Afreeca gives Griffin its second loss, SKT bounces back

Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon and Afreeca Freecs took down Kingzone DragonX in the League Champions Korea playoffs. Provided by Riot Games

Afreeca Freecs 1, Griffin 0

Afreeca turned the tables on Griffin early Tuesday morning by serving Griffin its second loss of the season to begin Week 5 of the 2018 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split.

Mystifying decisions on the part of Griffin (8-2) must accept some of the blame for the side's untimely loss, as safe money would have seemed to favor Griffin after its dominating 2-0 performance against Afreeca (7-4) not seven days ago. Griffin not only chose to run back-to-back funnel compositions centered around Park "Viper" Do-hyeon against Afreeca ,but it also chose to run Lucian as the recipient of the funnel -- an untraditional choice to say the least. In both games the funnel was easily dissected from the side of Afreeca, whose relentless early game pressure out of the jungle thanks to Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon -- who started over the more commonly seen Lee "Mowgli" Jae-ha -- and altogether stronger side lanes made the series look more like a cakewalk for Afreeca than the epic struggle one would expect when facing down the top seeded Korean team.

The aforementioned Spirit played, quite frankly, his best series of the season, as his back-to-back Kindred picks punished Griffin's funnel in a way it didn't seem to know was possible. His dogged insistence on swinging the Afreeca side lanes in his favor netted his team kill after kill, and when his ganks proved successful in Game 1 that his itemization perfectly matched that of the funneled Lucian, it was clear just how over the game was.

Bak "TusiN" Jong-ik is no less deserving of praise, if not thanks to his Tahm Kench performance in Game 1, than certainly for his unreal showing on Alistar in Game 2. While his Tahm Kench was about as standard as could be -- Afreeca's incredible gold and pressure lead gave him few opportunities to save his allies from certain death, as Griffin simply lacked the ability to meaningfully threaten his allies -- his Alistar was anything but. It was his initiation that started a tower dive on the bottom lane early on in Game 2 that spelled utter catastrophe for Griffin, who not only lost both of their bottom laners but the tower that they were willing to give their lives to defend as well. More importantly, it was TusiN who disrupted what could have been a massive turnabout play for Griffin by headbutting Viper off of Spirit's Lamb Respite. In a split second the Griffin hard carry went from being utterly untouchable to not only vulnerable, but also out of position. Afreeca wasted no time offing Viper, and Griffin's only hope for a Game 3 was pulverized, earning Afreeca as surprisingly easy 2-0 victory.

The Afreeca Freecs move on to play against the bbq Olivers at 7:00 a.m. ET on Friday. Griffin's next challenger will be Hanwha Life Esports, who it faces at 1:00 a.m. ET on Thursday.

--James Bates

SK Telecom T1 1, MVP 0

SK Telecom closed out Tuesday's slate with a 2-1 wn over MVP in League of Legends Champions Korea in Seoul.

After getting worked over in Game 1, SK Telecom (4-6) bounced back with aplomb, running two similar compositions in back-to-back games. On the back of mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's Galio, which was an immovable object for MVP (4-7) and bottom lane carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik's Ezreal, which pumped out massive damage while staying alive with ease, SKT could do no wrong in Games 2 or 3. It must be said that, for SKT's strength in its wins, it struggled at times to get things going. What's more, between not being able to control the pace of the game at times, SKT looked incredibly team-composition-dependent when it came to winning games, as its Game 1 loss featuring Faker playing mid Rumble collapsed spectacularly around its star. Still, with SKT facing the worst opening round robin in franchise history, fans will be happy that SKT escaped with a win.

MVP looked strong in Game 1, though that might have just been SKT tripping over its own feet. Placing high priority on Kled, an emerging pick around the world, MVP played a smash-and-grab style that netted bottom lane carry Na "Pilot" Woo-hyung's Ezreal an 8/0/8 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) for 80 percent kill participation. As the series went on, though, MVP got exposed as SKT started taking away those variables that had tipped Game 1 in MVP's favor. It's tough to say where things went bad for MVP; sure, a weak bottom lane didn't help and mid laner An "Ian" Jun-hyeong was quiet the entire night, but it was a comprehensive team failure at the end of the day. MVP didn't prevent SKT from doing whatever it wanted in the draft or in the game, which shows why this talented MVP lineup is still treading water near the bottom of the LCK standings.

SK Telecom will take on KT Rolster in the latest installment of the Telecom Wars at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, while MVP battles the Jin Air Greenwings at 4 a.m. ET on Friday.

--Noah Waltzer