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SK Telecom T1 survived the best-of-3 stage of the LCK Playoffs and defeated Afreeca Freecs 2-1 to move to Round 2. This keeps SKT’s hopes of Worlds qualification alive and keeps them out of the Gauntlet for the time being.

Game 1 saw Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok draft a mid lane Renekton, a career-first for the legendary player and his 64th unique champion played in official games. The Renekton became a critical part of SKT’s anti-assassin composition together with Skarner and Tahm Kench, which made Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon’s job on Qiyana very difficult and kept Park “Teddy” Jin-seong’s Varus safe at all times. On the back of two full-team wipes, the game was fully in SKT’s control and put them on the scoreboard 1-0.

Although Afreeca struck back in game 2 through textbook map control, they faced a very aggressive SKT in the decider. A hit squad of Faker’s Qiyana and Kim “Clid” Tae-min’s Sylas roamed the map and racked up kills from minute 3, putting AFS under constant pressure. Afreeca never stabilized SKT’s snowball and despite a good Draven game by Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram, the cumulative networth of SKT’s cores (a cumulative KDA of 20/2/30 between Qiyana, Sylas, and Kai’Sa) was too much for Afreeca to handle.

SKT’s next opponent will be SANDBOX Gaming, now in a best-of-5 series. The two teams went 1-1 between themselves in the regular season, but the best-of-5 is a format that SANDBOX hasn’t played before on such a big stage. SKT are still not guaranteed to make Worlds, however, and will need to go all the way to the grand final to punch their ticket. Otherwise, it will be the Regional Gauntlet for the region’s winningest franchise.

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