The Korean LCK won its first Rift Rivals this Sunday, July 7. On home turf, the combined forces of the region finally toppled their old rivals, China’s LPL, and hoisted the trophy.
The LCK was dominant all throughout this edition of Rift Rivals. It exited the group stage dropping only a single game to LPL’s Invictus Gaming, and won a direct seed into the grand final. There, LCK got a quick 2-0 lead as Kingzone DragonX and SK Telecom T1 defeated iG and Top Esports, respectively, to put the region on match point.
FunPlus Phoenix put LPL on the board in game 3, beating LCK ranking leaders Griffin but China couldn’t make a comeback from there. JD Gaming’s defeat at the hands of DAMWON Gaming was the end of LPL and LCK stepped on the stage victorious.
This is an important victory for Korea, albeit in a smaller, showmatch-esque tournament. The LCK hasn’t had a decent international showing since 2017 and to finally bring home any title is just the push the region might need to go strong into Worlds 2019. Beyond that, however, the Rift Rivals title means little. If the LCK has another flop later this year, the championship from last weekend will mean nothing and will not be remembered in the years to come. Winning Rift Rivals is a great morale boost, but Korea needs to put actual results on top of it for it to count.