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How Gen.G Shut Down T1 in the LCK Summer Finals

Full breakdown of Gen.G's dominant performance in the LCK Summer Finals. How did they dethrone a titan so cleanly?

The final of the 2023 League of Legends Champions Korea Summer Playoffs was a surprise – not because of the result, but because of the nature of the series itself. Gen.G won their third consecutive domestic title in a dominant sweep of T1, and in crowning themselves champions, punched their ticket to the World Championship as the #1 seed from South Korea.

Gen.G came into the series slightly favored, given that T1 had just played a grueling five-game series against KT Rolster the day prior, but because of Gen.G’s previous victories against both telecom giants going the full five-game set, a sweep was not expected by anyone at Seoul’s LoL Park last weekend. Let’s take a closer look at a few key factors that resulted in such a dominant performance for Gen.G in the final of the LCK Summer Playoffs.

Taking away T1’s crucial picks

T1 struggled mightily when mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok was sidelined with an injury for the first time in his legendary career, but with him back in the lineup, the team came alive in the postseason. T1 has looked at their best in the Summer Playoffs with Faker on a pick that allows him to provide utility – it’s no coincidence that Azir and Neeko, who both have big engages as their ultimate abilities, have been his most played in the post-season.

Gen.G adapted in the finals by banning Azir and Neeko, as well as Xayah, who has far and away been T1 AD carry Lee "Gumayusi" Min-hyeong’s best pick in the Summer Playoffs. With Faker not on a pick that gives him both utility and engage, T1 undeniably lose a step, especially when Gumayusi’s biggest comfort pick is off the table as well.

As a result, T1’s drafts in the finals of the LCK Summer Playoffs were one-dimensional, and at times, seemed outdated. Lucian and Nami are not the powerhouse bot lane pairing they were earlier in the season, and the moment Gumayusi and support Ryu "Keria" Min-seok fell behind, there was little T1 could do in game 1.

In game 2, T1’s draft looked like it arrived from the Mid-Seaosn Invitational via time portal from earlier this year – Faker had some utility for the team on Ahri, but with jungler Mun "Oner" Hyeon-jun and top laner Choi "Zeus" Woo-je on tanks, her lack of damage and reliable engage essentially gave them a one-threat composition around Gumayusi’s Aphelios.

Faker took Taliyah in game 3, and it’s not a surprise that with him on a more utility-focused pick with a large playmaking ultimate was what gave T1 their best effort, but ultimately, their lack of versatility in the finals was their biggest weakness.

Three-pronged attack

Gen.G, on the other hand, boasted versatility in spades throughout the series and showed superior flexibility to T1 on and off Summoner’s Rift. The best League of Legends esports teams in the current meta are the ones who can play through all three lanes, and Gen.G showcased the ability to do so with three different compositions.

In game 1, T1 drafted three carry lanes in Lucian for Gumayusi, Jayce for Faker, and Aatrox for Zeus, the latter of which had been a crucial pick for T1 throughout the post-season. Gen.G preferred to ban other T1 power picks like Xayah, Azir and Neeko and then drafted Camille for top laner Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, which was the perfect pick to suffocate Zeus’ Aatrox early with relentless piling on from the Sejuani of jungler Han "Peanut" Wang-ho as well as the Taliyah of mid laner Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon.

Gen.G followed up their convincing game 1 win by picking up the pace, blowing T1 out of the water with a skirmish-heavy pick composition that featured multiple individual outplays in 1v1 and 2v2 scenarios. The win came with a little extra flavor with a pocket Blitzcrank from support Yoo "Delight" Hwan-joong that led to a quick match point for the defending LCK champions.

T1, not allowing Gen.G AD carry Kim "Peyz" Su-hwan to have Zeri a third game after he got 12 kills a piece in the first two, then found themselves staring down the barrel of a blind pick Nilah and a K’Sante mid for Chovy. Even with T1 all-inning on Gumayusi’s Draven in game 3, it was ultimately Peyz’s Nilah who pulled out ahead early on, and while the game stayed close until the end, Gen.G’s superior execution on a more difficult composition was enough to give them the game, and the series.

The international picture

This is the third time in a row Gen.G has beaten T1 in the LCK finals, but international competition has not gone the same way. At Worlds 2022, it was eventual world champions DRX who would meet T1 in the grand final after Gen.G fell to DRX 3-1 in the previous round. At MSI 2023, T1 got the better of Gen.G in the semifinals in the form of a 3-2 victory.

Given how poor T1 looked during Faker’s absence due to injury, it’s miraculous there were able to make things work on the fly and get all the way to the finals as the 5th seed in the Summer Playoffs. T1 will certainly sport a more polished look at Worlds, and Gen.G will have to build upon the momentum of their third domestic title and the impressive rookie season from Peyz if they want to outshine the other South Korean representatives on the international stage.