I rarely wrote anything about the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) esports scene. But from now on I really want to try to focus a bit more and give you, the readers, a chance to catch-up to what is happening in that region.
We all know that Korea as a region was the strongest region for a very long time. Only really rivalled by Chinese league (LPL). But the gap really did decrease over the years, so I think focusing a bit more on learning about their meta and tendencies might prove valuable once the international events start up.
Afreeca Freecs ( 5-13 w/l 9th at Spring Split )
One of two teams that is not 100% clear on what roster they will have. I tried to find as much as I could. It seems like this team will move MapSSi into a substitute/support role and Lehends will become the main support they play with. After a very poor showing in the spring split, they will need all they can get and I doubt just changing support will make that difference.
DRX ( 9-9 w/l 5th at Spring Split )
Seems like no chances will come to the DRX roster. So DRX finished in the very middle 5th place in the Spring split, decided it was good enough and just gave the players time to grow further.
DWG KIA ( 16-2 w/l 1st at Spring Split )
Second team that did not yet fully submit their roster and we just do now know for sure. But it seems like Malrang joined the team from the academy, so DWG KIA currently has two junglers. They might swap them around and try to grow young talent, because it would be really crazy to think DWG will replace Canyon. After all, they won the Spring Split so we shouldn’t question what they are doing too hard.
Fredit BRION ( 5-13 w/l 10th at Spring Split )
Chieftain moved to a substitute role. Yaharong seems to have lost his position also. The first game of Summer Split the team played with the remaining players, future will tell who will keep playing and if the organization will make any changes during the split. Since their roster seems to have substitutes ready. They lost the first game they played, considering they finished Spring in dead last place, it might be panic time for Fredit BRION.
GEN.G ( 13-5 w/l 2nd at Spring Split )
GEN.G is a team that has a lot of substitutes ready to step in whenever they need, but rarely do. Flawless and Karis were removed from the lineup. But are still listed as substitutes. Karis, Flawless played a few games in the middle of LCK Spring, but the vast majority of the games were played with the main roster that is listed here now.
Hanwha Life ( 12-6 w/l 3rd at Spring Split )
Both DuDu and Arthus are still listed as members of the team, just not sure how many games they will get to play. Korean teams are very much adopting the “lots of substitutes” mentality. This either creates competition for the rest of the players, who have to keep pushing and proving they deserve a spot, or just leaves options for organizations further down the line, to never need a player and not have one.
KT Rolster ( 6-12 w/l 7th at Spring Split )
As I just mentioned, lots of substitutes. In the spring split the team had 3 listed junglers. They still have two, but the starting roster seems to be Doran Blank Dove Noah and Zzus.
But with so many substitutes, there is no way to tell who will see the most play. I know one thing, they better figure it out quickly, because they did not make it into the playoffs in Spring.
Liiv SANDBOX ( 6-12 w/l 8th at Spring Split )
Another team in the bottom half of the teams. Trying to figure out their roster with many substitutes. No wonder it is sometimes hard to read what Korean teams are doing and difficult to prepare for them. They seem to not know what they will do until the last moment themselves.
NS RedForce ( 7-11 w/l 6th at Spring Split )
A surprise. Team without multiple substitutes and multiple players sharing the role. They just replaced their mid laner. Gori in. Bay out. A team that barely made playoffs and barely lost their series against Hanwha Life in the playoffs decided to give mostly their players a chance. And with a new mid laner, they think it will be enough to improve their results.
T1 ( 11 – 7 w/l 4th at Spring Split )
Now we come to T1. One of the first teams who started running multiple players in certain roles are by far the biggest roster currently in any of the leagues. They have two top laners lister, three junglers and two mid / adc players.
Only Keria, support is safe. In all seriousness, T1 played their first series with their main roster of Canna Cuzz Faker Teddy and Keria and won 2:0 against Hanwha Life. Faker told everyone in an interview this will be his year, so far, so good.
This is it. All of the rosters, I purposely did not go in depth into their strategies, past performances etc. I tried to just introduce you guys with the different approach to Organization management LCK seems to be doing. Lots of substitutes in teams. Lots of experimenting and growing their players during the regular split.
I will go more in depth in future articles about teams that go deep or surprise anyone.