Afreeca Freecs displayed the depth of patch 8.11’s drafting in their 2-0 win against SK Telecom T1.
With the advent of patch 8.11 a ton of champions are viable across the five in-game roles. Having a wide array of champions now able to be used in competitive, fans’ excitement for the LCK Summer Split grew even more with the prospect of clever strategies being produced and unveiled by teams. One of the teams fans were most excited to see play on this new patch was Afreeca.
Credited with having one of the smartest coaching staff in the world, Afreeca has historically been a team to produce unique and innovative strategies such as the AD carry relic shield start in 2017. Now with a huge set of champions and new items to experiment with, Afreeca was a team fans had hoped would produce crazy strategies come game day.
Sadly for fans though, Afreeca didn’t unveil any new or unheard of strategies. Instead Afreeca displayed the importance of flex picks during the draft phase on patch 8.11. Against SKT, Afreeca’s draft phase was one of mystery. Although Afreeca were picking champions, their roles on the map were unknown. Afreeca’s use of flex picks forced SKT to guess the roles of Afreeca’s champions. And in game one, SKT’s guess was correct.
But correctly predicting the champion roles was only half of the battle—and SKT failed to overcome the second half. Although SKT tried to match Afreeca’s proactivity around the map, the former world champions’ attempts to make plays were constantly foiled. Instead it would be Afreeca who profited from SKT’s failed attempts at dives and picks.
Down one game in the series, SKT were determined to counter pick Afreeca in game two. And SKT thought they had done so by picking mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok Darius as a counter to Afreeca mid laner Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng’s Yasuo. What SKT didn’t realize though is that unlike game one, they had incorrectly predicted Afreeca’s flex picks. It would be Yasuo going bot lane, with Afreeca giving Kuro Vladimir instead.
Left with few options, Faker switched lanes with SKT AD carry Bae “Bang” Jun-sik , and the mid laner made his bot lane debut, determined to counterpick the Yasuo.
And while Faker held his own in the bot lane, the rest of his team couldn’t say the same. Although SKT managed to sneak a teamfight victory which gave them Baron, it wasn’t enough to defeat Afreeca, whose support Park “TusiN” Jong-ik repeatedly found incredible engages as Rakan.
Afreeca will return to OGN’s e-Stadium on June 16, when they face off against KT Rolster in a rematch of the Spring Split semifinals.