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Griffins – Five as one

The underdogs.

I’m sure most people following the League Championship are aware of a recently formed team that is taking the LCK by storm: Griffins. The team has brought it’s A-game to every match changing up its strategy from a gold funneling team comp to an outright late game scaling team composition and has executed each strategy with utter perfection. The Griffins are clearly the underdogs this season, with a group of five challenger players that nobody knew about. When they first made their debut against Hanwha life, people were expecting a body bag beatdown. What they got instead was the show of a lifetime.

Griffin Viper
The bot lane for griffin
Who are the Griffin’s?

The team currently holds the top seat in the LCK and it doesn’t look like they’ll be leaving it any time soon. What made the creatures with heads of birds and lionlike bodies creatures of myth were of course, the people and in the Championship with scores of fans cheering them on you can be sure the griffins are a team thats here to stay.
The Griffins roster comprises of :
Sword : Choi “Sword” Sung-won is a top laner for Griffin.
Tarzan : Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong is the jungler for Griffin.
Rather and Chovy : Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and Ji hun Shin “Rather” Hyeong-seop are the two oscillating mid laners for Griffin.
Viper : Park “Viper” Do-hyeon is the bot laner for Griffin.
Lehends : Son “Lehends” Si-woo is the support for Griffin.
Kim cvMax Dae-ho is the coach for Griffin.

Griffin roster
From the left Tarzan, Chovy, Rather, Lehends, Viper and Sword
Where did they begin?

Only last year, this team lost all their matches in the second round of the 2017 Challengers Korea Spring Split and was nearly relegated. In the following round 1 of the summer split, they went 3-4 and didn’t leave a very strong impression. However, after Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho joined the team as head coach, Griffin began to rise. The team that was nearly relegated finished 3rd in the regular season and 4th in the playoffs. In the KeSPA Cup tournament that followed, they defeated Afreeca Freecs and eventually lost to SKT T1 in the quarterfinals after a close full-set match. Commenting on Griffin’s performance against SKT, Lee “CloudTemplar” Hyun-woo said “I think we’ll be seeing Griffin more often from now on.”

Lehends and Chovy
Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho

Griffin’s history thus far can be divided into two eras: before and after cvMax. Their results became drastically better after cvMax was named as head coach. He often answers questions on his team starting with: “I can’t tell you in detail because we need to hide our tactics…” but he still offers small hints about the secret to Griffin’s strength. In an earlier interview, cvMax said “What our team is aiming for is having one big brain that has the capacity of five brains controlling all five champions. Like one person playing an RTS game, controlling all five champions. That way, no calls are needed and there’s no need to debate. Our ultimate goal is to make plays without any calls.” This matches up with what Song “Lehends” Si-woo said about the team motto being “Five as one” in an interview after defeating Kingzone.

Griffin coach
Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho Team Griffin’s current coach
Griffin’s shotcalling

Compared to other teams, they’re very quiet and calm during fights.
Another rule that cvMax considers to be important is ‘no risk – low return’. They aim to gain advantages in small ways that have no risks. In the current meta, if a team gains a slight advantage and rolls the snowball in the early game, it’s nearly impossible to turn the game around later. If it is possible to gain small leads without risking anything, it could be the best tactic ever. Playing according to this plan, Griffin lanes safely and doesn’t risk making unnecessary plays. Naturally, warding up the jungle is more convenient for the team and also allows them to take initiative in the game.

Griffin of Teamfights, “Five as one”

Of course, even if the head coach is the best ever,

it is the players who play the game. If the players aren’t able to carry out what the head coach has in mind, all the tactics in the world would mean nothing. The most impressive part of Griffin this season is their unbelievable teamfights. These amazing teamfights are the best proof and execution of the team’s “five as one” mantra; it really does seem like all the champions were being micro-controlled by one person.

Park “Viper” Do-hyeon and Son “Lehends” Si-woo joined the team before the spring split in order to provide a synergy boost with Choi “Sword” Sung-won, Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, and Shin “Rather” Hyeong-seop, all of whom played together for a while. With the addition of rookie Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, the teamwork and synergy they have is at a matchless level. They came back from many losing games through some extraordinary teamfights and earned themselves the nickname: “Griffin of teamfights.”

Griffin of teamfights.

Among them, there are players that stick out more than the others. ADC Viper is called ‘the next Faker’ by some fans, due to his exceptional mechanics and wide range of champions. In the 2018 LCK Summer Split, he played traditional marksman ADC champions only twice, and one of those two times was as mid lane Kai’Sa (Game 1 against SKT). Many say that his Vladimir is even better than the mid laners.

League Championship – Korea