League of Legends
Longzhu Gaming poses after a game at League Champions Korea.
by Yong Woo "kenzi" Kim
Longzhu Gaming once again did the unthinkable, destroying SKT T1 in a 3-1 series win to claim first place in the League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Split on Saturday in Seoul, South Korea.
Few, if any, picked Longzhu to come away with a win. Many even expected the renowned SKT to easily handle Longzhu in a 3-0 clean sweep. But the fact is that Longzhu walked into this series as the No. 1 seed and certainly played like it, beating SKT in a way that we have never seen in an LCK final.
Not only has SKT never lost in the four previous LCK final series that it appeared in, but it only lost a single round across those four series. For SKT to have gotten taken down in the fashion witnessed Saturday was shocking, to say the least.
While bragging rights over the LCK are certainly nice, the win ensured Longzhu the highly coveted No. 1 seed for Korea at the 2017 World Championship. SKT, despite the loss, has enough points to make it in as the No. 2 seed.
From start to finish, Longzhu was always the first to engage with SKT, which more often than not led to a Longzhu team fight win. Longzhu played with relentless aggression in all three of its wins and never let SKT gain much ground.
It's worth noting that Longzhu did seem to be thrown off in the Game 3 loss; SKT top laner Heo "Huni" Seung-hoon subbed in and turned in a 5/0/1 KDA on Gnar. Outside of that game, however, SKT was simply unable to combat the team fighting prowess of Longzhu.
Speaking of that substitution, both Huni and Ui "Untara" Jin-Park, as well as Han "Peanut" Wang-ho and Kang "Blank" Sun-gu in the jungle, continued to struggle. Now, SKT will have even more difficult deciding in who to bring to Worlds in both of those positions.
Longzhu's win was even more impressive because it didn't stick to the normal script that teams have been following on the current patch. Longzhu had yet to play on-stage on the patch that kicked in for the playoffs, but you wouldn't have been able to tell from looking.
Rather than going with straight-up tanks in the top lane, Longzhu gave its top laner Kim "Khan" Dong-ha the chance to be creative with more playmaking champions throughout the series. His play on Jayce in Games 2 and 4 was especially strong, with a 11/3/12 KDA across the two games. He was a team fighting beast throughout the series and played with pointed confidence.
His bravado even gave Khan the nerve to square up with Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok in a one-on-one during Game 1 - and Khan walked away with the kill by a wide margin. His incredible play in this grand final was enough to net him the playoff MVP, a deserving honor for the top laner who helped take out a juggernaut.