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SK Telecom T1 took down bbq Olivers in a surprisingly close 2-1 victory to kick off Week 9, Day 5 of League of Legends Champions Korea play on Sunday in Seoul, South Korea.
Bbq Olivers (3-15, 13-32 match record) and SK Telecom T1 (13-5, 26-15 match record) both had nothing to gain or lose in this series, but they made sure to play as if the playoffs were on the line. In Game 1, SKT gave the nod for top laner Ui "Untara" Jin-Park to start over Seung "Huni" Hoon Heo as the team continues to search for consistency in the lane. Bbq didn't take it easy on Untara and co., as bbq surprisingly emerged victorious in an action-packed 26-minute victory. Bbq's inconsistent macro play after the early game is what led to its terrible record on the season, but it worked out in this game.
SKT went into Game 2 looking to play a stable early game to prevent bbq from snowballing early with its composition. SKT fell behind in the early game again, but through superior mid and late game macro play, it managed to even the series. This game further proved that SKT's early game play is by far its weakest phase of the game, something it will surely try and work on as the playoffs approach.
In Game 3, SKT fell behind in the early game yet again to the tune of 4,000-gold by 20 minutes. That didn't stop SKT from flexing its mid and late game macro play to secure a victory, but just imagine if SKT could play even in the early game. SKT, after convincingly sweeping KT Rolster (14-4, 29-15 match record) earlier this week, found itself barely squeezing out a three-game victory against the Olivers to end the Split. While SKT has made strides to return to pre-Rift Rivals form, it still has a way to go, as proven by this series.
It won't have much time to do so, as SK Telecom T1 will play in the first round of the LCK playoffs against Afreeca Freecs on Friday at 4 a.m ET. Meanwhile, bbq Olivers will be in the face of relegation after finishing 9th in the standings.