloudTemplar, bengi's champion selections do not really fall on either end of the herbivore/carnivore scale, proving that versatility is a good asset for a jungler. Nunu has been picked a whopping six out of nine times by bengi, with powerful early-game jungling and counterjungling, as well as solid late-game support and acceptable ganking strength. Like many Nunu players, bengi opts for the Sightstone rush in order to ascertain the enemy jungler's position, and countergank in the same vein as DanDy's textbook play. Elise, Rammus and Jarvan IV fill the gaps, fitting in with bengi's philosophy of snowballing his lanes. bengi's performance has been a critical factor in SK Telecom's recent success, with the Jin Air Falcons stating that stopping bengi was vital in winning. Clearly, they were unable to stop bengi and SK Telecom have flourished under the early-game playmaking of the sophomore jungler.
DanDy has been one of the most exciting junglers to watch this season, riding the wave of success that came with a grand final victory to improve even more than he did last season. His second game against Xenics Blast brought a mindblowing performance on Lee Sin, capped with a five-man Dragon's Rage to end ManyReason and his squad. DanDy has picked Lee Sin four times, with two bans against him and two bans from his own team, leaving only one game where Lee Sin was not picked when available. Elise has been picked twice as his other go-to carnivore, while Evelynn, Jarvan IV and Nunu fill out his revealed roster. The question of whether or not to ban Lee Sin will be of utmost importance to SK Telecom, as it appears that bengi prefers Nunu above all junglers currently. There is no doubt that DanDy is weaker without Lee Sin, but to leave bans up for the rest of his team could spell disaster.
Among a tournament of fantastic match-ups, bengi vs DanDy is potentially the most important so far. In the past, both junglers would almost determine their team's fate. SK Telecom T1, when lacking the ferocious ganks and snowballing that bengi brought to the table, would often crumble under their opponents' superior coordination. MVP Ozone, when lacking the protection that DanDy brought to their lanes, would watch helplessly as one side of the map would be overpowered and snowballed into a defeat. Both junglers have matured, and both teams have matured, no longer making this match-up the incredibly volatile one it was previously. However, neither of the two have had to play from behind recently, and if any snowball is to take place, it will be within the minds of one of these two top junglers.
bengi and DanDy no longer have a clear game plan set out in front of them. Their counterjungle play will take on a more important light as both realise that they cannot allow the other to act freely. Drafting will set the tone of the confrontation between the two – if Lee Sin is banned, it is likely that both teams will contest the Elise pick. If Nunu is picked up by SK Telecom, DanDy will have to adjust his game plan to deal with both a counterjungling threat and a team supporter. High-farm junglers like Evelynn could potentially make their debut among bengi and DanDy (the joke game that was Ozone vs Blast excluded) given favourable conditions, but due to Evelynn's weak dueling capabilities against other junglers in the early game, she will likely stay on the sidelines.
In their last meeting, bengi was simply not slippery enough for DanDy. Ozone's jungler stayed one step ahead, choosing to avoid Faker in the mid lane and instead reacting to bengi's advances on imp to give his carry more breathing room. It would be naïve to believe that this new match-up will mirror the first, now that the surprise factor of DanDy's ignoring Faker is gone. The impact that the two junglers will have on the tempo of the game rely somewhat on how much their mid laners seek to roam, and as such the combination of jungler and mid laner will be of elevated importance compare to other matches.
Faker vs. dade
The Australian Faker probably isn't as good on Leblanc as the Korean Faker
Faker vs. dade
The Australian Faker probably isn't as good on Leblanc as the Korean Faker
Faker and dade have had an impressive season thus far, returning to comfort picks and using their raw ability to overrun their opponents. No true threat has stepped up to either of the players thus far, though to be fair they are likely the strongest mid players in Korea at the moment. It may disappoint some, therefore, to see that this highly anticipated match-up came in the semi-final rather than the grand final. However, any showdown between young blood Faker and the most valuable player of Korean League of Legends is better than none. If we were to place the match-up on a sliding scale of action and excitement, the result will likely fall on either end.
Last season, we saw a mostly stagnant match-up in which Faker committed acts of genocide against minions, attaining absurd CS numbers on Karthus and Orianna while dade abused Faker's attraction to the Ozone minions to destroy other lanes and take down objectives instead with Kha'Zix and Ryze. However, we cannot forget that we are talking about Faker – the first to show Korea how much more destructive Leblanc was when moved to her intended-by-Riot position of mid lane rather than support. We cannot forget that dade piloted Zed to a complete, humiliating victory over CJ Entus Blaze. The potential for a high-octane, snowball-heavy lane is still present.
