SKT dominates Afreeca Freecs while LCK newcomers SANDBOX Gaming score a surprising debut win over Gen.G
Day 3 of the 2019 LCK spring split’s opening week saw SK Telecom T1 sweep yet another opponent, with Afreeca Freecs being the victim. Gen.G, meanwhile, suffered a second consecutive loss to a recently-promoted team. After dropping the first series to DAMWON Gaming, the 2017 world champions also suffered a sweep at the hands of Challenger Series champions SANDBOX Gaming.
SKT looks dangerous, sweeps Afreeca Freecs with ease
It looks like SK Telecom T1 is back. The three-time world champions added a second win to the count with another sweep, this time over last spring runner-ups Afreeca Freecs. SKT dominated both games, needing less than one hour to take its second victory in as many series.
Game 1: SKT goes back to basics, stomps Afreeca Freecs
With SKT holding the priority for all three lanes, Afreeca Freecs jungler Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon (Camille) chose Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok (Urgot) as his first target after tracking SKT’s Kim “Clid” Tae-min (Elise). Spirit and new signing Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon (Galio) went for the all-in as the jungler took SKT’s superstar out for the first blood. And that was all for Afreeca. Faker responded with a beautiful outplay on Ucal as Clid showed up to offer support, securing SKT’s first kill of the game. With Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong (Rakan) free to roam around the map and Kim “Khan” Dong-ha (Fiora) split-pushing, the three-time world champions were quick to completely dominate the map.
Mata found a pickoff on the mid lane and SKT secured four kills, with Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram (Sivir) being the only one to walk away for Afreeca. An easy Baron call followed, and SKT held a massive 8,000 gold lead 26 minutes into the game. AFS had no way to respond to Khan’s split, as the SKT top laner relentlessly destroyed one turret after another helped by a triple Mountain buff. The Freecs went for one final desperate engage attempt, but SKT simply brushed it off, adding three more kills to the count before taking down the Nexus in just under 29 minutes.
Game 2: SKT closes out the series in 25 minutes
Afreeca decided to shake things up a bit, swapping Ucal (Galio) with superstar top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in (Gangplank) while going with an unusual Karthus pick for Spirit. Things were a bit closer this time, but Clid (Xin Zhao) did a great job picking up an Infernal drake and the Rift Herald while SKT held the river priority. AFS contested the second call, but Faker (Urgot) took Spirit out for the first blood. The jungler used Karthus’ Requiem to even the count by taking out Clid. Afreeca almost stopped SKT from grabbing the Eye of the Herald, but Khan and Faker ultimately succeeded.
AFS found a good pick on Clid inside SKT’s jungle, but SKT collapsed to take two kills while creating enough room to destroy the mid lane turret thanks to the Rift Herald. It was all SKT needed to take complete control over the map. With wards deep inside AFS’ territory, the three-time world champions consistently picked off their opponents while also building a 5,000 lead in gold. Afreeca briefly stalled SKT with kills on Clid (Viktor) and AD Carry Park “Teddy” Jin-seong (Ezreal).
With a pick on Spirit, however, SKT headed towards the Baron. This time, not even a pickoff on Faker could stop SKT, as the team set up the siege to slowly demolish AFS’ base. With an ace inside their opponent’s base, SKT completed the sweep with a win in 25 minutes.
Gen.G in a difficult spot, loses to SANDBOX Gaming
Two series and two losses, with both of them coming against the top 2 from last summer’s Challenger Series. After dropping the opener to DAMWON Gaming, Gen.G also suffered a sweep at the hands of SANDBOX Gaming, putting an end to an absolutely terrible first week. There is plenty of time left for a recovery, but things definitely do not look great right now for the 2017 world champions.
Game 1: Everything fallas apart for Gen.G as SANDBOX opens the score
SANDBOX’s opened the series with a surprising Lucian pick for mid laner Kim “Dove” Jae-yeon. Jungler Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom (Sejuani) went for an aggressive dive along with Park “Summit” Woo-tae (Urgot) on Gen.G’s Lee Kim “Roach” Kang-hui (Viktor), with SB’s top laner securing the first blood. Gen.G evened the count however, as OnFleek had to tank most of the damage coming from the turret. A second successful gank from OnFleek snowballed Summit’s Urgot, while freeing the jungler to go for the other lanes.
While OnFleek secured the Rift Herald, Gen.G tried to create something towards the bottom side of the map. Having the lane priority, Han “Peanut” Wang-ho (Camille) showed up for a gank to help Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk (Varus) and Kim “Life” Jeong-min (Tahm Kench) with the dive on Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun (Kalista) and Cho “Joker” Jae-eup (Thresh). However, a beautiful Ultimate by Ghost to save his support bought SB enough time so that Summit could teleport in. The play turned into an absolute disaster for Gen.G, as SANDBOX secured two kills while swinging the momentum for a losing lane.
OnFleek released the Herald on the mid lane, making it all the way to Gen.G’s tier 2 turret, although the jungler eventually paid the price for overextending. SB proceeded to take out Gen.G’s outer turrets, controlling most of their opponent’s territory. SANDBOX used its favorable push to sneak into the Baron pit, forcing Gen.G into face-checking it. SB immediately collapsed to force a fight, but in the end both teams decided to fall back. That happened three more times, with SB finally smiting down the Baron on the fourth attempt.
SANDBOX’s Baron power play wasn’t the most successful, although the team did manage to open up the bottom lane inhibitor. The reigning Challenger Series champions waited for a second Baron spawn, secured four additional kills when Gen.G tried to contest the call and went for the final push, closing out game 1 in 36 minutes.
Game 2: SANDBOX’s unusual draft shines as the reigning CK champions complete the sweep
A number of AD Carry-targeted bans during the draft forced SANDBOX into a rather unusual Viktor-Galio bottom lane. On Gen.G’s side, Roach (Akali) went with Ignite and Teleport as his spells. To keep things even more interested, SANDBOX decided for an early lane swap, sending Summit (Darius) to the middle of the map while Dove (Lissandra) moved to the top side. As OnFleek (Camille) headed to the bottom side of the map, Roach and Peanut (Sejuani) took the opportunity to go after Dove for the first kill of the game. SB’s lane swap led to a rather tough start, as Song “Fly” Yong-jun (Sion) found a good engage on Summit, with Peanut joining in to finish off the play.
SANDBOX’s shifted its focus towards its winning bottom lane, securing an Ocean and a Mountain drake. Things started to turn around in their favor when Gen.G found what seemed a good pickoff on Dove. SB collapsed immediately, and OnFleek cleared out the fight with a double kill, while Ghost also teleported in to help out. SANDBOX turned the advantage into a mid lane turret and the Rift Herald, opening a 4,000 gold lead. Ghost, split-pushing towards the top side, and Summit down at the bottom lane added two more turrets to the count, and all of a sudden SB had the game under control.
Gen.G had no vision around the Baron pit, meaning that SB could sneak in to secure the buff. Joker stopped Peanut from attempting the steal, and the reigning Challenger Series champions walked away with the buff. SANDBOX then went for the classic 1-3-1 split, taking down two more turrets. Gen.G had to fall back, giving SB the room it needed to take down two inhibitors. However, the team got a bit too ambitious trying to close out the game and overextended, losing OnFleek and Joker. As Gen.G tried to chase the remaining three members, Summit, Dove and Ghost turned the 3 versus 4 fight around, acing Gen.G and going straight for the Nexus to complete the sweep.