MVP, Griffin pick up wins with unique team comps in LCK


MVP 2 - bbq Olivers 0

MVP Gaming kicked off the Summer Split in League of Legends Champions Korea with an entertaining 2-0 win over bbq Olivers on Tuesday in Seoul, South Korea.

Right off the bat, both teams set the tone for what should be a wild and entertaining patch in 8.11, showcasing both conventional and outside-the-box team compositions. In Game 1, the spirit of solo queue was alive in well as MVP's use of the infamous jungle Master Yi + mid lane Taric strategy looked unstoppable. Sure, bbq's use of another infamous jungle/mid duo in Nunu and Karthus looked good early on, but then Master Yi got involved. Piloted by MVP jungler Kim "Yondu" Kyu-seok, formerly known as Beyond, there was nothing bbq could do to stop Yondu from slicing through everyone in his path, dealing over 20,000 damage by the game's end, especially given how fed he got early on. With 100 CS (creep score) before nine minutes and Yondu being gifted kills early and often, en route to a 12/0/3 KDA (kills/deaths/assists), MVP steamrolled through bbq's attempted cheese strategy.

In Game 2, things settled down a bit as both teams returned to more standard team compositions, but things didn't get better for bbq. MVP AD carry Na "Pilot" Woo-hyung picked up first blood as Lucian just four minutes into the game and his team never looked back, dominating the mid game with strong lane matchups across the map. Hot on the heels of playing AP Lulu in Game 1, so as to better buff up Beyond's Yi, Pilot carved through teamfights and kept bbq AD carry and LCK rookie Lee "Aries" Chae-hwan from having impact whatsoever. When it came to carrying, though, MVP mid laner An "Ian" Jun-hyeong did the lion's share of work as Irelia, showing why teams should strongly consider banning the bruiser. With tons of damage and survivability, Ian did whatever he wanted to bbq's backline en route to a 32-minute win, showing that MVP might no longer be the pushovers that teams knew from the Spring Split.

Bbq will next take on Hanwha Life Esports at 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, followed by MVP Gaming's next test against newly-promoted Griffin at 7 a.m. ET later that day.

-- Noah Waltzer

Griffin 2 - Hanwha Life Esports 1

Newly-promoted Griffin came back from a Game 1 beating to take a 2-1 series win against Hanwha Life Esports on Tuesday in Seoul.

Both Griffin and Hanwha Life Esports, formerly ROX Tigers, came into this series with something to prove. This series marked Griffin's LCK debut, with the entire six man roster composed of rookies who had been undefeated in the challenger circuit in the Spring Split. On the other side, Hanwha Life was looking to make a good first impression after picking up new sponsors and landing a sixth-place finish in the Spring Split.

Hanwha Life took control early in the series and showed veteran poise as top laner Heo "Lindarang" Man-heung's Darius got an early kill around four minutes and got subsequently fed, decimating Griffin's beefy lineup with an 8/1/4 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). This series also showed off another staple of patch 8.11: "AD Carry" players playing mages in bottom lane duos. For Hanwha Life, bottom lane carry Gwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun's Vladimir was explosive alongside Lindarang, pumping out massive teamfight damage. Under the immense pressure of Hanwa's high-damage composition, Griffin simply folded, especially mid laner Shin "Rather" Hyeong-seop, who got bullied all game long as Lulu. This trend continued into Game 2, where Hanwa surged to an early lead on the back of a high damage composition, with Griffin's soul bright spot coming from bottom lane carry Park "Viper" Do-hyeon's Ryze.

Then, at 23 minutes, Hanwa overextended in Griffin's base while trying to capitalize on its momentum, opening the door for a comeback. Griffin pounced on the opportunity, led by substitute mid laner Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon taking over for Rather. With Chovy's Yasuo online, Griffin secured a 5-for-0 ace and then repelling subsequent siege attempts from Hanwha Life with ease before completing a comeback victory in 36 minutes. Though it took a while for Griffin to find its footing, Chovy provided a spark off the bench, giving Griffin momentum as it surged into Game 3 with Chovy's Zoe leading the way. Chovy had help, though, whether it was Viper in Game 2 or top laner Choi "Sword" Sung-won's Dr. Mundo in Game 3. With an unkillable tank in Hanwha's face, and Chovy jumping in to land massive Paddlestars, Hanwha was forced on the backfoot all game long until Griffin took its first ever LCK win in dramatic, if sloppy, fashion.

Hanwha Life Esports looks to bounce back against the bbq Olivers at 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, followed by Griffin taking on MVP Gaming at 7 a.m. ET later that day.

-- Noah Waltzer