Tales of the east: LCK in Week 4
While most of the media drama is about the LCS and the LEC, week in and week out the premier regions in the East give us some of the best League of Legends money can’t buy. After three complete grueling weeks of contest, I decided to cover some of the hot picks from the East as we slowly nearing the middle of the Spring Split.
First, let’s take a look at the South Korea and the LCK. The region that has “fallen off” in previous year is giving us some amazing League of Legends. Those that have not followed too closely would miss the reformed shiny new teams dominating the league currently while previous years Worlds contenders have fallen off heavily. Moreover, while Week 4 is already underway and we were treated with 2 matches on the 13th, there are six more to review from this weeks’ round.
Hanwha Life Esports won against GEN.G in the first match of the Week with 2:0 in the Bo3 matchup. Both games were marked by the Zoe pick in Midlane which is becoming somewhat of a staple pick in each LCK series this patch.
The second match was between the “three-time” SKT and Kingzone finished with a 2:1 by SKT. Game 3 brought us a highlight reel of Faker’s Zoe in the midlane and the core fans can finally rejoice that Faker is back on mages and stylin`.
Tomorrow we will be served two more best-of-three’s; One brawl at the middle of the current standings between Afreeca Freecs and DAMWON Gaming, and the other between SANDBOX Gaming and Jin Air Green Wings.
Afreeca still hasn’t gotten its footing ever since they flopped in the Words Quarterfinals last year. Even then the absolutely “dominating” Afreeca showed the weakness of the LCK scene and barely managed to scrape by in the Worlds. They went home re-strategized and came with a rejuvenated squad to this Split in the LCK. And once again they manage to get caught out unprepared in their matches and strategically outplayed. When it comes to matching up against DAMWON Gaming, I feel the DWG squad has a slight edge and will take the Match 2-1 over AF.
The second matchup is between SANDBOX gaming and Jin Air Green Wings. The teams look like polar opposites in performance with Jin Air having yet another underwhelming split being 0-6 and 1 for 12 in games so far, while SANDBOX only dropped their matchup versus absoloute monsters Griffin so far. Easy 2:0 for SANDBOX.
Friday will be marked by the matchups of Griffin vs KT Rolster and Hanwha Life Esports vs Kingzone.
Griffin looks unstoppable so far, compared to the KT squad who only manages to win against teams low on the standings. Another Griffin 2-0, and maybe a highlight reel as they style vs KT.
The trickier match to analyze on Friday is the matchup between KZ and HLE. Both teams have had an almost identical run in the LCK so far. Beating the same opponents in a similar fashion. When it comes to their head to head I can only predict them going to 3 games but the result is: Too close to call.
On Saturday the 16th we will see GEN.G meeting SKT and JAG vs DWG.
High on the heels from today’s match against Kingzone and Faker going back to mages as we mentioned I strongly suspect Gen.G won’t offer much of a challenge against SKT. They might be able to take one game if they get a Lissandra mid that does well and control the explosive “chasey” fights of SKT, but that is as far as I can go for Gen.G. So ultimately, SKT wins vs GEN.G 2:0 (maybe 2:1). In the second match we have Jin Air versus DAMWON Gaming. As stated before Jin Air provides nothing to the league as a whole and are a literal punching bag of the league. DAMWON takes this easily 2:0.
Finally, Sunday the 17th will see both top seeds Griffin and SANDBOX meet against Afreeca Freecs and KT Rolster respectively. While both Afreeca and KT Rolster are looking for positive outcomes to climb out of the hole at the bottom part of the standings, an upset against the likes of Griffin and SANDBOX at this stage is unlikely. Therefore, both Griffin and SANDBOX should take their matches 2:0 to round out Week 4.
In summary: If you are more conservative bet on the likes of Griffin and Sandbox until a meta shift occurs. SKT is also a safe bet with teams at the bottom of the standings.