After three exciting weeks of LCK action, the teams and fans go into the Lunar New Year for a much-needed break. So far quite a few teams have exceeded expectations while others have fallen short. So let’s see how teams have done so far into the season and if they met expectations or not.
Jin Air Green Wings (0-6)
Despite very little expectations for the team, Jin Air has still been very disappointing for the start of the season. While most fans were expecting the team to likely go the whole split without a series win, their gameplay has made it apparent that it would be a lot worse than expected. At this point the season seems like a lost cause for Jin Air as it slowly gets worse and worse. Hopefully they’re ready for a difficult promotion tournament ahead of them.
KT Rolster (2-4)
The KT roller coaster reached the top of their ascent and the steep drop has begun. Despite downgrades in the bot lane, KT was still expected to be in the playoff hunt and putting up a solid challenge in defending their throne. Instead, the team has been disappointing thus far as they sit near the bottom with a 2-4 record. Luckily for them, the split is still salvageable as KT still have a decent shot at making playoffs if they can start improve their play coming out of the Lunar New Year. With Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon and Eom “UmTi” Seong-hyeon taking over the starting role over for their veteren counterparts in Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho and Go “Score” Dong-bin, the future is looking bright.
With the worst Worlds performance since Samsung Ozone in season 3, Gen.G came into the new season with new-found hope behind the signing of jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho. Despite this, the expectations for the team weren’t too high due to the inconsistent nature of the team. Unfortunately for the team, they’ve been struggling a lot more than they have been finding success. While the team still has a shot at playoffs, they’re relying too much on the play of ADC Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk to win games. While they’re barely meeting the expectations right now, Gen.G’s grade could still go either way. But if current trends continue, that C- could drop to a F by the end of the split.
Despite a very weak bot lane, Afreeca has been mostly hanging in with a 2-4 record to start the season. While Afreeca has the talent on the team to succeed, it’s been hard for the team to find consistent success due to their constantly rotating bot lane duo. With a much-needed week to figure out their bot lane, expect Afreeca to hopefully look more consistent as time goes on. However, if they fail to make any fixes to their bot lane, Afreeca will likely find themselves near the bottom of the standings.
DAMWON Gaming (2-4)
Despite a great start to the season, DAMWON enter the break with some struggles after losing four straight. While they did have a tough schedule, the losses are still worrying considering DAMWON were considered one of the top teams in Korea. Although DAMWON admittedly had very close series against SANDBOX Gaming and SK Telecom T1, their mental block against Griffin and loss against Kingzone DragonX are worrying. While an easier schedule coming back from the New Year break will help the team out, their initial performance barely meets the expectations for the team.
Hanwha Life Esports (3-3)
Trying to become more than a middle tier team, Hanwha made quite a few changes to their roster. Luckily for them, it seems to be working out. A huge reason for their early success has been thanks to the surprisingly solid play of Park “Thal” Kwon-hyuk and Kim “bonO” Gi-beom, along with the continued improvement of mid laner Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon. Along with the great bot lane duo of Gwon “Sangyoon” Sang-yun and Kim “key” Han-gi and veteran substitutes like Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong as backup, this team will have a solid shot at playoffs. While they’re still near middle of the standings early in the split, Hanwha have begun slowly defying expectations and could become a huge threat come playoff time.
Kingzone DragonX (4-2)
Kingzone should’ve been one of the worst teams in the league. So far it’s still fairly hard to know where they are as a team, but they’re definitely doing a lot better than what was expected for them. One of the key reasons for this has been ADC Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, who has been simply amazing every game. On top of that, the slight resurgence from mid laner Heo “PawN” Won-seok has given the team solid lanes all around. While it’s still hard to know how long their current success can last, and if Kingzone is as good as they appear at the moment, they get a B for a decent start to the split.
SK Telecom T1 (4-2)
The super team has looked decent thus far. As expected they’re showing some struggles early on, especially as they improve their play as a team. However so far the team’s performance has been mostly meeting expectations for the early parts of the split. Within the all-star roster, two plays have stood out the most in jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min and ADC Park “Teddy” Jin-seong who have both been huge factors in SKT’s wins. With some extra time to keep improving as a team through the break, SKT could become an even scarier team soon enough.
SANDBOX Gaming (5-1)
There’s not enough praise that can be given to SANDBOX Gaming and their spectacular start to the season. Only dropping a series to Griffin, where they did what others couldn’t by taking a game, SANDBOX find themselves safely in 2nd going into the break. With spectacular performances from the likes of ADC Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and jungler Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom, the team has simply defied all expectations as they show that the young guns are taking over the region. Because of their amazing play thus far, they receive the highest grade of all the teams with an A+.
Only thing stopping Griffin from getting an A+ instead of an A is because of the high expectations already in place for the team. They were already supposed to be the best team in Korea for the time being and they’ve shown that they might be better than we thought. After only dropping a single game in their 6-0 start Griffin has barely shown any weakness. Instead they’ve only shown strength as every player continues to show off different picks, further growing their champion pools. At this rate, the sky’s the limit for Griffin and it’s hard to see anything shooting them down.
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