After a year of drought for the organization, SKT T1 were able to defeat Griffin in the 2019 LCK Spring finals. Many believed the League of Legends series would go to five games, due to the performance of both teams in the regular season. Unfortunately for Griffin, they were able to win the series in only three games. Were the games even close? Did Griffin put up a fight? Let’s take a look at what led to SKT’s victory in the LCK finals.
The first game of the series started with a shocker as early as in the draft phase. The Griffin bottom lane opted for the Taliyah and Pantheon duo. It utilizes the Frostfang & Kleptomancy strategy and is supposedly very dominant in lane. In the early game, it seemed like it would pay off as Griffin were able to secure first blood. They led in GD throughout the entire early and mid-game. Unfortunately, Griffin’s composition fell off tremendously in the late game. Even with the gold quite close around the 30-minute mark, Griffin were trying to avoid fighting SKT at all cost. They just weren’t able to compete against SKT’s super team fights with a composition meant to pick off targets.
Sadly for them, SKT were able to force a fight around Baron, killing multiple members of Griffin. This lead to them securing the Baron and pushing through mid lane, destroying multiple enemy structures. After the push, SKT decided to try to secure the Elder Dragon. In a heroic attempt to stall out the game, Son “Lehends” Si-woo stole the dragon after dropping in as Pantheon. Although a good attempt, it resulted in his team getting wiped out. SKT were then able to push through the enemy base and end the game in style. Park “Teddy” Jin-seong won the MVP for his excellent performance on Ezreal.
After losing the first game, Griffin had to make a change to keep their MSI dreams alive. They abandoned the Avengers bottom lane and went for a more meta composition with three Teleports. On the other side, SKT opted for a fairly aggressive team comp, putting Teddy on the Lucian and Kim “Khan” Dong-ha on the Akali. After an invade gone bad for Griffin, SKT were able to secure two kills in the first minutes of play. The early game was all SKT, as they were making coordinated plays all over the map. Kim “Clid” Tae-min’s presence around the map allowed them to amass a big gold lead in the early game. Around the 12-minute mark, SKT tried to get themselves the Rift Herald. Griffin stopped them with Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong stealing it, but not without casualties. SKT responded by killing three members of Griffin.
The rest of the game was Griffin desperately trying to make things happen. Unluckily for them, SKT weren’t willing to give up anything. After a few more team fights, they were able to decisively close out the game, bringing the series to match point. It was a difficult game for Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, who had many uncharacteristic mistakes and had no positive impact whatsoever. Their jungler Clid got the MVP after basically deciding the outcome in the early game.
Griffin seemed out of tune after the first game, and SKT had them with their backs against the wall. Picking the Taliyah and Pantheon bottom lane once again, the team thought they could execute on the composition better than they did in the first game. The game was very similar to the previous one, with Griffin failing to make anything happen. Highlights of this game were Choi “Sword” Sung-won’s solo kill against Khan and great escapes from players of both teams. SKT were again able to control the objectives, win most team fights, and were able to win the game in just under 30 minutes. Teddy secured his second MVP of the series and was later announced as the 2019 LCK finals MVP.
With the win in this series, SKT secured themselves a spot in the MSI group stage as the LCK representatives. It is also the first title for the organization in over a year. As you might remember, SKT fell into a deep crisis in the last season. They simply couldn’t find their footing and weren’t able to qualify for Worlds. The importance of this win was even more obvious in the interview, where Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok wasn’t able to hold back tears talking about his former teammates and failures.
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Photos by @kenzi131 from Korizon & LoL Esports
Vince Koyle is an esports writer, tech nerd and future CompSci student. He often likes to compare traditional sports to esports, showing his love for both kinds. Also tends to sometimes try too hard with explaining what esports is and how it isn’t any different than traditional sports. He mainly covers the League of Legends scene, with an emphasis on European and Asian leagues.