South Korea’s LCK end the first day of Rift Rivals undefeated

Griffin and DAMWON come out strong in their international debuts.

Photo via Riot Games

Day one of the 2019 Eastern Rift Rivals tournament has come to a close, and South Korea is on top of the standings.

Korea’s four LCK teams took the lead by beating the three other regions at the tournament, ending the first day with an undefeated 4-0 record.

SK Telecom T1 opened Rift Rivals by facing off against their old international nemesis, Flash Wolves. A much less threatening beast after losing many marquee players in the offseason, Flash Wolves were no match for SKT, who opened the tournament with a one-sided stomp.

DAMWON Gaming, who were making their international debut, followed SKT. DAMWON’s debut was a success, with the teaming finding a win against Vietnam’s EVOS Esports. Unlike SKT, though, DAMWON had to work hard for their win, engaging in fight after fight without hesitation. DAMWON mid laner Heo “ShowMaker” Su was especially fearless, unafraid to re-engage after losing a teammate as Akali—a gamble that resulted in many kills.

Unlike the previous two matches, Kingzone DragonX’s match against FunPlus Phoenix didn’t favor Korea. FPX are undefeated in China’s LPL and came in as the favorites—and left as the losers. Drafting a creative composition with Kled top lane, Kingzone focused their efforts early on shutting down FPX mid laner Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang. 

Kingzone executed their strategy perfectly, netting an early lead that they made sure to snowball into a win before FPX’s carries hit their late-game power spikes. And in Kingzone fashion, AD carry Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu closed out his team’s win by almost completing a pentakill as Lucian. 

Griffin, a team that fans have waited to see compete internationally for a year, ended the night for Korea and the LCK. And they didn’t disappoint, beating JD Gaming with a pocket pick Talon.

Talon was given to Griffin mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, who needed to make plays early or else JD Gaming would win come 30 minutes with their better teamfighting composition. 

Plays were made, though, with Chovy finding a nasty flank in what would be the game-winning teamfight for Griffin. They were able to take the Baron after that fight and close out the match.

Korea’s LCK teams will try to retain their undefeated record tomorrow when SKT, DAMWON, Kingzone, and Griffin play in day two of Rift Rivals.