Gen.G, GC Busan advance to the 2018 KeSPA Cup quarterfinals as SANDBOX Gaming and Jin Air Greenwings are knocked out of the esports competition.
There was no Christmas break for the South Korean League of Legends teams as the annual KeSPA Cup continued on the 24th and 25th. The final competition of 2018, which is considered a preseason tournament, saw Gen.G‘s revamped roster sweep Challenger Series’ champions SANDBOX Gaming. GC Busan scored a surprise win over Jin Air Greenwings.
Gen.G sweeps SANDBOX Gaming, advances to quarterfinals
With a revamped roster following a disappointing 2018 season, Gen.G welcomed LCK’s new team SANDBOX Gaming with a 2-0 sweep. With only two members remaining from Samsung Galaxy’s 2017 World Championship-winning roster, Gen.G relies on their substitutes from Summer. In addition, they rely on superstar jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho to turn their fortunes around this coming season.
Game 1: Gen.G pulls ahead after an early kill bonanza
Game 1 wasn’t exactly clean on the side of the 2017 world champions, with plenty of fights all around the map resulting in 32 kills. However, Gen.G’s AD Carry Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, one of the two members remaining from the old Samsung Galaxy roster, made good use of the team’s resources on his signature Xayah.
Dealing a game-high 27,303 damage; compared to a poor showing by SANDBOX’s Shin “Hollow” Yong-jin. He barely eclipsed the 6,000 mark with a 0/2/2 KDA; the superstar ADC finished with a perfect 7/0/8 KDA. Down three turrets to six, SANDBOX went for a risky sneaky Baron call at the 33 minutes mark. While the team did manage to secure the buff, a perfect engage by Gen.G’s support Kim “Life” Jeong-min’s Rakan led to an ace and Gen.G waltzing into SANDBOX’s base to end game 1.
Game 2: Gen.G overcomes a poor early game to sweep the series
Game 2 saw a much better start by the 2018 Challenger series’ summer split champions. Up three turrets to two and having secured three elemental buffs (two Ocean drakes, one Infernal drake) the team failed to capitalize. Unable to secure the Baron after winning a fight in the midlane, the team unsuccessfully forced a second skirmish which turned into an absolute disaster.
Ruler’s Ezreal (with a beautiful outplay against Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun’s Kai’sa) and midlane Song “Fly” Young-jun’s Zoe helped Gen.G secure four kills. They allowed the team back into the game and nearly wiping out SANDBOX’s gold lead. Gen.G turned that into a second Infernal drake. With a massive spike thanks to its composition and the buffs, Gen.G picked off SANDBOX’s jungler Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom and forced another fight. This time around the Baron pit.
Following an unsuccessful re-engage by SANDBOX’s toplaner Choi “Wizer” Ui-seok’s Irelia, Gen.G cleared the fight. They secured an ace; the Baron buff and rushed the opponent’s base to end the game in 33 minutes one more time. Fly’s Zoe (30,880 damage, 5/0/9 KDA) and Ruler’s Ezreal (30,738 damage, 7/0/7 KDA) led the team to the win and to the 2018 KeSPA Cup quarterfinals. Geng.G’s opponent will be the 2017 summer split and 2018 LCK spring split champions, Kingzone Dragon X.
CK’s GC Busan sweeps LCK’s Jin Air
Jin Air narrowly avoided the qualifiers for the 2019 spring split of the LCK. However, with the team’s star player, AD Carry Park “Teddy” Jin-seong moved to SK Telecom T1 for 2019. The new season might be a tricky one for the team if this year’s KeSPA Cup is anything to go by.
Game 1: Busan wins a back-and-forth opener
Things got off to an almost perfect start for Jin Air. Despite playing a composition that relied on late-game scaling, the team still built a better lane set up. They allowed the Caitlyn-Braum pairing of AD Carry Moon “Route” Geom-su and support Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu to secure the game’s first turret with the plating still up. The Rift Herald helped Jin Air secure some more plating gold from the mid lane’s turret. Furthermore, GC Busan responded by moving three men to the top side of the map in order to secure its first turret.
Busan picked a good fight on the top side, with top laner Lee “SoaR” Gang-pyo executing a perfect teleport behind JAG followed up by a well-placed Ornn ultimate. This allowed his team to collect three kills to none from Jin Air’s side. Neither team managed to pull ahead significantly, with plenty of skirmishes around the map not leading to any major objectives. At the 30 minute mark, with JAG holding a marginal gold lead, Route severely misjudged the damage from Busan’s poke. Lim “Moo” Mu-heon’s Ezreal, with some help from Lee “Ryan” Jun-seok’s Kha’zix, secured a relatively clean kill. Having lost their primary damage dealer, Jin Air failed to re-engage onto GC Busan, which allowed the CK team to siege and destroy JAG’s mid lane turret.
It gave Busan enough space to go for an uncontested Baron call, which it quickly snowballed into a solid three thousand gold lead. Making use of the tiny window available before Jin Air’s composition could reach its power spike, GC Busan went for an all-in, taking down most of the LCK team’s turrets. JAG tried to find a way back into the game by forcing a poorly executed engage. It led to another two deaths to their side, allowing Busan enough space to end the game in 38 minutes.
Game 2: Jin Air fails to take objectives allows GC Busan to close out the series
First blood went to GC Busan’s top laner SoaR with a solo kill on Jin Air’s Heo “Lindarang” Man-heung. The play set Lindarag’s Urgot behind, with JAG moving its focus towards the bottom side of the map. Jungler Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong’s Lee Sin got a perfect start, securing four kills. But, in a rather bizarre fashion, JAG failed to convert that into a single objective around the map. It was GC Busan instead that secured three Cloud drakes, an Ocean drake and five turrets, building a sizable three thousand gold lead in the process. It would add another two turrets and an Infernal drake to the bill, growing that lead to seven thousand.
SoaR’s Ryze became nearly unstoppable, while Moo’s Lucian found a way back into the game. Busan was able to grab an uncontested Baron at 31 minutes, and almost ten thousand gold up, it took very little effort for the team to invade Jin Air’s base and destroy the Nexus, securing the team’s spot in the 2018 KeSPA Cup quarterfinals.
The KeSPA Cup continues this week, with the finals set for December 31.