Afreeca Freecs 2 -- ROX Tigers 0
Afreeca Freecs turned heads early Thursday morning when it defeated the ROX Tigers at the end of a decisive 2-0 series win during League of Legends Champions Korea.
Despite being relatively close in the standings, these teams seemed to be on different levels entirely throughout this series. ROX (7-7) was, if anything, hesitant after defeat on Tuesday and was no more used to the new patch's metagame than it was then. Afreeca (9-4), on the other hand, looked supremely confident in its chances, and with good reason. Not only did Afreeca find success across the series with two vastly disparate playstyles, it did so while once again running the combination of substitute jungler Lee "Mowgli" Jae-ha and substitute AD Carry Kim "Aiming" Ha-ram for the first game of the series.
While there's no doubt that Afreeca's roster is fastly becoming the most expansive in the league, that fact is less impressive than the swiftness with which the team seems capable of pivoting between styles of play. Whether it opts to scale into the late game like in Game 1 or go on the offensive for an aggressive win as shown in Game 2, this team can seemingly do it all. It was this versatility that caught ROX flat-footed and left it with no way of preventing itself from facing a swift demise in just 70 minutes of game time.
In addition to the overwhelming versatility Afreeca brought into the series, Afreeca got just as big of a boost from mid laner Lee "KurO" Seo-haeng. While being matched up against the rising star of ROX mid laner Kim "Lava" Tae-hoon, KurO made yet another statement as to why he is quite possibly one of the best mid laners in the LCK. KurO stomped Lava flat in both games, first with the scaling Kassadin pick -- which he still managed to leverage in the early and mid-game more effectively than Lava did his Taliyah -- and then with the hyper-aggressive LeBlanc pick. With versatility coming from all angles, Afreeca is looking to be quite the contender come playoff time in a few weeks.
The Afreeca Freecs will next take to the stage against Kongdoo Monster at 3 a.m. ET on Sunday, while the ROX Tigers will face the league-leading Kingzone DragonX at 4 a.m. ET next Tuesday.
KT Rolster 2 -- SKT -- 0
KT Rolster made history early Thursday morning when it defeated SK Telecom T1 in a 2-0 series during League of Legends Champions Korea, marking the first time in the long rivalry that KT Rolster has ever ended a season as the decisive victor in the Telecom Wars.
It was a series that was ordinary for SKT (6-8), which is to say that it had depressingly little to say about the outcome. While it wasn't the worst defeat that the side has suffered in recent memory, it's still sure to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the world's most successful League of Legends team. SKT opted to field a risky lineup featuring both Park "Untara" Ui-jin in the top lane and Kang "Blank" Sun-gu in the jungle. Neither managed to outrun the shadows that have fallen across SKT's fortunes over the course this series, and Blank's poor performance was especially apparent when compared to the outstanding games that substitute jungler Park "Blossom" Beom-chan has had in the last few weeks. To make matters worse, this defeat puts SKT's playoff hopes in a perilous position, as it now sits two wins out of a wildcard spot with just four series left to play.
On the other hand, KT Rolster (9-3) looks like the sort of team that is a shoe in for the LCK Finals. Its command over this series was nearly absolute, making a statement on the growth of this team during the Spring Split. KT Rolster were unafraid to take a chance and give substitute mid laner Woo-Hyun "Ucal" Son another shot on the competitive stage, and he proved that he's a talent worth investing in, especially if one compares his proactive Taliyah play to the largely passive game that fans were treated to when Heo "PawN" Won-seok returned to the stage for Game 2. Whether or not Ucal is the silver bullet that KT Rolster need to take down the Dragons is a question that only time can tell, but there's no question that the young mid lane ace is a sorely needed arrow in KT Rolster's quiver.
KT Rolster must next face the defending World Champions of KSV Esports at 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, while SKT's next match won't be until next week, when it takes on the bbq Olivers at 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday.