Living up to expectations: T1 obliterate Saigon Buffalo in MSI 2022 opening game

it seems as if it were just yesterday that the 2018 LCK season had begun. And yet, we find ourselves waiting anxiously for the get-go of the Summer split, with a new team, some squad renames, and, hopefully, some other fantastic split of LCK. Can KingZone make it a iii-peat, or will their heartbreaking international defeats reveal a missing calibration in their seemingly bulletproof armor? Tin Griffin take the LCK by tempest with their energetic make of League of Legends? Have SKT and Gen.Thousand (formerly known as KSV/Samsung) finally awoken? And how will the teams react to a patch total of upheavals, especially in the bot lane? All will be revealed, starting Tuesday, 5PM KST.

KingZone Dragon Ten

The Wounded Dragon

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Roster: Khan- Peanut*/Cuzz – BDD – PraY – GorillA

Kingzone Dragon X return to Korea for the summer split intact, smarting afterward their defeat in the terminal of MSI 2018. As the most dominant team in Spring 2018, Kingzone volition exist looking to continue their regional dominance as they set for the globe title. Where Kingzone were strong previously – roaming, priority-based mid lane play, and a low-economy lesser lane – is no longer the meta. As MSI 2018 showed, Kingzone find it difficult to funnel resource to PraY, given the resource-hungry playstyles of Peanut and Khan. The electric current level of jungle dominance should afford both Peanut and Cuzz the resources to dominate where Khan may not exist able to, and we may shortly see Bdd return to the oft-hyped assassinator and control mage master of seasons past.

Although Kingzone was able to showcase PraY on Kai’Sa in several games (both in the Leap Final and during MSI), his performance was underwhelming. Kingzone will have to utterly destroy the LCK summer split if they are to restore the conviction many had in the team.

Player to Lookout: Khan

Khan’south 2018 MSI operation was severely underwhelming. As he tore through the contest in 2018 Bound, he was touted as the best meridian laner in the world by far. With international rookies similar Bwipo and arguably weaker players similar LetMe and Hanabi, Khan’s performance was disappointing. Regardless, Khan has however to falter domestically on this roster and will remain the favorite top laner in the league, and should non fail to disappoint with his carry performances.

Afreeca Freecs

Fear the Freecs

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Roster: Kiin/Pinnacle – Spirit/Mowgli – Kuro/Reddish – Kramer/Aiming – TusiN /Jelly

Afreeca Freecs will perhaps be the about exciting team to spotter in LCK Summer. Due to Kingzone Dragon X’s lackluster performance at MSI, and the lack of changes to other Leap Playoffs rosters, Afreeca should exist looking to establish themselves as the number i team in Korea. As a squad, Afreeca has proven they are consistent and well-rounded, with multiple carry threats and strategies. Their bottom lane in Kramer and TusiN has grown to be ane of the best in the league, and Kuro has showcased his ability to snowball the side lanes on champions like Galio and Taliyah. Kiin’s functioning in Leap showed Afreeca’s versatility – he was able to play both behave and defensive styles repeatedly, highlighting the squad’southward overall confidence.

With their 2d-place stop non quite what the squad was aiming for, Afreeca should be well equipped to deal with the majority of the LCK once again in summer. Aiming’s return is something to take note of likewise. While Kramer and TusiN performed spectacularly, having Aiming equally a relatively strong backup allows Afreeca some elbowroom if Kramer begins to stumble.

Player to Watch: Kiin

In one case once more, Kiin is heading into the season with fairly high expectations. As a replacement for Marin, he performed admirably in his first split on Afreeca. A versatile thespian who can play both defensive and aggressive champions, Kiin’s ability to soak pressure level will be needed in the upcoming divide. In a meta where so much is uncertain, Kiin’southward capabilities equally a stable, capable top laner volition be invaluable over the summer season.

BBQ Olivers

Raise your [Redacted]

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Roster: Crazy – Pull a fast one on/Bono – Tempt –
Aries/Ghost – IgNar

BBQ Olivers’ functioning in jump was inconsistent. The squad that managed to take two of their v games against Kingzone Dragon Ten and go undefeated against Jin Air Green Wings as well lost all four of their matches to MVP. With internationally experienced players in IgNar and Flim-flam, the team was expected to perform much ameliorate. The add-on of a new ADC in Aries is unclear – whether he has better synergy with the team or IgNar remains to exist seen, as he is a relatively rookie role player.

With the LCK’due south strength relatively uncertain given Kingzone’s defeat at MSI, the BBQ Olivers may be able to rising to the occasion given time. Increased priority on carry champions in the jungle and lane-ascendant supports may give Trick and IgNar the edge they demand at this stage. If they are unable to allow their veterans to set their squad up for success, BBQ Olivers may again become a bottom-5 team in the LCK.

Thespian to Sentinel: IgNar

IgNar has always been a playmaker. His time on Misfits Gaming showcased his ability to the earth, and the old iii-game KT Rolster back up returned to Korea with some other international favorite in Flim-flam. IgNar’due south creative playstyle, deep champion puddle, and agreement of bottom lane may come in handy. While Ghost and IgNar were never expected to dominate Korea’south bottom lane duos, Aries may exist the jiff of air that BBQ Olivers needs to unlock IgNar’south true potential.

Gen.Thou (Formerly KSV)

The Bounce Back?

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MONG/Cuvee – Haru/Ambition –
Fly/ Crown – Ruler* –

Gen.One thousand take taken on learnings from their previous split. Where the team was weakest in the regular season – both Crown and uncharacteristically Cuvee – they have acquired options. Fly is a mid laner best known for facilitating his sidelanes, and with one of the best bottom lane duos in Korea, too as a top-tier (at his peak) superlative laner, Fly (Formerly of FlyQuest) may fit correct in. MONG played in Challengers Korea and appears to be yet another up-and-coming top lane talent in Korea.

If Gen. Thousand is able to use their substitutes properly – and shore up some of their decision making – they should exist able to climb the rankings once again. Ruler and CoreJJ’s selection for the Asian games is reflective of the synergy and skill that the bottom lane of Gen.G possesses. While losing their lesser lane to the Asian Games squad for scrim time may be inconvenient, the residual of Gen.Thou should exist the existent focus for improvement this split.

Histrion to Watch: Fly

Fly’s debut on Gen.Chiliad volition exist one to sentinel with interest. A actor with a unique playstyle and champion pool, Fly was an incredible resources on KT Rolster in 2016. Champions like Aurelion Sol, Vladimir, and Zilean have allowed Fly to occupy a unique spot among Korean mid laners in the past. With Crown struggling currently, Fly’south stability and understanding of how to aid his side lanes could exist a goad for change. Although his North American performances were underwhelming, if Wing can regain his LCK form on his debut for Gen.G he could get one of the most interesting players to watch.

Griffin (Promoted)

Welcome to League of Lehends!

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Roster: Sword – Tarzan – Chovy/Rather – Viper – Lehends

Griffin are the most heady squad to enter the LCK since ESC Ever in 2016 Spring. Much like ESC Ever, they boast a unique, dominating manner that allowed them to roll over both Challengers Korea and the promotion tournament. Stacked with highly mechanical and rookie talent across the roster, Griffin is on rails to become the almost exciting squad of LCK Summertime 2018.

Regardless of whether or not they find success, Griffin’s games are sure to be explosive, due to their impressive team fighting – which was showcased in the promotion tournament against MVP. Unlike many other teams who take promoted to the LCK, Griffin has retained their starting 5 and are looking to build on their synergy for a strong start in their opening week.

