Gen G. 2, bbq Olivers 1
Gen.G held off the bbq Olivers on Wednesday with a 2-1 series win in League Champions Korea.
After being on the receiving end of a brutal loss to KT Rolster on Saturday, Gen.G (5-1) looked a bit rattled coming into this series. Fortunately for Gen.G, a team like the hapless bbq Olivers (0-7) seemed like the perfect team to challenge -- even so, Gen.G struggled. Gen.G jungler Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong kicked things off in the starting lineup, thanks to patch 8.12, and struggled with early game pressure, which meant jungler Kang "Haru" Min-seung took his place in Game 3. Beyond just different playstyles, Gen.G seemed off Wednesday. The team played slow, afraid to make mistakes, and allowed bbq to dictate the pace. Fortunately, Gen.G had the teamfighting execution to take over in desperate times, with top laner Lee "CuVee" Seong-jin coming in clutch, especially in Game 1 as Kennen, but things still looked rocky for the second-place team in the LCK standings
Meanwhile, bbq Olivers showed improvement despite the loss. The Olivers took control of the tempo early in Games 1 and 2, and managed to make it count in Game 2, where it ran a large early lead into a rare win. Jungler Kim "Trick" Gang-yun made his presence felt, though he couldn't replicate that success against the more aggressive Haru. Bottom laner Jang "Ghost" Yong-jun had a great showing against Gen.G's lauded bottom lane duo. Unfortunately for bbq, it simply couldn't close out games without an overwhelming early lead, teamfighting poorly in mid-late game scenarios. In addition, the team simply got schooled when it was put on the back foot, folding like we've seen it do all season. Still, taking one win is much better than getting swept, as bbq showed that it might be making progress towards an elusive first win.
Gen.G plays Jin Air Green Wings at 7 a.m. ET on Friday, while the bbq Olivers prepares to take on a revitalized SK Telecom T1 at 7 a.m. ET on Saturday.
Hanwha Life 2, MVP 0
Hanwha Life made quick work of MVP during League Champions Korea on Wednesday.
Quietly rising through the ranks, Hanwha Life (4-2) put on a clinic in how to snowball early leads against MVP (3-3), clocking in at a little under an hour of combined in-game time. In both games, Hanwha displayed a great understanding of how to draft for skirmishing and early presence without sacrificing late game scaling. Hanwha, led by its solo laners, particularly top laner Heo "Lindarang" Man-heung in Game 2, soared. Taking Aatrox into a dominant matchup, Hanwha put constant pressure in the top half of the map, gifting Lindarang five early kills en route to a 6/1/5 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). Game 1 didn't have anyone in particular do the hard carrying, since everyone knew their respective roles and executed the game plan to perfection. With the winds of change blowing through the LCK, Hanwha looks ready to take off, provided it can maintain this form over stronger teams.
MVP, on the other hand, looked lost. Players getting caught was excruciatingly common for MVP, as it simply didn't seem to understand what to do. None of its drafts seemed entirely cohesive and the team didn't know how to influence the map the way it wanted to. Nobody stood out on Wednesday, however, as the entire starting lineup simply had a bad outing, looking inferior to Hanwha in every regard. After receiving such a thorough drumming, MVP will need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what to do fast.
MVP will take to the Rift to face Afreeca Freecs at 4 a.m. ET on Friday, while Hanwha Life has a big test ahead of it in Kingzone DragonX at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday.
Afreeca 2, Jin Air 1
Afreeca Freecs closed out Wednesday's slate of LCK games with a hard-fought victory over the Jin Air Green Wings in Seoul.
While this series presented Afreeca (4-2) with a good chance to break free from the bottom half of the LCK standings, things didn't go quite as planned. Throughout the series, Afreeca used strategies that, while strong in patch 8.11, didn't have quite the punch in the current patch 8.12 meta. What's more, the team showed that, regardless of who's playing bottom lane carry, Afreeca can occasionally falter in playing through the bottom lane early on. Fortunately for Afreeca, top laner Kim "Kiin" Gi-in is still a monster, dominating this series as Aatrox in all three games. Dominating the top lane matchup in Games 1 and 3, Kiin was a force to be reckoned with, carrying late game teamfights with the absurd damage that Aatrox can dish out. What's more, Afreeca shined when it played through Kiin, showing that even when things get rough, Afreeca can find a way to stay strong.
Name a more iconic duo than Jin Air (0-7) and 40+ minute games. Taking games late might have been an absurd strategy a short time ago but Jin Air managed to do so twice against Afreeca, showing signs of decent play that don't reflect the Greenwings' lack of a series win. Between bottom lane carry Park "Teddy" Jin-seong taking traditional marksmen to the bottom lane and crushing late game teamfights to top laner Kim "SoHwan" Jun-yeong's use of Ornn, setting up great teamfights for the rest of Jin Air, the Greenwings had a lot going for it. At the end of the day, though, taking a mechanically talented team like Afreeca that knows what its doing backfired on Jin Air, who couldn't find a way to outmaneuver Afreeca, getting ripped apart in full 5-vs-5 fights. One thing's for sure, though: with a slower game pace coming in patch 8.12, the Greenwings might just take off sooner rather than later.
Afreeca next takes on MVP at 4 a.m. ET on Friday, followed by Jin Air squaring off against Gen.G at 7 a.m. ET later that day.