“What is a God to a non-believer!?” This was the question posed by Riot Games shoutcaster Martin “Deficio” Lynge, as SK Telecom T1 mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok died for the fourth consecutive time during the Mid-Season Invitational Final. G2 eSports’ Luka “PerkZ” Perković, self-professed ‘European mid lane king’, proved himself worthy of the title by single-handedly and repeatedly slaying the best League of Legends player in the world.
Step aside Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg and relinquish the title of the ‘Best Mid Laner in the West’. Though G2 eSports inevitably fell to the might of SK Telecom T1 in the Mid-Season Invitational final, the series will forever be remembered for the fight to establish a ‘lane kingdom’ in the middle.
Can’t wait for semi finals
I will rule my lane kingdom or die trying #MSI2017 ?
— Luka (@G2Perkz) May 15, 2017
PerkZ vs Faker was billed as the matchup to watch for the MSI 2017 Final. Both players had produced impressive displays throughout the tournament, notably dismantling their respective opponents in the semi-finals. As Faker locked in the Cassiopeia pick on which he had destroyed Flash Wolves’ Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang, many expected PerkZ to suffer a similar fate.
What unravelled on the rift however, was a slaughter the likes of which League of Legends eSports fans had never seen. Leading the ‘G2 army’ behind him, PerkZ embarrassed Faker on four separate occasions:
cant wait to clap faker 😀
— Luka (@G2Perkz) 10 May 2017
Known for playing aggressively in lane, Faker trade-heavy style was predicted and punished by the G2 man exquisitely. Having acquired a level advantage over the SKT star, PerkZ timed his all-in to perfection to chase his rival out of lane. Supported by Kim “Trick” Gang-Yu, PerkZ left Faker with no means of escape, delivering on his promise to ‘clap’ the Korean mid laner.
Typically, causing Faker to bleed only makes the god of the mid lane angrier and more likely to bite back with a vengeance… but not on this occasion. Assisted once more by Trick from the jungle, PerkZ laid down the hammer blow once more, flashing his EU LCS emblem as a flourish.
PerkZ made it a hat-trick. It’s rare to see Faker visibly upset, but after Trick’s third visit to the mid lane and yet another death to add to the tally, PerkZ was inside his head.
Now completely eliminated from contention, Faker would concede yet another kill, 0/4/0 following a smart roam from Daehan “Expect” Ki and a belligerent Trick. G2 eSports had dented Faker’s pride, but were unable to add insult to injury by sealing the first game of the series. The Koreans’ macro play proved too strong during Game 1, but PerkZ was not content take his foot off the pedal, twisting the sword once more as G2 stole a game away from the reigning World Champions.
Set up for a skill matchup as Syndra vs Ahri, PerkZ left Faker’s reputation in ruins. Mirroring the level of dominance Faker had shown in the semi-final vs Flash Wolves, PerkZ quickly established an impressive lead over the SKT mid laner. For his moment of crowning glory, PerkZ mechanically outplayed Faker, utilising the entirety of his kit before flashing to seal yet another solo-kill with a fade-away ultimate.
Considered a laughing stock after the 2016 World Championship, within half a year PerkZ has mounted a comeback few fans or analysts deemed possible. The G2 eSports mid laner has shown remarkable growth, unable to hold his own against wildcard opposition in October, he is now comfortably capable of dismantling the world’s greatest player one-on-one.
The Mid-Season Invitational spotlight is seemingly transfixed on PerkZ. Yet where the G2 eSports rookie wished to sink into the shadows after last year’s event, 2017 has seen PerkZ return to MSI with a vengeance. After a phenomenal tournament in which both he and his team earned their redemption, PerkZ returns to Europe as undoubtedly the ‘Best Mid Laner in the West’.