Histrion to Watch: Lehends

Lehends has for the longest time had to sentinel LCK from the outside. Denied from entry into the LCK multiple times by teams like CJ Entus and Kongdoo Monster, Lehends has been an virtually-LCK thespian many times. Lehends’ contribution to Griffin is enormous, and his skill level is clearly axiomatic. A cerebral and engage-focused behemoth, Lehends’ pocket choice Shen went undefeated across the split and was a champion he reached rank one on the Korean Server with (along with Singed top lane). Lehends’ inflow in the LCK should exist celebrated – another mechanical, engage-happy support is always excellent to sentry at the highest level.

Hanwha Life Esports (Formerly ROX Tigers)

Par for the LCK

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Brook/Lindarang – Mightybear/Seonghwan – Lava/Kuza – Sangyoon/Clever


Hanwha Life Esports is a brand new name for an LCK regular. The ‘Tigers’ brand that went through then many iterations and has brought some of the fondest memories has finally disappeared from the LCK. Completely unchanged from 2018 Spring, HLE will likely see the same issues as the ROX Tigers did. Lava and Key are the vivid spots on an otherwise mediocre roster, and the current meta does not particularly favor either of these players.

ROX finished eighth in the regular season, equal with BBQ Olivers in-game score. Mayhap a return to form for Kuzan, the often-hyped mid laner of yore, and improvements betwixt the jungle/support dynamic to enable Key to testify off his strong roaming play will help pull them out of the besides-rans. Otherwise, it seems as though they lack the real star ability to challenge the all-time in the LCK.

Actor to Watch: Key

Cardinal is one of the most interesting players in the LCK. As a member of ESC Ever, Primal’s Bard play became internationally renowned at both the 2015 Kespa Cup and IEM Cologne. Since then, the teams that Key has been on have performed poorly, first with ESC Always and then the reborn ROX Tigers. As a player, Central has ever been solid mechanically but has historically been as well aggressive at times. If Key is able to retain both his starting spot and his focus, he should be well-placed to steer HLE towards victories.

Jin Air Dark-green Wings

Still waiting for Eon of Jin Air…

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Roster: SoHwan – UmTi/KaKAO
– Grace/Justice – Teddy – Nova

Jin Air Green Wings contributed to some of the greatest moments of League of Legends history in Spring 2018, undoubtedly due to their star Advertising Carry, Teddy. In what was undeniably the most ‘Jin Air Game’ of all time, the 1465 CS record was ready. Autonomously from that thrilling 2-1 victory over SK Telecom, the balance of Jin Air’south season was underwhelming. Although Teddy and Wraith performed admirably, the team was unable to capitalize on the skill of their lesser lane effectively.

The loss of a veteran support in Wraith will undoubtedly hurt the team, and the addition of KaKAO is confusing given his lack of recent high-level play. Nonetheless, Jin Air will enter the summer 2018 season with one of the best Advertizement carries in the region in a meta where the bot lane meta is muddled. If Teddy’s aggressive nature is plenty to fauna forcefulness bottom lane, the balance of Jin Air just need to be able to back up him to victory.

Actor to Scout: Teddy

Teddy is without a doubt one of the all-time Advert carries in Korea. His incredible mechanics, aggressive playstyle, and impressive statistics all speak for themselves. Teddy is Jin Air’s win condition. Nevertheless, the uncertainty around bottom lane currently means that Teddy’s strengths may be both invaluable and in jeopardy. If Teddy and Nova are able to synergize well and develop creative strategies, Jin Air may notice themselves leapfrogging many other teams. If the bottom lane is left behind in favor of other roles, the Glad Plane may be struggling to become him off the ground.

KT Rolster

‘Superstar Smackdown: Round Four’

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Roster: Smeb – Score*/Rush – Ucal/(-Pawn) – Deft – Mata

KT Rolster’south Bound 2018 results connected to disappoint. While their team appeared stacked with raw talent, the team was even so unable to dominate their opponents. The most important friction match for KT in Spring was defeating SK Telecom in the playoffs – the perfect place for KT to have a victory in the ongoing Telecom War. Ucal’south increasingly positive functioning and Rush’s debut were highlights for KT Rolster and serve as a signal that things are improving within the squad. Score volition exist required for the Asian Games team, and every bit a issue, Rush is likely to play an increased function in the early season.

