League of Legends news » Worlds Semifinalists are set!
We were fairly confident a Korean team couldn’t possibly win again tonight, but H2K Esports might receive honorary Korean citizenship for their performance on the final day of the 2016 Worlds Quarterfinals.
This makes seven straight wins for H2K, who showed very few cards in their clean 3-0 sweep over Albus NoX Luna. All across the lanes, Europe’s last hope dominated their counterparts. In particular, the combination of Jankos on Lee Sin and Odoamne on Jayce dazzled. The series started with a quick double kill for Jayce -- a champion who has seen wildly varying results thus far -- and H2K didn’t look back from there.
There weren’t many positives to take away from this set for ANX. They couldn’t adapt quickly enough to what H2K was showing them -- making few champion adjustments throughout the series. In fact, H2K played Jayce, Lee Sin, and Zyra in every single game -- and Vladimir and Lucian in two. They didn't need to show too many cards. Instead, they simply won their lanes and then snowballed the early advantages into quick wins.
“[Win lane, win game] wasn't really the plan -- it just kind of happened every game,” says H2K's top laner Odoamne. “But we never bank on it. Everyone has just stepped up on an individual level this tournament.”
On the flip side, ANX didn’t adapt much to H2K’s strategy. It seemed they just couldn’t survive the early game. “I think they just didn’t adapt to us -- they kept drafting the same way,” he says. “There was no reason to change what works for us. They just kept giving us the same strong picks.”
This is a style that will be much harder to replicate as H2K advances into the Semifinals, where they are the only non-Korean representative. They’ll take on Samsung Galaxy, who looked equally dominant in their sweep against Cloud9. Both teams feature solo laners who’ve really excelled on the Worlds stage -- especially during the laning phase. SSG’s CuVee and Crown will be an intense challenge for H2K’s Odoamne and Ryu. The series should revolve heavily around lane dominant champions like Jayce and Syndra.
A caveat against H2K’s performance in the past couple of weeks, though, is that they’ve yet to face a Korean team. The difference in results between the Korean teams and the rest of the world has made them seem insurmountable. In the last two weeks, the Korean teams are a combined 18-3.
The losses only happened when they fell behind in the laning phase -- though that was rare and it’s tough to see that happening in three consecutive games. Their laners are far more resilient than anything H2K has faced yet. But if any team is primed to capitalize on the lane phase, then it’s H2K.
Odoamne adds, “I’m not nervous about Korean teams. They’re just like any other team -- though [I admit] they have less weaknesses and their lanes are not as exploitable. But I don’t think that will stop us from getting lane advantages against them.”
The future at Worlds continues next week with the Semifinals at New York’s historic Madison Square Garden. The Semifinals matchup between the ROX Tigers and SK Telecom T1 will be a rematch of last year’s Final, and H2K will try to prevent a second consecutive Korea vs. Korea final bout.
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