Melany M. August 23, 2019
SK Telecom T1 is moving on to the 2019 LCK Summer Playoffs semifinals after demolishing Sandbox Gaming.
The second round of the playoffs was not as close as many expected. Sandbox looked disorganized and overall lost on the rift, allowing SKT to close the series with a clean 3-0. They will face Damwon Gaming next.
SKT reads Sandbox like a book
SKT started the series with a convincing victory. In pick and bans, Sandbox went for comfort picks like Taliyah for Kim "Dove" Jae-yeon and Jarvan IV for Kim "OnFleek" Jang-gyeom. SKT prepared a surprising counter pick in the mid lane, grabbing Ekko for Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok.
In the early stages of the game, the Ekko pick hurt SKT as Dove outplayed Faker and secured first blood. That advantage allowed Dove to be more aggressive and support OnFleek as he invaded the enemy jungle.
Sandbox rotated to the rift herald and SKT didn’t contest. The team’s focus was on the dragons, a decision that made the difference in the late game. SKT’s execution was far from perfect, as Faker and Kim “Clid” Tae-min over-extended and gave up kills that kept Sandbox in the game.
Into the late game, SKT was in a comfortable enough position to seek out objectives. Sandbox contested to the best of their abilities, but only ended up dying. With a triple infernal dragon, SKT’s burst damage was too much for the Sandbox players to handle.
SKT prepared to take the mid lane outer turret, and Sandbox moved to defend the structure. SKT killed three enemies and used the momentum to push all the way to the inhibitor. They rotated to the baron buff and this time, it was Sandbox’s turn to chase them.
Faker the play-maker was the star of the final skirmish. He took on three enemies on his own, walking away with a triple kill and the win.
Faker takes over as Kassadin
SKT drafted a late game-focused lineup for game two, with Faker locking in Kassadin. This move sealed the fate of Sandbox before the game even started.
Clid showed his intention to play through the bottom lane with a level three gank. That simple play got the ball rolling for SKT. They were happy to burn their flashes to get a kill and extend the fights for several minutes.
It was only a matter of time before SKT stopped playing with their food and closed the game. Lee "Effort" Sang-hoon Rakan found the winning engage for the team. He jumped in and caught four Sandbox players, which allowed SKT to slaughter the enemies and move to the baron.
Effort chased OnFleek around the jungle to keep him from recalling and possibly challenging the baron. SKT looked for more kills while Park "Teddy" Jin-seong went for a back door to get the bottom lane inhibitor.
The final skirmish in the jungle went as expected. SKT effortlessly took down the enemies one by one to secure the second win of the day.
SKT advances in LCK Summer Playoffs
SKT was unstoppable in game three. Clid was decisive with his ganks and set up his laners for success early.
Not even Faker giving up first blood was enough for Sandbox to gain an advantage. The pressure got the best of the players, especially OnFleek. The jungler missed skill shots, gave up kills, and failed to help any of his teammates.
SKT’s victory was inevitable and 14 minutes into the game, they had absolute control over the map. They knew they had the win in the bag and played accordingly. At 19 minutes, SKT dove into the Sandbox base, ignoring the turrets. They walked away with multiple kills and a significantly higher gold advantage.
SKT closed the game with the first baron buff and had 30 kills by the time the nexus fell. The 3-0 score secured the series for the team and set them up with a spot in the semifinals.
Sandbox’s summer run is not over. The team has a second chance to make it to the 2019 League of Legends World Championship through the regional qualifier.
SKT moves to the LCK Summer Playoff semifinals where they will face Damwon Gaming, which takes place on August 25.