Player(s) to Watch: Rush/Ucal

Rush and Ucal both have something to prove this season. Rush’s disappointingly few games were relatively impressive for his LCK debut, and Ucal volition finally have the opportunity of a starting spot within the squad as Pawn has succumbed to injury. Ucal’s skill is articulate, and his ability to work together with Rush was too impressive to see. While Score is the clear favorite to offset, Rush volition inevitably step in every bit Score’southward duties for the Asian Games increase. Blitz’s play on Lee Sin (a champion far from meta at the time) was reassuring to see, and an aggressive, playmaking-based mode may be what KT Rolster demand to claw their fashion dorsum to the summit.


Best Friends Clan

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Roster: ADD – Yondu(Beyond) – Ian – MaHa/Pilot – Max/Motive

MVP’s roster has remained almost identical to the Spring dissever. Barely requalifying in a iii-2 nailbiter against Kongdoo Monster, the MVP organization has neglected to brand any big changes. As the team that finished 9th in the previous split, the once-fourth place team in the LCK has a massive mountain to climb this split. Ian – while looking better in spring – has yet to become a consequent carry threat in the mid lane, while Across looked lost in many of their matches during the Jump season.

When MVP constitute success in 2017 Spring (with an identical starting lineup), they did it through synergy and effective teamwork. The MVP of 2018 Summer will have to reach above and beyond their 2017 peak in order to take whatever shot at making the playoffs this regular season.

Player to Watch: Max

The LCK’s resident mad scientist – Max – is a joy to lookout man on the rift. As a thespian, Max is both mechanically skilled and incredibly cerebral with the game. His counterpicks to ‘meta champions’ accept often seemed genius, despite the endless losses that MVP endured in the previous season. If Max is unlocked – and allowed to roam or make plays – MVP can await expert. If the map plays out conventionally, yet, MVP will continue to await lost and confused across the season, specially around Businesswoman.

SK Telecom T1

The Fallen Legend

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Roster: Thal/Untara – Blank/Bloom – Faker*/Pirean – Bang/Leo
– Effort/Wolf

SK Telecom are in a unique position in the summertime split. The squad clearly boasts talented players in all five roles and should be able to perform strongly. SK Telecom struggled to maintain a consistent roster in Bound, especially in the jungle office, equally a Wolf in the jungle experiment proved fruitless and Bloom came and went. Although Thal’s immense potential every bit a carry top laner should make him the clear favorite, the jungle role looks less sure. Neither Blank nor Bloom have made a definitive instance for them being the starting jungler.

Blindside’s immense performance in Leap was unable to bring the squad to even the semifinal match, which does not bode well for the residuum of the squad. With a solid conduct duo in their mid and bot roles, SK Telecom volition have to decide on the best combination of their remaining players in guild to lift the team back towards its lofty heights. And with Faker beingness absent from some practice due to his Asian Games responsibilities, Pirean may exist seen in some games.

Player(s) to Sentinel: Faker/Pirean

Faker is still a fantastic role player, and definitely worth attention during the season. His consistent ability to play at a very high level for and so long has netted his team 3 world championships and many regional titles. His ability to neutralize many mid laners (and demolish many others) allows SK Telecom to develop any strategy with the knowledge Faker can nigh likely win his lane. His absence from the squad will strength the squad to play in a style that they haven’t had to since 2015, with Easyhoon on the roster. Pirean’south debut for SK Telecom volition no doubt be interesting to watch, and while he will not lucifer Faker in individual mechanics or stability, he may possess as nonetheless unknown qualities that only SK Telecom themselves are aware of.