Faker cannot afford to hesitate in the way he pilots his selected champions against dade. Strong area-of-effect, high-burst picks suited to teamfights have been on Faker's radar this season, with three Orianna picks, one Gragas and one Syndra pick carrying SK Telecom's five-man. On the other end of mid lane picks, Faker has also picked up strong roaming assassins in Ahri, Diana, Kassadin and Zed. His champion pool is clearly wide, perhaps the widest of all mid laners in Korea (and certainly the widest this season) as he has selected seven champions over nine games. However, his preferred pick of Orianna has not appeared to be particularly special, unlike Ganked by Mom's spectacular performance on the Lady of Clockwork. Faker's greatest strength coming into this match is his unpredictability – though he may appear to favour certain champions, his talent on such a wide pool of champions will allow for more versatility in SK Telecom's strategies.
dade's array of picks this season have also been quite diverse. Old favourites Ryze and Karthus have made two appearances each, while new kid on the block Ezreal has also been picked twice. Jayce, Twisted Fate and Zed fill out dade's summer roster, though the Zed pick was questionable despite dade's strong performance. The roles could potentially be reversed this time around, as dade seems to prefer damage-dealing carries, while Faker values team utility in his picks, whether they be in teamfights or ganks. Ambition's playstyle appears to have been refined by dade, as he has farmed well and fulfilled his role in just about every game to date, bar his throwaway Jayce game against Xenics Storm. Korea's current number one will likely focus on farming up to become the second threat of MVP Ozone.
The outcome of the match-up will mostly be determined by Faker. Should he choose to try and shut down dade (no small feat in itself), the potential for the SK Telecom snowball to start rolling through Summoner's Rift is quite high. Faker has displayed his proficiency on the current popular anti-caster picks in Ahri and Kassadin, and may well choose them again against the disciplined farming tendencies of dade. Calculated aggression is the main strength of both of these players, with neither wasting any time spent outside of lane. With bengi and DanDy coming into the match with a different perspective from last time, a strong swing could still take place, as both Faker and dade have historically been quite aggressive players regardless of their champion selections.
Piglet and PoohManDu vs. imp and Mata
Piglet and Pooh doing what they do best -- farming
Piglet and PoohManDu vs. imp and Mata
Piglet and Pooh doing what they do best -- farming
The most anticipated bot lane match-up of Champions Summer is here at last – the current top two bot lanes will face off against each other for the first time since the semi-final round of Champions Spring. All four of the players have moved in different directions to how they played back in spring, displaying their growth as players. Newcomer Piglet is still finding his feet, though none can deny his abnormal talent as an AD carry. He has moved into a more threatening position, finally being the second threat to complement Faker. PoohManDu has shied away from unusual support picks such as Mordekaiser or Fiddlesticks, with the latter actually not drawing bans this season like it did in spring. His proficiency on new superstar support Nami has created many opportunities for SK Telecom to grasp victory.
imp has not been in the spotlight as much as before, partly because the rest of MVP Ozone is now more well-equipped to win games and partly because his philosophy as an AD carry has changed towards being a part of a team rather than the team's sole hope of victory. Mata has approached God's throne, performing well on the standard supports and starting to create plays rather than default to protecting imp. The result is two highly improved bot lanes that have been the foundation of their team's growth, not only in ability but in versatility and coordination.
No pretences exist as to Piglet's favoured champions – five games on Vayne and four on Caitlyn have all resulted in victory. Two teams have already declared Piglet's Caitlyn to be worthy of a ban – Najin White Shield and MVP Blue both banned Caitlyn against Piglet, with Najin White Shield actually banning in reaction to an amazing performance on the Sheriff rather than as a result of research. Piglet is topping the AD carry KDA competition, consistently maintaining a score of over 10. His support PoohManDu has played all of his games but one on Nami, displaying an uncanny ability to land two- or even three-man Aqua Prisons to start fights or disengage. With his other victory on the commonly-banned Thresh, it is clear that PoohManDu is not just another support hiding in the shadow of MadLife, but rather a strong contender capable of aggressive plays even on the more defensive Nami.
imp has shown himself to be not as reliant on Vayne as before, only picking her four times this season. Caitlyn follows up the rear with three picks, and Varus and Twitch fill out the gaps. Although imp has only selected Twitch once this season, the Plague Rat's absurd strength in the current metagame may incite him to pick him more over the traditional strong pick of Caitlyn or his signature Vayne. Mata's Thresh has escaped bans and picks four times, and Mata has promptly picked Thresh four times. His signature Zyra has come out once, alongside two Sona picks, and one pick each of Nami and Lulu. Mata's strengths are not funneled into one champion like PoohManDu, but rather spread evenly in a show of mastery over the support role rather than support champions.
Like with all of the other match-ups in this match, it is too difficult to pick a winner on paper. Any answer would be presumptuous, and we will have to wait to see who comes out on top. SK Telecom must be careful in leaving Thresh available for Mata, as Thresh has enabled many of Ozone's plays throughout the tournament. It is clear that PoohManDu favours Nami, but while strong, Nami does not have the huge impact on games that Thresh does. Some diversification on the part of PoohManDu may be necessary if SK Telecom seeks to gain an advantage over Ozone. No prizes as to which picks will be contested between the AD carries – Vayne and Caitlyn will be highly prized due to their great overall strength.
The bot lanes' roaming could definitely have an impact on the tempo of the games and how they play out. imp in particular has played less selfishly this season, grouping up with the rest of the team much earlier than in previous seasons. Piglet, on the other hand, has deigned to farm much more due to moving away from more team-oriented picks like Varus. It is unlikely that he can beat imp at his own game, however, and as such Piglet will likely play it safe in the high-pressure situation of the semi-final round and the right to face KT Bullets.
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