KT topples Afreeca, Gen.G defeats Hanwha

Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu and KT Rolster defeated Griffin several times during the LCK regular season. Provided by kenzi/FOMOS

KT Rolster 2, Afreeca 1

KT Rolster continued its streak when it pulled out a 2-1 victory against Afreeca during the 2018 League Champions Korea Summer Split Sunday morning.

Unlike most other series over the tumultuous split, this matchup was dictated by the lategame. The team that found the early lead wasn't guaranteed to win, as KT Rolster demonstrated stunningly in Game 1 when its few damage threats found themselves unable to address Afreeca's dive-heavy composition. Much of that was due to the metagame -- both Yasuo and Fizz made multiple appearances over the series, and both proved incredible at zoning out and eliminating enemy backline threats -- but for the most part the series conformed to the metagame that's been evolving over the course of the LCK.

An MVP list for this series would extend to nearly the entire roster of both teams, as almost every player had a turn to stand in the limelight. On the side of Afreeca Bak "TusiN" Jong-ik's Tahm Kench play kept his team alive through all of Game 2, Lee "Mowgli" Jae-Ha's Zac stole a Baron that nearly reversed Game 2 entirely, while an unreal performance from Kim "Kiin" Ki-in over the entire series not only gave the team its victory in Game 1, but almost managed to get them the series win by Game 3. KT Rolster's Woo-Hyun "Ucal" Son all but solo carried Game 2 on his Yasuo, Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho proved himself against Kiin in both Games 2 and 3, and Go "Score" Dong-bin's complete suppression of Mowgli in the latter half of the series was the primary factor in KT Rolster's eventual success.

KT Rolster move on to face SK Telecom T1 at 7:00 a.m. ET on Thursday. The Afreeca Freecs, on the other hand, face some much more stiff opposition when it takes on Team Griffin at 4:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

--James Bates

Gen.G 2, Hanwha Life 1

Gen.G earned a crucial victory Sunday morning when it took down Hanwha Life Esports in a 2-1 set.

For anyone who wished to see just how strange the current League of Legends metagame could become, there was no better series to watch than this one. Hanwha Esports seemed to come into the series with the intent to play every possible non-standard game plan that 8.11 enabled. Game 1 featured a Karthus funnel composition that centered around Kwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun's Karthus and Yun "SeongHwan" Seong-hwan's Nunu, Game 2 showcased just how underpowered Kim "Lava" Tae-hoon's smite mid Talon can be, while Hanwha surprised the world in Game 3 by simply playing standard League of Legends. In every case it was fair to say that Hanwha looked as if it had outplayed itself, not Gen.G -- the Karthus/Nunu strategy worked abysmally and won due to serendipity, while the Talon mid pick was easily answered Song "Fly" Young-yun's Lulu, which all but erased Lava from the game. When push came to shove, Gen.G were the ones holding the answers and managed to defuse the majority of Hanwha's game plans when it mattered most.

Curiously, Gen.G elected to start with a configuration of players that had been quite rare for the organization. Lee "Crown" Min-ho, the defending world champion mid laner, was nowhere to be found. Even though Gen.G opted to start Kang "Ambition"Chan-yong from the beginning of the series, there was still no sign of Crown, leading to questions about whether his return was simply a one-time affair. Seeing as Gen.G managed to find itself another match win all the same -- in many ways thanks to Fly, it's worth noting, as he not only neutralized Lava in Game 2, he also hard-carried Game 3 on his Orianna -- it's possible that this configuration of players is the one fans can expect to see moving forward.

Gen.G's next match is against Kingzone Dragonx at 4:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Hanwha Life Esports will take on Team Griffin at 4:00 a.m. ET on Thursday.

--James Bates