Backstory and Statistics
by Jebus McAzn
Ozone vs. SK Telecom, despite how young the latter team is, is somewhat of a classic rivalry in the context of OGN Champions. History has shown that SKT's bane seems to be the Samsung teams, as SKT have dropped competitive matches only to Samsung Ozone and Samsung Blue. Blue, however, were demolished by SKT 3-0 earlier in Champions Winter 2013-2014, making Ozone the only team in the world to have a winning record against SK Telecom T1 K.
Ozone and SKT have faced off several times in the past. During Champions Spring, SKT's debut tournament, Ozone defeated Faker's squad 2-0 during the group stage and again 3-1 during the semifinals. Ozone would go on to win the entire tournament, beating Blaze 3-0 in the finals. This was the SKT roster's first tournament, and their inexperience showed as the fledgling team was little more than an overall decent squad backing up a fantastic mid laner.
Ozone would go on to 2-0 SKT once again in the AMD Inven tournament just a few days after Champions Spring. This would mark Ozone's 7th victory against SKT in a matter of weeks - though this record would not hold for long. During the Champions Summer semifinals, SK Telecom found their vengeance with a 3-1 onto Ozone, bringing their cumulative record to .8-4 in favor of Ozone. Other stats worth mentioning:
- Ozone currently hold a 12-2 record in Champions, giving them the second highest winrate of any team in the tournament. Both their losses were against NaJin White Shield. If one considers their wins against Team Dark to be legitimate, they are 14-2.
- Across every season of Champions since SKT's debut, SKT are 41-9 for an 82% winrate while Ozone are 39-14 for a 74% winrate in Champions.
- SKT went 15-3 at Worlds while Ozone went 5-3.
SK Telecom T1 K are currently undefeated in Champions Winter, and are on a 12-game win streak. If one includes their 3 consecutive victories against KTB during Champions Summer last year, they are on a 15-game win streak across two seasons of OGN. This evokes memories of CJ Blaze's performance last Spring, where Blaze managed an incredible 13-game win streak before being stopped cold by Ozone in the Grand Finals. Ozone has always been excellent at researching and planning ahead, preparing strategies to exploit weaknesses and utterly shut down an enemy team - a Reddit user compared Ozone to Batman in that sense, as their strategy has always been to methodically take down even the largest of enemies with ample study.
Yet SKT is unique in that they've shown virtually no weaknesses at all. Since last July, they have only ever dropped one match, and that was against Samsung Blue while they were jet-lagged and out of practice due to returning from Worlds. Whenever they drop the first one or two games in a set, SKT shows remarkable adaptability and versatility, and either patches up their weakness immediately or flawlessly transitions to a new strategy. If Ozone is Batman, then SK Telecom is Doomsday, a team capable of evolving in the middle of a match and almost never losing to the same thing twice.
If, however, Ozone falls to SK Telecom, and does so 3-0, SK Telecom will become the first team in history to win an entire season of Champions without dropping a single game. No team has come close to doing this before - in fact, few teams have done this at all with any kind of premier tournament. If we take a look at every tournament since 2010 where the winning team has had to play at least 8 games, only two other teams have ever done this:
- Moscow 5 in March 2012 during the IEM Season VI World Championships in Hanover. They went 9-0, defeating the likes of CLG, aAa, Fnatic, and Dignitas without breaking a sweat. They won $50,000.
- CJ Entus Blaze in November 2013 during the World Cyber Games. They went 10-0, plowing through the entire tournament before destroying OMG 2-0 in the Grand Finals. They won $30,000.
Moscow 5 after going undefeated at the IEM World Championships in Hanover
Of course, Champions has not only a larger prize pool than either of these two events, but also arguably has a higher level of competition. If SKT does manage to 3-0 Ozone in the finals, they'll have defeated not only them, but also Blaze and the KT Bullets without losing a single game. All three teams mentioned are all widely considered in the top 5 teams in Korea, and likely top 10 teams in the world.
SKT's sheer strength in the current competitive scene raises the question of who else has even come close to this level of dominance. Only one team really comes to mind, and that's World Elite. IPL5, widely considered to be the greatest tournament in League history, ended with World Elite walking away after dropping only 2 games the entire event, and both to Fnatic. Here was an event fresh off of TPA's victory at Worlds, with teams like CLG EU and M5 eager to prove themselves - and then along comes Team WE, who dominates the tournament and delivers some of the most flawless play that anyone had ever seen at the time.
World Elite would continue to dominate the competitive scene for one or two months, with many calling them unbeatable - before they fell to Invictus Gaming at the StarsWar League, and then were subjugated to an entire season of scrutiny at the LPL. Chinese teams made it their job to figure out a way to beat Team WE, and that's where the rise of teams like OMG and Royal Club began.
SKT is currently in their prime, globally recognized as the single best team in the world. Yet who knows? Ozone may well end up being their Invictus tonight - the spark that begins the downfall of one of the largest Korean titans this game has ever known.
Shyvana, Renekton, Dr. Mundo
Gragas, Riven, Nidalee
Caitlyn, Sivir, Vayne
Thresh, Annie, Nami
Clicking on each player's username will redirect you to their Leaguepedia page.
SK Telecom T1 K is known for their objective-based lane rotations game. It revolves mainly around Faker and his dominance in lane, enabling Bengi to rotate and help out his other lanes. Impact is a brick wall in the top lane while the Hundred Acre Bot Lane of Piglet and PoohManDu scale up incredibly well and have great synergy. They are capable of playing many different playstyles but their two main ones are the siege composition and the pick composition.
