After an exciting Day 1, the
Quarterfinals continued with its second match between Korea's number one seed,
SKTelecom T1, and Taiwan's number one seed, ahq e-Sports Club. SKT is well
known for their undefeated streak from the Group Stage and having the shortest
average game time in the competition. Their opponents, although not sharing the
same undefeated streak, have the same aggressive playing style and tend to take
control of the early game as well.
Starting game 1, both teams seemed pumped to get the series started and all eyes are on AHQ as they face an undefeated team.Â Early game was a struggle between the top and bottom lanes. Marin on Fiora scales a bit slower than Ziv's Darius so the first few skimishes on the top had Fiora backing away from the Noxian Might. On the bot lane, the AD carries with their respective supports battled it out as well but the gank from SKT left AN and Albis with a turret disadvantage. An interesting detail about this gank is that SKT could have broken the turret much earlier in the game but chose to leave it standing with less than 100 hit points. This may be left intentionally to setup for the gank they had planned already. It showsÂ how well SKT can plan and bring out techniques such as this. As Bengi frequented the bot lane, AHQ's jungler, Mountain, focused on trying to build Darius up for the late game. He may have been caught at a tight spot once or twice but his excellent tunnel positioning avoided giving over a kill. There was a lot of good lane rotations and dragon control, especially by SKT.Â Despite their gold deficit, AHQ performed well during the midgame, even matching the rotations that their opponents were doing. They also managed to take a dragon from them which is only the second one that SKT has not secured in this competition so far. After all that effort, SKT continued to increase their gold lead and finish the game with their traditional Baron buff powered victory.
Game 2 was much shorter than the first, ending at around 27 minutes. SKT performed so fluidly as a team and brilliantly in their own individual roles. There was so much hope for AHQ when Westdoor was able to get his favored pick in the mid lane, Twisted Fate. He underperformed during this game, though. He was not able to make good playsÂ with his Teleport and his ultimate, Destiny. He used both defensively rather than as an advantage to take his opponentsÂ by surprise. Destiny was even used mainly for vision in the majority of the game. This game had a couple of memorable ganks such as the early gank against SKT wherein 4 members planned to dive Marin (on Renekton).Â He forced all members to move around then Faker teleports behind them to pick off Mountain who was taking damage from the turret. The other one was a failed face check by Bang where 3 members jumps out of the bush and Mountain gets a double kill. That gave AHQ their only and short-lived lead in the game. They were able to get another dragon off of SKT but they traded a kill and a turret for it. SKT just snowballs after that chain of objectives and, with Faker and Bang leading the charge, pushes to victory.
Game 3 of this series is the longest and closest game of all. AHQ has given SKT one of their closest games in this competition. With slow sieging compositions, the game stretched out to around 40 minutes. The Taiwanese team showed great positioning and better performances in all respective lanes. Westdoor on Fizz solo killed Faker twice during the laning phase and another kill from a gank by Mountain, Albis on Thresh adapted well to Tahm Kench's devour, and Ziv on Darius covered his vitals and outplayed Marin's Fiora. They had better control of the map and secured 4 dragons this game. Into the late game, AHQ seemed to be in a good place to take the win but a failed team fight around the Baron pit threw the game in the favor SKT. They have been pushing the lanes and were up to the inhibitor turrets at the time. The game ended with an abrupt victory without a Baron buff.
This series was compared to a "David versus Goliath" match. Although the 3-0 sweep by SKT was expected by all, AHQ proved that they are able to put up a fight against the crowd favorites. They showed the world an exciting game and even showed a possibility of taking down the Korean champions. Westdoor played his heart out in that last game and proved he is capable of going toe to toe with the known greatest midlander in the world, Faker. Even Ziv on the top lane did his best against Marin who dominated all of his opponents in the Group Stage. It is also worthy to note Albis' performance on Thresh throughout this series; he landed most, if not all, his hooks. They held their own against SKT but better macroplays and good shotcalling, supported by superb mechanical skills by all players, won at the end of the day.