Organized by the Korea e-Sports Association, the League of Legends KeSPA Cup returned for its fourth year in a row, featuring a 19-team bracket and boasting a nearly $90 thousand prize pool.
Ten teams from the League of Legends Championship Korea joined eight competitors from the Challengers Korea, the region’s academy league, alongside a final team representing Seoul from the 2018 KeG Championship, the annual amateur tournament hosted by the Korea e-Sports Association.
Gen.G and Griffin met in the KeSPA Cup finals after defeating opponents in KT Rolster, Afreeca Freecs, and Kingzone DragonX in the playoffs, however, it was Griffin who took home the trophy after clean-sweeping Gen.G.
Griffin originally made its name in the LCK summer split this year, shocking viewers as the team wreaked havoc on well-established organizations in its first year competing at the professional level. The rookie team tasted defeat when it missed the 2018 League of Legends World Championship after narrowly falling to Gen.G in the second round of the regional playoffs.
The KeSPA Cup served as an insight into Korea's top talent for the upcoming year after many teams underwent extensive roster renovations during the off-season, with the most notable being the three-time world champion SK Telecom T1. SKT released the majority of its 10-player lineup but kept three individuals including star mid-laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Of the eight playoff teams, only Griffin and DAMWON Gaming retained their full rosters from the previous year.
The LCK will return for the spring split Jan. 16. Other competitive regions will start their seasons around a similar date, with the League of Legends European Championship beginning Jan. 18 and the North American region returning Jan. 26.