SKT’s superteam sweeps Jin Air Greenwings for its first LCK win while the newcomers from DAMWON Gaming are off to a promising start following a sweep over Gen.G.
Here is a breakdown of the day’s matches.
The much anticipated first week of the 2019 LCK season is finally underway. It’s the start of a new era for the most prestigious region in the professional League of Legends scene, as Riot Games has taken over the competition’s organizer from OGN. Fittingly, SK Telecom T1 earned a first series win with a sweep over Jin Air Green Wings. Recently promoted DAMWON Gaming seems keen on following Griffin’s footsteps, as the Challenger Series runner-ups also scored a 2-0 win over Gen.G.
SKT’s superteam scores a win in its LCK debut
Following a disappointing showing in the KeSPA Cup, which saw the team make an early exit during the quarterfinals, SKT’s superteam made a strong debut, facing off against Jin Air Green Wings.
- Other: 2019 LPL spring split [W1D1]
Game 1: SKT kicks things off in style
Jin Air scored the first kill of the competitive season in the LCK, as Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong (Xin Zhao) executed a beautiful top lane gank and even forced a Flash out of Kim “Khan” Dong-ha (Viktor) before securing the kill, thanks to the additional damage from his red buff. SKT used its bottom and mid lane pressure to go for an Infernal drake in response.
When JAG committed four players to the bottom lane trying to pick off Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong (Tahm Kench) and Park “Teddy” Jin-seong (Ezreal), Kim “Clid” Tae-min (Lee Sin) immediately made good use of the opening going for the Rift Herald. SKT’s jungler immediately released the Herald on the top side of the map, claiming the first turret bonus for his side. Jin Ain once again committed to a team fight around the bottom side of the map, but this time SKT’s response turned things around. With a beautiful play by Clid to finish it off, the three-time world champions scored an ace, turning the advantage into an additional four turrets and a second Infernal drake.
Facing a 10,000 deficit in gold, JAG made one final attempt to get back into the game. As SKT cleared some wards around the top lane, Choi “CheonGo” Hyeon-woo (Galio) and Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu (Rakan) hit a beautiful engage, taking out Mata and creating the man advantage. However, the team was already too far behind to rally a comeback, and once SKT regrouped, all that was left for Jin Air to do was watch as their opponents secured four kills to finish off the game in 27 minutes.
Game 2: SKT’s new lineup wins its first LCK series
While CheonGo was subbed out for Lee “Grace” Chan-ju, the only change to JAG’s composition came in the jungle, as Malrang went for an Aatrox pick. Khan (Ryze) once again would be the target, as Malrang and Grace joined Lindarang for a three-men dive on the SKT top laner. First blood went to Grace, but the mid laner overextended his stay, allowing Faker (Urgot) to get one back for SKT.
The trio went for the exact same play a few minutes later, taking Khan out once again. On the other hand, this gave Clid (Sejuani) the information about Malrang’s path, and SKT’s jungler showed up to help Teddy (Varus) and Mata (Tahm Kench) by making it a 3-on-2 fight for his side. With two kills going their way, SKT were able to take the turret’s health bar really low before finishing it off for the bonus gold.
SKT’s macro proved to be the deciding factor, as the three-time world champions were able to take down another two turrets on JAG’s side. Not even a good pickoff by Jin Air, with Faker and Teddy going down, slowed the momentum. Holding the priority for all three lanes, SKT went for the Baron, and while the team did lose Faker, it still walked away with the buff on four players. Relying on Faker and Khan for a split push, SKT piled on the pressure, quickly destroying the in-lane turrets on JAG’s side.
With their base in shambles, Jin Air forced one final desperate engage, but SKT had little trouble responding, grabbing three more kills to end the game in just over 33 minutes.
- Other: 2019 LPL spring split [W1D2]
DAMWON off to a promising start, sweeps Gen.G
Are we looking at a new era of dominance by Challenger Series teams? It certainly looks like it could be true. After Griffin’s unreal 2018, DAMWON Gaming is now on the line to repeat their former CK rivals’ performance. With head coach Kim Jeong-Soon, the man who led Invictus Gaming to a world championship title three months ago, DAMWON will certainly draw plenty of attention over the course of this LCK split.
Game 1: DAMWON shows off Kha’zix’s strength to open the score
The series opener featured some unusual picks, which included a bottom lane Cassiopeia at the hands of Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon, a support Vel’koz for Kim “Life” Jeong-min and finally a top lane Akali for Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin carrying Ignite and Teleport as Summoner Spells. The game got off to a relatively slow start, with Gen.G securing a Mountain drake being the only noteworthy event.
At the 15 minute mark, Gen.G showed what its composition could do as Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk (Varus) and Han “Peanut” Wang-ho (Sejuani) combined their ultimates for an endless crowd-control chain followed by a massive burst of damage coming from Life’s ultimate to take down Nuclear for the first blood. DAMWON however was more than ready to respond, with Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu (Kha’zix) dealing an almost obscene amount of damage. Walking away with three kills, the LCK newcomers secured an important Infernal drake.
Gen.G puts up Fight
While Gen.G committed to taking down the game’s first turret, DAMWON moved its resources towards the top side of the map to grab the Rift Herald and using it at the mid lane to even the tower count. Peanut landed a beautiful ultimate on Nuclear, but the other DAMWON players were right there to respond, protecting their AD Carry and reengaging to take down Ruler and Life. The team used the advantage to go for the Baron, but Gen.G was able to successfully contest the call and reset the play.
DAMWON did a solid job to keep the lane priority around the entire map, with all three lanes pushing in their favor. Canyon turned on his invisibility and found a way onto Gen.G’s backline, bursting down Life almost instantly. With Song “Fly” Yong-jun (Sion) also being added to the kill count, DAMWON finally had the space it needed to go for the Baron. Cassiopeia’s DPS made it an easy job, and Gen.G had no chance to contest the objective this time.
It took DAMWON nearly two minutes to get the buff working, but once it did there was no way for Gen.G to get back in the game. Trying to pickoff Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon (Gangplank) with another crowd control-heavy initiation, Gen.G failed to take him down immediately, giving the other four players on DAMWON’s side enough time to join the fight. Canyon once again did a number on Gen.G’s backline, bursting Life down once again along with CuVee. After 37 minutes of game time, DAMWON destroyed the Nexus to take the 1-0 lead.
- Other: 2019 LPL spring split [W1D3]
Game 2: DAMWON completes a stunning sweep
Canyon (Taliyah) wasted little time, going for a level 2 gank down at the bottom lane. DAMWON’s jungler successfully isolated Life (Leona), and the first blood went o support Ryu “Hoit” Ho-seong (Rakan)’s Ignite. Neither team managed to gain a significatn advantage after that however, most fights ending up in a one for one trade. At the 25 minute mark, following yet another one for one trade, DAMWON used a teleport advantage to push its mid lane wave. The team found an engage onto CuVee (Viktor), taking down the Gen.G top laner thanks to an aggressive play by Nuclear (Xayah) and creating the numbers advantage it needed. Ruler (Varus) was the next one to go down followed by Life, while Nuclear, a whisker away from getting eliminated, still managed to walk away.
DAMWON had finally broken the stalemate, going for a game-deciding Baron call. Going for an intense final push, the team found an opening towards the bottom side of the map and broke inside Gen.G’s base. Forcing one last team fight, DAMWON found another four kills and went for the Nexus, finishing the second game in just under 30 minutes in order to take its first ever series win in the LCK.