G2's perseverance at the forefront of the semifinals
G2 Esports were on the backfoot for most of the series as SK Telecom T1 constantly cornered them and secured Baron Nashors and Drakes as they willed. As a result, despite winning 3-1, they spent 2.3% of total game time leading in gold (meaning SKT T1 led for 97.7% of it all). However, the European team’s macro senses allowed them to target SKT T1 at their weakest and to secure rotations other teams would have thought too risky.
G2 Esports’ team compositions centered around team fighting, a field where SK Telecom T1 usually excels. However, their knowledge of SKT T1’s weaknesses in champion pool allowed them to manipulate drafts to their advantage. Their use of Ornn and Gragas also proved devastating, allowing G2 to reset team fights (or to set them to their advantage), often before or after SKT T1 had used their ultimates.
SK Telecom T1 found themselves burning two bans on red side: Pantheon and Qiyana, the latter at which neither Faker nor Clid had proven proficient during scrimmages and solo queue. In the final game, SKT T1 were cornered with picking it instead, with Faker doing his best at the pick but ultimately mispositioning during the game deciding team fights.
As it happened
G2 Esports were on the backfoot all four games, but it was not for lack of initiative. To the exception of Game 3, G2 secured first blood through Mikyx’s engages and roams, starting a roaming war with SK Telecom T1. The games primarily differed in the situations G2 and SKT T1 found themselves in after a litany of roams and ambushes set the mid game stage ablaze.
In Game 1, G2’s botched roam from Caps’s Ryze and his disadvantage against Faker’s Neeko puts G2 on the reactive, pushing the lanes SK Telecom T1 are not contesting and surrendering minor objectives as they came. As soon as Ryze scaled to form, G2 sought team fights and sent Caps on split-pushing duty. As a result, SK Telecom T1 were unable to close the game out despite eeking out paper-thin team fight victories. On the other hand, a 33:15 Baron Nashor situation allowed G2 Esports to claim a 5-for-1 ace and to close the game after 34:28 of intense action.
The second game, G2’s sole loss of the series, started on shaky grounds as a Level 1 play allowed Faker’s LeBlanc to get rolling early against Caps’s Ryze. More importantly, Clid and Faker (on Lee Sin and LeBlanc) coordinated a red side jungle takeover and neutralized Jankos’s Jarvan IV when it came to objectives. The many skirmishes that ensued also allowed Teddy’s Yasuo and Effort’s Gragas proved decisive in mid and late-game scenarios. Although G2 traded objectives as they came, they ultimately yielded after Clid’s Lee Sin (level 16) stole Elder Drake, the ensuing team fight serving to highlight SKT T1’s decisiveness, with a 5-0 ace at the 35th minute.
For a while it seemed as if Game 3 would follow the same format, as Khan’s Renekton grabbed two early kills on Wunder’s Camille—the first one after an impressive Level 3 solo tower dive. However, Jankos’s decisive ganks rebalanced the top lane, allowing Wunder to scale into a team fight menace, despite SKT T1’s best attempt at stopping that scaling attempt in a 22-minute mark split-push shut down.
Despite their gold lead, SKT T1 were unable to break through the mid lane turrets, let alone contend in team fights starting the 24-minute mark, when G2 scored a 4-for-2 around the outer mid lane turret. The Korean team’s distress became obvious when their Baron Nashor claim (30:10) backfires with Faker’s Ryze being the sole survivor, only for G2 to seal the deal three minutes later in an extended 5-for-2 mid inhibitor siege.
With their tournament lives on the line in Game 4, SK Telecom T1 cast their lot on Qiyana, denying it from G2 Esports’ waiting hands. Although Faker used the champion to great effect in the early and mid-game team fights through roams in the top lane (9:30) and bot lane (10:55 and 17:00), he was unable to use the champion to great effect against G2’s split-and-conquer team fight composition.
G2’s composition was especially problematic, as Gragas and Olaf could separate damage dealers from their front line and lock them down, with Wunder’s Ornn slowing SKT T1’s recovery. For a while, SK Telecom T1 circumvented that difficulty as G2 clumped together in a mid lane push at the 23rd minute and conceded five kills and Baron Nashor. However, costly mispositioning events from Mata’s Nautilus and Faker’s Qiyana (when diving too far behind enemy lines) led to G2 Esports claiming their first Baron Nashor of the series at the 31st minute.
None could have prepared for the series’ ending: after Perkz’s death in a 1-4 pressure situation (and G2’s claim of the bot lane inhibitor and a Drake), SK Telecom T1 responded with a push through the mid lane, but overstayed long enough for Perkz to respawn. The ensuing team fight yielded the Croatian bot laner a quadrakill, and his team the victory.
It's D-Day! The League of Legends Worlds 2019 Grand Finals just ended with the win of FunPlus Phoenix. G2 Esports failed to achieve the Grand Slam, and lost 0-3 while facing the LPL champions.