Only two days are left before the finals of LCK, the event known to be the best regional league in the world. The eternal rivals SKT T1 and KT Rolster are about to face their fate once again in order to claim the trophy. Having faced each other in the LoL Championship postseason, this will be the 4th match of their history since the finals of Summer 2013 (SKT won 3:2), finals of Summer 2015 (SKT won 3:0), and semi-finals of Summer 2016 (KT won 3:2).
The regular season matches between SKT and KT concluded with 2 victories for SKT. SKT claimed the victory with the score of ‘win-lose-win’ after a few intense battles between the teams. Although there were a number of factors that led SKT to its victory, the one that contributed the most in the last set was the Sixth Man strategy - the replacement of Sungu “Blank” Kang with Junhyung “Profit” Kim. This is SKT’s most trustworthy weapon, and it’s a weapon that KT does not possess.
The high expectations of the big match between SKT, the team that needs to protect its throne, and KT, the team that wishes to reclaim it, certainly cannot be ignored. Fans are even more excited than usual, as they are all aware of the undeniable strength and skill that both teams have. The players must feel quite a bit of pressure because of these expectations, and this is evident in the rather shaky match KT had after the 2 consecutive losses against SKT in the past.
There is great strength in the Sixth Man strategy that SKT holds; by replacing a member after the loss of one set in order to refresh the atmosphere right away, the team is able to prevent themselves from getting caught in the flow of losing. After the loss of 2nd set against KT, SKT immediately replaced a player, switching up the atmosphere and preventing the players from losing concentration. Blank’s Rengar in the 1st round contributed to the victory by stably running the game, and the team obtained another victory using a Rumble and Graves composition with Profit in the 2nd round.
The merits of this strategy do not end here. The substitute player can receive feedback from the coach while watching the match from outside and can apply this directly to the next match. Even though all players are allowed to have a 10-minute break in between the sets, the time is too short to receive or provide thorough feedback on the last match. This is why the one who carefully studied the problems and possible solutions can play a significant part and is therefore more beneficial.
The players of SKT have a quite wide champion pool and the difference between main and substitute players in terms of skill with champions is not very big. From KT’s perspective, the Sixth Man is a major problem, as it allows SKT to force one of the KT players to essentially fight two SKT players. It would be quite difficult having to adapt to a new opponent, especially if the match ends up running for a long time.
Sanghyuk “Faker” Lee - Jihoon “Easyhoon” Lee, Sungwoong “Bengi” Bae - Jaehyun “t0m” Lim, and Blank - Bengi. The Sixth Man strategy has always been their exclusive strength and weapon. Once again, SKT is showing the world just how strong this strategy is. As it sees more use, this weapon is refined and perfected even further, slowly becoming more effective than any other weapon out there. Perhaps it is this method that has helped SKT protect its place at the top for so long.
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