2018 KeSPA Cup Round-up: SKT eliminated as Griffin and Gen. G impress
Quarterfinals of the KeSPA Cup have been completed and early favorites SK Telecom have suffered a defeat at the hands of DAMWON Gaming. During the qualifying rounds, SKT looked mightily impressive against some of the challenger Korean teams as Teddy and Clid quickly rose to prominence as impact players. kT Rolster took a series win over GC Busan with the help of their new jungler UmTi.
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Gen. G and Griffin also took commanding 2-0 victories over the likes of Kingzone DragonX and Afreeca Freecs respectively. kT Rolster and Gen. G will face off in the first leg of the semifinals on December 28. The next day, Griffin and DAMWON Gaming will play in the second leg to determine placing for the Finals which will take place on December 31.
SKT go down, kT Rolster impress
After two high pace performances from SK Telecom in the qualifiers, it seemed like a new era was dawning for the multi-time World Champions. Series against bbQ Olivers and APK Prince went rather smoothly as Teddy was starting to develop a positive synergy with his bot duo Mata. In the bbQ Olivers series, Clid rose to prominence as a serious threat in the jungle and may even give rumoured starter Haru a run for his money.
One of the more hyped prospects coming into the challenger Korean scene was the European jungler talent Sebastian “Malice” Edholm. In his series against SKT, Clid made the necessary moves to live up to expectations and dominated on his patented Lee Sin. With Clid coming into the fold, SKT can take calm knowing that they have two solid junglers in their stable.
Moving into the DAMWON series, SKT got off to the right start with a game one win after a lengthy pause for technical difficulties. However, over the course of the next two games DAMWON proved their team fighting was just too crafty for the newly formed super team and were able to trounce SKT with clutch baron plays. In both of DAMWON’s wins, their jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu grabbed baron to put his team ahead and often times put his life on the line to give his team the victory.
The BDD – Smeb era for kT Rolster has gotten off to a great start, and this without the help of their star jungler. With UmTi between the vines, Smeb was able to get his advantages early against GC Busan’s top laner, and the ball started rolling early for the newly focused organization.
Looking forward, the bot lane of kT Rolster will need some serious work as Zenit and Mia were not consistently keeping up with their below par competition. Regardless, the direction of this new kT Rolster team is admirable considering their emphasis on the top side of the map.
Griffin and Gen. G looking strong
Griffin went up against a new look Afreeca Freecs roster with Ucal in the mid lane. In their return to competitive action in this preseason, Griffin maintained the same roster as they trounced Afreeca in a formulaic 2-0 series. Game One was a highlight reel in full for Griffin’s mid laner Chovy as he remained the center of attention with his Galio.
The in game adaptability of Griffin’s jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong really started to show in Game Two as he quickly got his team off to a productive start. At 30 minutes in, Tarzan boasted a 100% kill participation rate as his Aatrox became the difference in tense teamfights down the stretch. Plaudits were also handed down to Griffin’s Bot Lane as they excelled with their matchup.
In Peanut’s first series with his new LCK outfit, he enjoyed a simple yet empowering 2-0 series against his former team, Kingzone DragonX. While Peanut got the early game going with his ever present mobility on Lee Sin, it was Ruler that benefited the most from his efforts as he quickly dominated the map and went five kills ahead on Kai’ Sa. The rest of Game One was simple arithmetic as Gen. G calmly played out the map and suffocated their opponent with little room for rebuttal.
In Game Two, Gen. G focused their resources once again in the bot lane as they were forcing Deft’s hand. Ruler got out to an early double kill once again and his constant pressure in the bot lane stifled a lot of KZ’s map movements with Peanut lurking in the midst. CuVee remained a perennial threat on the side waves with a fed Urgot at his disposal. As the game broke out into the mid-game it was the quick team fighting of GG that once again gave their team the advantage, and finished the series from that point on.
To stay up to date with Korea’s premier preseason tournament, tune into their live Twitch or YouTube broadcasts on December 28-29. The Finals of the KeSPA Cup will conclude on December 31.