After forfeiting their early game lead, SK Gaming lost its fifth straight match to an aggressive H2K-Gaming squad on Thursday.
SK surprised the crowd in the pick and bans phase by choosing Dr. Mundo for the top lane (against H2K's Rumble), while H2K picked Twisted Fate in the mid lane for Ryu.
The action started relatively early, with First Blood going to H2K in the top lane, with SK replying in kind immediately in the bottom lane four minutes into the match.
Neither group had any respect for the laning phase, butting heads with their opponents repeatedly across the map. SK took control of the early game, establishing a couple of deep wards in the enemy jungle and taking the kill score to 4-1 in their favor by the 10-minute mark. By this time they had shoved down Odoamne to 0/3/0 while their own top laner was 2/0/1.
But H2K made a comeback two minutes later, regaining the gold lead after two kills and two turrets in the bottom lane. SK tried to use H2K's single-lane presence to their advantage, taking a turret and kill of their own before securing their first dragon buff.
SK's slight lead after the 15-minute mark was partly a result of their aggressive pokes, and partly a result of H2K's repeated mistakes with their ultimates and timing. Though H2K got a kill 19 minutes in, SK traded a second dragon as well as a fourth turret (compared to three) for it. Still sloppy, H2K was caught close to the dragon pit to give up two more kills and make the score 7-4.
SK continued to punish the mistakes of their opponents in the mid game, fueling the frustration of H2K enough for the group to finally punch down the mid lane and score a two-for-one trade, as well as a turret. At the 25-minute mark, H2K engaged in a fight in the mid lane that was the perfect dance of baiting and engaging, giving them a four-for-one trade.
Finally in the lead, H2K tried to use the momentum to get the Baron, but chose to back off after losing a player to the monster. SK got their third dragon, and with the gold equal and the 10-9 kill score favoring H2K, the teams pranced around each other in the mid lane.
By the 35-minute mark, SK had secured their fourth dragon but the kill score was on H2K's side at 15-12. Another two-for-one trade in the mid lane gave H2K the chance to move in for the Baron, but SK's jungler ruined these plans with a magnificent steal.
H2K regained control after another advantageous team fight in the mid lane gave them four-for-two, letting them break the enemy base to shatter the mid inhibitor. Trying to make a comeback, SK clawed at the chance of getting their fifth dragon but met their enemies at the pit instead. Taking four free kills, H2K turned their back on the dragon and rushed down the mid lane to finish the game after almost 42 minutes.
Farnia Fekri is a staff writer for theScore eSports. Her university dissertation centers on the hypothesis that Baron steals can cure cancer. You can follow her on Twitter.