SK Telecom T1 have won their third world title with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over fellow LCK squad Samsung Galaxy in the Grand Finals of the 2016 League of Legends World Championship.
SKT came into Worlds as the second seed from the LCK. Though they placed third in the Korean summer playoffs, their combined championship points from a spring domestic title was enough to send them to Worlds.
At Worlds, they easily topped Group B with a 5-1 record, dropping just one game to the Flash Wolves. The quarterfinal draw pitted them against Royal Never Give Up, who they took down 3-1 before they faced the one team believed to be able to take them down — t he ROX Tigers.
The semifinal match between LCK Summer first-place ROX Tigers and SKT was an exciting 3-2, but ROX's record of never beating SKT in a best-of-five continued, and SKT advanced to the Grand Final.
Samsung made it to Worlds with a win over KT Rolster in the Korea Regional Finals, and went on to match SKT's group stage record with a 5-1 of their own (losing once to TSM). Samsung were the sole Korean squad on the their half of the playoff bracket, taking down Cloud9 and H2k-Gaming 3-0 on their road to the Grand Final.
Despite SKT taking an early lead in Game 1, Samsung Galaxy had a few near-comeback moments that kept SKT on their toes. After a slow and careful build to late game, Samsung took a couple of strong fights in their own base, even taking a Baron and pushing down mid, but couldn't close it out and lost as SKT took a final Elder Dragon and brute-forced their way into the base and onto the Nexus.
Game 2 was a disaster for Samsung. It headed downhill after a dive under SKT's bottom tier one turret was countered by Faker, who turned what should have been a good pair of kills for Samsung into an even two-for-two trade. SKT never relented in their pressure and the game ended with a 20-3 kill score.
Samsung managed to not tilt as they headed into Game 3, and despite almost 30 minutes of SKT leading, Samsung started the comeback with a big fight around Baron. The game went later and later as both teams danced around the Baron and Dragon alternatively.
Even after some painful mistakes by Samsung that nearly cost them the game, Ambition managed to steal the Elder Dragon at the 68-minute mark, leading to Samsung taking Baron for themselves and overwhelmed SKT in their base, taking the win.
Samsung started to really threaten a series win with their performance in Game 4. There wasn't a huge lead in either direction for a large percent of the game, but unlike Game 3, Samsung were able to control Faker's Orianna well with their draft. A huge fight around the Baron pit was the start of a big swing Samsung's way. After that fight, Samsung took a Baron, pushed into the inhibitors and evened up the series 2-2.
The action got off to a quick start in Game 5, with SKT taking first blood and quickly gaining a couple more kills but Samsung held on, making for an incredibly tense first half of the game. Around the 35-minute mark, a fight broke out near Baron and with both Rule and Crown down, SKT took Baron and Elder Dragon, seizing a lead.
Another Baron secured three inhibitors for SKT, and with Samsung stuck in their base clearing waves of minions, SKT took another Elder Dragon. SKT returned to the Samsung base at full strength and forced Samsung into their fountain as they finished off the Nexus, and won Worlds.
According to Riot, Faker's 209th kill during Game 3 broke the record for the most kills during a World Championship, previously held by Uzi. At the end of the series, the new record was set at 217.
This is SK Telecom T1's second straight and third total World Championship victory.
Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.