Kingzone overcomes a strong ROX, KSV takes win over Jin Air

The League of Legends crowd makes some noise with thunder sticks. Provided by Riot Games

Kingzone DragonX 2 - ROX Tigers 1

Kingzone DragonX put itself a mere two series wins away from securing the first place spot in the 2018 LCK Spring Split when it took down the ROX Tigers on Tuesday.

This series ended up being closer than anyone could have imagined, almost entirely revolving around the early and mid game, as most of Kingzone's (14-2) series do. Kingzone doubled down on its potent early game compositions against the ROX Tigers, who had mixed success in enduring the early onslaughts. Both Games 1 and 2 were competitive, as ROX Tigers found many opportunities to strike KZ's surprisingly numerous weak spots. Game 3, however, truly showed how terrifying Kingzone's mid lane Sion composition could be, as mid laner Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong buried the Tigers by himself with an unending barrage of perfect engages, never giving ROX AD carry Gwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun a moment's respite.

The cracks in KZ's armor certainly showed over the course of this series as, while the team is still indubitably the strongest team in the LCK, it no longer looks to be the unstoppable juggernaut that it was earlier on in the season. Specifically, ROX's strategy to take the fight to Kingzone's bottom lane proved remarkably effective, and was primarily responsible for the Tigers' relatively easy Game 2 win. This should come as no surprise, as this strategy has been Kingzone's Achilles Heel since late in the 2017 Season, so, if Kingzone's aspirations to reclaim its LCK champion's crown, it'll need to patch that weakness up. While the ROX Tigers isn't skilled enough to exploit that weakness consistently, stronger teams like the Afreeca Freecs (10-4) or KT Rolster (10-4) are unlikely to have the same troubles come playoffs.

Kingzone DragonX next takes to the stage against KT Rolster at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, while the ROX Tigers will need to wait until 7:00 a.m. on Sunday before its next match, where it'll face Kongdoo Monster.

--James Bates

KSV Esports 2 - Jin Air Green Wings 1

KSV Esports earned another victory for itself Tuesday morning by taking down the Jin Air Green Wings in a three-hour marathon of a series that highlighted the strengths of both teams in the League of Legends Champions Korea.

It was the sort of series one would expect to see between two of the LCK's slowest paced teams, both committing to a slow, grinding march towards their own respective win conditions. The pace of play was practically glacial compared to the Kingzone DragonX series earlier in the day, but that didn't necessarily make for a poor spectator experience. Quite the opposite, in fact, as this series boasted some of the most intricate teamfighting that the LCK has to offer, with the Jin Air Green Wings (6-9) desperately trying to defend its ace, AD carry Park "Teddy" Jin-seong.

Jin Air had a tall task in stopping KSV Esports (9-6), who finally seemed to have regained the coordinated team play it was best known for throughout 2017. Said team play had an unexpected lynchpin in mid laner Lee "Crown" Min-ho, who was in rare form, rising to the occasion to help carry his team to a much-needed victory. While it's certainly hard to judge exactly how far Crown has come towards a sort of renaissance after a rough start to the split, when he's only being asked to match up against the likes of Jin Air mid laners Lee "Grace" Chan-ju and Yoon "Justice" Seok-joo, two of the worst performing mid laners in the LCK, it's worth noting that Crown fared considerably better this outing than the last time these two teams met. With Crown able to successfully contest mid priority, KSV Esports looked like a new team, reminding the rest of the league that the defending World Champions still has plenty left in the tank.

KSV Esports faces its next challenger when it takes on SK Telecom T1 at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday. The Jin Air Green Wings will be just as harshly tested, as its next match comes at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday against the surging Afreeca Freecs.

--James Bates