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It took Griffin’s opponents three weeks to draw first blood in the LCK Spring Split. It took them eight weeks to get a full series against them. But today, in their first match for the LCK Summer Split, the best young team in Korea almost tripped against the most unexpected opponent.

After a disastrous showing at Worlds 2018, Afreeca Freecs returned home to play an equally disastrous split. The AFS finished 8th, just one spot away from relegation, and showed little to write home about. Yet, strangely, they were one of the three teams that beat Griffn that season and they almost did it again today.

Park “Viper” Do-hyeon’s Kai’Sa was the difference maker for Griffin in game 1, finishing 7/1/7 and with the MVP vote in pocket but AFS responded in kind in game 2. An equally scary Vayne by Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram carried the late game for AFS after Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon’s Sylas dominated the preceding minutes.

This was getting scary for Griffin. Glimpses of their brilliant team fighting from the spring split were still here, but AFS were finding openings in both games 1 and 2 to punish GRF whenever they could. The two teams were also playing a much more LPL-esque style: lots of fighting and early engagements.

This is where Viper was the deciding factor again. The early ganks and 2v2 engagements bot set up his Ezreal for a 3/1/0 start — a KDA you don’t want to give to a late game carry. With Choi “Sword” Sung-won’s adding even more poke firepower to the composition, Viper was able to carry the game and salvage the series for Griffin.

It could be just the warm-up period, but current-form Griffin are looking somewhat shakier than spring split Griffin. At the same time, AFS are looking stronger and they’ll get a chance to get on the board on Sunday when they play spring champions SK Telecom.

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