It’s official playoff season, with the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs Wild Card kicking things off.
Unlike the rest of the series in the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs, the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs Wild Card will only be a best-of-three. This might sound like a trivial detail, but it has huge implications, especially since it will determine how the rest of the playoffs will turn out.
In our first preview for the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs we’ll start by detailing each of the participating teams — Afreeca Freecs and Gen.G — including their strengths and weaknesses to try and predict which of these teams will advance to the next round.
The Top Lane
Both teams have a single top laner. This means that they won’t be able to sub out their players in order to match up their top lane opponent.
So far, Kim “Kiin” Gi-in has been a solid top laner for Afreeca Freecs. In fact, he’s often the sole reason why his team wins. His playstyle is highly aggressive, and his champion pool consists of champions that need to engage. The downside of Kiin is that his vigorous nature has often resulted in his downfall. He can easily hop on an Aatrox or Darius, or even a Kennen, and has a good time dominating his lane opponents. Once he gets caught out, however, he becomes a weak point in the team.
Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin is far more balanced out as a player. He’s dependable, and gets the job done no matter who the enemy is. He’s highly versatile and can play exactly what his team needs him to.
When it comes to the matchup, we think CuVee will be able to handle Kiin’s pressure in lane. Although it’s highly situational, the top lane matchup seems to favor CuVee more.
Each team has two junglers to offer, which really spices up the possibilities that come with them. Gen.G has Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong and Kang “Haru” Kang Min-seung to offer, while Afreeca Freecs have Lee “Mowgli” Jae-ha and Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon.
Ambition has been with Gen.G for quite some time and was quite a factor in their victory against SKT in the Worlds 2017 finals. His playstyle revolves more around getting vision for his team. His comfort picks are champions like Sejuani and Trundle for the current meta. Haru, on the other hand, is far more aggressive, playing champions like Kindred, Rengar and Camille.
When it comes to AFS, Spirit is the playmaker of the team, while Mowgli performs a role similar to that of Ambition. However, Spirit and Mowgli stand outclassed when compared to Ambition and Haru.
The Mid Lane
Song “Fly” Yong-jun came in to the scene when Crown couldn’t compete in the mid lane anymore. Crown was falling behind when it came to raw mechanics, which was something that Fly could easily bring to the table, and since then, Gen.G has performed much better.
Not to be outclassed is Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng for the side of Afreeca Freecs. He’s a balanced mid laner like Fly, but his forte remains in playing aggressive, high burst champions like LeBlanc and Zoe. Kuro, when compared to Fly, is a hit or miss. He’s had plenty of commendable games, but can also fall off at the worst of times. Conversely, Fly knows how to play safe in lane with great coordination with Ambition. All he has to do is to be patient and look for the perfect window to make the one move to win it all.
While both mid laners are relatively similar in skill, we’ll give the preference to Fly due to his great performance lately.
The Bot Lane
Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, the ADC for Gen.G, is one of the most celebrated botlane duo alongside his support, Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in. We’ve had a lot of respect for bot laners who kept playing Marksmen champions despite the infamous patch 8.11 nerfs. Ruler has been one of those players, and he’s been playing like there weren’t any changes in the meta at all.
On Afreeca Freecs’ side, we’ve got Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram and his support, Park “TusiN” Jong-ik. Both bot lanes have established themselves as respectable forces. However, when it comes to bot lane supremacy, Gen.G takes the cake.
Ruler and CoreJJ know how to apply pressure early game, which is perfect for them. They can easily counter any top lane pressure from Afreeca which could be aimed at getting Kiin ahead.
Another thing to keep in mind is that with 8.15, we’ve got Marksmen changes which could be even more beneficial for Gen.G. Picks like Caitlyn could spearhead Gen.G’s victory, especially since we saw Teddy from Jin Air play her successfully.
2018 LCK Summer Playoffs Wild Card: Predicted Winner
Odds: 1.52 (Gen.G) – 2.48 (Afreeca Freecs) via arcanebet
Time and Date: 13:00 PKT – Sunday, August 12, 2018
While we’ve established that Gen.G players have an advantage in the laning phase, we simply can’t ignore the fact that AFS have gone 3-2 against Gen.G in their past five games. Gen.G are clearly the superior laning team, but if Afreeca can survive with a small deficit after the laning stage, they can comeback into the game.
In case Spirit manages to snowball Kiin, and consequently his team, Gen.G is going to have an extremely rough time winning the game, let alone closing it out.
The best that Gen.G can do is to disallow AFS from grouping up together, and outplaying them on a macro level. Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done.
Ultimately, however, we think that the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs Wild Card round will go 2-1 in the favor of Gen.G, simply because they are the better team and can force Afreeca Freecs into making more than a few mistakes that will ultimately end up costing them the series.
Betting: Correct Score 2-1 in favor of Gen.G at 3.21 odds (ArcaneBet)
Which team are you supporting in the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs Wild Card round? Do you think Gen.G will come out dominant like we’ve predicted, or do you think Afreeca Freecs will be able to play around this one? Let us know in the comments below!
Click here for a complete analysis of the 2018 LCK Summer Playoffs!