The 2016 League of Legends World Championship has drawn to a close after a thrilling grand finals, with perennial giants SK Telecom T1 taking a record third Summoner's Cup to further their legacy that now seems forever unmatchable. Samsung Galaxy's rugged resilience and determination were truly admirable, but in the end, not enough.
Faker made some time for his Korean fans by popping onto the OGN caster desk just before being whisked off to the press room. Upon being asked how he felt, the now three-time world champion had this to say: "I'm very happy, but at the same time, I found myself thinking along the lines of 'Well, I did it again'. It's embarassing to say this myself, but it is true I win tournaments all the time."
When asked about his opposition today, Faker revealed: "Samsung was a very strong team, and we definitely could have lost on another day. Our victory was in part due to luck." About SKT's uncanny ability to perform in best-of series, he replied: "Some of us choke a bit in the first few matches of a series, but by the time Game 5 rolls around, none of us are fazed," affirming that their unparalleled experience playing big matches does give them a psychological edge.
When asked which champion he would want his third honorary skin on, Faker answered: "I haven't really thought about it yet. Do you guys have any ideas?" Regarding the possibility of Coach Kkoma receiving a Teemo skin, he replied "I think there's a decent chance."
Below is an abridged match report for the series.
With many experts, including our own, focusing on the Ambition vs Bengi matchup as the key to the entire series, "the Jungle" was the one to rise to the occasion first. In Game 1, Bengi picked Olaf to take complete control over the Rift, drawing First Blood against Ambition's Lee Sin then continuing to neutralize his counterpart throughout the game. In Game 2, Ambition seemed to come back with a vengeance, evening the score by felling Bengi early on, but failed to impact the game afterwards. This allowed Bengi and SKT to snowball a quick victory with Faker's fabled Ryze at the helm.
Game 3 was looking to be Bengi's most impressive, as the Jungle sledgehammered the game open with a series of choice ganks out of masterful jungle pathing. SKT fell prey to overconfidence, however, and threw their 10k Gold lead after a careless death from Bang. Yet when Samsung was on the verge of taking a position to close, Bengi struck again. Singlehandedly thwarting Ruler's potential triple kill with a clutch Cocoon, he halted Samsung's dramatic comeback and returned SKT to the driver's seat. For the third game in a row, Ambition seemed somewhat out of his element.
Even in the darkest hour, however, "the Heart of Blaze" refused to wither. With Samsung holding the fort with amazing individual play out of CuVee and then Ruler, Ambition stepped up massively come lategame, securing Barons, roundhouse kicking Faker to his doom, and most importantly, dashing in to steal an Elder Dragon out of the blue. In one of the craziest comebacks to ever happen at Worlds, let alone the grand finals, Samsung slayed the demons to take it to Game 4.
In a surprising turn of events, Game 4 featured Blank coming off the bench to replace Bengi despite the latter's overall impressive game. Perhaps less surprisingly, it was the only game in the series in which both junglers failed to become a positive force for their team. Both junglers did have inspired moments, but in the grand scheme of things, threw quite a bit harder than they carried. CuVee was the main force behind Samsung's victory, scoring multiple solo kills throughout the game as well as landing brilliant ultimates teamfight after teamfight.
As expected, Bengi returned to the fray for the deciding game. The two captains would face off one last time on their favorite champions. Once again, the early game went in Bengi's favor, scoring crucial kills on Lee Sin to open things up for SKT. Ambition was determined to match his influence this time, however, and supported CoreJJ's brilliant roams on Tahm Kench, ensuring that the game would be kept completely even.
The fate of the match, however, would not lie forever in the junglers' hands. With both teams taking little risk and making few mistakes, the game drew on to SSG's detriment; their draft necessitated a speedy game-ending snowball, one which did not happen. Slowly, inevitably, the empire SKT bled out the rebellion until the valiant could resist no more.
So ended the longest, closest finals in Worlds history.