When SKT choose to play with their siege composition, Faker usually picks someone with high amounts of poke like Gragas or Nidalee in order to apply pressure to the opposing champions. Piglet usually picks someone with great range like Caitlyn due to her long range while the rest of the team plays more of utility champions: Renekton to be a fat wall, Elise for her versatility, and Thresh for his great peel and CC. If SKT chooses to play a pick comp, high damage champions are their go-to. A team of Shyvana, Olaf, Riven, Vayne, and Annie is a theoretical one and provides a large amount of damage, good CC, and immense snowball potential.
Besides their massive synergy, they also have Faker. Faker in and of himself is the key player on SKT T1 K because of his champion ocean and high skill with all of those champions. Even though he favors champions like Gragas and Riven in the present time, he is fully capable of pulling out LeBlanc, Orianna, Karthus, Ahri, Zed, and Kassadin at any given moment. This enables him to really force the enemy to think about what they want to ban: you can't ban out Faker but you can remove the champions that are the most annoying. Furthermore, Faker instills fear into everyone he plays against due to his confidence and great wave-control. He preys on that fear and fuels himself in order to achieve his goal.
Dr. Mundo, Shyvana
Elise, Lee Sin, Olaf
Nidalee, Kha'Zix, Zed
Ezreal, Sivir, Caitlyn
Samsung Galaxy Ozone used to play a CLG-esque style but have recently switched to a more aggressive style of play, comparable to a Fnatic-style. They aim to win lane through each lane going at least even and winning through well coordinated assaults with their jungler, DanDy. Looper, who was originally signed up as a substitute player, has pretty much replaced Homme for the Winter 2013-2014 season. Looper is known for his strong use of Teleport, similar to how xPeke from Fnatic can use Teleport to apply map pressure and converge on skrimishes. When he plays Dr. Mundo, he always takes Teleport and uses it to converge and outnumber the enemy team when they're trying to make a play.
The other part of the playstyle change is Mata, who originally played champions like Thresh and Zyra who are great at zone control and disengaging. Due to the season 4 changes, he has since changed to one of the champions that he used to play: Leona. Leona's high amount of CC enables for picks and applies a ton of lane pressure to the enemy ADC and support. With combinations like Ezreal and Leona providing high amounts of damage in an all-in and Sivir and Leona providing a ton of mobility to catch enemies out of position, imp and Mata's playstyle has changed from trying to scale for the lategame to applying pressure early and midgame in order to snowball to a win.
We can't forget dade in this team. Even with his stumble at Worlds, dade has come back greatly and slid into a champion pool that he's comfortable with. He really likes the long range sieging champions like Elise and Kha'Zix to help chip people down so that either Ozone can siege due to a numbers advantage or catch someone out with an On The Hunt or Talisman of Ascension after they got chunked. The rest of the team can follow up extremely well on dade's damage.
dade's Kha'Zix is of special mention, as it is not only a pick he's been favoring recently, but was also the champion he used to take down SKT back during Champions Spring in Game 1. Recently, he has been growing in popularity in both the mid lane and the jungle, and dade has retaken one of his signature champions. Expect to see Kha'Zix be a decently contested pick this set.
MVP dade's Kha'Zix vs. SK Telecom T1
Our featured matchup is the matchup between both team's ADCs and supports. For SK Telecom T1 K, we have Piglet and PoohManDu while for Samsung Galaxy Ozone, we have imp and Mata. The series is really determined on what happens in the bottom lane because top lane, both Impact and Looper will be solid rocks and immovable from lane. dade just has to survive against Faker, which means that it's really up to imp and Mata to carry Ozone to a two-time victory. However, Piglet and ManDu are extremely strong opponents to pair up against because of their great synergy in lane and Piglet's great mechanics.
In the standard 2v2 matchup, expect priority picks to be Sivir and Caitlyn, Sivir because of her strong waveclearing and mobiltiy while Caitlyn is due to her advantageous matchup against Sivir and both Piglet and Imp's comfort with her. As for support, if SKT doesn't ban Leona, expect Mata to pick her up early. This will force Mandu to pick Thresh because Thresh's Flay does well against Leona's Zenith Blade and his The Box can disengage extremely well vs Leona's all-in potential. If SKT ban Leona against Ozone, Mata will likely pick Thresh or Annie while Mandu can pick the other or go with someone like Nami or Lulu. The lane comes down to who can properly fend off against the other team's harass and engages.
If the teams lane swap and put the lanes to be a 2v1 matchup, both teams will once again go for Sivir or Caitlyn picks. Sivir can push the wave extremely well to the tower while Caitlyn can siege longer due to her higher range. Supports are a bit tricky because that depends on if the teams choose to go for a 3v1 tower dive or not. If they don't, it's unlikely that Mata will be as effective on Leona so he may go for Thresh while Mandu can go for his comfort picks in Thresh, Nami, or Lulu. SKT generally have the better game sense and will likely win the tower war as shown by their great playcalls in the Worlds group stage against OMG.
SKT vs OMG's 12 minute inhibitor
SK Telecom T1 K plays against Samsung Galaxy Ozone in the OGN Champions Winter 2013-2014 Grand Finals on January 25th. The opening ceremony will start at 3:00 AM EST (12:00 AM PST, 9:00 AM CET). A countdown can be found here.