While SK Telecom T1 became the third team to reach the 2019 LoL World Championship semi-finals, the Korean giants had to work harder than expected in their clash with Splyce in the quarters.
The first two meetings of the series were fairly one-sided, with SKT showing off their true potential and claiming both. Splyce had their own moments of greatness, but their mid-game struggles prevented them from causing an upset at the Spanish capital.
In game three, Splyce produced what can easily be seen as their best performance of the tournament. The European third seed fearlessly fought back against the Korean giants, who were taken aback by Splyce’s determination and an incredible display of skill.
All the spotlight was on Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir, who managed to strike fear into SKT T1’s roster with his Rek’sai pick. The Romanian jungler did not need long to get himself a substantial lead in the early game, which helped Splyce stabilize their notoriously shaky mid-game.
Splyce’s team fighting prowess shone brightly in game three and the early game lead on top of two Infernal drakes the Europeans snatched early helped them overcome SKT T1 more than a handful of times.
The turning point of the match came in 24th minute of the match when the crowd looked in shock as Splyce decimated SKT T1 to secure the Baron buff and got themselves in a winning position.
This time Splyce took full advantage of the situation, made one last push towards the enemy Nexus and secured the first win of the series to make it 1-2.
With game four on the way, there was a silent hope at the Spanish capital Splyce might be able to turn this series into one for the books and their strong early game suggested we just might witness history.
While Splyce’s top lane suffered, they were slowly but surely gaining a lead at the bottom lane, and while Europeans were still behind in gold for most of the match, they did not give up and kept on pushing.
The loud cheering of European fans went silent for a moment as the two teams met next to the dragon pit for the first big team fight of the match at around the 19-minute mark. It was now or never for Splyce, who once more showed they are not to be underestimated, as they picked up four SKT T1 members while losing only two of their own.
At this point, Splyce were in a very solid position to make something happen and possibly even push the series into five games. That said, their mid-game flaws started to surface.
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok picked up a few kills on his signature Ryze pick, which started the snowball effect for SKT T1.
The Koreans kept on the pressure, won a crucial 3v2 team fight in the top lane in the in the 32nd minute, made one final push through the mid lane and sealed the series at 3-1.
It was a crushing defeat for Splyce, but one that will go down in history with very positive scores. The European third seed made SKT T1 fight for their lives, proved even the gods can bleed and most of all, made Europe proud.
SKT T1 will now face against G2 in the semi-finals, which has the potential to be the biggest and most exciting series of the tournament thus far.