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LCK: Gauntlet Preview

The OGN era has ended as KT Rolster finally took a domestic title home. Now, one more domestic event will take place before the rest of the world convenes in Korea for Worlds. The four remaining teams shall now battle in the iconic gauntlet to take the last spot at Worlds for Korea.

Will SKT figure it out and make a legendary run? Can Gen.G continue their streak of qualifications through the gauntlet? Is Griffin going to make up for their close defeat at the hands of KT? Or will Kingzone find their stride once again and dominate their challenger? All these questions will be answered soon. But first, let’s take a look at how these teams got here.

SK Telecom T1 vs Gen.G

Courtesy of: Yong Woo ‘kenzi’ Kim Flickr

SK Telecom T1 comes into the gauntlet has looked the worst they’ve ever been since season three. The entire team has looked incredibly weak compared to other top Korean teams. Their biggest problems come from top laner Park “Thal” Kwon-hyuk and jungler Kang “Blank” Sun-gu. Thal has shown his inability to keep up against a majority of top laners in the region. Meanwhile, Blank has trouble being a consistent presence in the early stages of the game and is often the reason the rest of the team struggles during the laning phase. Along with the question of whether the team will decide to start Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok or Choi “Pirean” Jun-sik in the mid lane, we would need to see a very different SKT to feel confident about them.

Courtesy of: Yong Woo ‘kenzi’ Kim Flickr

On the other side, Gen.G came into the gauntlet after a rough 0-2 lose to Afreeca Freecs in the first round of the Summer playoffs. While they have one of the weaker early games of the remaining four teams, Gen.G’s play during the late game is still fantastic. While they’re the underdogs to qualify for Worlds it’s hard to count them out considering their past history in the gauntlet. For them to win it all, they’re need their bot lane tandem of Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in to prove they’re still one of the best duos in the region.

For this matchup, it’s hard to see SKT winning it. While both teams have a weak early game, SKT have shown that they’re still struggling at other stages of the game. Meanwhile, Gen.G will gradually improve and eventually destroy SKT. As such, I give this series to Gen.G 3-0 over SKT.

Griffin

Courtesy of: Yong Woo ‘kenzi’ Kim Flickr

Waiting for the winner of SKT vs Gen.G will be the runner-up of the split in Griffin. Going into the playoffs, the biggest criticism about Griffin was that their playstyle was very one-dimensional. However, they’ve proven that those issues are in the past. Playing different styles throughout the playoffs against Afreeca and KT, Griffin proved that their young roster is still growing and developing as each series plays out.

Despite losing out on a regional title, the team should still be the favorites to qualify for Worlds at this point. As always expect some great plays out of ADC Park “Viper” Do-hyeon similar to his plays during the finals. Meanwhile, mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon is going to stay a consistent mid laner that will rarely lose lane. Meanwhile, jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong will be controlling the pace of the early game and leading the team closer to victory. Will the team be able to continue their fantastic run and qualify for Worlds? While all signs point to a “yes”, only time will tell if they’ll make it further or not.

Kingzone DragonX

Courtesy of: Yong Woo ‘kenzi’ Kim Flickr

Despite starting out the season as the kings of Korea, the rest of the season has been full of downs instead of up for Kingzone. Now they find themselves as the final boss of the gauntlet, hoping to once again qualify for worlds. For this team, qualification means more than representing their region. It also means one last chance to redeem themselves on the international stage.

While they no longer look like the dominant team of the Spring Split, they’re still quite dangerous. Top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha and mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong will still be huge threats with the ability to single-handedly carry the team to a victory. Meanwhile the bot lane tandem of  Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon will still be the consistent rock for the team to rely on. Desite stumbling at every step of the way, the team find themselves one last step away from qualifying for Worlds. It’s do or die now, but will they be able to accomplish their goal? While the odds are in their favor, it’ll all depend on if they can find the form they once had in the Spring Split.

Conclusion

Four teams, one spot left. Only one team will be able to take it all, but who will do it? Unfortunately, SKT and Gen.G’s chances are slim, especially considering who awaits them further down the gauntlet. In the end, we’ll likely see a matchup of Griffin against Kingzone. Once again, it’ll be a battle of old vs new. This time around, though, I predict the new to take it. While Kingzone is still a solid team, Griffin is simply on another level. I predict that Griffin will run the Gauntlet and make it to Worlds as the third Korean seed.

To watch the LCK, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the Split, teams, standings, and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.

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