Griffin’s poor run of form has continued. The 2019 LCK Summer Split leaders were swept by Gen.G 2-0 today. Three teams now sit at the top of the LCK table at 7-2, with Griffin edging out fellow LCK young guns Damwon and Sandbox on game record.
While Griffin usually come up with the innovative strategies, Gen.G were on the front foot in this series. The veterans surprised everyone by drafting Volibear support for Kim “Life” Jeong-min in game one, and Griffin looked starstruck. Volibear hasn’t been picked in the LCK since 2013, while Volibear support is a relatively new concept first taken up by LDL team Bilibili Gaming Junior, the academy team for Bilibili Gaming.
The game started well for Griffin, who aside from losing first blood to the Volibear support after a flash-flip engage, were farming up and holding a gold lead over Gen.G. But the game broke open around the Infernal Drake at the 18-minute mark.
Gen.G had superior positioning at the objective and used that to their advantage to leverage a good fight against Griffin. After securing the dragon, Han “Peanut” Wang-ho on Sejuani threaded a Glacial Prison onto Park “Viper” Do-hyeon’s Kai’Sa, taking Griffin’s primary damage dealer out of the fight. While Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon landed a nice Flawless Duet on the Gen.G backline, it was too late. Gen.G aced Griffin and snowballed the game.
The two teams barely crossed paths for the rest of the game because Griffin were choked off the map. Cleaning up every objective possible, Gen.G ended the match cleanly in 32 minutes.
Griffin needed to reset heading into game two. After securing some early objectives, a solid teamfight win gave Viper’s Kai’Sa a headstart on Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk’s Kalista. But the game was never firmly in their hands. Gen.G secured Rift Herald and a few towers in the mid game off the back of their strong siege and held a gold lead as the teams started posturing around Baron.
After a few minutes of preparation, Griffin bit the bullet and started Baron with the secure coming down to a 50-50 smite. But Son “Lehends” Si-woo’s Nautilus Depth Charge on Peanut secured the buff for Griffin, allowing the rookies to take the Baron and three kills on the way out.
As Griffin started moving into the driver’s seat with another teamfight win around Elder and a second Baron 39 minutes into the game, they went one objective too deep by trying to finish the game, giving Gen.G a chance to run it down to Griffin’s base.
After breaking open the mid inhibitor and Nexus towers as Griffin were respawning, Gen.G kited around everything Griffin had to throw at them and ended the game. Completely against the flow of play, Gen.G walked through Griffin’s front door and ended the game on their terms, taking the 2-0 sweep as their resurgence up the ladder restarts.
This is a dire sign for Griffin, who have struggled in the second round robin during their short but impressive LCK history. After getting ahead in both games and falling behind from macro mistakes, CvMax and Griffin’s leadership team will need to go back to the drawing board to convert their early success into wins against tougher opponents.
Gen.G, on the other hand, might have saved their season off the back of this upset. They now finish the first round robin with a 5-4 positive record and their playoff hopes are still alive. If players like Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin and Life can continue this form and don’t pile the pressure on Ruler, Gen.G can make it to Worlds.
Griffin play against Afreeca on July 14 before Gen.G take on Hanwha Life later that day in their first game of the second round robin.