SK Telecom T1's run in the League Champions Korea playoff gauntlet came to an abrupt end early Wednesday morning when KT Rolster took down the world finalists in a decisive 3-1 victory.
For the first time ever, SKT will not be attending the Mid-Season Invitational, having topped off the LCK split with possibly its worst finish.
Despite the result, the series started out in SKT's favor as it looked to be a simple reprise of the longstanding rivalry between the two Telecom titans. Game 1 saw KT Rolster start off with an early advantage, then fold after a number of failed mid game teamfights; SKT sailed to a relatively easy victory, a recipe distressingly familiar for fans of KT Rolster. That first loss, however, proved to have only been a feint by KT Rolster, as its decision to start off the series with Lee "Rush" Yoon-jae in the jungle would pay big dividends.
After Game 1, KT Rolster were ready to take off the kid gloves. It immediately returned to star jungler Go "Score" Dong-bin, who had SKT jungler Kang "Blank" Sun-gu's number, taking an early first blood on Blank and never looking back. His Olaf was a terror to behold, especially as SKT was forced to the fringe pick of Jarvan IV. This time, there would be no throw in the mid game as KT tore straight through SKT for the Game 2 win.
The stalemate wouldn't last for long, however, as KT Rolster was now on the warpath. Both Games 3 and 4 were one-sided affairs that went wholly in the favor of KT, with SKT unable to do anything to stop the onslaught. The star of Game 3 was none other than top laner Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho, who navigated the notoriously tricky Camille/Jax matchup masterfully -- and it was his ability to read SKT top laner Park "Untara' Ui-jin that catapulted KT to a lead in the series.
Game 4's focus shifted back to the jungle as a seemingly endless barrage of bans forced Blank onto Kha'Zix, a champion outside his wheelhouse. Unsurprisingly, Blank failed to perform, and his early attempts to pressure the map weren't only ineffective -- they were downright counter-productive. With all the jungle pressure in its favor, KT Rolster cruised to a victory on the back of a set of teamfights around Baron.
KT Rolster will now go on to face the Afreeca Freecs in the semifinals of the LCK playoffs at 4 a.m. ET on Sunday.