SKT returns to international stage after sweeping Griffin

Melany M. April 15, 2019

SK Telecom T1 is the 2019 LCK Spring Split champion and is going back to the Mid-Season Invitational.

The spring season in Korea was all about Griffin and SKT. These two teams took over the league and destroyed the competition.

Coming into the final, opinions on who might win were mixed. Griffin was the king of the regular season, but when it matters most, the young squad has failed to perform. SKT had moments of utter brilliance, but also underperformed against some of their weakest opponents.

Griffin started game one with an unorthodox composition. Bot laner Park “Viper” Do-hyeon locked in Taliyah while support Son “Lehends” Si-woo picked Pantheon. This strategy relies heavily on the players' ability to snowball early and avoid disadvantageous fights.

With those conditions in mind, Griffin played safe in the early game. The squad was smart enough to secure objectives and run away, avoiding SKT’s attempts at an engagement.

Top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha read the situation and cut off Griffin with a flank teleport. That play ended in three kills and a baron buff for SK Telecom T1. Powered up, SKT went for an elder drake, but Lehends would steal it right from their hands.

That still wasn’t enough to stop SKT and after four kills in the ensuing fight, SKT marched through Griffin’s base.

In game two, SKT sealed Griffin’s fate in a fight at level one. Griffin tried to invade and ran directly into SKT. Two kills and several summoner’s spells burned were a big enough advantage to allow SKT to snowball early.

Jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min walked around Griffin’s jungle without retaliation. In the mid lane, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok on Azir was just too good, taking young Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon was completely out of the game.

SKT controlled the map and scaled better. In the final minutes, SKT caught the Griffin players outside of their base, killed four members before rushing in for the win.

The previous games took a toll on the Griffin players’ mentalities and it showed in game three. Griffin went for Taliyah and Pantheon once again, but their entire composition lacked DPS, an issue that would cost them the game.

At level two, Clid ganked the bottom lane for a quick first blood. Griffin was desperate to find a response, but SKT was relentless. They kept the momentum going and Griffin’s situation only got worse.

Park “Teddy” Jin-seong with Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong by his side was unstoppable. He showed that despite the soft nerfs, Ezreal continues to be a strong pick in the current meta.

Before long, Griffin was unable to fight as a team and SKT took advantage. The former world championship team aced the enemy and secure a baron, and it was all too easy to take the Griffin nexus for a third consecutive win.

SKT is now headed to MSI as the likely favorite to win its third MSI title.