The Afreeca Freecs overcame some drafting struggles to lock up a 2-1 victory over the ROX Tigers on Thursday in Seoul, South Korea during Week 3 of League of Legends Champions Korea.
Utilizing an early-game focused team composition, Afreeca (3-2, 8-7 match record) executed its strategy well to build up a decent lead going into the midgame. Despite the deficit, ROX came out of nowhere with two kills that led to a 24-minute Baron, flipping the game on its head. This allowed ROX's scaling composition to gain some steam, amassing a lead of its own. In particular, mid laner Sun "Mickey" Yong-min's Orianna was on point with perfect Command: Shockwaves, giving ROX immediate edges in teamfights. Despite picking up a second Baron, ROX started to see its lead slip away thanks in large part to Afreeca Freecs AD carry, Ha "Kramer" Jong-hun's Caitlyn, who simply became a beast in the late game. Kramer silenced ROX's advantages, finishing with a Game 1 9/2/4 KDA (kills/deaths/assists) as Afreeca cut through multiple teamfights to lock up the 51-minute comeback win.
Game 2 was an example of a game that was lost in the pick-ban phase, with Afreeca inexplicably leaving up both Galio and Zac, which ROX (1-6, 5-10 match record) immediately snatched up for mid laner Mickey and jungler Kim "Mightybear" Min-soo. Between Galio's Heroic Entrance and Zac's Let's Bounce, members of Afreeca were being knocked into the air and picked off with relative ease, showing the world why these champions should always be banned. To its credit, Afreeca managed to prolong the game to 39 minutes with some late-game picks of its own. In the end, ROX AD carry Kwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yoon's Kog'Maw brought the damage in the late game while putting together a 11/1/10 KDA to lock up the game and force Game 3.
Seemingly not fazed by Mightybear's performance on Zac in Game 2, Afreeca allowed the ROX jungler to draft the champion again in the final game. This decision was nearly Afreeca's downfall in what was another close tilt. The pivotal contest was pretty even early on, with both teams trading kills early. A 22-minute Baron kill seemed to give Afreeca the edge, but the buff was all but negated after the team pushed too far, allowing Mightybear to help ROX secure an ace to start a comeback attempt. He continued to own Afreeca in teamfights all throughout the late game before Afreeca mid laner Lee "KurO" Seo-haeng's Viktor helped shut things down with a 3-for-0 in favor of Afreeca, locking up the 38-minute win.
The Afreeca Freecs have a tough task ahead with a matchup against SK Telecom T1 on Sunday at 4 a.m. ET, while the ROX Tigers are off for a week, facing off against SKT next Thursday at 7 a.m. ET.