Gen.G 2, bbq Olivers 0
Gen.G dominated the bbq Olivers on Wednesday, taking a commanding 2-0 win in League Champions Korea in Seoul, South Korea.
From the draft phase in Game 1 up until bbq's Nexus exploded in Game 2, Gen.G (11-5) was in complete control of this series. The defending World Champions played just as you'd expect, accruing advantages through objective control while sacrificing some early game presence in order to completely take over the pace of the game come midgame. bbq Olivers couldn't help but give up early kills, meaning Gen.G's deliberate march into bbq's side of the map was accelerated by early gold. As has been the case over the last few weeks, consistency was key for Gen.G's wins. From jungler Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong's knack for reading his opposite number and ganking or counter-ganking at just the right moments to mid laner Song "Fly" Yong-jun showing his mastery of Orianna time and time again, winning teamfights and skirmishes with brilliant Command: Shockwaves, Gen.G could simply do no wrong as it wrapped up a classic Gen.G-style thumping and moved into second place in the LCK standings.
Bbq Olivers (2-14) looked downright dismal throughout the series, never truly giving itself a chance to win. Top laner Kim "Crazy" Jae-hee was given champions with difficult lane matchups to go up against Gen.G's Lee "CuVee" Seong-jin's Kennen in both games, with Crazy's Rumble in Game 2 getting absolutely demolished in the midgame. Bbq drafted around midgame teamfighting but never made the early plays it needed to have a gold advantage to capitalize on, picking team compositions with narrow windows of effectiveness and never getting close to reaching them. The few positive notes for bbq were almost always overshadowed by Gen.G taking advantage of the team in some way or another, showing why bbq is stuck at the bottom of the standings.
Gen.G will face the Jin Air Green Wings at 7 a.m. ET on Saturday, while bbq Olivers wait to take on Kingzone DragonX at 7 a.m. ET on Sunday.
SKT 1, Afreeca 2
In a game loaded with playoff and potential World Championship implications, the Afreeca Freecs (9-7) managed to hold onto the fifth seed, beating back a resurgent SK Telecom (8-8), a team that needs help from other teams in addition to a fantastic end-of-the-split run to even make it to playoffs, let alone Worlds. As has become custom for SKT, mid laner Choi "Pirean" Jun-sik got the starting nod over legendary mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok for the 11th straight game in this recent run, making it the longest stretch of time Faker didn't start for SKT. While this series marked the first loss with Pirean on the Rift, SKT's dire situation might see Faker return to the starting lineup.
Game 1 saw SK Telecom outdraft Afreeca by giving top laner Park "Thal" Kwon-hyuk a carry pick in Kennen, which he used to great effect, hitting a couple of devastating Slicing Maelstroms on the entire Afreeca team en route to a 4/1/6 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) for 91 percent kill participation. As the series went on, the relative inexperience of SKT's starting lineup became apparent, with Thal contributing less and less as the series went on while Pirean had minimal impact across all three games. Apart from a pair of Baron steals in Games 2 and 3 for jungler Kang "Blank" Gun-su, SKT simply fell apart as time went on.
Afreeca, on the other hand, didn't let its Game 1 loss dissuade it from playing its usual high-tempo playstyle, firing back in Game 2 and seizing control early on. The key to the Freecs' comeback was the man in the mid lane, Lee "Kuro" Seo-haeng, who put on two all-star performances in Games 2 and 3 as Yasuo and Vel'Koz, respectively. Kuro's veteran poise shone through as he stepped up when his team needed help, giving the rest of Afreeca the confidence it needed to overcome a slow start to take a decisive Game 3 win.
SK Telecom faces a do-or-die situation as it next takes on Griffin at 4 a.m. ET on Saturday, while Afreeca prepares for another challenge from a contender for the fifth seed in Hanwha Life Esports at 4 a.m. ET on Sunday.