Even the players didn't expect it to work out.
Ever since Rift Herald was reworked in League of Legends back at the end of season nine, professional teams have started paying more attention to the neutral objective.
Not only are teams required to spend time to kill it, but they also have to wait for the Eye of the Herald to spawn and pick it up. This often leads to great contests when the objective spawns, both at the first eighth-minute mark and the consecutive second spawn timer.
Therefore, it’s inevitable to see fights and skirmishes break out, leading to potential momentum swings for either team. Today, though, LCK players have surprisingly found a new way to get the Rift Herald without having to walk toward the eye once the objective is killed.
In the last series of the LCK Spring 2023 regular split between KT Rolster and DRX, KT were able to kill the second Rift Herald 15 seconds before the 16-minute mark.
Right after killing the objective, however, DRX was looking to punish KT’s jungler Cuzz as he was stuck in the baron pit. Cuzz had to make a choice between walking toward the eye and potentially dying, or abandoning the pickup and saving his own life.
Cuzz chose the latter, using Vi’s Vault Breaker (Q) to dash over the wall and using the Hextech Gate to flee away. That’s when the magic moment happened.
As Cuzz was traveling from one gate to the other, he ended up passing through the Eye of the Herald and collecting it in the process.
This is the first time we’ve seen such an interaction in professional play. While most would think the best teams in the world would know this strategy, Cuzz and the rest of the KT lineup were as surprised as fans were.
Even though it might look like a broken and replicable strategy that guarantees the Eye of the Herald pickup, this is a highly situational scenario for a couple of reasons.
First, this strategy only works when the Hextech Gates are available on the map, which means that there must be a Hextech Soul spawning. Given the fact that there are 5 different dragons in League, the chances of getting the Hextech map aren’t that high.
Also, this strategy only works with the second Rift Herald. This is because, in order to have a Hextech map, the two teams must at least kill the first two drakes. With the first dragon spawning at the five-minute mark and the second five minutes after the first one dies, there is no way for the Hextech Gates to spawn on the first herald unless it remains untouched until later.
Regardless, this strategy would only work once in most scenarios. There is a small chance that teams are able to kill the drakes as early as possible, and have both heralds killed later, but it’s an extremely uncommon situation.
Third, and the most important thing, is that there must be a scenario where the enemy team is looking to contest the objective. Professional players rarely force a fight for a second herald, especially if one team is already ahead in gold and experience.
That being said, pros have learned something new and this smart strategy might be used in future games. It hasn’t been confirmed whether this type of interaction is intended or not, but it’s definitely something that teams might look to abuse going forward.
KT Rolster ended up victorious against DRX in two one-sided games that lasted less than 30 minutes each. They jumped to third place in the regular split with the win, giving them the great advantage of choosing their Round 1 opponent (fifth seed Hanwha Life or sixth seed Liiv Sandbox).
World Champions DRX, on the other hand, have finished their disastrous split in ninth place, only ahead of Nongshim RedForce. From winning Worlds to fighting at the bottom of the standings, DRX will have to find a new miracle run if they want to defend their title at the end of the year.