Last year, Gen.G Esports, then known as Samsung Galaxy, created history by dominating SK Telecom T1 – the team that many considered to be the undisputed champions at the time – with a 3-0 victory in the League of Legends World Championship 2017 Finals and becoming the new world champions. With such an impressive feat, they were expected to be a powerhouse coming into this year’s World Championship. Unfortunately, they demonstrated a disappointing performance.

Drawn into group B with Cloud 9, Royal Never Give Up and Team Vitality, all known for their aggressive playstyle, the reserved Gen.G were off to a rough start with their loss to Team Vitality from Europe in their first match of the championship. This was considered an impressive upset from Vitality at the time. Gen.G were still amongst the names that fans expect to make it out of the group stage.

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The next day, however, that belief was beginning to crumble. Gen.G suffered another defeat at the hands of Royal Never Give Up, whom many consider to be heavy contestants to the trophy this year. They only managed to pick up a win against North America’s Cloud 9 on the third day. This meant Gen.G ended their first round with a 1-2 result. Still, they were tied with both Cloud 9 and Vitality. If they performed well in the second round, they could make it out of the group stage.

In the second round, Gen.G’s first opponents were once again Cloud 9. Gen.G began the game with their usual slow-and steady style. This time, however, Cloud 9 were ready. With aggressive early-mid game champions such as LeBlanc and Nocturne, Cloud 9 completely shut down Gen.G. mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho on Syndra. On the other hand, Gen.G’s jungler Kang “Haru” Min-seung had very little presence beside a successful gank in the top lane early game. Cloud 9 took the game after 36 minutes.

C9 vs Gen.G match highlights

This defeat meant Gen.G. were running out of chance. One more loss would lead to their elimination from the World Championship. With their backs against the wall, Gen.G turned to comfort picks in their next match against Vitality with Malzahar for Crown. This was the champion that Crown used in all 3 games to defeat SKT in the World 2017 Finals. They also replaced Haru with veteran Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong.

The game started slow at first, but good ganks from the Vitality jungler and support net them 2 kills, first tower and 2 thousand gold lead at the 10 minute mark. While Gen.G. put up a fight in the mid game and kept the gold lead close, Vitality’s top laner Lucas “Cabochard” Simon-Meslet managed to pull ahead thanks to his early lead. At 20 minute, he and his team successfully took down Gen.G’s bot lane duo after a team fight, and sought to pressure Baron Nashor. Gen.G. successfully put a stop to Vitality’s attempt, but had to give up 2 more kills. This gave Vitality a nearly 5 thousand gold lead.

VIT vs Gen.G match highlights

The game was slow for the next 10 minutes, when the two teams danced around Baron. Gen.G’s AD Carry Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk picked up a crucial kill against mid laner Daniele “Jiizuke” di Mauro with a good individual play. This allowed Gen.G to stall further. But when Gen.G farm for their items, Vitality were doing the same. At 34 minute, a huge team fight exploded, and Vitality’s AD Carry Amadeu “Attila” Carvalho stepped up and took over with his 4-item Tristana. Vitality wiped out 4 members of Gen.G. They finished the game immediately afterwards, without even taking Baron.

This defeat officially put an end to Gen.G’s run at World 2018. They are the only the second Korean team in League of Legends World Championship history to not make it out of group stage, the first being Samsung Galaxy Ozone in 2013. In their final match against Royal Never Give Up, Gen.G tried to establish an ambush in the bot lane at level one, but it backfired and they gave up first blood to RNG’s jungler Liu “Mlxg” Shi-Yu. It seemed Gen.G’s spirit was broken at this point, and they got ran over by RNG after just 23 minutes.

Gen.G members are facing heavy criticism from Korean League of Legends fans for their underwhelming performance. Their elimination could mean the opening of a new era for competive League of Legends, an era where other regions step up and Koreans no longer reign supreme.