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SKT Telecom T1 are the League of Legends World Champions for the third time in the last four years after a nail-biting brush with the previously undefeated Samsung Galaxy.  SKT have set the benchmark for the League of Legends eSports circuit for nearly half a decade now and they were made to work hard down to the final moments in a 3-2 victory against fellow Korean team Samsung Galaxy.

The all-Korean final opened with a marathon game spanning nearly an hour.  SKT Telecom were their unrelenting selves for the opening exchanges, battering Samsung Galaxy down to a naked Nexus before Galaxy fought back.  SKT wouldn’t let it come down to a base-race though, biding their time and beating their way through the base in a second, swift offensive.

The second game saw a much more comfortable Faker, SKT Telecom’s legendary mid-lander.  Picking his favourite champion, Ryze, Faker was on-song and almost single-handedly blew Samsung Galaxy off the Rift in the second encounter.  It took the reigning champions barely more than half an hour, and 23 minutes less than the opening game, to clinch victory in the second game.

Samsung Galaxy, who had swept their previous two knockout series leading into the final, found themselves with slender leads in gold and kills throughout the series.  Any lead they could muster was quickly evaporated by the fact that they simply couldn’t compete with the exceptionally large champion pool that SKT commands.

League of Legends Worlds 2016 SKT Telecom T1

Courtesy: LoL eSports

The third game of the series saw both teams take the foot off the accelerator somewhat, the pace of the game setting quickly with only one kill in the opening 10 minutes - and that was from a misplaced Galaxy gank.  A methodical and calculated gameplan from SKT saw their kill count and gold lead crawl away from Samsung but the underdogs awoke at the final hour forcing the game to 72 minutes, setting a record for the longest game in professional competitive League of Legends Finals play.

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The come-from-behind victory for Samsung Galaxy brought renewed faith for an upset win and things were much more level in the fourth fixture. This time it would take Samsung Galaxy only 32 minutes to defeat a now brittle SKT lineup. Constant attention on Faker meant his death was a priority, and it was a strategy that worked wonders.

Four and a half hours after the day’s play had begun the two teams took to Summoner’s Rift for a fifth and final time in the 2016 League of Legends Championship series and it was the experience of SKT Telecom T1 which won out.  Galaxy, unable to continue the momentum they had built in the fourth game, succumbed to a rampant SKT who had clearly received an earful in the dressing rooms between games.

The 3-2 series win means that SKT Telecom T1 become the first team in League of Legends history to successfully defend a world title.  Not only that but they have now won three of the last four World Championships and have won 60% of all official League of Legends World Championships since Season 1 began in 2011.  SKT Telecom T1 have shown us that, while they may falter on the journey sometimes, they continue to be the best League of Legends team in the world.

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