Against all odds and in the face of overwhelming doubt cast by fans and analysts alike, the Chinese League of Legends Pro League shocked the world in the finals of Rift Rivals on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over South Korea's League of Legends Champions Korea in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Samsung Galaxy took on EDward Gaming in Game 1 where both teams drafted pick/teamfighting compositions. The early game was dominated by jungler Ming "Clearlove" Kai's Rek'Sai as EDG picked up an early gold lead, forcing SSG on the backfoot with relentless pressure. With EDG methodically pushing across the map, a 36-minute Baron cracked open Samsung's base before support Tian "Meiko" Ye's Rakan took over the final teamfight in the late game, giving EDG a 5-for-1 ace and securing Game 1 for the LPL in 45 minutes.
Then, Korea sent in the big guns of SK Telecom T1 to face off against Team WE. Cracks started to show from the draft, however, as it gave WE its ideal team composition built around teamfighting and constant aggression. SKT fumbled early as mid laner Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok's Cassiopeia misstepped in WE's jungle to give up first blood just two minutes in. Simply put, SKT looked mortal against WE's blistering pace, who played with supreme confidence as it took a major midgame gold lead. With a 25-minute Baron kill, WE flooded into SKT's base, using the buff to expose SKT's Nexus towers before a 3-for-0 fight gave WE a shocking win in 31 minutes.
KT Rolster drafted a sick siege/pick lineup with two AD carries against OMG in Game 3, determined to give the LCK a fighting chance at a reverse sweep. While the early game wasn't great, once KT got the items it needed on its key carries, it blew the game wide open. Jungler Go "Score" Dong-bin's Zac was pivotal by utilizing his long initiation range and smorgasbord of crowd control to give KT easy teamfight wins. With a 4,300-gold lead at 25 minutes, KT was simply unstoppable the later the game went, winning teamfight after teamfight in the late game to pick up a confidence-boosting 35-minute win.
MVP needed to show up in Game 4 vs Royal Never Give Up in order to keep the Korean dream alive, but familiar problems for MVP reared their ugly heads throughout the game. MVP drafted high pick potential, but played extremely passively in all stages of the game. After a few early minutes of strong play gave MVP a 2,000-gold lead at 13 minutes, the team simply sat on its hands, which gave RNG plenty of time to battle back. After wasting a 30-minute Baron buff, MVP couldn't do much as RNG's late game power spikes came online. RNG capitalized on its late game Elder Dragon with a game-winning, backdoor Baron secure at 55 minutes. After nearly an hour of play, Royal Never Give Up stood tall over MVP's crumbling Nexus, giving the LPL a 3-1 shocking tournament victory.
The LCK will return with hat in hand on Tuesday when Longzhu Gaming takes on MVP Gaming at 4 a.m. ET, while a triumphant LPL resumes with DAN Gaming facing LGD Gaming at 5 a.m. ET on Thursday.