SKT T1 Team 1 – Do they have the offline magic?

Reapered (Top)

Beelzehan (Jungle)

SuNo (Mid)

Raven (AD)

StarLast (Supp)

-          1st IEM Cologne (W 2:1 Fnatic)

-          3rd ~4th IEM VII World Championships (L 0:2 CJ Entus Blaze)

-          7th ~ 12th SWL Season 2 (1W 4L)

Team Review

When Reapered left Blaze, there were many speculations that he would be forming a new team which was sponsored by a kespa organization. This team was the first SKT team  which composed of Reapered, H0ro, the former Xenics jungler, and three new comers StarLast, UandMe and MighTiLy. As their first tournament, this team attended IEM Cologne and they were able to make a grand entrance into the competitive LoL scene by winning the tournament led by their leader Reapered. Since that win, everything has been downhill for SKT1. The team seemingly could not win any match after their big victory in cologne. SKT1 almost every match in the SWL and they would lose online qualifiers for Katowice as well. The troubling thing was that in the SWL, they weren’t just losing but they were losing lopsidedly. By the time IEM world Championships came around, SKT1 changed their troubled mid laner MighTiLy for the former PSW Ares member SuNo and the team was able to finish in the top 4 for the tournament beating CJ Entus Frost in the process. While SKT1 have shown flashes of brilliance in their matches, they will need to show up with a completely different performance level to remain relevant for this year’s OGN Champions the Spring.

The main focus of SKT1 is of course its captain and famous shot caller Reapered. With his new team, Reapered still loves to utilize the tactics he used to employ on his former team Blaze. SKT1’s basic strategy involves around lane swapping for favourable lane match ups and aggressive tower pushing in all lanes. Unlike his old team however, SKT1 revolves around small skirmishes rather than full strength team fights with varying degrees of success. In the Spring Season, look for SKT 1 to put pressure all around the map at all times if they want to be successful.

 

Team Strengths

The double edged sword of the bottom lane

The most unique feature of this SKT1 team definitely comes from the bot lane duo. The ADC Rave excels in playing champions without an inherent escape mechanism such as Twitch and MF but even while playing these champs without an escape skill, he is unbelievably aggressive in his play. Raven is often not just content with farming in the lane, if given the chance he’ll even commit into a tower dive to secure a kill. This level of aggression can be troublesome for the opposition when StarLast is added into the equation. StarLast is a support player who mainly plays ranged supports and when given the opportunity, he can make top tier plays for his team (3 v 1 kill against SK was amazing) with his high level of mechanics. While the overly aggressive playstyle of Raven and StarLast can dominate a lane if they get ahead, they will also lose a lane miserably if they start to fall behind. It will be interesting how Reapered thinks of a way to best utilize this aggressive duo who can potentially carry their games on a given day or fall into the opponent’s trap and become the weak spot on a different day.

The carry potential of SuNo

SuNo has demonstrated in his short time with SKT1 that he is as much a carry potential as his friend and team 2 counter part Faker. Ever since joining SKT1, SuNo has only had 3 games where he was under deaths and he only had one game when he had 0 kills. Considering that SKT1’s win rate even with SuNo is about 50%, those stats show that SuNo could potentially be counted on to carry his team in every match. SuNo is a player who has the micro skills and the type of positioning in team fights in order to deal a high amount of damage without dying. These attributes will allow him to gain kills when given then opportunity and thus will provide the opportunity for SuNo to carry a game even if he’s set behind due to an unfavourable matchup

