The 2018 LCK summer split runner-ups Griffin wrapped up an amazing year by completing a perfect run. Without dropping a single set, Griffin won the team’s first ever KeSPA Cup finals.
2018 KeSPA Cup finals
There is no doubt that 2018 was Griffin’s year. They had a perfect run to the Challenger Series title, and a promotion to the LCK. After a shocking debut at the top tier of the Korean League of Legends scene with a second place finish in summer, the team wrapped up its dreamlike season with a perfect run to the KeSPA Cup finals title. Griffin won eight out of eight maps on its way to the trophy. They completed the sweep with a 3-0 win over Gen.G, avenging its Regional Finals loss in the process.
Game 1: Griffin turns things around mid-game to open the series
Griffin went for a very aggressive bottom lane pairing with Cassiopeia and Thresh. Quickly gaining the lane priority, Son “Lehends” Si-woo landed a perfect Death Sentence on Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Viper’s Cassiopeia followed with a solid early burst. Kim “Life” Jeong-min (Tahm Kench) tried to save his AD Carry, but Lehends’ Ignite secured the first blood. Gen.G’s response came on the top side with two kills thanks to Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin (Urgot) abusing Choi “Sword” Sung-won’s (Viktor) low mobility.
Han “Peanut” Wang-ho (Nocturne) continued to explore Gen.G’s top side advantage. He secured the Rift Herald and the first turret. Griffin, meanwhile, completely shifted its focus towards the bottom side, making good use of Cassiopeia’s lane dominance.
The game continued at a relatively slow pace, allowing Gen.G to build a two thousand gold lead by taking down three turrets to one from Griffin. At the 26 minute mark, the summer split runner-ups went for a sneak Baron call. Peanut tried to face-check the pit, but Griffin followed that by going all-in and bursting down Gen.G’s jungler. A triple Mountain drake buff coupled with Cassiopeia’s DPS quickly melted the Baron’s life bar, while Gen.G had no way to contest the call. The buff allowed Griffin to gain control over the map and create enough space for a second Baron. With Gen.G holding three Infernal drakes, the team tried to force a fight in order to stop Griffin’s push. While the initial engage did find some success, a perfect Death Sentence from Lehends on Ruler turned the fight around, and Griffin aced Gen.G to take Game 1 in just under 38 minutes.
Game 2: A clean game from Griffin to take a 2-0 lead
Griffin found a pickoff on Gen.G’s mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun (Lissandra), with Tarzan (Sejuani) stacking the passive and following that with an Ultimate. But Life (Tahm Kench) arrived in time to turn the fight around, and Gen.G nearly secured a kill on Tarzan. Griffin’s Viper (Cassiopeia) and Lehends (Alistar) roamed towards mid in order to join the fight, and it was all the team needed. Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon (Irelia) landed a perfect Ultimate, and with some help from Viper, set up a perfect dive to score a double kill. To make matters worse for Gen.G, Tarzan stole the Rift Herald, setting up the first turret bonus for Chovy.
Just like in game 1, things slowed down until Griffin decided to go for a sneaky Baron call 25 minutes in. Gen.G tried to contest with all five members, but Griffin easily secured the buff and went for the engage, taking down three Gen.G players. It took less than a minute for Griffin to get inside their opponent’s base, and with Chovy snowballing out of control, the team aced Gen.G and destroyed the Nexus in 27 minutes of game time.
Game 3: Griffin sweeps another one, wins KeSPA Cup finals
Viper (Jayce) once again went for an unusual pick, but it created some nice synergy with Lehends (Braum). The duo went for an all-in on Life (Tahm Kench), qucikly stacking up Braum’s passive while Viper drew first blood with a well-placed shot. Simultaneously, Chovy (Irelia) grabbed a solo kill on Fly (Zoe). Gen.G got back by punishing an ambitious Rift Herald call by Griffin, securing three kills in response. But not even that could halt Griffin’s momentum. Chovy released the Rift Herald mid to get the first turret gold, while Sword (Urgot) also got a solo kill on CuVee (Poppy) to take down the top side turret.
Chovy completely dominated the matchup against Fly, and the same was also true for Sword over CuVee. This meant that Griffin had plenty of space around the map to force plays. The team then set up a Baron call 29 minutes in, and holding a massive 10,000 gold lead, it could go for a final push. At the 32 minute mark, Griffin forced another fight, took down another four Gen.G players and destroyed the Nexus to complete its perfect run to the 2018 KeSPA Cup finals title.