LCK Betting » LoL Champions Korea Tournament Overview & Power Rankings

The League of Legends Champions Korea is one of the best regional tournaments across the world. It has been the home of the LoL World Champions for many years and last year was no exception. DAWMON KIA brought home another trophy for Korea in 2020, raising the benchmark once again.

This year, Korea has the chance to send four teams to LoL Worlds and they must do everything they can to show that they are still the best. Due to it’s format and how competition is set up, the LCK has one of the most extensive LoL betting markets out there. Paired with the recent transition to a fully franchised league, it’s essential that you know your teams and history before you watch or bet on LCK games.

LCK betting

2021 Season and how to bet on LCK matches

Coming into the season, ten teams were awarded a permanent spot in the LCK Franchise. The LCK Schedule and Playoffs rules were also adjusted to fit a new system that enables more team to compete in the final stages of the season. Being first no longer secures a finals spot and the top six teams will be almost equally able to make their ways to the top.

Additionally the main and challenger LCK teams can swap players fully throughout the splits, putting even more pressure on tipsters to track down team changes almost daily. You can expect LCK odds to change weekly as the league moves forward. To this end, we will update our power rankings and predictions in our News Section as each competitive week commences.

Before all that, here are several tips on LCK betting and our most proven strategies to maximize your returns.

Power Rankings and LCK odds

LCK betting odds at the start of the year were very top heavy at a first glance. There were clear favorites like Gen.G and DK who will have unfavorable odds against most teams.

While that was the case in Spring, the LCK 2021 Summer Split saw the rise and fall of newer teams, making the odds better for us overall. For example, teams like Liiv Sandbox and Nongshim RedForce are having a very strong split, beating the usual favorites. This will get even better once playoffs come around soon. Other teams, like Hanwha Life Esports and DRX, failed the expectations and are dropping off a cliff.

Remember that the best LCK odds come in the correct match score section as most bottom teams will finish games 2-1 in score making these sections an Outright+ betting opportunity. If you know or read a prediction about a certain match, you can most likely place a correct score bet for the match finishing 2-1 in score instead of an outright bet. Also, take into consideration historic results as they can indicate whether an enemy has the perfect playstyle to win against the same team in the second round robin. Korea is slower at adapting and sticks to what’s comfortable for them.

If you didn’t catch up on the League Champions Korea, you can view our LCK Power Rankings right here and head out to make your own match predictions based on them. Spring Split Power Rankings – LCK 2021

  1. Nongshim RedForce
  2. T1
  3. Gen.G
  4. DK
  5. Liiv SANDBOX
  6. Afreeca Freecs
  7. Hanwha Life Esports
  8. KT Rolster
  9. Fredit BRION
  10. DRX.

Playoffs are around the corner: with the Bo5 series, it will be a lot easier to make good bets with great returns. Considering that LCK already plays Bo3s during the regular split, it will be easier for us to distinguish teams that excel in longer series than short ones. Keep that in mind when you’ll be betting the scores in playoffs.

Also, remember that lower-seeded teams can play better in playoffs. We’ve seen this happen during the spring split over in the Chinese League, the LPL. FPX was able to get to finals by playing 5 Bo5s. It’s mentally taxing, but teams can improve a lot over the days since they get accustomed to the format. The same thing can happen during the LCK playoffs. Remember that in Bo5s consistency is a lot more important: teams that have clear gameplans will have the upper hand in the end.

Follow the LCK Summer Split 2021 on the following English LCK Twitch channel.

LCK: Background and history

The LCK hasn’t always been the fully franchised superleague we know and love. Before the LCK, champions in Korea were decided in the OGN Champions series as the top sixteen seeded Korean teams fought in a four group round robin to decide the quarter finals bracket in the second half of the season.

After the group stage, every top two team faced off in the playoffs and every series was decided in a Bo5 setting. The winner of the grand finals would accumulate circuit points that would decide their fate at the end of the year as top teams placed through points for the World Championship.

In 2016, Korea adapted some changes that fit in line with their LCS counterparts in the West, and the LCK was created. In this new league format, every team in the tournament would eventually face each other as all 10 rosters got acquainted with one another over the course of the season. Two splits in Spring and Summer decided the best Korean teams who moved on into a final tournament to decide who gets to represent Korea at Worlds.

While the format was similar to LCS, the way the games are played differ from Europe and North America. Every series played between teams is a best of three series instead of a best of one. This staggering of games enables much more substitute control amongst teams as stacked rosters like SKT, Samsung and kT all used their strength in numbers to take their opponents off balance.

Starting with the 2021 season, LCK adopted a franchising method similar to their western counterparts (LCS, LEC). 10 permanent franchise slots were assigned to esports teams fitting very specific league requirements.

