Updated on September 29, 8:52 p.m. (GMT+8): Added more details about military exemption.

League of Legends fans thought Team Korea versus Team China in the single elimination semifinals would be a close series, but they proved everyone wrong.

Sweeping their biggest rivals 2-0, they quickly qualified for the finals, setting up a clash against Team Chinese Taipei, who also qualified by sweeping Team Vietnam in the semifinals.

In the finals, Team Korea reinstated their dominance, sweeping Team Chinese Taipei 2-0 to claim the gold medal for South Korea at the 19th Asian Games.

How Team Korea defeated Team Chinese Taipei at the Asian Games 2023 League of Legends finals to claim gold

League of Legends champion Rell official wallpaper splashart
Credit: Riot Games

In game one, Team Chinese Taipei surprised by drafting Singed, who counters Jax, together with Kha’Xiz, Neeko, Zeri, and Rakan. Team Korea opted for Jax, Rell jungle, Ahri, Xayah, and Alistar.

This meant that Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk got to play his signature champion using his very own Samsung Galaxy Worlds 2017 skin which he designed with Riot.

Ruler leads Korea to sweep biggest rivals at Asian Games — and it’s only the semifinals

Team Korea focused on mid-bot and secured the first three dragons, gaining Cloud, Mountain, and Hextech buffs.

Playing at a controlled pace, the game saw Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon with a 0/0/0 KDA at the halfway mark. He had 150 gold bounty because he consistently kept about 20 CS above his opposing mid laner.

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In the late game, after picking off the enemy jungler, Team Korea started to pick it up. They took Baron and pressured mid, taking down the second inner turret, gaining a 7,000 gold lead. One last victorious fight along with Hextech Soul was all they needed to close it out for the series lead.

League of Legends champion Malphite official wallpaper and splashar
Credit: Riot Games

In game two, Team Chinese Taipei went with K’Sante, Poppy, Neeko, Aphelios, and Alistar. Team Korea drafted Vi, Azir, Zeri, Rell, and surprised by last picking Malphite on red side after looking at their opponent’s team composition.

With everything on the line, the game was expectedly tighter. By the 15-minute mark, Chu “FoFo” Chun-Lan’s Neeko had four kills and a 400 gold bounty.

On the other hand, Team Korea continued to play for objectives and had secured the first two dragons of the game.

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A major shift happened heading into the late game — Chovy isolated Fofo’s Neeko in their jungle and pushed him back further with Emperor’s Divide into the hands of Ruler who reaped the tasty bounty.

On top of that, Team Korea utilized the second Herald to take down both outer towers in mid lane, then transited to Baron.

Riding on momentum, Ruler’s Zeri had scaled up, becoming unstoppable in team fights. Team Chinese Taipei had no response, and toppled in every subsequent clash.

Gen.G Ruler next to champion Zeri from League of Legends
Credit: LCK, Riot Games

With the win, Team Korea not only won the gold medal for their country, but also military service exemption from the South Korean government.

According to South Korean journalist Kevin Kim on X, these pro players are now “eligible to complete their mandatory service as sports personnel, allowing them to continue their careers uninterrupted if they choose to do so.”

Sports personnel partake in three weeks of basic military training and are required to complete 544 hours of community service within 34 months by utilizing their “unique skills,” he added.

This is Team Korea’s second League of Legends esports medal. They took the silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games after they were defeated 3-1 by Team China in the final.

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