South Korean League of Legends (LoL) team Gen.G have accomplished what was previously thought as an impossible task for them, crowned champions of the 2022 LoL Champions Korea (LCK) Summer Split after sweeping regional juggernauts T1 3-0 in the grand finals on Sunday (28 August).
This victory marks Gen.G's first-ever LCK championship title, and the first time that the team won against T1 in any LCK playoff finals.
Gen.G's first trophy lift moved the entire arena as the players broke out in tears with the announcement of their victory, having been plagued with mostly first runner-up titles in the LCK, and never a regional championship or World title.
Most of the players on Gen.G's roster are veterans, including Han "Peanut" Wang-ho, who won a couple of titles with Lee "Faker" Sanghyeok in T1.
But this is the first championship title for some of the other members, whom have tried and previously failed for so many years — Choi "Doran" Hyeon-joon (5 years), Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon (5 years), Son "Lehends" Si-woo (8 years), and Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk (7 years).
This Summer, the team swept their competition from week 1 until week 3, winning against KT Rolster, Hanwa Life Esports (HLE), DAMWON KIA (DWG KIA), Brion Esports (Brion), Nongshim Redforce, and Kwangdong Freecs (KDF).
Their win streak was broken after losing against T1 in Week 4, but the LCK underdogs bounced back, beating DRX right after.
Gen.G continued to clock in wins on weeks 5 and 6, dominating games against Liiv SANDBOX, Nongshim Redforce, and HLE.
The eventual winners continued their renewed win streak into weeks 7 and 8, where they took down DRX once again, finally defeating T1 2-0 before taking more wins against KDF and DWG KIA.
Gen.G closed the split in first place, with a 17-1 standing, after winning against Brion. They were also the first LCK team to qualify for the LoL World Championship 2022.
All members of Gen.G also received honours in the 2022 Summer All-LCK teams, with Peanut, Chovy, Ruler and Lehends making it to the All-LCK First Team.
Doran. meanwhile, was inducted into the All-LCK Second Team.
Ruler was also named one of Summer's Player of the Split, while the Coach of the Year honours were given to Gen.G coach Go "Score" Dong-bin.
The plaudits were surely well deserved, as Gen.G continued their dominant form in the playoffs, taking down Liiv SANDOX 3-1 on their way to the Grand Final.
T1, on the other hand, are already the most decorated team in LoL history, having won three World Championships — two of which were in back-to-back years — as well as two Mid-Season Invitational championships and several LCK titles.
The South Korean juggernauts made history in Spring of this year after executing a perfect LCK Split, but failed to secure the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational title after losing to three-time back-to-back MSI champs Royal Never Give Up, from China's League of Legends Pro League (LPL).
That defeat seemed to have shaken T1's resolve, as the LCK Spring Champions weren't as bullet-proof in the Summer, ending in the regular season in second place with a 15-3 standing.
Gen.G's march to victory
In the first game, Gen.G brought out a formidable lineup, with Sejuani in the jungle, Azir mid, and Zeri in the bot lane.
T1 struggled with Gen.G's Azir-Zeri combination, but they were able to make a few trades in team fights and objectives.
A fight at the Baron pit turned the odds entirely in Gen.G's favour when they aced T1 in the river after the Spring champions secured the Baron.
T1 could not find a way back from there, with Gen.G accelerating the game and taking more kills and turrets along the way.
After a lengthy 38-minute encounter, Gen.G took the first game, with a 15-6 kill lead.
The LCK underdogs brought out their most creative picks in the second game, bringing out the Legendary Singed support pick of Lehends from Spring with Nilah, LoL's newest bot lane champion.
T1 tried to respond with a Zeri-Yuumi pick; however, Gen.G's form and draft proved superior, as they shocked everyone with a dominant game, not allowing their opponents to take anything from the map.
With T1 spiralling out of control so early, Gen.G won the second game in just 26 minutes with a 14-2 kill lead, taking their team to match point.
They then took a page from T1's books in the third game, stealing away Zeri and Yuumi, and rounding their draft off with Renekton, Xin Zhao and Azir to counter T1's Ahri-Vi and Sivir-Lulu combinations.
Desperate to win a game, T1 started aggressively, taking objectives and winning a couple of fights.
However, Gen.G kept up with the score and traded several kills and other objectives.
Both teams danced across the map for vision and kills. But Gen.G's Zeri-Yuumi pick, protected by Renekton and Xin Zhao, proved lethal to T1, who could not find ways to retaliate in the mid-to-late game.
And after a tense, 34-minute encounter, with a 10-3 kill lead, Gen.G took the third game to claim the LCK Summer Championship title and the grand prize of US$149,949.
Peanut notably took the LCK Summer Finals MVP and US$3725.
Meanwhile, T1 had to settle for second place and US$74,975 in consolation.
Gen.G. and T1 have qualified as the first and second seeds of the LCK for Worlds 2022. They will face 22 other teams from 11 regions and attempt to take back the Summoner's Cup for the LCK region.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.