KT Rolster takes top spot from Griffin in LCK, Hanwha moves towards playoffs

Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho previously played for ROX Tigers in League Champions Korea. Now he is part of KT Rolster. Yong Woo 'Kenzi' Kim

KT Rolster 1, Jin Air Green Wings 0

KT Rolster surged into first place after coming out on top of the JIn Air Green Wings at the end of a harsh three game series on Thursday during the 2018 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split.

It was a match that should have been an easy clean up based solely on the reputation of the two teams, yet circumstance made it far more than that. Jin Air (4-12) came into the night hot off its 2-1 upset against Griffin (11-5) earlier in the week -- a victory that made KT Rolster's takeover of first place possible to being with -- while KT Rolster (11-5) nearly dropped a series to the bbq Olivers (2-14) not five days ago. To complicate things further, KT Rolster started out the series with Heo "PawN" Won-seok as its starting mid laner whose lack of recent stage experience was exacerbated by a disadvantageous lane matchup against one of the rising stars of the modern LCK, Lee "Grace" Chanju.

Predictably, a team featuring what is almost unanimously considered the worst mid laner of the 2018 Spring season wasn't up to the task of defeating a JIn Air squad that has been likely to upset every high-tier team they stumbled up against. By the time Game 2 rolled around, Son "Ucal" Woo-hyun was back in the game, and KT Rolster was back to the its regular form. Immediately KT Rolster went from having the game dictated to them by Jin Air to being the team doing the dictating, as Game 2 was a somewhat slow but inexorable crawl towards a KT Rolster victory thanks to Kim "Deft" Hyuk-kyu's Tristana.

Jin Air weren't willing to capitulate the series, however, and struck back hard in Game 3. The tide turned in favor of both teams multiple times over the final game -- both Park "Teddy" Jin-sung and Ucal made strong cases from MVP performances and played their hearts out -- but when the 40-minute brawl came to an end, KT Rolster were the team with a Nexus still standing.

KT Rolster moves on to face Hanwha Life Esports at 7 a.m. ET next Tuesday. Jin Air's next opponent will be Gen.G, who it will take on at 7 a.m. ET on Saturday.

-- James Bates

Hanwha Life Esports 1, MVP 0

Hanwha Life Esports solidified its playoff ambitions by bowling over MVP in a swift and brutal 2-0 series during the 2018 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split.

Hanwha's superior read on the emerging metagame in the LCK was obvious from the beginning of the series, as the side's move towards more early game aggression matched that of other successful teams over the last week. Being able to find a winning lane to play around from the start of the game has become a dominant strategy in the LCK, and Hanwha (9-7) did exactly that during both games to resounding success.

Hanwha top laner Heo "Lindarang" Man-heung was the lucky recipient of Hanwha's attention in Game 2, even though his KDA by the end of the game barely showed it. His counterpart, Kang "ADD" Geon-mo, found himself the victim of almost comically levels of pressure in the top lane, as Hanwha ensured that his Cho'Gath never got off the ground. MVP (4-12) were unable to return fire across the map, however, as Hanwha AD carry Kwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun knew his role was to simply endure any attempt at a return play from MVP and played a defensive game. The low-kill game came to an end when Lindarang and jungler Yoon "SeongHwan" Seong-hwan surprised all of MVP by duoing Baron -- a game-winning play that earned Hanwha a completely unbeatable lead by the time the buff wore off.

Game 2 saw Lindarang pass his torch off to the entire opposite end of the map, as Hanwha put all of its eggs in Sangyoon's basket, and he and his Jhin returned the investment tenfold. An early triple kill during an all-out 5-vs-5 brawl in the bottom lane ended with a triple kill for Sangyoon, which catapulted his damage straight into the stratosphere with one of the fastest Stormrazor purchases ever witnessed in competitive play. Unsurprisingly, Team MVP quickly found itself with very little of the map available, and another Baron take by the side of Hanwha wrapped up the series nicely in its favor.

Hanwha Life Esports moves on to play against the Afreeca Freecs at 4 a.m. ET on Sunday, while MVP's next opponent is Gen.G in a match at 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

-- Bates