Five teams ranked, five more to go. We’ve discussed the five teams at the bottom of the preseason power rankings, and now it’s time to rank the rest. The remaining teams feature a nice blend of new and old as they are set to compete for the title of Best in Korea. It’ll be a very competitive season, but for now, who has the edge going into the start of it all on January 16th?
After a heartbreaking Worlds as KT’s dreams were crushed in a competitive 2-3 defeat at the hands of the eventual champion Invictus Gaming. Now the team will rebuild around top laner Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho along with jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin. The rebuild started off strong as the team brought on former Kingzone mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong. But the trouble comes in the bot lane. After a long wait, KT finally announced the new bot lane of ADC Byun “Gango” Se-hoon, who previously played in the LJL, and former SuperMassive support No “SnowFlower” Hoi-jong. On paper, KT has one of the strongest top sides in the LCK with three veteran players. However, their bot lane is quite weak when compared to other top teams, and in the long run it could end up being their downfall.
As seen during KeSPA Cup, the KT bot lane will have a long season ahead of them if they’re unable to improve soon. While their top side will be strong enough to carry them through most of the season, their chances of defending their title will be greatly diminished if the bot lane can’t step up against the top teams.
Gen.G come into the new season with mostly familiar faces. While they lost the likes of Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in and Lee “Crown” Min-ho along with both their junglers, the new starting roster will still feature mostly familiar players. To fill the open spot in the jungle, Gen.G was able to pick up one of the biggest free agents in Korea in Han “Peanut” Wang-ho. While the decision to keep a large portion of their roster is somewhat questionable after a terrible Worlds showing, the team should have a new look to it. Starting mid laner Song “Fly” Yong-jun will provide some aggression in the mid lane, which will pair well with Peanut. On top of that ADC Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk continues to be one of the best ADCs in Korea, even without longtime support CoreJJ.
Though the team can fall apart at any time as we’ve seen in the past, they did look solid during KeSPA Cup. While they’ll start the season in 4th on the power ranking, don’t be surprised if they’re all over the place throughout the season.
After their dominating run through the Promotion Tournament, DAMWON Gaming enter the season with some very deserving comparison to Griffin’s entrance into the LCK. It’s not hard to see why, as the team looked great during the KeSPA cup, with a 2-1 victory over SKT being their highlight. On top of that, all the players had a chance to shine throughout their KeSPA Cup run, especially ADC Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon, who looked absolutely amazing throughout the tournament. It showed the world that the hype surrounding the team was completely justified.
While the team looks strong going into the new season, there are some noticeable weaknesses. A notable one would be the greedy, farm-heavy jungling style of starting jungler Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu which was heavily abused by Griffin during the KeSPA Cup. While they’re a strong team on paper, they still have a lot to work on, but don’t be surprised if we see them making a deep run into the playoffs.
2.SK Telecom T1
There’s a new super team in town representing SKT this time around. There’s already been a lot said about the new SKT roster, so let’s just run down the general points again. Former Jin Air ADC Park “Teddy” Jin-seong is finally on a top-tier team and won’t be constantly relied upon to carry the game. Supporting him is the next most successful Korean player behind mid laner Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok in Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong. On top of all this SKT picked up two young and gifted junglers in Kim “Clid” Tae-min and Kang “Haru” Min-seung along with another amazing top laner in Kim “Khan” Dong-ha.
While the team is amazing on paper, they’re still facing some issues. Based on their play during the KeSPA Cup, it’s clear that the teamplay and general cohesion is not yet there. As such they’re still struggling at various stages of the game, especially of they lack an advantage. As such it’s hard to rank them as the best team in Korea at the moment, but don’t be surprised if they find their way to the top by the end of the season.
Griffin come into the new season as the only Korean team that retained their entire starting roster. Considering the talent on this roster, it was definitely the best move the team could’ve made in the offseason. Now coming into their first full season in the LCK, Griffin has a lot to prove. After barely missing out on Worlds, the team will have to show that their first split wasn’t just a fluke and that a championship is within their grasp. Leading the way will be jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, who is making a strong argument to being the best jungler in the world; ADC Park “Viper” Do-hyeon continues to dominate his opponents with his wide champion pool; and lastly their mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, who continues to be named among the best mid laners in Korea.
With all the talent on this team, it’s hard to see them not winning it all this year. But with all the competition Korea has to offer it’s certainly possible. While it’s going to be a long season ahead, Griffin will start it off at the top of the power rankings and as a favorite to reach the finals.
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