ESC Ever survives first match in LCK promotion tournament

With League Champions Korea’s regular season ending, the focus is now on LCK’s promotion tournament for next spring. ESC Ever, which finished ninth in its first LCK regular season, took down SBENU Korea 2-1 on Monday to advance to the winners bracket.

Kim “Ares” Min-Kwon, starting as Ever’s jungler over Choi “Bless” Hyun-Woong, showed stable carrying ability for his first match in five months and said that his improved form allowed him to see playing time, writes Inven’s Im Hye-Sung.

“I wasn’t playing great (during the regular season) and didn’t get to perform in the competitive stage,” he told Inven. “But my solo queue games have been looking good, and I performed well in scrims so I got my chance to play.”

Although Ever showed some breakout moments during LCK’s regular season, it ended up ninth and is now forced to defending its spot in the LCK. The double-elimination promotion tournament features the bottom two teams of the LCK regular season, CJ Entus and Ever, and the top two teams of the Challenger Series, Kongdoo Monster and SBENU.

In the third game of Monday’s series, SBENU made a surprising Jinx pick in the bottom lane. Although Ever’s in-meta pick of Sivir did push Jinx out of the lane, Ares said he had to respect Jinx in the later stages of the game.

“I wasn’t surprised by the pick itself,” he said. “I was surprised of the firepower Jinx was packing after the laning phase. Even though Sivir won lane, Jinx was dealing a lot of damage.”

With a victory against SBENU under their belt, Ares said that Ever will be “working from the ground up from the drafting phase” once they make it back to the gaming house. As Ever navigates relegations, Ares said he hopes to be able to stand by his teammates and prove himself an equal to Bless.

“I am very happy that I was able to play today,” he said. “I don’t know who will be playing in the next match, but it’s my hope that we finish the season by winning the promotion tournament.”