MVP's triple Smite no problem for Afreeca, Hanwha edges by Jin Air

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Afreeca 1, MVP 0

The Afreeca Freecs picked up its eighth victory of the 2018 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split when it defeated MVP in a 2-1 series on Wednesday.

To call this series one of the strangest on record doesn't do it justice, as MVP (4-10) started out the series by proving to be the apotheosis of the funnel strategy. Where lesser teams simply shifted the team's Smite to the ADC and called it a day, in what can only described as a flash of madness, MVP took Smite on top laner Jeong "Max" Jong-bin, AD carry Na "Pilot" Woo-hyung, and mid laner An "Ian" Jun-hyung for both Games 1 and 2. Somehow, MVP actually managed to take the first game of the series with its composition via relying on inherent strength of the jungle enchantments. That power helped push MVP's Game 1 composition over the top despite featuring the unorthodox picks of Mordekaiser, Karthus, and Tristana and snuck the team a win where no one would have expected it.

By the time Game 2 rolled around, however, the Afreeca Freecs (8-6) were through with MVP's hijinks. The very next ban phase took both Mordekaiser and Karthus off the table for MVP. which forced the team onto a pair of even more off-meta picks of Heimerdinger in the top lane and Tristana at ADC. Afreeca was ready for the triple-Smite hijinks this time around and squashed it with ease. Game 3 saw MVP put its feet back on solid ground and it picked a standard composition and were summarily obliterated, putting an end to what should have been an unremarkable series that proved to be anything but thanks to the creative picks of MVP.

The Afreeca Freecs go on to next face Kingzone DragonX at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday, while MVP's next opponent is the LCK leading Griffin later that day at 7 a.m. ET.

--James Bates

Hanwha Life Esports 1, Jin Air Green Wings 0

Hanwha Life Esports survived a scare from Jin Air Green Wings on Wednesday, pulling off a 2-1 win to keep afloat in the League of Legends Champions Korea playoff race in Seoul.

Throughout the Spring and Summer splits, Hanwha Life Esports (7-6) has showcased potential surrounding the team, coming just short of reaching the Spring playoffs and once again in a position to potentially make a run at a Summer postseason berth. Though a team like Jin Air (3-10) should theoretically pose less of a challenge for a team with postseason aspirations, Hanwha Life displayed poise after a disastrous Game 1 in which it let things slip away after disrespecting a potent pick composition from Jin Air. After that, though, it was business as usual for Hanwha, which responded by running through Jin Air in a pair of near perfect games on the back of jungler Yoon "SeongHwan" Seong-hwan that left Jin Air little room to maneuver. While better teams will pose more of a threat in both macro and mechanical play, don't be too surprised if Hanwha Life squeaks into the postseason.

Poor Jin Air has, for the better part of Summer, been erratic and turbulent, and this series was a prime example of that. Jin Air looked great in Game 1 after it stopped letting Hanwha kick it around the map for the early-mid game, picking off isolated Hanwha members to turn around a significant gold lead. Jungler Eom "UmTi" Seong-hyeon's Nocturne was farmed and Jin Air looked ready to take over the game, except it wasted several minutes trying to unnecessarily bait Hanwha into checking the Baron instead of simply doing it. While Jin Air managed to still pull out the win in that game, its tendency to live and die by UmTi cost it later in the series as Jin Air was wholly shut down in just every aspect of the game in the final two outings.

Hanwha Life look to go 2-0 on the week when it takes on bbq Olivers at 4 a.m. ET on Friday, followed by Jin Air trying its luck against SK Telecom T1 at 7 a.m. later that morning.

Noah Waltzer