The 2019 LCK Spring Finals saw the return of one of LCK’s, or rather, League of Legend’s, oldest and most powerful of powerhouses.
SK Telecom T1 finally triumphed after spending the entirety of last season as, not just the second fiddle, but more of a team that had lost its way and had no chances of finding their way back. That it came against Team Griffin, a team that retained their surprisingly good 2018 rookie roster that narrowly missed out on the chance to go to the 2018 League of Legends World Championship to earn top seed in the 2019 LCK Spring Split by seemingly behing a step ahead of everybody in their read of the meta, only made the victory all the more sweeter.
Heading into the 2019 LCK Spring Finals, Team Griffin looked prime to cement themselves as one of the best teams in the league by finally taking the championship. However, SK Telecom T1 had other ideas. Instead of letting the young upstarts complete their run with a title and a trip to the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational, it was instead SK Telecom T1 who emerge victorious instead.
All in all, the win at the 2019 LCK Spring Finals punctuated what has been a dominant showing in the playoffs for SK Telecom T1.
SK Telecom T1 went 6-0 en route to winning the 2019 LCK Spring Finals, including a 3-0 win over one of their longtime rivals, Kingzone Dragon X, before showing the youngsters over at Team Griffin how it’s done with another 3-0 showing in the ultimate round.
With the win, SK Telecom T1 will be going to Vietnam and Thailand for the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational to represent South Korea.
2019 LCK Spring Finals Recap
Team Griffin tried to get cheeky and opened the series with a curveball by picking Taliyah and Pantheon in the bottom lane, which featured an immense amount of innate burst damage and crowd control. However, this was not a perfect setup. The duo was dependent on a Baron Nashor to close things out and, in general, the team lacked some team fighting presence without a traditional marksman dishing out the damage for them.
All in all, this meant that Team Griffin needed to play immaculate early on to try and snowball the game out of the opposing team’s control.
SK Telecom T1 did not let that happen. Even if Team Griffin did indeed manage to slightly get an edge in the early game, SK Telecom T1 played with enough to discipline to not get rattled by the early lead. They waited out Tailyah and Pantheon’s timings while forcing team fights in their own terms to secure a victory.
Team Griffin thought it was a good idea to do the same thing in the third game of the series, and once again, this didn’t go so well for the team. Unfortunately, for Team Griffin, their overconfidence in their risque drafts caused them the trophy at the 2019 LCK Spring Finals.
SK Telecom T1’s General Map Play
SK Telecom T1’s victories could all be owed to the fact that they knew how to delay games just enough every time they faced a deficit early in the game. They knew how to wait things out. Once done, they also knew how to jump back in by forcing fights in their own terms and walking away with relatively few casualties. SK Telecom T1 also showed just how important it is to have a strong mid and jungle duo. By having this, SK Telecom T1 had an easy time contesting jungle camps on the other side of the map while also giving their mid lane a chance to roam around the map first to try and make an impact earlier.
SK Telecom T1 also seems to have a better understanding of the map compared to other LCK teams.
It’s a given that SK Telecom T1 has good laners. The lineup arguably has the best mechanical talent that League of Legends has to offer. This means that winning the laning stage is pretty much a given for the team. But, it’s not just how they win the lanes that they win games. It’s how they leverage these advantages into favourable skirmishes and contests that allows them to win games, regardless of who they are facing.
A team that can carry from any lane, SK Telecom T1 is already dangerous enough as it is. The best part? They could still get even better.
How Will SK Telecom T1 Fare at the MSI 2019?
SK Telecom T1 have already booked their ticket to the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational by winning the 2019 LCK Spring Final. The only thing they’re waiting for now is to see who the other teams they are going to play against are.
SK Telecom T1 carries a heavy burden heading into the MSI 2019. Last year, LCK fell unusually behind the rest of the competition. This raised some serious doubts on whether the region remained at the top of the League of Legends scene. It is now up to SK Telecom T1 to prove that they, and the rest of the LCK, still reign supreme. But, for that to happen, they will have to improve their early-game performance first. Otherwise, they will have problems keeping up with the LPL’s and LEC’s early-game aggression.
By just looking at all the regions’ play so far in the spring, a lot of teams have been more willing to contest lane priority in the laning phase, willing to take trades and risks in order to control more parts of the map early.
The onus is now on SK Telecom T1 to prove that they can match other teams early on.
The frustration with relatively fewer international tournaments is we do not get much information as to how each region’s playstyles match up with each other. There is so much to consider: there may be meta changes coming into the Mid Season Invitational, and we may not be able to see each team in their peak due to specific stylistic differences.
Regardless, the one thing that we know is that the stakes are high for the winners of the 2019 LCK Spring Finals.
But, then again, if there’s one team that we can trust in a best-of-five series in any tournament, even against international competition, it’s SK Telecom T1.
What do you think of SK Telecom T1’s performance at the 2019 LCK Spring Finals? Do you think they have a legitimate shot at winning the 2019 MSI against international competition? How well do you think Faker will do in his return to the international stage? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.