Jin Air soar against MVP, bbq roasts Afreeca

Jin Air 2, bbq Olivers 1

Jin Air Green Wings rebounded from its loss earlier in the week when it beat MVP at the end of a 2-1 series early Friday morning during the 2018 League of Legends Challengers Korea Summer Split.

Long known as the slowest team in the LCK, Jin Air demonstrated an uncharacteristic mastery of the early game, which served it well. Such a privilege has become a necessity for Jin Air, since its ability to close out games has been lackluster over the past weeks, and today was no exception. Game 2 saw Jin Air assemble a staggering lead over Team MVP, the likes of which should be impossible to throw. Yet, thanks to nearly 20 minutes of inaction, Jin Air managed to do just that, as all of its efforts came to naught when it finally decided to pull the trigger and take a Baron in an attempt to end the game. The time that MVP had managed to buy in defending against Jin Air's halfhearted attempts to end the game proved just long enough for mid laner An "Ian" Jun-hyeong's Swain to get off the ground and take over the late game after being nothing but a passenger for the majority of the game prior.

Jin Air pulled out all the stops in Game 3 and ran one of the most risky compositions in modern competitive play: the Mordekaiser composition. If the game had once again gone to the 40-minute mark, Jin Air would have had no chance. The efforts of bottom laner Park "Teddy" Jin-sung and support Park "nova" Chan-ho ensured that was an irrelevant consideration, as the Jin Air bottom lane maintained complete control of the game from beginning to end. Whenever a dragon spawned, Jin Air was there and ready to turn it into a siege engine, one that MVP couldn't resist or counter. The three early mountain dragons converted themselves into an easy Baron and a match win for the Green Wings.

Jin Air's next opponent will be Hanwha Life Esports at 4:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday. MVP will go on to challenge Kingzone DragonX at 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday.

--James Bates

bbq Olivers 2, Afreeca 1

To call the series a David vs. Goliath story would be an understatement. Afreeca is hot off of an international showing at Rift Rivals that, while disappointing, did exist. For many, the Freecs are considered the best team in the LCK. Meanwhile, the only tournament the bbq Olivers have ever attended is the promotion tournament.

The cracks in Afreeca's game plan were evident from the beginning, however, as a simple look over the Game 1 lineups made it clear that Afreeca was fighting an uphill battle. Lee "Spirit" Da-yoon was handed Nocturne, the winning-est jungler over this LCK season, but was forced to stare down a lineup full of tanky frontline threats. Worse, Afreeca's entire lineup was designed to combo its ultimates onto a backline that simply didn't exist. Instead, Kan "Tempt" Myung-gu had one of the freest Yasuo games of his life as he all but waltzed through the laning phase, then tore Afreeca apart by constantly punishing Spirit's all but compulsory dives until Afreeca's Nexus exploded.

Afreeca fired back by winning a perfect game in Game 2, that was notable mostly due to its introduction of a new pick to the LCK: smite mid lane Rumble. Lee "KurO" Seo-haeng piloted the pick to great success against Tempt, and the constant pressure that he exerted was key to taking the series to an eventual third game. That third game was nothing but a disaster for the Freecs, though, as another frankly bizarre jungle pick was, once again, punished by the Olivers. This time it was Evelyn that Spirit took onto the Rift, and the results were anything but pretty. While everything seemed more or less stable during the laning phase -- Afreeca did spend the majority of the game ahead -- once full scale fights started breaking out it became clear just how difficult Afreeca's composition was to navigate, as more times than not Spirit's flank attempts ended not in the death of the Olivers, but in the death of Spirit. One Baron steal by top laner Kim "Crazy" Jae-hee later and the Freecs found themselves staring down an impossibly imposing frontline that had scaled to the late game and wielded both Baron and the Elder Dragon simultaneously. Afreeca's only out to the dreaded dual-buffs was a miracle teamfight that its composition simply couldn't execute on.

bbq Olivers will face its next opponents in SK Telecom T1 at 1:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday while the Afreeca Freecs play against Gen.G at 7:00 a.m. ET on Sunday.

--James Bates