Rough start for SK Telecom

Whenever we think of SK Telecom T1, we think of greatness. The organization won 3 world championships and was at the world finals a few months ago. On top of that, they have already won every single tournament they could participate in at least once. However, the current form of this juggernaut organization is lacking its former success. Out of five best-of-three series, SKT won only one and now sits at the bottom of LCK standings after being defeated by MVP.

The team lead by the best player in the world has two rookies in the support Sangho “Effort” Lee and the top laner Kwon “Thal” Park. The jungle is now shared between Sangu “Blank” Kang and their former/current support Jaewan “Wolf” Lee. Their head coach position is once again filled by Kkoma.

SKT is facing many problems in their current roster. Both of their top laners are weaker than the their competition in LCK. Uijin “Untara” Park in particular has the worst laning phase statistics of any player in LCK, which is why Thal has been favored by SKT in their most recent games. Thal, while in better shape than Untara, makes a lot of costly mistakes. His teleports in particular have been nothing better than abysmal. In their game against MVP, Thal completed several teleports into 3~5 enemy players with no support from his team, resulting in pointless deaths.

SKT’s bot lane faces a different problem— the choice between Wolf and Effort. Effort is the better support, but has been caught out of position a few time. However, SKT needs Wolf as an in-game leader, in order to show any kind of order and coordination in game. This resulted in SKT moving Wolf to the jungle, but so far this hasn’t shown much promise.

Their current jungler, Blank, is another liability, however. Blank has been completely outjungled quite often. Even when he is not, he doesn’t seem to be very helpful to his team. In their last game, against Afreeca Freecs, Blank managed to deal laughable 600 damage to champions during the whole game, an abysmal performance.

The AD Carry Junsik “Bang” Bae has shown positioning errors and is still not playing at the same level we saw from him a couple of years ago. The only beacon of light is Sanghyeok “Faker” Lee, who still dominates the mid lane. However, even Faker could improve by looking at his own character more often, as he got caught and killed several times while watching other lanes or the shop.

Right now SKT is the worst early-game team in the league, averaging -904 gold at 15 minutes. Their laning has been very weak, and they have been unable to dominate the late game as they used to. Some reasons for this include their recurring scaling compositions and of course their laning phase, especially for top laners, has been terrible. On top of that, their decision making in game is possibly the worst they have ever shown.

Despite their poor performances, their coach insist on running very risky compositions such as four melee champions and a Sivir. This is extremely risky, as you need to be ahead for it to work. If you fall behind, it’s hard to wave clear, and you can be poked out by ranged champions and the opposing team can defend from their turrets if the game is even while your team will have a hard time hitting it with such a combination of short-ranged champions.

When your team is often behind at 15 minutes, there is no reason to pick compositions that need to be ahead to work. In this analyst’s opinion, even their strategy has been flawed this season. To get back on track, SKT desperately needs a good and mature in-game leader and improvements to their jungling and top lane, otherwise these losses may be a continuous trend for this organization.

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Alexandre Ferroz

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