by Longpanda in
Esports Feature Video Game

It’s old vs new as both SKT and Griffin fight for redemption.

Since South Korea got their own server back in 2012, Korean League of Legends (LoL) teams have been considered the best in the world. However, following a disastrous 2018, where no Korean team won any major international tournament, the region as a whole had something to prove.

Invictus Gaming, a Chinese team, wins the 2018 world championship (Photo via Riot)

Coming into 2019, the LoL Champions Korea (LCK) league needed to step up, especially with this year’s Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) just around the horizon. The winner of the LCK trophy will represent the region at the first international tournament of the year. Winning MSI 2019 will be a huge step forward for the region in reasserting themselves as the best league in the world. That being said, let’s meet the two teams battling it out for the trophy and their stories coming into the finals.

Vying for the LCK Championship are two squads hungry for redemption. The finals match-up is SK Telecom T1 (SKT) vs Griffin (GRF), the experienced superteam against the red-hot rookies.

Griffin vs SKT T1! (Photo via Riot-LCK Global)

SKT, the once-undisputed kings of the League of Legends world have run into quite some trouble in the past year. Since losing the 2017 World Championship to Samsung Galaxy (now, Gen.G), the team has failed to capture any trophy apart from their win at the 2017 MSI.

Coming into the 2019 season, SKT built together a super team unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Their main lineup consists of incredibly experienced players: one of the best top laners in the world, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, former JD Gaming jungler, Kim “Clid” Tae-min, the GOAT himself in mid, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk, former Jin Air Greenwings bot, Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, and the legendary support, Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong.

SKT’s main lineup (Photo via riot-LCK)

Despite a shaky start to the regular season, SKT found their stride as playoffs approached, finishing in 2nd place in the standings. They’ve just come off of a semi-final match against Kingzone ending in a 3-0 sweep. With this, SKT looks to capture the championship and bring their redemption arc into full swing.

Griffin, on the other hand, shocked the LCK last year with their impressive performance, despite coming from the LCK’s secondary league. Last summer, after winning challengers Korea, Griffin erupted into the LCK scene, securing wins against the League’s top teams, even managing to secure a place in the finals. However, their magnificent run was cut short when they lost in the finals to KT Rolster and when they were barred from entering Worlds, following a loss in the regional qualifier to Gen.G.

Griffin’s main lineup (Photo via Riot-LCK)

Unlike most teams in the 2019 off-season, Griffin decided to keep their original lineup intact. Their lineup consists of five, young, rookies who have risen to the challenge of conquering LCK: Choi “Sword” Sung-won in the top lane, Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong in the jungle, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon holding up the mid lane, and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon and Son “Lehends” Si-woo as their bot lane.

Despite only playing in the highest level of competitive LoL for less than a year, these players have quickly made a name for themselves as a formidable force in Korea, placing 1st in the Spring 2019 regular season. After being denied from the championship last year, Griffin is hungrier than ever for the LCK trophy.

When these two teams clash, there’s a lot to watch. There are multiple featured matchups across the board such as the highly-anticipated jungle battles between Clid and Tarzan and the war between two play-making mid laners, Faker and Chovy. Let’s not leave the coaches out of this either, Kim “KkOma” Jeong-gyun of SKT and Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho of Griffin are two of the best coaches in the league, so make sure to pay attention during picks and bans.

LCK Finals! (Photo via Riot-LCK Global)

Will SKT take the first steps to regaining their place as the best team in the world or will Griffin’s squad of rookies finally take home their first LCK Championship?

Regardless of who wins, the LCK finals will surely be a match to remember with the superteam with years of experience under their belt going up against the squad of fiery rookies, hungry for a win. In any case, it looks like Korea’s representative to MSI 2019 will be a terrifying force to be reckoned with.

You can watch the LCK Spring Finals on Saturday, April 13, at 5 p.m. Korean Standard Time (That’s 4 p.m. Philippine Standard Time) and get other LCK updates on the LCK Global Facebook page here.

Longpanda is a staff writer for Dice and D-pads. Interests include esports, strategy games, and video game history.
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