The Mid-Season Cup semifinals will finally have some Korean representation with former world champions Gen.G prevailing in Group B alongside LPL champions JD Gaming, leaving Invictus Gaming and a fast-starting DragonX to watch from afar.
After the capitulation of Korean champions T1 in Group A of the Mid-Season Cup, the LCK faithful were looking to regular season champions Gen.G to restore some balance in the playoffs. Despite faltering against T1 in the LCK finals, Gen.G had only lost four series over the course of the season, and had the ability to triumph over any of these teams.
For the most part, they did. Victories over both Chinese teams put them in good stead to advance to the next round, and looking at the rest of the group, it seemed likely that JDG would be advancing alongside Gen.G. IG had recently come off a disastrous playoff run, while DragonX were regarded as too unpredictable to put any stock yet.
Yet the faith that LCK casters Max “Atlus” Anderson and Nick “LS’ De Cesare placed in the underdog side appeared to be well-founded, as DRX rewarded those first-place predictions by demolishing both IG and Gen.G in their first two matches.
An impressive performance from Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon was the main catalyst for DRX’s fantastic start, with a dominating performance on Wukong against Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok’s Lucian. He removed any potential of the game-warping influence the IG top laner is renowned for.
The popular consensus going into the game was that Doran would be little trouble for the former world champion, but the rookie turned that on its head after recovering from an early deficit to take over the top lane and then the game.
His Kennen performance in the next game against fellow Koreans Gen.G made it very easy for Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon’s Rumble and Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon’s Graves to rule the rest of the Rift and push themselves to 2-0 in the bracket and clear favourites to advance.
Unfortunately, that would be the last game DRX would win at the Mid-Season Cup.
After going down early to Gen.G, JDG had rallied to take down IG and then clawed their way back from an early deficit against DRX to hand them their first loss.
Due to having to mount that comeback, their average victory time was still longer than both DRX and Gen.G, and the LPL champions were forced to wait and see who they would face for the last spot in the semifinals.
Korea was now guaranteed at least one seed in the semifinals, but neither team wanted to lose and have to face off against JDG in a second tiebreaker.
Gen.G took absolutely no prisoners, with dominating performances across the board allowing them to bully DRX from very early on in the game. DRX couldn’t recover, and Gen.G put them to the sword to advance to the semifinals in first place.
Gen.G’s revenge set up the rematch between DRX and JDG, and despite DRX creating another early lead, three back-to-back matches simply proved too exhausting for the rookie squad.
They were unable to capitalise on a strong early game, and JDG was able to steamroll over DRX come the mid-game to book their own spot in the semifinals alongside Gen.G.
After all was said and done, Invictus Gaming became the only team unable to win a single game at the Mid-Season Cup and looked far removed from the form that helped them lift the Summoner’s Cup in 2018.
TheShy looked uncharacteristically poor over the course of the tournament, his trademark influence nowhere to be found against the best of the LCK and LPL.
The crownless JDG, on the other hand, do battle against defending world champs FunPlus Phoenix tonight in an LPL semifinals rematch, a series JDG convincingly closed out 3-0. Gen.G will also face Top Esports in what promises to be a spectacular series.