Along the announcement of franchising in the LCK, it was also announced that the 2020 Challengers Korea Summer split will be its final split of the league. For those that are unaware of what Challengers Korea (CK) is, it's the secondary pro league in Korea, where the top two teams of the split had a chance to promote into the LCK via the LCK Promotion tournament, facing off against the bottom two LCK teams. Many great LCK teams hailed from CK, with Griffin and DAMWON Gaming being the prime examples.
On the 31st (KST), Awesome Spear Gaming took on Jin Air Greenwings in the grand finals of the 2020 Challengers Korea Summer playoffs. With a set score of 3-0, ASP became the 2020 Challengers Korea Summer split champions.
JAG seeded directly into the finals of 2020 CK Summer with a 12-2 record, while ASP defeated OZ Gaming 3-0 in the previous round of the playoffs to face JAG. In game 1, JAG was able to get ahead in every single lane by 21 minutes, where they had a 9:3 kill score over ASP. Not only did the jungler for JAG, Eom “UmTi” Sang-hyeon was able to get all of their lanes ahead with nine assists and 100% KPA, JAG had a solid 6,000 global gold lead.
However, with the power of Ornn-upgraded items for Graves and Ashe, ASP was able to slowly come back to the game by winning teamfights. Eventually, this led to ASP getting dragon soul and leading the series 1-0.
In game 2, things were looking very even right from the early game. Both teams had equal global gold by 26 minutes, equal number of dragon stacks, and even had an equal kill score of 11:11 on the board. That balance was broken by ASP’s teamfighting prowess, as one teamfight tipped the scales for ASP. A moment later, they were able to catch Lee “TaNa” Sang-wook’s Wukong off-guard, which led to ASP taking Baron Nashor. This led to ASP also catching Park “Senan” Hee-seok’s Braum, and proceeded to destroy JAG’s Nexus and leading the series 2-0.
ASP took game 3 as well. JAG led game 3 in the early game with a kill score of 7:0. However, there was no difference in the global gold between the two teams, as there was a clear difference in the macro between the two teams. ASP was able to flip the tides through a teamfight, and with the game ending in a similar fashion as game 1, ASP took the series 3:0 and went down the history books as the final champions of Challengers Korea.
After the match, the support player for ASP, Jang “Zzus” Joon-soo briefly shared his thoughts with Inven Global on the match vs JAG and on becoming the final Challengers Korea champions. On tonight's match, he commented, “When we played JAG during the regular split, we thought that there were many games where we had the advantage but lost due to our own mistakes. Our ADC, Prince, has been very dominant in CK, so we thought that as long as we minimized our mistakes, we’d never lose, and that plan worked out for us quite well.”
In becoming the last champions for CK, Zzus shared, “Despite starting the split in last place, I’m incredibly happy that we climbed all the way to the top. While we are unable to play the LCK promotion tournament to promote into the LCK, I’m very proud of my team for winning the CK championship trophy, and incredibly happy that we were able to close this chapter of our careers on a high note.”
Seoha "Steve" Yoon, the director of SPEAR Gaming, posted a picture of the organization's LoL roster, wishing them much luck for the players finding a new home for themselves. While details on the new secondary (academy) league is yet to be announced by Riot Korea. these awesome players are now FAs for the upcoming season. Challengers Korea will be surely missed, but its legacy will surely live on in LoL Esports.
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