Afreeca Freecs kicked off LCK Summer Playoffs 2018 with a dominant 3-1 thrashing of major LCK contender Kingzone DragonX, and before it a 2-0 beating of Gen.G to qualify. They have a deep roster filled with proven talent and are coming off a strong 2018 Summer Split. They now face perhaps the strongest rookie team we've ever seen in the LCK. Can they keep pushing their run?
Griffin's debut LCK split has been nothing short of amazing, but they missed their chance at the perfect run they threatened. Griffin tore down the LCK this summer taking an easy lead they held for weeks. They proved a consistently dangerous team in the most competitive league there is. By the end of summer however, the rookies finally fell from the top spot they once held, finishing neck and neck with the other top LCK orgs. Will they prove a cut above in their first Playoffs?
Afreeca Freecs have just one option for their top lane matchup, but damn is it a good one. Kiin has been on an absolute tear as of late, something he can tack onto a strong overall performance this Summer Season. Kiin died just 5 times in 4 games against Kingzone DragonX, and showed up across Ryze, Cho'Gath, and Ornn. There are very few top laners in the LCK that can stand toe-to-toe.
Fortunately for Griffin, their top laner may just be one of the few in the league who can maybe rise up to this matchup. Sword might not be Griffin's most dangerous weapon, but he's been a solid presence for the team from the top lane all summer. Finishing the season with the same kda as his opponent Kiin, Sword has similar potential to take over a game and snowball his team to victory, even if it happens more often in other lanes for the team. But while Sword is capable, his recent victories were against much softer opponents.
Verdict: Kiin will continue his reign of top lane supremacy for Afreeca Freecs.
The depth of Afreeca Freecs is most noticeable in its jungler position. As of late the team has run Spirit to immediate success, but the player alongside him, Mowgli, is just as dangerous. These two are some of the best junglers in the league and Griffin could be facing down either one at any given moment in round 2. Spirit enters with just 5 deaths across his last 4 games, and that along with his consistent success will likely earn him the starting job for the series. But should Spirit falter, or Afreeca need a changeup, you're likely to see a switch between these two jungle superstars. The problem, though, is that Afreeca may need them to perform the fusion dance if they are to come out ahead of their Griffin opponent.
Griffin can rest assured that while Afreeca have a very potent jungle duo, they have a weapon all their own. Tarzan appropriately manages the jungles for this rookie roster, and has proven himself very potent on tanky/defensive champions. This extra layer of insulation for his teammates has been vital in skyrocketing Griffin to the very top of the league throughout this season. While Tarzan isn't often the one carrying a game home with top damage honors, he's a dangerous workhorse that sets up opportunities for his teammates to shine and takes over games like few others. Tarzan is the backbone of this team.
Verdict: Tarzan holds off the aggressive duo for a Griffin win in the jungle.
Afreeca Freecs are finally outnumbered in a role when it comes to the mid lane. While they technically have two mid laners with actual mid laner Kuro and unseen/untested substitute Ruby on the bench, Kuro is the only one that's received reps this Summer Season, and we expect it to stay that way in the Playoffs. Kuro is no slouch in the LCK mid lane scene, boasting the 8th highest kda in the entire league. You'd think that stat alone would put him ahead of almost any opponent. The problem? Only one can outboast Kuro's next opponent in this stat, and it sure isn't Kuro. Ahead of most any competition, Kuro is perhaps finally outmatched in this Playoffs matchup.
Griffin's mid lane depth is rare in this 6 man roster, but their two mid lane players are some of the strongest players on the role. Most recently, Griffin have run Chovy who has been absolute dynamite all summer. He has the second best kda in the entire LCK, and is perhaps the best Zoe player in the league. Should Chovy somehow fall through, however, Griffin have Rather as their sixth man. We just don't expect the team to make that switch with Chovy's recent form.
Verdict: Chovy brings the house down for Griffin in the mid lane.
This one's going to get messy. The Afreeca Freecs have most recently run the potent combination of best adc contender Kramer with above average support TusiN. While Kramer has certainly outshined his support partner for more reasons than just their roles, this combination has beaten down many bottom lanes in the LCK. The Freecs also bring another potentially powerful carry to the table in Aiming, and untested support Jelly. This variety of threats combined with just how absurdly talented Kramer is puts Afreeca Freecs in good position. TusiN could still however be an exploitable weak point from support.
Griffin bring only their one support and adc to Summoner's Rift. There's certainly a reason for that confidence. Viper has maintained his position as a top 5 LCK player throughout the Summer Season, and is one of the most dangerous adc's around with the 4th best kda in the league. His support Lehends is also a contender for best in his role, with the 6th best kda. Not only has this duo been a consistent engine for Griffin victories this summer, they've even managed to bring home a Teemo victory. In this matchup Griffin have the better support player, Afreeca Freecs have the better adc. In the end, though, we believe Lehends outclasses TusiN more than enough to swing this lane their way.
Verdict: Griffin's Viper and Lehends outgun the bottom lane.
This is only one stop on the rollercoaster that is the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs. The winner of this match will go on to face kt Rolster in the finals, a team in top form and one that has taken many games off the other top teams this Summer Season. It's not going to be easy.
Should Afreeca Freecs manage to escape Griffin, it's unlikely they make it past kt Rolster in the finals.
Should Griffin manage to keep things together enough to stop Afreeca Freecs, despite kt Rolster's dominance over the rookies this summer, we think they have the better chance of winning in the Finals.
We predict a 3-1 victory for Griffin.
Be sure to catch this match, and even more importantly, when the winner moves on to fight for it all.
Let us know what you think of this LCK Summer Playoffs matchup between Afreeca Freecs and Griffin in the comments below! Who moves on to face kt Rolster in the Finals?