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LCK Hopefuls for Worlds 2019

This is Part 4 of a miniseries of articles that will take a look at some teams with a shot to represent their region at Worlds this year for the four major regions (NA, EU, China, Korea).

With the LCK playoff race still neck and neck between seven teams, the teams that are set to head to worlds is still unclear. While the region looks to bounce back from last year’s abysmal performance at Worlds, they’ll be facing more challenges this year with the emergence of western teams like G2 Esports. With the competition getting better and better, which teams are going to make Worlds?

SK Telecom T1

Top: Kim “Khan” Dong-ha
Jungle: Kim “Clid” Tae-min and Kang “Haru” Min-seung
Mid: Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok
ADC: Park “Teddy” Jin-seong
Support: Lee “Effort” Sang-ho and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong 
Courtesy of: LCK Flickr

Despite struggling for most of the Summer Split, SKT has begun climbing back to the top of the standings. While they’re still fighting for a spot in the playoffs currently, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see SKT back in the playoffs once all is said and done. With talent all over the roster the biggest surprise at the moment is the starting support in Effort. After some initial struggles during the Summer Split by Mata, Effort has been starting every game for SKT since their return from Rift Rivals. On Effort’s end, he has taken this opportunity and has thrived, not looking out of place in a roster with the likes of Faker and Teddy.   

While SKT has looked better and better, they aren’t quite in the clear yet. With teams like SANDBOX Gaming and DAMWON gaming at the top of the standings and continuing to dominate, it’s hard to declare SKT the champions of the Summer Split quite yet. Despite this, SKT should at least qualify for Worlds through the second seed. 

Griffin

Top: Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon and Choi “Sword” Sung-won
Jungle: Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong
Mid: Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon
ADC: Park “Viper” Do-hyeon
Support: Son “Lehends” Si-woo 
Courtesy of: LCK Flickr

Despite a strong start to the Summer Split, Griffin has begun struggling once again. While the team has changed things up with Doran in the starting lineup instead of Sword, the struggles continue in both the team’s performance and drafts. While the team has the potential to make it to Worlds, their recent struggles could spell the end for their hopes for Worlds much like last year.

Luckily for Griffin, they could still sneak into Worlds thanks to their Spring Split results. Assuming SKT fails to make playoffs, then Griffin is in a great spot to make Worlds as the second seed. However, if Griffin do make Worlds, will they be able to hold their own? 

Kingzone DragonX

Top: Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee
Jungle: Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan
Mid: Yoo “Naehyun” Nae-hyun
ADC: Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu
Support: Park “TusiN” Jong-ik
Courtesy of: LCK Flickr

One of the biggest surprises this season has been Kingzone DragonX. Despite a fairly mediocre roster on paper, Kingzone has been one of the best teams in the LCK all season long. Even with the loss of mid-laner Heo “PawN” Won-seok for the Summer Split, Kingzone has continuously improved as a team. 

While the team has fallen off a little in recent weeks, they should still be one of the favorites to qualify for Worlds. With Deft leading the way the team has proven themselves capable of beating any team on any given day. Now the question for Kingzone becomes which seed will they be able to take into Worlds.

DAMWON Gaming

Top: Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Lee “Flame” Ho-jong
Jungle: Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu
Mid: Heo “ShowMaker” Su
ADC: Sin “Nuclear” Jeong-hyeon
Support: Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee
Courtesy of: LCK Flickr

Despite a rough Spring Split, DAMWON came in blazing through the competition in the Summer Split. With only a loss to Kingzone since Week 2 (don’t talk about that first week anymore), DAMWON has looked unstoppable as they even beat their demon in Griffin. With their young star Nuguri continuing to improve and mature thanks to the guidance of veterans like Flame, the team will only continue to look better and better.   

As they continue to look better, DAMWON are in a great spot to keep the top spot in the standings going into the playoffs. With it, DAMWON could easily enter Worlds as the first seed for Korea. 

Predictions:

With the close race in the LCK for the playoffs, the Worlds picture is still fairly unclear. However, in the end, the three teams that will end up representing Korea will likely be DAMWON Gaming as the first seed, SK Telecom T1 as the second and finally Kingzone as the third. 

While SKT has been looking better and better, DAMWON looks unstoppable at this point and should be able to beat out SKT. However, SKT should be able to make a deep run and take the second seed. Finally there’s Kingzone who has simply looked the best out of all the other teams in Korea, especially with Griffin struggling once again.

To watch League of Legends tournaments, visit watch.na.lolesports.com. For more information on the Split, teams, standings and players, visit www.lolesports.com. Recaps of former weeks and other LoL content can be found at https://thegamehaus.com/league-of-legends/.

Featured image courtesy of LoL Esports Flickr

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