The game calling of Reapered

In an AMA, Toyz had stated before that Blaze with Reapered was the scariest tam to face. That’s not only a testament to Blaze’s overall team strength, but the fact that Toyz pecifically mentions with Reapered is testament to Reapered’s game calling abilities. Reapered’s game calling was on full display in their first tournament at cologne when the audio for the team chat was being streamed. Since Cologne, SKT1 did have mixed results as mentioned but when you look at games they won, especially SKT1’s game against Najin Shield and CJ Entus Frost, you can see that Reapered’s game calling is still a weapon to be feared. The hall mark for a Reapered game call is that when a game is close to even and there’s a moment where the other team surrenders their slight advantage, his team is able to seize that opportunity and snowball the game through. What you notice in these games is that Reapered calls for team fights and team fight situations as soon as he realizes that his team has an advantage in some way (position, items, summoners, ults) and during team fights he calls for the priority targets in order for the fight to be successful. Teams facing SKT1 will have to be mindful of this fact and realize that they need to prevent situations where they can potentially throw a game

 

Team weaknesses

Laning of Reapered // The stubbornness of Reapered

Reapered is a player who himself has admitted that he’s not a top tier laner. This sometimes becomes an immense issue for the team because when he does extremely poorly, his overall judgment tends to falter and his calls become poorer in quality. The one that suffers the most from this is Beelzehan. When you watch SKT1 games, you can often see that Beelzehan would trying to be giving an advantage to Reapered even when there could be better situations elsewhere. Even when Reapered falls behind by a lot, you can often observe that Beelzehan is moved to Reapered’s position in order to provide presence for him however, when facing higher tier teams, this led to the other team going straight for dragon or other objectives available on the map. In the Spring season, we can assume that Reapoered will definitely utilize the lane swap in almost every game but if he gets into 1 v 1 situations, it will be important for him to hold his own against the likes of ssumday and Shy else his whole team will suffer.

The second potential weakness stemming from Reapered is that he can be very stubborn in his playing. In terms of lane matches, if he has it set in his mind that a particular lane match is essential for the team to have, then he will make his team swap each time the other team swaps their lanes regardless of the current situation in the lane. In terms of his lane playing, if he has the idea that his lane should be a winnable lane but he’s not winning that lane due to a gank, outplay etc. he will try to force plays to try to get ahead but these attempts usually tend to end badly for Reapered. For his team to succeed, Reapered will have to let go of the idea that he has to be the star of his team (either strategically or carry wise) and act accordingly to the best interests of his team.

The weak points of SuNo

Even though SuNo has shown that he has the potential to carry his team, he has his share of issues to work out. In his competitive matches with SKT1, SuNo has shown that he will mainly play Karthus, Lux and TF (Jayce to a degree). We don’t know if this is a tactical decision or not but until he shows that he can play more champions at a high level, his shallow champion pool will be a disadvantage for his team. In addition, SuNo tends to have a selfish playstyle, what this means is that he will save his skills in order to last hit enemies. While this nets him kills and could be an important factor in him carrying a game, there were situations where if he did more damage  during the team fight by throwing out Lux ults at the beginning of a fight, it could have worked out much better for the team as a whole (Game 1 vs LG-IM 2 for example). If SuNo learns to trust his teammates a bit more and trust them to deal more damage, SKT1 will grow as whole to become a better team.

 

Key Player: Beelzehan (Jungle)

Without a doubt, this is Reapered’s team and how he performs as a laner and the team captain will determine the fate of SKT1 in this upcoming Season. That is why it will be important for Beelzehan to take special care for Reapered in the top lane to mask some of Reapered`s weak laning tendencies. If Beelzehan can successfully get Reapered going, then SKT1 will play better as a whole. In addition, Beelzehan will be asked to sacrifice the most for his team and it will be important for him to remain relavant in the game especially compared to the other team’s jungler by gaining all the exp and gold that he can get. How well Beelzehan can execute his role will definitely have a direct effect on the outcome the SKT1’s games.

 

Team expectations

Being in a weak group, I don’t see a scenario where SKT1 doesn’t finish in the top 4 of their group. However, it’s also hard to imagine SKT1 being in the top 2 of the group with their inconsistent performances and should they finish 3rd or 4th, they will most likely only be able to advance to the BO8

 

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