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Gen.G Claims Fourth Straight LCK Title with Narrow Win against T1

Zakaria Almughrabi

LCK Spring 2024 has crowned its champion. After a nail-biting five-game series, Gen.G took down T1 to claim the title. This win marks Gen.G’s historic fourth straight LCK trophy, a record they now hold all by themselves. It’s also the fourth loss in the LCK Finals row for Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and T1. Gen.G will now head to MSI as the LCK first seed, while T1 will go as the second seed.

Gen.G LCK Spring 2024

Image Credit Riot Games/LCK

Gen.G Opens Up

After taking down Hanwha Life Esports in the lower bracket finals, T1 set themselves up for yet another LCK title match against Gen.G. This was the fourth consecutive time these two teams had met in the big game. Each time before, Gen.G took the win while only giving up one or zero games. After T1 had shown weakness earlier in the Spring Playoffs against HLE, thoughts were that Gen.G had a very high chance to four-peat.

The game one draft featured a winning lane for top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in as he played Rumble into Aatrox. Kiin joined Gen.G as part of their rebuild going into the 2024 season. On a roster of veterans, Kiin stands alongside them as a highly skilled and consistent player. Yet, he’s the only member of Gen.G who had never won the LCK before.

Kiin came into the series guns blazing, eager to place his hands on the LCK trophy at long last. His Rumble pick scorched the opposition from the beginning. T1’s topside could only watch as Kiin and Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu forced them further and further behind. Even with the lead, Gen.G struggled to put T1 away cleanly. The game stretched into extra innings, and T1 clearly had a shot at making the comeback.

When Faker made a clutch play on Azir at a 41-minute Elder Dragon fight to save the game, it truly was anyone’s to take. However, Gen.G maintained their composure. They lined up again at the Elder, and with Canyon winning the Smite Fight, Gen.G cleaned up T1 to secure a victory. Kiin’s 8/2/11 KDA and 40.7K damage from the top lane set the tone for his performance throughout the match.

T1 Bites Back

With T1 going down early in the series, everyone was met with flashbacks of the past three LCK Finals, where T1 couldn’t get more than one game off Gen.G. They knew that they couldn’t sit back and let Gen.G control the pace of the game. In the next draft, T1 took Blue Side and priority-picked Kalista for Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong.

As the top lane was a tank-versus-tank neutralization matchup (Rek’Sai vs. K’Sante) and the mid lane was scaling-versus-scaling (Azir vs. Aurelion Sol), the focus was on getting Gumayusi ahead. Two tower dives onto Gen.G’s bot lane did just that. With their priority, T1 got two dragons and three kills for Guma’s Kalista. Everything was going according to plan for T1.

At 29 minutes in, a Faker Shurima Shuffle onto Gen.G’s ADC set T1 up with an uncontested Baron. They quickly took it and ran down mid-lane, ending the game before Gen.G could scale up any more. Suddenly, the series was all tied up.

Now, with momentum, T1 decided to play a similar early-game-focused style in game three. With Kalista unavailable, T1 chose a Lucian Nami bot lane to try and build an early lead against the scaling Aphelios Lulu from Gen.G. Mun “Oner” Hyeon-jun’s Xin Zhao was a big reason for T1’s success in game two, so they picked it for him again.

Right off the bat, Oner invaded Gen.G’s jungle and even solo-killed Canyon’s Sejuani. The game got scrappy in the early fights, but thanks to Oner, T1 started stacking Dragons. At the 20-minute mark, T1 caught Gen.G on a Red Buff invasion, resulting in an Ace and Baron. From that point, T1 controlled the game until its end.

Backs Against the Wall

In all of Gen.G’s past LCK Finals victories, they had never once trailed against T1. For the first time, they were on the brink of losing the trophy. It’s at this moment that composure and confidence make all the difference. Gen.G loaded into game four with a wildcard pick: Kha’Zix for Canyon. The assassin jungler had never been picked once all split, and it would make or break Gen.G’s title run.

After an uneventful first 10 minutes, the brawling kicked off in the top side of the map. The two-for-two exchange got Kha’Zix his first kill of the match. Using the lead, Canyon managed to solo kill Oner back at ..20 minutes in. T1 could not withstand the onslaught of Gen.G’s fed top side and were forced to turtle on their side of the map. Gen.G put them in the dirt when they stepped across midway. A 26-minute Baron followed by a clean Ace put the game out of reach and tied the series up.

With everything on the line, both teams locked in their drafts. T1 chose Lucian Nami for their power picks, while Gen.G relied on scaling with Zeri Annie. Mid lane featured Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon’s Corki, which he had been so impactful on in game one, against Faker’s signature Orianna. Oner got another chance to carry on Xin Zhao while Canyon led the vanguard with Poppy.

Despite all of these potential points of variance, it was the tank-versus-tank matchup of the top lane that spiraled out of control early. Kiin’s K’Sante wiped the floor with Choi “Zeus” Woo-je’s Zac from the word go. A solo kill at the six-minute mark set the tone for this final game. By ten minutes in, Kiin had an over 20 CS lead.

Gen.G Standing Tall

On the other side of the map, Canyon and Gen.G’s bot lane successfully dove the Lucian Nami, shutting the door on early domination as a win condition for T1. The game was within reach by this point, but another solo kill by Kiin and a mistake from Faker jumping into the Rift Herald cost T1 Dragon, ceding Infernal Soul points to Gen.G.

From there, Gen.G comfortably scaled into the game. Kiin was near-unkillable on K’Sante, Chovy’s Corki started dishing out Nukes with every rocket, and Peyz’s Zeri was a constant DPS threat. T1 held on for as long as they could, but with a weak front line and a lack of damage, they fell by the wayside. Gen.G closed out game five in 42 minutes, claiming the LCK Spring 2024 title.

Following his decisive performance in game five, Kiin was awarded Finals MVP. His Rumble and K’Sante play were top-notch, and without them, it’s possible that Gen.G would not have even made it to game five, let alone win it. Chovy also played a monster of a series and was constantly dishing out damage on Corki and Aurelion Sol.

Gen.G now stands alone as the holder of the longest title streak in LCK history. They are indisputably the best domestic team in Korea and have quickly become the gatekeepers of the trophy. If you want to be an LCK Champion, you have to beat Chovy.

This loss must sting for T1 as much as, if not more than, the previous ones. Even so, T1 is still the defending World Champions and will have a shot at another international title in a month. As for Gen.G, international competition is where they have consistently fallen short. They’ll try to break that trend when MSI kicks off in May.