SK Telecom T1 defeated the Rox Tigers in the first series to go a full five games at Worlds since 2014.
SKT and ROX opened the series on Friday just about how everyone thought it would go; with SKT winning game one dominantly. Neither SKT's top laner nor ADC registered a death as Duke and Bang finished the first frame with a combined 5/0/14 score on Trundle and Ashe.
There were some issues ending the game, however, as ROX received three infernal dragons.
Two of the dragons were ROX controlling the area heavily with wards, with another coming off a steal from Peanut's Elise. The infernals forced SKT to move towards ending the game in a cautious way. Ultimately, Faker was able land a shockwave on both Kuro and Pray. With ROX lacking their Mid and ADC, SKT was able to sweep up the fight and end the game.
The next two games were a bit out of the ordinary.
Over the course of Worlds 2016 Zyra has become one of the most contested supports in the pick and ban phase. Even though most bot lanes were opting for Jhin/Cait and Karma into opposing Zyras, a true composition hadn't been able to counter her. ROX, however, showed that they had a plan for the Zyra.
ROX grabbed Ashe as their ADC, and Miss Fortune as their Support.
The plan worked great as Gorilla was able to get enough harass for Pray to create gigantic farm leads over Bang. The combination had an easy route-of-execution post level six, too. The plays were basic – Ashe arrow the Zyra and then Bullet Time her. The combination worked well, and was even better when placed with a Rumble pick for Smeb. The picks gave ROX one of the most formidable mid-game squads to date. The composition was so key to ROX's success that their only two wins in the series came from games they played MF support.
After ROX took games two and three, SKT opted to ban the Miss Fortune. It was met with some skepticality, as it probably would have been more logical to ban the Ashe instead. The only sense in banning the MF was if SKT was afraid of Pray picking Jhin, one of his better champions, and using the Deadly Flourish similar to Ashe's Ultimate.
Despite the questionable ban, SKT's decision to ban the bullet-blasting support paid off. SKT would grab the fourth game to force the fifth and final game of the series.
And as good as the series was throughout the four games, the fifth game was disappointing from the Tigers' point of view.
ROX and SKT were trading blows throughout the first 20 minutes of the match, consistently keeping the gold differential within 1,000. Then, just as Baron was spawning, the switch just flipped for ROX.
They decided to try and sneak a freshly spawned Baron. Just as they were finishing it up, SKT came into the Baron pit, killing three. Even though Smeb was able to secure the Baron buff for ROX, the three deaths would prove too costly, as SKT would force ROX into the only negative baron-power-play of Worlds 2016.
SKT then just snowballed from there, imposing their will and ballooning their gold lead to 9,000 gold before ending both the game and series.
SKT now looks towards the winner of Saturday's H2K and Samsung Galaxy series. Regardless of who wins, SKT will come into the Finals as heavy favorites, as general consensus around the league had ROX as the only opponents capable of defeating the two-time champions.
Finals will be held on October 29th.