LCK 2016 Icon

LCK Tournament: Past, Present and Future

While some fans would prefer the bracket style playoffs of the LCS with only a first round bye, the 1st place pay off for the top teams in Korea is undoubtedly a position of grandeur. Beating a six team gauntlet in Playoffs and being the top team in Korea is worth way more then the prize funds.

With such a high level of importance put on being first, Korea has seen more than a few super teams start to develop as the level of talent increases each year. Many teams believed that 2015 would be the end of dominance for Korea as a vast amount of their best players looked for greener pastures and nicer paychecks in China, North America and Europe. Instead of taking a back seat, LCK once again became the frontrunner for excellency in players and coaching within the scene as a slew of new talent was developed, and Championships were raised.

2016 became the year of the dynasty in Korea as mega rivals SKT and kT Rolster seemed at the peak of their abilities.

Looming over their heads was the eventual first place roster of ROX Tigers as an unlikely pairing of above average players rocketed them into LCK fame as one of the most dominant rosters ever assembled. The dynamic trio made lots of noise throughout the season but the biggest surprise was Samsung Galaxy as they snuck their way into the World Championships that year through the gauntlet, upsetting kT Rolster en route to victory.

This rebirth of Samsung Galaxy was considered unthinkable after their past greatness as Samsung White and Blue in 2014. But a team of aspiring young talent anchored by Ambition in the jungle became the core of their success in 2016, and the continuation of their efforts was awarded the following year at the 2017 World Championship Finals as they beat their archrivals SK Telecom in a dominant 3-0 sweep.

ROX Tigers 2016 Spring Champions

League of Legends Championship Korea: Region of perpetual change

Following their 2017 success, the LCK entered a two year transitional period of re-organization and talent reshuffling. The former SKT T1 dynasty was challenged by new talent from DragonX and Afreeca Freecs. KT Rolster and SKT started falling off grace and Samsung traded away their spot to KSV (Gen.G).

KSV made history as the first World Championship winning roster to keep all their players for a consecutive year. The show of faith in their players hasn’t come without its troubles as KSV suffered growing pains in 2018. The star-studded roster of year’s past, lost a step since raising their trophy in 2017. Uncharacteristic mistakes from Ambition and CuVee cost the team multiple showdowns. The most notable dip in form is undoubtedly with Crown as his play with KSV has been less than optimal.

SK Telecom suffered similar setbacks as the most winningest team in LoL history entered a rebuilding phase. Even in a rebuild with a focus centered on youth development rather than big name acquisitions, SKT found their way into the playoffs as they scraped to a 9-9 record at the end of Spring Split. Their summer performance was even worse as they missed playoffs for the first time in years.

The 2018 season was the worst Worlds showing for the LCK in recent history. Neither of their teams got even close to semifinals prompting a debate on why this “debacle” came to be. Conversely, China and Europe gained huge momentum, and went into the following season even more motivated to keep Korea down.

LCK 2019: Deep restructure

Coming into 2019, the LCK had a lot to prove and SKT took up the mantle for the entire region once again. After a massive roster overhaul within many organizations, it was T1 and Faker that led the region into Worlds after winning both Splits and going into Worlds on a serious high. However, the monsters they created in Europe and China came back with a bite as Korea had to fight for every single win during the event.

Ultimately, China took their back2back trophy at Worlds, sending the LCK in a deeper re-structuring period then the year before.

KSV – Crown and CuVee

LCK 2020 and return to glory

Years of slow build up finally paid off for an unexpected organization in the LCK. In a very challenging season, DAMWON Gaming took the Worlds stage by storm as they dominated their opponents and returned Korea to their World Championship glory. Domestically, the organization that only joined the LCK from the challenger series in 2019. They went on to get better with each consecutive split they played. After dominating the LCK Summer Split the team went on to drop only 3 games in their entire Worlds 2020 run and hoisted the 6th Korean trophy.

It was Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee who brought the trophy “home” with their insane Jungle/Support synergy, making plays that baffled even the most seasoned analysts.

Damwon wins Worlds 2020

© LoL Esports

LCK 2021: DK’s slow decline

DK’s 2021 started off as usual, dominating the regular spring split and beating Gen.G 3-0 in the finals. It looked like Korea was going to take everything  this year. Yet, the first international tournament, the Mid-Season Invitational was bittersweet for the region.

DK lost the finals against RNG, after a hard-fought five game series. After that, things took a really bad turn: DK’s overall performance dropped, the team benched their starter ADC Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and it felt like DK lost the magic. The LCK lost its best representative, raising a lot of questions on the region’s overall level.

Now that the fight for the top is very close, will we see a new contender rise up? Or will DK find a way to get back to their peak performance?

Playoffs will give us many answers…

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