Afreeca Freecs are the ultimate underdogs. Ever since they joined the LCK at the end of 2015, they’ve been a name mentioned in passing—an above average Korean team that showed some promise, yet never made it to international events. Things took a wild turn when head coach Choi "iloveoov" Yeon-sung entered the picture.
Slowly but surely, the underdogs built themselves up into title contenders, culminating in back-to-back top-3 finishes in the 2018 LCK Spring and Summer Splits. They also made it to Worlds. Finally, Afreeca Freecs had a chance to change public perception and cement themselves as a team worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as kt Rolster, Samsung Galaxy, and SK Telecom T1.
Despite hitting a few bumps in the road in group stage, Afreeca Freecs seized the #1 playoffs seed and entered the Bo5 territory that should’ve been all-too-familiar for them. Then, inexplicably, they faltered.
Their quarterfinals series against Cloud9 is widely recognized as the turning point for North American League of Legends. For Afreeca, it was an unmitigated disaster.
Not only did they break down in the format previously considered their biggest strength, but they became the first Korean team to lose a Bo5 to a North American lineup. And while Cloud9 weren’t exactly pushovers, this isn’t the kind of record you want to be setting.