The Year’s Final Fight: LoL KeSPA Cup 2019 Preview
By Jason Kirsch
As 2019 nears the end and the beginning of 2020 approaches, there is one more tournament game that gets the special honor of being the last one in a year. The Korean eSports Association
(KeSPA) sets two experienced teams against one another. Both SANDBOX Gaming and Griffin received byes into the playoffs due to their performances during the Spring and Summer Splits in the LCK. Now they fight for a chance at total victory in the first quarter-finals match of the playoffs!
SANDBOX Gaming (SB) enters the match as the favories. While they are certainly fearsome in their own right, they are a very new team to the professional scene. SB was established using the roster acquired from the now-disbanded Team BattleComics in late 2018, giving the team only about a year to acquire talent and gel as an organization. However, they are quite a fearsome force to be respected.
Since March of this year, SANDBOX Gaming has placed in the top five or better in each major tournament they attended. They intend to turn up the heat even higher with the recent acquisition of veteran player Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyun. GorillA has been a major force for six years, with stunning performances landing him in the top ten of every single tournament he’s participated in.
Playing in the support role, GorillA specializes in tank champions and favors Alistar and Thresh. He is widely considered the best Thresh support player in all of Korea! His goal during this match will be to peel for his squishier allies and prevent Griffin’s players from diving into his team.
How the Underdog Griffin Can Pull Off the Upset
Despite being the underdogs in this matchup Griffin (GRF), GRF will not be an easy opponent; in their last ten tournament appearances, Griffin has finished on the podium in nine of those cups. They made it to the quarterfinals in LoL Worlds 2019, competing with the best of the best. The 20-year-old Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong is well acclimated to the organization, playing as a jungler for GRF since his debut in March of 2017, and will certainly have a strong performance in the game to come.
Despite his young age, Tarzan is well-regarded as a skilled jungler. He prefers tank and bruiser champions such as Sejuani and Olaf, champions who can take a beating for their team and also help catch out opponents if they are out of position. Tarzan is known for his skill with Trundle, another tank jungler, to the point where he has a perfect record with the champion on the professional stage. As with his champion pool, Tarzan will often be the first one into a fight and the last one leaving it.
Both teams bring serious talent and records to the table at the end of this year, but who will move on to the semi-finals?
GorillA and SANDBOX Gaming will be bringing some major clout as they try to bully out Griffin. If GorillA can keep his team alive, they will be in prime position to pluck the wings of GRF. Their opponents bring just as much power to bare in their own quest for glory. Tarzan and his team will aim to explode SB with powerful burst champions and plenty of lockdown to capitalize on every little mistake.
But if Tarzan brings out his Trundle pick, he won’t be easily stopped. His bellowing war-cry will be heard throughout the jungle as he fights tooth and nail for victory. Not just his team’s survival would be on the line, but so would his personal dignity and legend.