Jin Air Green Wings, in danger of relegation, managed to defeat first place team Griffin 2-1. This win brings Jin Air into the same standing as MVP at eighth place. If Griffin took the series, they would have been guaranteed a top five finish in the League of Legends Champions Korea 2018 Summer. However, for Griffin, the series loss leaves spectators to question their first place standing.
GRF vs JAG: The Games
Game 1 started as anyone would expect from a game between a team at the top of the standings and the bottom of the standings. Griffin once again drafted their now infamous Teemo pick. With four Summon Aery runes on the side of Griffin, they played winning lanes, despite being known for their late game teamfights. The advantages spurred them to a clean victory, with Jin Air being unable to secure even one kill from Griffin.
The tide turned with Game 2. Jin Air substituted Seokjun “Justice” Yoon for Chanju “Grace” Lee and Byunggwon “KaKAO” Lee for Sunghyeon “UmTi” Um. Griffin played a different team composition. Most notably, they placed Dohyeon “Viper” Park on Jayce in the bottom lane and Seungyong “Tarzan” Lee on Elise in the jungle. This team composition failed to bring about a victory. Rather, Jin Air completely dominated Griffin. Every member of Jin Air performed, even Junyeong “SoHwan” Kim’s full AP Malphite. UmTi’s Trundle placed perfect pillars. Grace’s LeBlanc even stole baron, a baron that could have brought Griffin back into the game. The only death being Chanho “Nova” Park’s Braum, the dominant performance by Jin Air brought Griffin’s easy match victory into question.
Griffin substituted Hyeongseop “Rather” Shin for Jihun “Chovy” Jung. Placed on his best champion, Zoe, Chovy received the tools he needed to win the game. With Viper on Kaisa, as well, it seemed as if Griffin took this game seriously. However, with a well-executed mid lane play by Grace’s Orianna and UmTi’s Skarner on Chovy’s Zoe, the game started to go downhill. In the end, Jinsung “Teddy” Park’s Jhin took over the game, doing unreal amounts of damage.
Looking towards Playoffs: LCK
Jin Air GreenWings
With playoffs looming just around the corner, teams in the LCK are scrambling to reach the top of the standings. Jin Air’s win against Griffin means a lot more than simply an upset. For themselves, Jin Air continues to fight against relegation. Now tied for eighth, Jin Air can feel more relieved. According to Inven Global’s interview with UmTi, “Although we are thought of as an underdog, I’m going to do my best and display everything I can. It’d be good to win, but if we lose, I want to lose without regrets.” Jin Air keeps a positive attitude despite being near last in the standings. In their last hurrahs, maybe they can keep teams from reaching the top.
Jin Air kept Hanwha Life Esports, formerly ROX Tigers, from a fifth place or higher finish during LCK 2018 Spring. In the same way, they may have just ended Griffin’s run for first place.
kt Rolster’s New Chance
According to the LCK rules, team placements in the regular season are determined by match record. In the case of a tiebreaker, there are three rules. First, if two teams earned the same match record, the game record decides the tiebreaker. Teams with fewer losses place higher. With this series, Griffin just gained two more losses. In the case that the game record is the same as well, the head-to-head record decides the tiebreaker. If the teams are still tied after these two determining factors, the teams will face each other in a tiebreaker match.
With these rules, Jin Air may have gifted kt Rolster a first place finish. Before this game, Griffin remained one match win ahead of kt. With kt having a relatively easy schedule until the end of the regular season, Griffin needed that match buffer. As it stands, if kt and Griffin become tied, kt has the advantage without the losses and by winning both matches against Griffin in the round robin.
With this upset, Griffin looks weaker than ever. Their 3-4 record so far in the second round robin seems like a far cry from their former 8-1 finish. Jin Air, despite being at the bottom of the standings, managed to deny both drakes and turrets from Griffin. It looks as if Griffin’s inexperience and rookie status prevents them from finishing strong. With these losses, they open themselves to heavy criticism. Is their Teemo pick the only thing they can play?
The standings as of July 31, 2018 is a tie between Griffith and KING-ZONE DragonX at first. Kt Rolster and Gen.G are tied for third SK telecom T1 while Hanwha Life Esports and Afreeca Freecs are tied for fifth. MVP and Jin Air GreenWings are tied for eighth, and bbq OLIVERS stand at tenth.
With playoffs featuring only the top five teams, every game win and each match victory both mean more than ever.
Featured image courtesy of SPOTV GAMES.