It finally happened, SKT finally made it to the LCK 2018 Playoffs. No one expected SKT could make it this far, and we can’t blame anyone for feeling that way. The way they played has absolutely no justification whatsoever.
This fact hurts even more so since SKT were considered the best team in the world years. For them to barely scrape past the first round is certainly disheartening for the fans, but in truth, this could have been much worse. Had SKT performed just a little worse, they wouldn’t even have made it to the LCK 2018 Playoffs themselves, which would either have been a complete disaster for the team, or a chance for them to build themselves from the ground up.
What’s Next After Making the LCK 2018 Playoffs?
SK T1 makes #LCK playoffs, ending their season 23w:23l. Congrats to the huge contingent of SKT fans who supported their team through thick and thin, but I have a question for you:
What is the passing mark for SKT this season? How far do they have to go to pay back your faith?
— Chris Smith (@PapaSmithy) March 25, 2018
It’s simple. SKT faces off against KSV. There’s going to be a single best of 3 between the wild card, which is SKT, and the 5th seed of the LCK, KSV of course. Normally, we’d have said that this is the end for SKT. However, there’s a lot of hope left, so don’t give up yet if you’re an SKT fan!
There have been 2 matches between KSV and SKT during the past 9 weeks, and both of them have gone over to SKT. Admittedly, they weren’t completely one-sided, and there wasn’t too much hope for SKT during the second one (which, in part, was responsible for getting SKT to the playoffs), but they still managed to pull through.
KSV’s confidence is already shaken up. Unlike SKT, they didn’t exactly hit ‘rock bottom’. SKT are in a completely different universe. They had absolutely nothing to lose when they were playing upward from the 9th position in the LCK ladder. They climbed their way up, and now that they’ve reached so far, they have the right mindset going forward. SKT aren’t afraid of losing because they have already lost. They’ve lost their godlike reputation beyond the point of repair, which was probably what mattered the most to them through all this.
All they’ve got left to do is gain. KSV, on the other hand, find themselves in a confusing spot. At the start of the season, they were leading the split. They won Worlds 2017, but at the moment they don’t look like a team that could pull the same feat again. While they’ve performed good enough to go on to the playoffs, it was more due to the fact that other teams were playing in a substandard style rather than KSV’s own strengths.
SKT vs KSV: Who Will Win?
SKT, without a doubt. That’s how League of Legends goes. For the reasons mentioned above, KSV are already at a disadvantage against SKT. The psychological difference between the teams is huge right now. Furthermore, the game between SKT and KSV isn’t a best of 5, but rather a best of 3. All SKT has to do is pull off what they’ve already done twice.
정규 시즌 응원해주신 팬 여러분께 진심으로 감사드리며 힘겹게 와일드카드에 진출한 만큼 열심히 준비하겠습니다
— KSVLOL (@KSV_LOL) March 24, 2018
Pirean and Leo Have Yet to Play
We’ve been waiting half a season to see both of them to make their debut. Although we don’t know for certain whether either of them will be going against KSV, the option resides with SKT at all times. Pirean has a lot of experience from NA and can bring in a lot of value which the Korean region isn’t all too familiar with.
Been having hard time to fall asleep at night 😭
— Pirean (@sktpirean) March 11, 2018
Leo, on the other hand, is a complete rookie. We have no idea what he’s capable of in the pro scene, and what his playstyle is going to be in when he’s synchronized with his team. He has no prior experience in the pro scene, so KSV will be as wary of him as we are.
SKT know all the ins and outs of KSV as they possibly could. Pirean and Leo have had plenty of time to study KSV’s style and come up with the right counters to them. In the meanwhile, KSV can do nothing but speculate what the new SKT members are capable of.
The element of surprise could be all that SKT need to win this match. As mentioned earlier, this is a best of 3, which means that SKT can even get away with cheesing KSV if that’s what they have to resort to. Besides, from a subjective point of view, SKT has played far better against KSV in the recent weeks than they did during other matches.
The history between these teams can’t go ignored, and we’re compelled to believe that SKT aren’t about to let this one slide easily. Even winning this match won’t be enough to avenge their loss in Worlds last year.
We’ve Seen This Before
Things look really bleak for SKT, but that’s because our memories just aren’t strong enough. Few of us might be able to recall that just a few months ago, SKT was in the midst of a similar crisis as they are now. When the playoffs of the Summer Season of 2017 started, there were rumours and analyses flying around that SKT might not be able to make it to Worlds.
What happened? SKT went on to advance to the Finals of the Worlds that year. So, yeah. No need to panic just yet.
[LCK Interview] KZ Peanut: "I talked to kkOma yesterday, and he said ‘see you at the finals’. I’m sure that SKT will come up." @KINGZONEDX @sktelecom_t1 https://t.co/mfOKWQ9SiN pic.twitter.com/oGSv07IU1X
— Inven Global (@InvenGlobal) March 24, 2018
And just like last year’s Summer playoffs, the LCK 2018 Playoffs pit SKT against the exact same teams. Kingzone DragonX (Longzhu), kt Rolster, Afreeca Freecs and KSV (Samsung Galaxy) were all considered better than SKT till they defeated all of them one by one, earning their way into Worlds.
This year is almost the same, down to the last detail. Kingzone is right on top, just like last year. We’re also expecting them to win, similar to last year. I could go on, pointing out the similarities between the two seasons, but the point is that they’re extremely reminiscent of each other.
What’s Different This Time Around?
Well, Huni and Peanut aren’t here anymore. I’ve lamented about this plenty of times before. Regardless of how bad SKT were going last time, players of such calibre gave us immense confidence in the team which were lacking this time around.
However, we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss what the new players on the team will be able to do. Remember, it was Thal and Blossom that saved this team from utter disgrace this entire split. Blossom outdid Blank quite a few times, while Thal constantly outperformed Untara throughout the season.
What if SKT Can’t Make It?
This scenario is unlikely, but completely within the realm of possibility. There is a universe in which SKT doesn’t make it beyond KSV when they square off at the LCK 2018 Playoffs. If that does come to pass, don’t be alarmed! It won’t be the end of the world as we know it.
I think to pay back the faith we just need to see changes come summer. It's unrealistic we are going to make much of an impact in the playoffs, and that's unacceptable.
Finishing where we have has been relying on other teams poor results. Not a good position.
— SKT Decyfer (@Decyferx) March 25, 2018
While SKT going forward will be a great platform for their new players to gain experience, confidence and a way for them to build a name for themselves, not moving on has its upsides. For once, SKT won’t have any pressure whatsoever. Even now, after losing so many matches, fans are still hopeful that this team will perform well no matter what. Falling out of the split will simply offer the same effect that losing Worlds 2017 did – although with a much greater magnitude.
It might be a depressing episode, but if, by some means, the team can hold it together, it’ll be a once in a decade opportunity to rediscover themselves and to look ahead with no pressure weighing them down. They’ll be able to scrim regularly, as our readers pointed out. If they stick together, there’ll be hope for them in the next season. The only prerequisite will be that they don’t let the pressure get to them and allow themselves the opportunity to rise from the bottom and reinvent themselves from scratch.
— KeSPA (@KeSPAen) March 26, 2018
The odds are in SKT’s favour during this weekend at the LCK 2018 Playoffs. Our money will be on them, and we’re confident that they’ll move further up the ladder, if only for this weekend. What happens in the next week heavily depends on how well SKT play against KSV, and we’re willing to bet that SKT are going to win. If not by much, only a marginal win will suffice.
Which team do you think will win between SKT and KSV at the LCK 2018 Playoffs? Do you agree with our analysis? Let us know in the comments below!