Kingzone DragonX vs. Gen.G
Gen.G came storming back after a Game 1 thumping, taking a 2-1 series against the reigning kings in League Champions Korea, Kingzone DragonX, on Wednesday in Seoul.
Kingzone reminded the LCK who the top dog was in Game 1 coming off a disappointing MSI performance, commanding an early lead due to aggression coming out of jungler Moon "Cuzz" Woo-chan. Ganking early and often as Xin Zhao, Cuzz set all of his lanes up for success, building to a 4,000-gold lead at the 11-minute mark for Kingzone. While Kingzone soared, Gen.G struggled with a scaling "Protect the Kog'Maw" composition, which goes against the norm of Patch 8.11 thus far. Looking like it hadn't missed a beat since the Spring Split, Kingzone slammed the gas pedal, taking a 26-minute win and looking like it was about to make a snack out of the former World Champions.
Gen. G still had fight left in it, though, in the form of jungler Kang "Haru" Min-seung coming off the bench to completely revitalize his team. Suddenly, Gen.G was pushing the tempo in Game 2, with Haru looking like Cuzz had only the game before. With the rise of Haru, the rest of Gen.G came out of its shell while looking unafraid to push the issue in early fights, including new addition in the mid lane Song "Fly" Yong-jun, who had a whopping Game 3 on his signature Aurelion Sol. Gen.G's coaching staff deserves praise for how it managed to draft high pressure compositions that put Gen.G's lanes in a position to succeed, showing the rest of the league that Gen.G is a force to be reckoned with.
On the other side, though, questions must be asked of Kingzone's collapse. Why did AD Carry Kim "PraY" Jong-in play Mordekaiser all three games instead of something that can carry from range or deal more damage? Where did top laner Kim "Khan" Dong-ha go after a strong showing as Jayce in Game 1? This series was a poor showing from Kingzone on many levels from individual performance to awkward shotcalling. Compounded with head-scratching five-man dives at just three minutes into the game, along with a whole slew of poor in-game decisions, and Kingzone leaves its LCK Summer Split debut with more questions than answers.
Kingzone looks to rebound against the Jin Air Green Wings at 4 a.m. ET on Friday, followed by Gen.G battling SK Telecom at 7 a.m. later that day.
AF vs. SKT
Afreeca Freecs kicked off its League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split campaign with a 2-0 win over SK Telecom on Wednesday in Seoul.
Coming hot off a second-place finish in the Spring Split, the Afreeca Freecs (1-0) showed that it can still run roughshod over the rest of the league, including a slumping SK Telecom (0-1). While all of Afreeca performed well, including substitute AD carry Kim "Aiming" Ha-ram who played the entire series, special mention has to go to top laner Kim "Kiin" Gi-in. Kiin, who will represent South Korea at the 2018 Asian Games, played Aatrox twice to devastating effect, decimating his lane matchup and creating an insurmountable obstacle in the top half of the map. In addition, support Park "TusiN" Jong-ik played a great series, with his Rakan in Game 2 earning him MVP honors. Regardless of who carried this team, though, Afreeca looked confident throughout the series even when down in gold, such as in Game 2. Afreeca showed its mastery of patch 8.11 by recognizing which compositions are strong and playing to its win conditions, showing that this team hasn't missed a beat.
SKT's performance in this series, on the other hand, left much to be desired. Sure, mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok played well, even when he was awkwardly pushed into a bottom lane duo for a preferential matchup as Darius (patch 8.11 is really weird, just roll with it). What didn't work for SKT, though, was Faker's supporting cast. AD carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik showed a rough transition into the new bottom lane meta as he played Lulu in both games to middling success, displaying a lack of understanding of how to play teamfights as a supportive AP carry. Meanwhile, jungler Kang "Blank" Sun-gu struggled to make an impact as Skarner in two outings, though his problems might have more to do with SKT's poor macro than individual shortcomings. At the end of the day, despite being ahead for a fair chunk of Game 2, SKT will have to go back to the drawing board, though losing to the second-best team in the region in your first outing shouldn't be cause for too much concern.
SKT look to bounce back against Gen.G at 7 a.m. ET on Friday, while Afreeca prepare for a clash against KT Rolster at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday.
KT Rolster vs. Jin Air Green Wings
KT Rolster closed out Wednesday's action with a 2-0 over Jin Air Green Wings in League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split in Seoul.
Whether it was a surprisingly standard Game 1 or a lightning-fast Game 2, KT Rolster (1-0) proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it understands how to play in the 8.11 meta. With mid laner Son "Ucal" Woo-hyeon leading the way, picking up MVP honors in both games as Zoe and Lulu, respectively, KT Rolster put on a clinic on how to control the pace of the game. In Game 1, despite Jin Air (0-1) getting an early lead, KT slowed things down and stifled Jin Air's attempted aggression, buying time for top laner Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho's Dr. Mundo to scale up. With that done, KT Rolster took advantage of Jin Air's lack of a frontline to pick up a 40-minute win in one of the longest games of the Summer Split thus far. Game 2 was much different, as Jin Air drafted the Nunu/Karthus tandem which can brutalize a team if given time and resources. Once again, KT Rolster showed an understanding of its win conditions, turning up the heat in the mid game to shut down the rest of the map and not allow the Karthus to become a factor. It's not much to beat a Jin Air team that looks to be floundering in a big way, but a win's still a win.
Name a more iconic duo than Jin Air and 40-minute games. In all fairness, Jin Air didn't want that slugfest of a Game 1 to go the distance but looked powerless to stop KT from doing whatever it wanted, despite Jin Air holding a decent gold lead. From then on, though, the Green Wings' problems really started to come to the forefront. Rookie support Park "Nova' Chan-ho looked out of his element, particularly when he had to lane against veteran KT support Cho "Mata' Se-hyeong. Meanwhile, Jin Air AD carry and long-time lynchpin Park "Teddy" Jin-seong was practically non-existent throughout the series, perhaps betraying a lack of adaptation from Jin Air's bottom lane. That's not to say that the other lanes were better by any means but, judging from this series, Jin Air still needs to figure out how to actually win games in this new meta, or else risk going on an early losing streak.
Jin Air next takes on Kingzone DragonX at 4 a.m. ET on Friday, while KT Rolster prepares for a battle against Afreeca Freecs at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday.