League of Legends (LoL) powerhouse nation South Korea has claimed the gold medal at the LoL medal event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, after breezing through Chinese Taipei, 2-0, in the gold medal match.
South Korea sent a star-studded contingent, headed by LoL G.O.A.T. Lee “Faker” Sanghyeok and coached by two-time World Champion Kim “Kkoma” Jeong-gyun.
South Korea qualified for the Playoffs after sweeping both Hong Kong and Kazakhstan in Group A.
They then swept Saudi Arabia, 2-0, in the quarterfinals to face China, another powerhouse country in LoL, in the semifinals.
The group stage draw prevented a potential gold medal match between South Korea and China. Even so, South Korea also swept through China, 2-0, to advance to the gold medal match.
Faker notably missed the quarterfinals and semifinals due to illness but said that he was “so proud” of his teammates, according to a report by Yonhap News Agency.
Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei earned the right to challenge South Korea in the gold medal match after a dominant run of their own. They also qualified for the Playoffs through the Group Stage, where they defeated the United Arab Emirates and the Maldives in Group C.
Chinese Taipei then eliminated Malaysia in the quarterfinals, 2-0, before scoring another 2-0 sweep against Vietnam in the semis to advance to the gold medal match.
South Korea cruise through Chinese Taipei to win gold
Faker was notably absent from the gold medal match as well, possibly still recovering from flu, so South Korea fielded Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon as their midlaner.
In the first game, South Korea went for their usual Xayah and Alistor combination in the bottom lane, Jax in the top lane, Ahri mid, and a surprise Rell pick in the jungle.
Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei picked Singed top, Kha'zix in the jungle, Neeko mid, and Zeri and Rakan in the bottom lane.
Chinese Taipei began aggressively, intentionally finding small windows of opportunity to gain a gold lead against their South Korean opponents.
Chinese Taipei's Chu "FoFo" Chun-Lan, from EDward Gaming (EDG), made good use of Neeko in the mid lane, setting up effective ambushes that nearly took down some members of the South Korean team.
However, South Korea were able to defend their turrets and prevent too many kills, and even turning skirmishes around to favour them.
The South Korean team continued to dominate the game, boxing out the Taiwanese from most objectives and laying siege to their opponent's towers.
Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk and Choi "Zeus" Woo-je were instrumental in keeping the team in the lead, dishing out the most damage, while both Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok's Rell and Ryu "Keria" Min-seok were very effective in protecting their team and setting up ganks and ambushes.
Eventually, the South Korean team approached the base of Chinese Taipei and destroyed their opponent's Nexus in 29 minutes, with a 15-5 kill lead, to win the first game.
In the second game, Chinese Taipei took away Keria's signature Alistor in the bottom lane and paired this with Aphelios. They also once again picked Neeko in the mid lane. Rounding out the draft was Poppy in the jungle and K'sante in the top lane.
For the South Korean team, they picked Malphite in the top lane to counter K'sante's tankiness, Vi in the jungle, Chovy's Azir pick in the mid lane, and the much-contested Zeri, paired with support Rell in the bottom lane.
The Taiwanese once again tried to pressure their South Korean opponents in the bottom lane, taking three kills in the process, while the South Koreans were able to take two back. Chinese Taipei's Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh made good use of Alistor to set successful ambushes for his team.
Despite this, the South Koreans were able to keep the gold and exp gap quite close by focusing on other objectives and eventually taking back the gold lead.
In an ambush by the Taiwanese on Chovy in the top lane, the South Koreans were quick to respond and turned the fight around, sweeping the opponent's team in a clean ace, with Zeus taking a triple kill.
As the South Korean team's champions continued to scale, they were able to open up the Taiwanese base and finish the game in 25 minutes with a 19-9 kill lead.
Faker was notably absent from the gold medal match as well, possibly still recovering from flu.
Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei bow out of the competition in second place, taking silver. On the other hand, China settled for bronze after defeating Vietnam 2-1 in the bronze medal match.
Here are the rosters of the 19thAsian Games LoL gold medal event:
South Korea (Gold)
Choi "Zeus" Woo-je (Top lane)
Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok (Jungle)
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok (Mid lane)
Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon (Mid lane)
Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk (Bottom lane)
Ryu “Keria” Min-seok (Support)
Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun (Coach)
Chinese Taipei (Silver)
Su “Hanabi” Chia-Hsiang (Top lane)
Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan (Jungle)
Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan (Mid lane)
Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan (Bottom lane)
Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Chieh (Support)
Chen "WarHorse" Ju-chih (Coach)
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.