Samsung Galaxy’s Journey to a World Championship
Published on November 13, 2017
Fans are still shocked. No one thought that South Korea Telecom’s reign would be over so quickly. They never thought it would take only three hours for the king to be dethroned. Many didn’t even think that Samsung Galaxy stood a chance in the first place.
However, Samsung Galaxy defied the odds. They took down adversaries that were threats in every corner and made sure they were known from the very beginning. Though the team started out in the Regional Qualifiers, they were quick to show that they could make it further than any team before them.
With that being said, let’s dive into Samsung Galaxy’s miracle run, starting from their performance in the LCK, to becoming the World Champions of 2017. Their journey is a shocking one, and it’s only right that I tell how it happened.
Samsung Galaxy started out firm in their LCK Summer Split. During their Groups Stage, they managed to come in third, beating names like South Korea Telecom and Afreeca Freecs to secure the third seed for playoffs.
However, despite their strong performance, it seemed as if they were no match for KT Rolster and Longzhu Gaming, the dominant teams of that region. KT Rolster and Longzhu Gaming both had some of the most stacked teams in the world.
Longzhu Gaming had names like Bdd and Khan for solo performances, while they also had what many considered to be the best bot-lane duo in the world, consisting of Longzhu PraY and GorillA. The two were notorious for their consistent performances, and had upended Samsung Galaxy’s Ruler and CoreJJ.
Meanwhile, KT Rolster had names like Smeb, PawN, and Deft. Smeb, at one time, had been considered the best top laner in the world while on ROX Tigers. PawN was the World Champion in 2014, alongside his Samsung White brothers, and Deft has been a feared name in both the Chinese series and the Korean series.
During the Playoffs, Samsung Galaxy fell to South Korea Telecom in a disappointing 0-3 loss. South Korea Telecom later went on to the finals, in which they lost to Longzhu Gaming in a 1-3 defeat. Meanwhile, for Samsung Galaxy, their only chance at making it to Worlds seemed to be through the Regional Qualifiers.
The Regional Qualifier seemed a challenge for the Korean band of teammates. With names like MVP, Afreeca Freecs, and KT Rolster all in their way, the fight would have to be a hard one for them to qualify yet again for the International Stage.
The two went to a crucial five-setter, in which Samsung Galaxy barely inched past Afreeca Freecs to face their only opponent left—the notorious KT Rolster. Fans from across the globe were broadcasting the final. Many expected the outcome to be a close one.
This was the first time during the season that SSG had left audiences speechless, and it wasn’t the last.
With Korea being the best region out of all the respective regions, Korea’s three teams were awarded automatic exemption from the Play-In Stage. With that being said, Samsung Galaxy was omitted into Group C.
Yet another blood-bath seemed to be approaching the team. With two threats, Royal Never Give Up and G2 Esports, facing the Korean band of players, it seemed as if they would yet again have trouble making it to the next round.
Samsung Galaxy, however, proved the fans wrong. They were quick to dispose of 1907 Fenerbahce eSports, and had no problem taking down G2 Esports. However, they had large amounts of trouble with the Chinese superpower Royal Never Give Up.
The Chinese team went 5-1 during the Groups Stage, and seemed unstoppable. Samsung Galaxy had not won a single game against them during the Groups Stage, but still managed to make it through by taking down G2 Esports and Fenerbahce eSports several times.
With Samsung Galaxy escaping Groups Stage alongside Royal Never Give Up, they were destined to have at least a small chance to get an easy draw, right? Wrong. During the drawing, Samsung Galaxy was set to face their Korean brothers Longzhu Gaming in the first round. At this point, the fans had disregarded Samsung Galaxy as a lost hope.
Longzhu Gaming had been undefeated since the end of the Summer Split, and it didn’t seem like they were going anywhere soon. With strong performances during the Group Stage, easily crushing everyone in their way, it looked like Longzhu Gaming was seeing an easy road to the Worlds Championship Finals.
Samsung Galaxy was quick to show that they were not the underdogs of this match. Despite Longzhu’s stacked roster, consisting of PraY, GorillA, Bdd, and Khan, Samsung Galaxy fired back with their superior objective control and undisputed team-fight capability.
Because of this, Samsung Galaxy dispatched Longzhu Gaming in a 3-0 victory, something that had not been seen by many, and it certainly shocked audiences around the globe. With SSG’s victory over Longzhu Gaming, they advanced to the Semifinals to face China’s third-seed powerhouse, Team WE.
Like Royal Never Give Up and South Korea Telecom, Team WE had dominated their Groups Stage in an unmatched 5-1 record. Though they were an amateur group of players, they certainly proved they had the teamwork of veterans.
With Samsung Galaxy being a team that revolved around the works of their ability to function as a team, it seemed as if Team WE were going to give them a run for their money. However, like their Quarterfinal match against Longzhu Gaming, Samsung Galaxy dispatched of their opponents in a breezy 3-1 victory.
Throughout the entire match, Samsung Galaxy dictated the flow of the match and secured objectives with ease, leaving Team WE against the wall. With their superior team-fighting ability and their unmatched control of the map, Samsung Galaxy was quick to close out the match.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the bracket, South Korea Telecom took down the Chinese powerhouse that Samsung Galaxy had struggled to take down, Royal Never Give Up. With South Korea Telecom edging past them in a 3-2 victory, Samsung Galaxy found themselves facing the Korean team they had never defeated: South Korea Telecom.
Samsung Galaxy and South Korea Telecom have faced many times. They faced each other in the 2016 Worlds Championship Finals, and many times over during the LCK Summer Split. However, every time they faced, it was South Korea Telecom that came out victorious.
Now, if Samsung Galaxy wanted to avenge the previous year’s loss and make history, they would have needed to put every defeat behind them and play the way they had been playing for the past few weeks. Going into the finals, the audience was expecting a blood-bath.
However, Samsung Galaxy shocked the world. Like their Samsung White and Samsung Blue counter-parts from 2014, they upset the South Korea Telecom team in a smooth 3-0 victory, something that very few saw coming.
Thanks to the help of Crown’s dominance in the mid-lane, Ambition’s strong jungle presence, CuVee’s pressure on his champions, and the exemplary performance from Samsung Galaxy’s bot lane, they disposed of the superpower team within hours.
Not only did they destroy South Korea Telecom’s regime as the best team in the world, but they also began a new legacy for themselves.
Samsung Galaxy’s run was a shocking yet miraculous win. They overcame many obstacles and hardships, persisted through anything in their way, and made history. Through all the hard work, Samsung Galaxy proved that South Korea Telecom wasn’t the best in the world anymore.
They upset the best teams in the world—for instance, KT Rolster, Longzhu Gaming, and Team WE—and proved that it doesn’t matter where you come from. As long as you’re willing to work hard for your goals, keep going despite the hardships, and stay true to yourself, you can achieve anything.