Rookie squad Griffin passes first big test in LCK

Griffin's success as a rookie squad in the toughest League of Legends region in the world has caught the eye of fans both in South Korea and abroad. Photo by Yong Woo "kenzi" Kim

Griffin 1, Kingzone DragonX 0

Griffin took a convincing 2-0 sweep over Kingzone DragonX on Tuesday in League of Legends Champions Korea.

Even though Griffin (6-0) started the Summer Split undefeated, people still had their doubts about the newly promoted team of rookies. What happens when Griffin runs into a good team, like defending Spring Split champions, Kingzone DragonX (4-2)? As Griffin showed the world on Tuesday, the answer is clear: Griffin dominates the competition.

Griffin clearly understands the meta well, out-drafting Kingzone in both games by playing into Griffin's biggest strength -- what might possibly be the best teamfighting squad in all of the LCK, or even the world. Top laner Choi "Sword" Sung-won was otherwordly against his opposite number, Kingzone's Kim "Khan" Dong-ha, carrying in Games 1 and 2 as Aatrox and Darius, respectively. In the bottom lane, Park "Viper" Do-hyeon showed a great understanding of non-marksman champions, flexing between Morgana and Vladimir, two very different styles of mage champions, and executed teamfighting flawlessly as both. Once Griffin started to snowball, it wtook full control of the game, shutting Kingzone out with crisp teamfighting and objective control until Kingzone simply crumbled under Griffin's pressure.

After a Game 1 thumping, Kingzone looked visibly nervous against its rookie opponent. It went beyond simply missing skillshots, though, as Kingzone looked like it was struggling to keep up with Griffin's superior mechanical skills and macro play. Nobody on Kingzone had a particularly good night; Khan looked like he might as well have been the rookie in the top lane, mid laner Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong failed to make any impact, and Kingzone's bottom lane couldn't keep up with Viper and company as it got abused early in straight up 2-on-2 matchups. Kingzone remains one of the best teams in the league but a performance like this might just be the blueprint other teams need to take Kingzone down, unless Kingzone can learn from this and adapt fast.

With another top-tier opponent taken down in convincing fashion, Griffin has certainly commanded respect from the rest of the LCK. Griffin will next take on KT Rolster at 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, followed by Kingzone DragonX facing a resurging SK Telecom T1 at 7 a.m. ET later that day.

-- Noah Waltzer

SK Telecom T1 1, KT Rolster 0

SK Telecom T1 picked up a huge win in the Telecom Wars, taking down KT Rolster 2-1 in the LCK.

While the circumstances surrounding this iteration of the famed Telecom Wars would suggest a boring, one-sided series, SK Telecom T1 (2-4) showed up in a big way on Tuesday. As expected, SKT mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok consistently performed well regardless of what was happening around him. When his team was in a position to help him, such as in Game 2, Faker showed that he can still shine, posting a KDA (kills/deaths/assists) of 11/2/2 for 81 percent kill participation as Yasuo. This series win wasn't just a Faker win, though, as SKT's bottom lane stepped up in a big way. Bottom lane carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik bounced back from a poor showing in Game 1 to dominate Games 2 and 3 as Morgana while support Lee "Effort" Sang-ho's went through a similar surge in form, taking over Game 3 to earn MVP honors as Pyke. For the first time in a while, SKT fans can look at a starting roster and be proud of what SKT is working with, as it begins to turn around a historically slow start to the Summer Split.

On the other end of the Rift is KT Rolster (3-3), which fell short after a convincing Game 1 win, raising questions about this team. While jungler Go "Score" Dong-bin prepared a pocket-pick Kindred for this series, it didn't quite leave an impact, though it was hard for Score to do anything with Faker and Effort constantly hunting him down in his own jungle. What's more, while KT bottom lane carry Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu played well as Ezreal, he simply couldn't out-damage Bang's Morgana, ultimately forced to play on the backfoot. Regardless of individual player performance, the way that KT routinely fell apart in the mid-late game showed a glaring hole in KT's play, one which will need addressing if this team hopes to break free of its mediocre state.

KT Rolster prepares to take on an undefeated Griffin at 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, followed by SKT taking on Kingzone DragonX at 7 a.m. ET later that day.

-- Waltzer