Jin Air Green Wings 1, Griffin 0
Week 7 in the League of Legends Champions Korea kicked off with a bang on Tuesday as the Jin Air Green Wings took a surprising 2-1 upset over league-leaders Griffin in Seoul.
Raise your GladPlanes high, Jin Air fans, the Green Wings (4-11) won a series against one of the top teams in the world and with style at that. Sure, Game 1 was a slow and painful decline for Jin Air, allowing Griffin to bully it around the map without so much as a whiff of resistance, but that passive play wouldn't last into Games 2 and 3. With jungler Eom "UmTi" Seong-hyeon playing aggressively early on, Jin Air bypassed its stagnant early game and went straight into the mid game, dominating objective control in both of its wins. In fact, if it wasn't for Griffin picking up a single kill in Game 2, Jin Air would've recorded a perfect game win as mid laner Lee "Grace" Chan-ju's LeBlanc posted a 4/0/3 KDA (kills/deaths/assists). With Grace playing well, there was less pressure on AD carry Park "Teddy" Jin-seong, who used Jhin to devastating effect in Game 3, taking chunks out of Griffin en route to a 40-minute win as Jin Air stays alive in the fight to avoid relegations.
On the other side of this series is Griffin (11-5) which now sits at a crossroads. Posting a record of 8-1 in the first round robin was impressive for the rookie squad but now that teams have had time to adjust, Griffin has struggled to recapture its mojo. A nearly-perfect Game 1 might have lulled Griffin into a false sense of security as jungler Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong's Sejuani set up several early kills and led his team to a comfortable victory. When Griffin fell behind early in Game 2, though, the team lost all sense of agency, playing to stall the game until it had six items on its late game teamfighting champions, essentially relying on a Hail Mary play to take the win. This approach, coupled with poor objective control, gave Jin Air the win in Game 3 despite Griffin leading in kills for over half the game. It's excusable for a rookie team like Griffin to lose to experienced sides like Gen.G and KT Rolster, but a team at the top of the standings has a lot of work to do if it looks this bad against a team like Jin Air.
Jin Air looks to maintain its momentum when it faces KT Rolster at 7 a.m. ET on Thursday, while Griffin prepares for a primetime matchup against SK Telecom T1 at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday.
Kingzone DragonX 1, Hanwha Life Esports 0
Kingzone DragonX survived an upset scare at the hands of Hanwha Life Esports, closing out Tuesday's League of Legends Champions Korea slate with a 2-1 win in Seoul.
With Griffin (11-5) losing earlier on Tuesday, Kingzone DragonX (11-5) salvaged a series win against an upstart Hanwha Life (8-7) and moved into a tie for first place in the LCK standings. Things looked grim for Kingzone early in the series, though, as it got decimated in Game 1 on the back of a monster performance from Hanwha jungler Yoon "SeongHwan" Seong-hwan's Trundle. Fortunately, Kingzone would wake up as time went on, scrapping out a 50-minute win in Game 2 through clean late game teamfighting and decision making before pummeling Hanwha Life in Game 3.
Throughout the series, Kingzone mid laner Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong put on a clinic in the middle lane, achieving a Flame Horizon (having a CS lead of over 100) in Games 1 and 2 before dominating Game 3 as Aurelion Sol, posting a 9/0/0 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) and hard carrying his team to victory. It's important to note that top laner Kim "Khan" Dong-ha only played in Game 1 before getting subbed out in favor of Kim "Rascal" Kwang-hee, since Rascal's consistency in the top lane helped spur a Kingzone comeback, putting the team in prime position to take first place in the regular season.
Poor Hanwha Life got close to winning the series outright, nearly closing out Game 2 before Kingzone could mount a late game comeback. Straddled with the curse of playing well against bottom-tier teams but inconsistently against the top of the standings, Hanwha fell short yet again in trying to upset the status quo. The clock is ticking for Hanwha to find some form of consistency, or else it will risk missing out on playoffs yet again and an improbable but possible Cinderella run to Worlds.
Hanwha Life next battles MVP at 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, while Kingzone will have to wait before closing out the week against bbq Olivers at 7 a.m. ET on Sunday.