The end of the OGN era in the LCK has been marked by the end of Go “Score” Dong-bin’s 6-year championship drought. The “old man” of KT Rolster as he is affectionately known as to by his fans has finally received the domestic trophy he has sought after for so long.
The finals were a hard-fought affair between the veteran KT and the rookies Griffin in their first finals after qualifying for the LCK this Summer. The finals also marked the first time a Korean domestic final has gone to the 5th game since Summer 2014 between KT Bullets and Samsung Blue during the Champions era of Korean League of Legends. The series was a bitter back-and-forth between the two teams, testing their mentalities and grit down to the bare bone.
Griffin opened up the series with an early victory, surprising KT and everyone else by flexing Urgot into the mid lane for Chovy. An outplay by game MVP Viper in the top lane to counter a KT dive and wipe the team extended Griffin’s lead in the early-mid game which eventually led to a snowball victory.
KT responded in game 2 by taking the Urgot for Smeb and putting Deft on Kai’sa who outdamaged everyone else in that game. Score’s Taliyah was integral to this victory, as the champion had become key component of the veteran’s champion pool. Being known as a pathing jungler, Taliyah opened up more options through her Weaver’s Wall, allowing Score to have greater presence on the map whilst still being able to track the opposing jungler, earning him the MVP for Game 2
In Game 3, Griffin demonstrated their signature control style, snuffing KT out of all objectives save for a turret and winning in 30 minutes with a total of 7 kills and 4 deaths across the team. Tarzan got his hands on the Taliyah and demonstrated his own prowess on the Stone Weaver, going 2/1/2. Sword on Jayce clinched the game in a nail-biting back-door. Whilst the rest of his team distracted KT in a top lane teamfight, Sword knocked down both nexus turrets as KT scrambled back to their base to stop him. Score managed to knock down the Griffin top laner, but it was too little too late as the minions knocked out the last hit points of the nexus.
With their backs against the wall, KT fans felt an all too familiar feeling. The impending doom, the divine punishment for them getting excited, the onset of disappointment that comes with being a KT fan. The beginning of the game would cause a panic attack for many KT fans, as the team poorly executed a top lane fight at 12 minutes, giving up 5 kills including Smeb dying twice after going down to a gank and then teleporting in only to die again. The game would go on as Griffin would slowly acquire and objectives to acquire a 6k gold lead by 31 minutes. However, a poorly executed elder dragon fight by Griffin with Sword miscommunicating with his team on a TP flank led to KT securing the Elder buff followed by a Baron. In control of the game, KT set up the siege on to Griffin’s base. However, the rookies would not go down without a fight, as they managed to ace KT and begin the assault on their base, hoping to win the championship before the opposing team could respawn in time. Unfortunately, Griffin were too overzealous in their approach as the two carries and Tarzan went down inside KT’s base, leaving Sword and Lehends to fend off KT, who struggled to secure the game 4 ticket.
Going into game 5, everyone, inside the booths, in the stadium, and at home knew what was at stake. By the end of this game, the OGN era of the LCK will either end with the first ever royal roaders in Griffin, who went from Challenger to Champion in the course of one split, or the Prince of Summer Score will finally become the King of Summer. To finish the series, Score pulled out a surprise Nocturne pick, whilst KT’s duo lane opted for the lovers’ bot lane Xayah and Rakan. On Griffin’s side, Sword opted for a comfort pick of his Gnar, with which he has won 8 games and only lost one. The tension inside the game could be felt by all. In the longest First Blood of the finals at 18:52, neither team was willing to make a risk, nor give an inch, knowing one mistake would be all it take to lose the championship which was all so close. Over time, KT played the game out slowly, taking small advantages such as vision control and lane priority over Griffin much like that latter has become known for. The game stayed within 3k gold difference until 27 minutes, at which point, KT began forcing fights in the side lanes and baron. Ultimately, Griffin had few options to claw itself into a comeback position with KT’s side lane pressure and global presence through Score’s Nocturne and Ucal’s Galio. Griffin eventually found themselves defending against KT from inside their own base, but with KT pulling too far ahead, the young team was hapless in a clean ace which closed out the series.
With this victory, Score finally earns himself the domestic title he has so desperately fought for over 6 years. Regarded as the best player in Korea to have never won a domestic title, the Prince of Summer has become its King, and KT now heads into the World Championship as Korea’s 1st seed, where they will look to reclaim Korea’s title as the strongest region.
Written by Benjamin “RedPyroMage” Letran [2018 Marketing (Publications) Subcommittee]
Edited by Alex “Aldiko9” Wong [2018 Marketing (Publications) Director]