This is part 4 of a miniseries of articles that will take a look at the teams that made Worlds compared to the teams I predicted in the Hopefuls for Worlds series.
As the teams for the four major regions have been decided for Worlds 2018, it’s now time to look back. Finally, we’ll be taking a look at Korea. We’ll look at the hopefuls that wished to make Worlds and the reality of the three teams representing the region. We’ll find out how the teams ended up, where they are and how the future looks for them now.
Mid laner Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon promised his jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin an LCK title and he did it; what an absolute mad lad. Joking aside however, KT Rolster finally managed to put it all together and accomplish their goals of winning the title. Now they find themselves at Worlds as the first seed for Korea, with the hopes of an entire region on their back.
With veterans Score, Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong leading the way and prodigy players like Ucal and top laner Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho providing extra firepower, the team absolutely dominated the region. With Score controlling the jungle and Smeb and Ucal usually dominating their lane, the only possible weakness comes from the bot lane. Even then, it’s not that much of a weakness. Deft and Mata have proven to be an amazing bot lane duo with the capability to keep up with the best the world has to offer. With players that are all considered some of the best in their position, the team is able to win through any lane.
With a team this strong coming into Worlds, it’s no wonder why they’re such a huge favorite to win it all. As long as the team doesn’t fall apart as they have in the past. While sticking to their strengths in terms of champion picks and play style, KT will be a huge favorite to win it all this year.
Kingzone DragonX vs Afreeca Freecs
Going into the Summer Split playoffs, this matchup had a lot of implications. With KT locked into the Finals, the winner of this match was going to have a great shot to qualify for Worlds through at least the second seed. Kingzone were seen as the favorites, having a huge win streak against Afreeca going into their series. However, their playoff series was where it ended. With a 3-1 victory over Kingzone, Afreeca all but locked in their spot at Worlds. But how did these teams end up where they did?
For Kingzone it’s simply a tale of key players falling off. The once world-class bot lane duo of Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon have had some abysmal performances in recent series. Along with that, jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho has simply looked lost in recent series, being unable to dominate as he is capable of doing. Because of these huge issues in their roster, the team lost what should’ve been an easy Worlds qualification.
Picking up the pieces and qualifying instead was the Afreeca Freecs, who played smart and fantastic through the whole playoffs. Leading the way is their mid laner Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng, who, while not being the main carry for the team, is a key voice on it. Doing a lot of the carrying for the team will be their all-star top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in who has proven to also play a key role in the team.
With their smart play, Afreeca has already proven to be an amazing team. With their playstyle, Afreeca are the dark horses to win it all this year, so don’t be surprised if they make a run.
Griffin vs Gen.G
The rookie team of Griffin should’ve been a shoo-in to qualify for Worlds. However, they weren’t expecting to face a Gen.G team that has dominated the gauntlet in the past. Although Griffin were the better team on paper, Gen.G was simply the team riding a hot streak.
While Griffin won’t be able to continue their fantastic run to Worlds, the future is bright. With young star players like jungler Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong and ADC Park “Viper” Do-hyeon leading the way, this team will only get better and better. Obviously, it’s as much a testament of the job done by coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho as it is the players. . As such, don’t be surprised when Griffin starts winning some Finals in the future.
For now however, the third seed was once again taken by Gen.G with the return of mid laner Lee “Crown” Min-ho now that he finds himself in a more favorable meta. Meanwhile, jungler Kang “Haru” Min-seung has become a spectacular jungler and all but taken over the starting spot on the roster. With the bot lane duo of Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in looking as solid as ever, the team will be attempting to defend their title against a stacked field of teams.
Finding themselves once again in a group with Royal Never Give Up, the favorites for most fans, Gen.G will have a tough road ahead of them if they want to repeat. But history has shown that Gen.G should never be counted out until they’re actually eliminated. With the main stage set to start soon, the team will have to play near perfect League of Legends if they want a shot to defend their title.
With some fantastic League of Legends set to start with the Play-in stage near its end, teams are slowly getting ready to prove themselves. For Korea, this season will be very important. With RNG and the rest of the Chinese region dominating international tournaments, Worlds is the last chance for Korea to prove that they are in fact still the strongest region. Failure to win here will mean the crown will go to China and Korea will become second best. We thought it was going to happen in the past and Korea proved us wrong. But will they be able to do it again? All we can do is watch and find out.
To watch Worlds, 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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