SK Telecom T1 have now won three League Of Legends World Championships out of a possible six. That is outrageous. Especially when you consider how many people actually play the game, even compared to other powerhouses.
How is this possible? The League Of Legends community is very good at postulating all sorts of things about players and teams, but what are the real reasons? Surely not something as simple as 'they have the best players'.
SKT during Season 6
After the ceremonial post-world-championship tournament elimination — in this case to challenge team Ever by 0-2 — SKT re-signed Faker and rid themselves of Easyhoon, T0M, and MaRin before also signing Blank and Duke. They then won the IEM SeasonX tournament in Katowice in the following few months.
Afterwards they won the LCK 2016 Spring Playoffs and the 2016 Mid-Season Invitational, came 3rd in the LCK 2016 Summer Playoffs (started 5-0 before ending up 13-5)...
...then ended up winning the 2016 World Championship.
Each time people see the tower of SKT wobble, they think "ok NOW they'll collapse and someone will take over, right?", but it never happens. I have produced a crude diagram demonstrating the futility of this thought process:
How did they do it?
It really is very hard to determine the reasons why SKT are continually so strong, even with their ever-changing roster. A lot of fans look to the mid-laner Faker. He is widely considered the best League of Legend player in #eSports. The 'Ace' of the team has undoubtedly been a part of SKT's success.
Another commonly stated reason is the level difference between the game's various server regions. It is well known in the League Of Legends community that Korea is considered the most challenging region, which therefore (supposedly) breeds a higher calibre of player.
Professional teams seem to also think this is the case which is why 'Korean Bootcamping' has become a common practice in recent years. Teams fly out to Korea where they can play competitive matches in the most competitive region.
I also think that team communication has a major role. It's not hard to notice how all of SKT's players are Korean and therefore have no problems communicating.
When Korean pro-player Piglet joined the North American squad Team Liquid, he had trouble adjusting to the new environment and reportedly has communication issues with the team due to the language barrier. This affected his performance, leading to him getting subbed for two weeks of the NA LCS Spring Tournament.
SKT do not have this issue, and while communication is not the only thing you need to become the world's best team, it definitely is an important factor.
SKT in Season 7
The seemingly unstoppable team have since lost Bengi, who along with Blank made up SKT's intimidating duo of junglers, and Duke who was the resident top-laner. Although, they may have some intimidating replacements:
The recently confirmed choice in a top-lane replacement comes as a fairly big surprise to most, and an honor for the player himself.
Having left NA team Immortals, Huni joins the defending champions going into the seventh season of the game.
His old team uploaded this message to YouTube on his departure:
Huni's playstyle is very much that of a top-lane carry, taking it upon himself to get kills, get ahead and secure the win. It'll be very interesting to see how he gels with Faker's tendency to look at the bottom half of the map for kills and assists, possibly leaving Huni to fend for himself.
Considering his previous partnership—with Reignover in the jungle for Immortals—was fairly active in the top lane, Huni may find himself in need of a major tactical adjustment.
Also, SKT's head coach mentioned that Huni had the most potential for growth on the team, which can be read in many ways. Hopefully it means he'll become an incredible top-laner during his time at SKT.
Having retained at least a half of their previous jungle team in Blank, SKT picks up their youngest current player from ROX Tigers. The 18 year-old is known for his aggressive playstyle, yet happy demeanor and positive team talk, which make him well liked among the League Of Legends fan base.
It also helps that he's a monster in-game too:
Whether Peanut continues with his aggressive counter-jungling, decides to become more pivotal in assisting a (likely) lonely Huni up in top lane, or takes more of a passive role to allow for the other team mates to build their foundation upon, all remains to be seen.
I for one cannot wait to see how this SKT team does this season. Even if they're shaky at points, we've seen SKT prove time and time again why they're the best team in the world.
That being said, have you seen the KT Rolster team recently?
- Song 'Smeb' Kyung-ho – Top
- Go 'Score' Dong-bin – Jungle
- Heo 'PawN' Won-seok – Mid
- Kim 'Deft' Hyuk-kyu – AD Carry
- Cho 'Mata' Se-hyeong – Support
Well, maybe SKT won't have it so easy in aiming for their fourth world title...
Meanwhile, roster building iwn NA and EU...
Want to join SKT as kick out Faker? Don't say I didn't help you:
There. You don't need anything else...
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Who do you have listed as among the top teams of Season 7 and why are SKT so much better? Tell me below why your chosen teams are inferior to SKT!