Though the hopes of Europe, and indeed the west, laid on H2K’s shoulders, it was clear the Korea is still just too far ahead of other regions. Samsung showed a level of competence on the macro level that only LCK teams have shown thus far, and that’s a gap the west (and indeed LPL and LMS teams) are struggling to close, it may only be getting wider every year. Despite some spirited performances, the series wasn’t even close.
MISS FORTUNE RETURNS
Game 1 saw the return of Miss Fortune support as Samsung’s CoreJJ pulled it out against Vander’s Zyra. It was a predictable pick considering Samsung scrimmed ROX before the Semifinals and CoreJJ’s history as an AD carry, but H2K clearly thought they had the answer, and for a while it looked like they did. They foolishly allowed Ambition to pick Nidalee, however, and gave us an early indication that H2K would struggle to draft good comps over the series, much to the disappointment of fans.
If there was one shining light for H2K in this series it was jungler Jankos, who proved he was one of the absolute best at this tournament and certainly the best in the west. His Olaf in game 1 gave H2K a fighting chance, as they skirmished admirably, running over Samsung’s back line for the majority of the game. If there was ever a pick to punish Miss Fortune support, Olaf is that pick, however we once again saw the return of an old enemy for H2K: the baron.
H2K do not set up barons particularly well, and this game was no exception. While Cuvee powered up on Ekko, H2K attempted a very risky baron and ended up getting completely aced in the resulting fight. Crown, who inexplicably was allowed to play Viktor twice in this series, blew up H2K’s members with a full spell rotation, while Cuvee teleported in and cleaned up H2K for a triple kill. From there, with the baron and two mountain drakes, Cuvee became unkillable and pushed down turrets with ease. H2K’s competent early game was undone, though they never really had an advantage. Despite winning skirmishes they consistently lost objectives and were constantly behind in gold.
CROWN IS KING
Game 2 was similarly close for a large portion of the game. H2K decided to ban the three champion from game 1 they thought were a problem: Miss Fortune, Ekko and Viktor, while securing Ryze for Ryu. Curiously they allowed Cuvee to late rotation Jayce instead of picking it for Odoamne, and put Odo on Rumble. They switched out Zyra for Karma, but allowed Ruler to pick his favourite Jhin while Jankos traded Olaf for Lee Sin.
Again Jankos was the highlight for H2K in the early game, focusing top lane as he had done in game 1 while H2K’s bot lane absorbed pressure as usual. Unfortunately for H2K Ryu again lost to Crown in the mid lane, falling to a huge cs deficit as the game progressed. Cuvee became too much for Odoamne to handle again, as the Korean top laner repeatedly solo killed Odoamne with the Jayce pick. Quite why H2K deviated from their winning strategy in Quarters is a mystery, but they really struggled with these picks. Samsung picked up the baron, they cracked open H2K’s base and secured their second win of the series, putting them just one win away from the Final.
By the third game it was clear who the winner of this series was, as H2K completed their capitulation and Samsung soared to a 3-0 win. Again Cuvee won the top lane, while Crown was allowed to pick Viktor again to put Ryu’s Ryze in the dumpster. FORG1VEN could not influence this series on the Sivir pick, and Samsung banned his favoured Caitlyn pick in all three games. With this last victory Samsung finally eliminated the hopes of the west, taking their tally of western team knockouts to four this tournament (Splyce and TSM is Groups, Cloud9 in Quarters and H2K in Semis).
They now face reigning world champions SKT in the Final in Los Angeles on Saturday October 29th in the Staples Center. SKT will go into the match heavy favourites to win their third Worlds, but Samsung are clearly capable of giving them a run for their money. Tune in to the Final next week as we crown the 2016 League of Legends World Champions!