The next season is almost upon us, and the dynamics between the LCK teams have changed drastically during 2017. We went from what was essentially a region that was completely owned by a single team – SKT T1 – to one that doesn’t seem to have a dominant team anymore. The downfall of SKT left us with a power vacuum, and every team in the LCK is scrambling to secure the #1 position; for the LCK split, and for Worlds 2018 itself.
However, let’s focus on what’s immediately around the corner; LCK Spring 2018. To calculate the kind of show we’ll be receiving this year, let’s have a look at what went on in the pro scene recently. We had Worlds 2017, the KeSPA Cup and All Stars. All Stars isn’t too telling as to which team in the LCK might be the best since it was comprised of members from a mix of teams. However, it did make the statement that Korea is beginning to let go of the global control it once had.
The three teams that made it to Worlds from Korea were SSG, SKT and Longzhu. Longzhu had the most pressure during the previous season of all the teams, and were one of the favorites to win the Cup. SKT had had a tough summer season, but owing to their overall performance in recent years, many were expecting them to win once more. SSG, on the other hand, were the underdogs of the LCK, and made a surprising climb to the Worlds Cup. They came all the way from being the third seed from the LCK to the Worlds Finals against SKT; a very similar position to what we had the previous year.
What we saw here was that SKT had absolutely lost its dominance over the other teams. Whether or not SSG defeated them in the finals, it was already clear that SKT had started struggling against the other teams. They made it to Worlds only after consecutively defeating all the top teams in the LCK Summer split.
KeSPA Cup 2017
Once again, SKT were unable to win outright as they were expected to. This furthers the believe that SKT are no longer the superpower that they used to be. KeSPA 2017 had an underrated, yet competent winner; kt Rolster. People don’t give kt Rolster much credit because they’ve been unable to bring big wins to their names for quite some time. However, they’ve got much more potential than they let on. Their very purpose is to destroy SKT, something they’ve pulled off numerous times in the past.
Neither of the Worlds 2017 finalists could make it to the KeSPA finals. The reason behind this might be the lack of practice on the latest patches as they were too busy with Worlds. However, a defeat almost never has a proper excuse, much less so for the supposed two best teams on Earth. Longzhu came in second place, which is quite close to the first place that they’ve held onto in the last season.
Keeping all this in mind, here are the top 3 Korean teams that are predicted to reign supreme this year:
Longzhu went to the fair and came back with the prizewinning pumpkin: Peanut. We all know Peanut couldn’t perform to his full potential in the recently concluded season. One major factor behind this is that he had to play around Faker, and not as he wanted to. We’ve yet to see how Peanut will play this year. The tank meta has somewhat disappeared in the Preseason, which might mean a return to early game junglers like Elise and Lee Sin in pro play – something Peanut excels at.
What we haven’t seen yet is the coordination between Peanut and the rest of Longzhu. However, seeing that peanut is already familiar with almost half the team, it may be safe to put our faith in this team. If anything, Peanut should enhance the performance of this team, making it more formidable that ever.
kt Rolster were unable to win trophies last year, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t perform. Before they lost it all, they had an almost confirmed appearance in Worlds before SKT and SSG defeated them and moved on ahead. They may have lost somehow, and yes – there aren’t any excuses for losing – but they did snatch the first place in KeSPA 2017.
Players like PawN, Deft, Mata, Smeb and other legendary players in this team demand respect. If anything, they’ve improved from their experiences from last year. A team like this one deserves some confidence from the fans. The meta is finally shifting to aggressive and early game plays; kt Rolster can use such a meta to their advantage more than any other team.
It’s a close draw between SKT and SSG. Both of them have been really inconsistent in their plays during the summer season of 2017. Although they’ve had a good performance in Worlds, it was all very haphazard and at the last moment. Neither of them would have made it to Worlds without some final miraculous plays. Now SKT finds itself without Peanut and Huni. It’s all on Blank and Untara to handle the top lane and jungle for SKT.
The playing field has changed for this team, but for now we’ve given them the benefit of the doubt and placed them on third place. It’s up to them to show us that Peanut and Huni were simply weak links in their roster. They’ve got a chance at regaining their throne this year; let’s see if the reign of SKT is truly over yet.
Samsung Galaxy hasn’t been included in this list. By no means, however, does this mean that they aren’t capable of pulling through once more. Keep in mind that they’ve appeared in the Worlds finals two years in a row now. This team is nothing to be trifled with.
This year’s Pick’em challenge was absolutely messed up due to how unpredictable the games were. Only time will reveal what our teams have in store for us this year.
Read about what’s going on in the NA LCS here if you’re interested in what they’re up to.