Gen.G stands strong while SKT flounders

Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk is the AD carry for the South Korean League of Legends team Gen.G, formerly Samsung Galaxy and KSV. Provided by Fomos/kenzi

Gen.G 2-1 Hanwha Life

Gen.G closed out Wednesday's action in League Champions Korea with a 2-1 win over Hanwha Life eSports in Seoul.

You have to give credit where it's due. The scouts and coaches for Hanwha Life eSports (2-2) have certainly been busy watching other regions. Specifically the European League Championship Series, as that region's signature Heimerdinger bottom lane and gold-funnel towards the Kai'Sa compositions were utilized by Hanwha this series. The Heimerdinger didn't work out so well, though that might not have been the fault of the pick itself, but Game 2 saw AD carry Gwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun take Kai'Sa with smite into the middle lane surrounded by three support champions in Lulu, Braum, and Morgana. To say Sangyoon snowballed was an understatement, as he picked up an early quadrakill at 12 minutes before exploding ahead, picking up almost every kill en route to a perfect 14/0/1 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) for 100 percent kill participation while dealing a whopping 18,300 damage, more than half of his team's total damage. Unfortunately, these wacky strategies took its toll on the other members of HLE who looked uncomfortable in their new roles, but that one glorious win should serve as a warning to the rest of the league: never underestimate Hanwha's ability to cheese you to death.

On the other end of the meta spectrum was Gen.G (4-0), which ran traditional team compositions in every game, placing AD carry Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk on Ezreal three times in a row to devastating effect. Ruler, along with support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in, dominated the bottom lane with ease, showing that Hanwha simply couldn't hang with them. With a strong bottom lane and the rest of the team playing well, Gen.G showed just why it is so dangerous. Not only would Gen.G outplay you in teamfights or in the laning phase, but its aggressive shotcalling gave it constant tactical high ground, forcing Hanwha into mistakes. While its Game 2 loss will sting, the rest of this series was as clean as can be for Gen.G, which continues to prove that it belongs at the top of a highly competitive LCK.

Gen.G will challenge KT Rolster at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday, followed by Hanwha Life eSports facing Afreeca Freecs at 7 a.m. ET that same day.

Griffin 2-0 Jin Air

Griffin took down Jin Air Green Wings in a convincing 2-0 sweep on Wednesday during League Champions Korea in Seoul.

While new to the LCK, Griffin (3-0) seemed to hold itself with veteran poise against Jin Air Green Wings (0-3), picking up a pair of wins in very similar fashion. As we've learned more about this team, some things have become apparent. For starters, AD carry player Park "Viper" Do-hyeon has fully embraced the patch 8.11 meta, bringing melee champions like Gangplank and Irelia to the bottom lane. Jungler Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong has done an incredible job controlling the enemy jungler, containing both of Jin Air's junglers with ease as Trundle. Above all, Griffin simply outplayed Jin Air, winning the early game despite drafting scaling compositions. While Jin Air isn't exactly the best sparring partner for Griffin to prove itself, a 2-0 win over an established team of veterans should have heads turning towards this rookie squad.

Jin Air, on the other hand, looked worse for wear as each game went on. Jungler Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon will want to leave his performance in Game 1 out of the history books, as he was practically invisible in the face of Tarzan's pressure. It's not like Jin Air's laners fared any better, though, as top laner Kim "SoHwan" Jun-yeong was abused in lane, preventing Jin Air from executing any of its compositional goals set out for the team in the draft. The basic ingredients for a good team are present, and this meta certainly doesn't help the "45+ minute game or bust" Jin Air fans have come to love, but things just aren't clicking for the Green Wings.

Griffin goes up against SK Telecom at 4 a.m. ET on Friday, while Jin Air will take on MVP at 7 a.m. ET later that day.


MVP took down SK Telecom T1 on Wednesday's slate of League Champions Korea games, claiming a 2-1 series win in Seoul.

There's no way to sugarcoat this. SK Telecom (0-3) is not looking good. Subbing out its entire regular starting lineup apart from top laner Park "Thal" Kwon-hyuk is baffling, especially considering MVP (2-2) could be an easier matchup for the main roster than the likes of Gen.G and Afreeca Freecs from Week 1. Nevertheless, the subs showed some promise, particularly AD carry Han "Leo" Gyeo-re, who played well in Game 1 as Vladimir, something fellow SKT AD carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik hasn't shown thus far. Unfortunately the rest of the team failed to follow the same pattern of change. If SKT's coaching staff thinks a complete roster overhaul is what the team needs to be competitive, a loss to MVP should act as a valuable, yet disheartening learning experience. Still, the fact that mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok was left on the bench for former NA LCS talent Choi "Pirean" Jun-sik is rather mind blowing, showing that all is not well in the SKT camp.

MVP, meanwhile, managed to pick up a win -- but against a team of substitutes, it was a bit disheartening to see the litany of errors that took place. MVP has shown difficulty adapting to opponents' drafts, which was on display in Game 1 when MVP's AD carry-less composition tried to scale into the late game against a top lane Nasus. In addition, MVP's players have made baffling decisions, whether it's bad positioning, questionable ultimate usage or even strange itemization. See mid laner An "Ian" Junk-hyeong's Lulu in Game 1 purchasing an Ardent Censer, which only benefited a jungle Xin Zhao. Nevertheless, MVP's veterans, particularly AD carry Na "Pilot" Woo-hyung, who carried Game 3 on a surprise Kalista pick, showed resilience, bouncing back from a Game 1 loss to pick up two convincing games in a row.

SK Telecom looks to pick up its first series win of the season against Griffin at 4 a.m. ET on Friday, followed by MVP squaring off against Jin Air at 7 a.m. ET that same day.

--Noah Waltzer