Griffin eliminates SKT from playoffs, Jin Air scraps with Gen.G to no avail

Griffin's success as a rookie squad in the toughest League of Legends region in the world has caught the eye of fans both in South Korea and abroad. Photo by Yong Woo "kenzi" Kim

Griffin 1, SK Telecom 0

Griffin fired the latest salvo in its battle with KT Rolster to control first place in the LCK when it defeated SK Telecom T1 in 2-0 fashion Saturday during the 2018 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split.

Not only did Griffin's victory propel them once again to the top position in the league, but it also made history by eliminating SK Telecom T1 from the playoffs for the first time in the league's history. SKT T1 has a slim chance to make it into the gauntlet to keep it's Worlds hopes alive.

While the results of Griffin's conquest have earned them a place in the history books, the battle itself seemed downright routine for Griffin, who also obliterated SKT T1 the first time the two teams met. The team that Griffin fought at the beginning of the split was still captained by Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, who has since stepped aside for Choi "Pirean" Jun-sik, who, aside from a costly mistake at the beginning of Game 1, comported himself as well as one could expect of anyone sitting across from Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon. In fact, SKT T1's only chance to reverse the momentum of the series in Game 2 fell at Pirean's feet, as his Orianna was the sole recipient of all of his team's kills early on in the game, though it came to naught thanks to a wholly unsuccessful Jayce pick from Park "Thal" Kwon-hyuk.

Park "Viper" Do-hyeon was the only man on the side of Griffin who was playing out of character, as this series saw him entirely ditch the mage picks that he's become famous for over the course of Summer Split in favor of two games of Kai'sa. Fans may have had cause for worry at the beginning of the series -- Viper's previous outings on traditional marksmen have left a good amount to be desired -- but after two hard-carry MVP performances it was instead clear that Griffin had unleashed a new arrow in their quiver on SKT T1, as Viper made his opposite number, Bae "Bang" Jun-sik look positively irrelevant. That Griffin managed to evolve once again with the split so close to coming to an end speaks well for the team, who will still struggle to qualify for Worlds despite their historic performance due to their lack of circuit points from the Spring Split, which they did not participate in.

Griffin's final match of the season will be at 7:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday against the bbq Olivers. SK Telecom will take to the Rift for the final time this split at 4:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, August 9th, when they'll attempt to play spoiler for Kingzone DragonX.

Gen.G 1, Jin Air Green Wings 0

Gen.G kept itself in the race for the playoffs when it outscrapped the Jin Air Green Wings at the end of a close three-game series Saturday during the 2018 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split.

By the end of Game 1 it looked as though the series was going to progress as planned. Not only was there a large mismatch in the standings between the eighth place Jin Air Green Wings (4-13) and the third place Gen.G (12-5), but Gen.G also crushed Jin Air when last they met. Both teams aim to play a long game, but Gen.G do so as an intentional strategy, whereas Jin Air simply lack the firepower to do anything else, a fact that was illustrated brilliantly when Gen.G pummeled Jin Air in a half hour stomp in Game 1.

Eom "Umti" Seong-hyeon was not content to simply allow his team to roll over and die, however. He reversed the script entirely in Game 2 and brought a level of early aggression that is all but foreign for Jin Air. None could argue with the results, however, as the relentless pressure that Umti put down in the mid lane made it impossible for Song "Fly" Young-jin's Orianna to get off the ground. The spillover from the lost mid lane let Jin Air dominate the entire map, and the sheer gold lead they managed to accrue was eventually more than enough to put an end to Gen.G and put the series into an uncertain Game 3.

There could have been no more appropriate an ending to the series between the two most marksman-centric teams in the LCK than a duel between Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk and Park "Teddy" Jin-sung to see who could out carry the other, which is just what Game 3 quickly devolved into. A triple kill for Teddy put the game into perilous straits despite Gen.G's early dominance, as the Jin Air marksman was accelerated to the point of a completed build more quickly than Gen.G was able to react. Enchanted Crystal Arrow doesn't care how many items its target possesses, however, and a number of beautiful ultimates from Ruler, including the game-ending shot onto Teddy, meant that while Teddy might have been a nigh-unassailable force, he often lacked the teammates he needed to push his lead. The slanted gold distribution on the side of Jin Air meant that it only took a single Enchanted Crystal Arrow into a Glacial Prison from Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong for Gen.G to end the series, as without Teddy Jin Air were as dangerous as a headless snake.

Gen.G's final match of the split will come at 4:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday against Team MVP. Jin Air goes on to play against the Afreeca Freecs for their final match of the split at 4:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday.