Game of the Week: Afreeca Freecs vs kt Rolster
Afreeca Freecs didn’t live up to their expectations in the regular season. But this time they were looking to prove that they were worthy contenders for the top of the LCK ladder. Could they do it against the powerhouse kt Rolster?
Game 1 kicked off with Spirit challenging—and defeating—Score in his own jungle. Afreeca rode this momentum to chip away at KT’s turrets and secure three drakes for themselves. But with a 29-minute Baron, Afreeca bit off more than they could chew. Even though they secured the objective, KT dragged them into a devastating team fight where Smeb tore through his opponents on Kennen. The advantage was still on their side, but Afreeca started to crumble, giving away kills and map pressure, and then the team fights happened. It became clear that in the 5v5 setting, Afreeca’s team composition was too hard for KT to handle. With every skirmish, Afreeca got further and further ahead, until KT couldn’t even put up a fight to defend their Nexus.
Game 2 had KT fight back. Their early game was devastating and ended up putting Afreeca a solid 6k gold behind at 15 minutes. The game looked all but over, but a miracle team fight from Kuro and Kramer allowed Afreeca to claw their way back into the game. However, as they were about to regain control, a clutch Elder Dragon steal from MaRin’s Equalizer crushed any hope for Afreeca’s comeback. Afterward, it was just a matter of pushing down all the lanes and sieging Afreeca’s Nexus.
Game 3 was the real shining point of the series. Once again, KT’s early game prowess put Afreeca Freecs on the back foot. The skirmishes seemed chaotic at first, but for every man KT lost, they’d get two in return. After taking down an Inhibitor 20 minutes into the game, KT looked set for a decisive victory but Afreeca’s miracle team fighting pulled through again, as they trapped KT in between a Curtain Call and a teleporting Gragas. Once they secured a Baron, suddenly it was kt Rolster that was now playing from behind. With the teams trading back and forth, everything came down to a single fight, where Pawn pulled off an absolutely monstrous Shockwave. And even though Afreeca managed to avoid getting aced, this put KT in position to secure both Baron and an Elder Dragon. Once they had such a buff advantage, it was almost too easy for KT to march down the mid lane and take down the enemy Nexus. A 2-1 win for kt Rolster!
Biggest Surprise: Samsung Galaxy
There’s a lot that can be said about Samsung. Until recently, they were the eternal contenders that were always good but not quite great. But with the way they’ve been performing over the last few weeks, it seems that this narrative is about to change. Samsung are shaping up to be a strong lineup that might even be a worthy rival for the #1 LCK team, SKT.
Biggest Disappointment: Longzhu Gaming
Longzhu Gaming had a lot of hype coming into this Split but the hype train came crashing down as the team failed to qualify for the playoffs. It wasn’t due to bad luck either—multiple Longzhu members played their part in the team’s downward spiral at the end of the season. This trend culminated in a Baron steal from a Nami bubble, which lost Longzhu the series against Kogndoo Monster. While Longzhu aren’t the worst team in the league, their run is sure to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.