The competitive League of Legends spring season is wrapping up worldwide, featuring most recently the League Champions Korea playoffs. By far the most decorated region, Korea has struggled to find widespread success in the past two years, falling short to China’s LPL and Europe’s LEC. Still, there’s no doubt that they will feature some of the favorites coming into the World Championships this fall.
Gen.G waited at the top for their competition to arrive. Despite boasting an insane score of 31-13, they just narrowly beat out T1 and DragonX for the first seed. Their AD Carry Ruler was the star of the show, accumulating 31% of his entire team’s damage throughout the season and boasting impressive statistics on a plethora of champions. Meanwhile, his jungler Clid flew under the radar with his 12-3 record on Jarvan IV, pushing his career record on the champion to 33-11.
Challenging them was T1, by far the most decorated team in League of Legends history. They have won three World Champions in the seven years they have existed with countless domestic titles to boot. They missed first place by a game, finishing at 30-14. T1 boasted two of the best players in their positions with Teddy at AD Carry and mid laner Faker, the consensus best player in the world. Rookie top laner Canna also made a splash in his first split and was a huge part of their success.
Both teams came out at a glacial pace in game one. T1 brought forth an interesting strategy, putting Faker on Corki and their jungler Cuzz on Graves for the first time this year. Meanwhile, Gen.G held comfort picks across the board. In game, it reflected top side as Canna struggled heavily against the opposing top laner Rascal. Still, it never felt like T1 was out of the game. The sheer pressure exerted by Teddy’s Varus pick was enough to stall the game out and eventually win, with Teddy doubling the damage of the next highest player.
T1 mostly ran back the same picks in game two, while Gen.G managed to land Clid’s coveted Jarvan IV and Ruler on an Ezreal pick he went 7-2 with in the regular season. The game played out similarly, with Canna being the focus for Clid and Rascal. The tankier team composition by Gen.G also made it harder for Teddy’s Varus to have an impact this game. It was Cuzz who managed consistent pressure on the map, as his Olaf pick allowed him to farm neutral objectives while Clid tried to force plays on the map. T1 converted this into a 30-minute lead, taking a 2-0 series score.
T1 picked Sylas early for the third game in a row, countered by a Jayce pick for Rascal. However, they flexed the Sylas onto Cuzz and put Canna on his far more comfortable Ornn. That alone practically spelled death for Gen.G as Canna made up for the previous two games by outclassing Rascal entirely. Through his pressure, Teddy was allowed to scale on Aphelios and eventually make the game all about him, finishing with a series-high 11 kills. The series was over, 3-0 T1.
Despite finishing as the higher seed, it never really felt like Gen.G was on the same level as T1. Outside of early top lane advantages, T1 never lost a beat and was playing from ahead. Faker has historically edged out Bdd, Teddy and Effort consistently outperformed Ruler and Life while Cuzz managed to win player of the series with how he totally outclassed Clid. T1 won’t get to showcase their skills internationally until this fall, but with their star-studded roster and the breakout of Canna in the top lane, there’s nothing holding T1 back from getting even better than they currently are. I’m expecting the other teams to fight tooth and nail for second place in the summer.