SK Telecom T1 vs. Samsung Galaxy (4th November)
It happened. At the end of this tumultuous tournament we find ourselves almost exactly where we were one year ago.
Who could have expected SKT’s 3-2 Quarterfinal against Misfits, or their 3-2 Semifinal against Royal Never Give Up. Some critics have pointed to this as evidence that SKT are hanging by a thread. On the other side of the table, Samsung Galaxy were busy crushing Longzhu in straight games. Later they dropped only one game in their semifinal series against WE. Impressive results, to be sure, but don’t forget that we saw something very similar last year: in the 2016 semis Samsung swept H2k, whereas SKT seemed only to scrape by ROX Tigers at 3-2. Of course, in was SKT that eventually took the trophy.
A 3-2 win means the same end result as a 3-0 win — it’s a win. SKT aren’t the best team in the world because they dominate the competition. There is no domination at this level of play — every team is so good that they are all scraping through against each other. SKT are just better scrapers. They’re better at reacting to a loss, better at resisting the tilt, and, just slightly more often, they can stretch an advantage against the opponent further than an opponent could do against them.
That why matches are played in a series of 5 games. So that the subtle differences between top teams don’t get drowned out in the chaos and cacophony of Summoner’s Rift. The tournament goal is not to win the most matches, but to win every Bo5. SK Telecom T1 are still the best at that.
I have to add in here, quietly, that I actually want Samsung to win. I just can’t say in good conscience that they’re the better team in this situation.
Annoyingly, the odds for Samsung at the bookies aren’t even that great. Just a bit more than double-your-money isn’t quite tempting enough to bet on an unlikely scenario. Maybe trying looking at fNatic in the Dota 2 Pit League instead.