With the end of the 2018 season, an interesting time will now begin this off-season. As a result of Korea failing to win any international tournament this year, every team will be looking to improve their roster in order to be the team that brings glory back to the LCK. With a lot of players with contracts set to expire, this off-season could see a lot of changes for these teams.
So for fans that may not follow LCK as closely, here are some players that may not be as big as Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok that you should keep an eye on as contracts begin to expire and players begin changing teams.
Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-hwan
As was recently announced, MaRin has left the Chinese team Topsports Gaming, where he last played an official match in June. While his recent performance has been lackluster, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a lower tier Korean team take a chance on the top laner. If he can return to form, he’ll easily be one of the best top laners in the region. As such, keep an eye out for teams that needs another carry threat on their team to potentially pick him up.
However, the problem comes with the fact that no one is sure whether MaRin wants to return to Korea again or if he’ll stay in China again. Especially as MaRin is now 27, whatever team he now joins may be his last run as a player before retirement.
If Jin Air Green Wings are able to hold onto their all-star ADC Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, then adding MaRin to the roster could be what they need. It provides the team with a potential second carry to relieve some of the pressure off Teddy. If MaRin plays amazing in this scenario, Jin Air easily becomes a mid tier team that we could see in the playoffs of LCK Spring.
Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee and Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan
With the world-class top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha and jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho on the Kingzone DragonX roster, it’s hard to see Rascal and Cuzz getting any meaningful play time on the team. In their limited play, Rascal and Cuzz have proven that they’re both capable players that can improve any team looking for an upgrade. While the two players aren’t a combo deal, getting both would be ideal as they’ll already have synergy with each other.
However, with Kingzone’s disappointing results with Khan and Peanut we could see the team deciding to keep Rascal and Cuzz just in case. It’ll largely depend on how much faith the org still has in the current main roster and whether they believe they can replicate their early results as a team.
If both players were to join SK Telecom T1 the team would become a possible contender to win it all once again. At the very least, Rascal and Cuzz joining SKT would be the upgrade the team needs to convincingly make the playoffs and potentially be a dark horse to win every season. However, if only one of these players can join the team, Cuzz would likely be the best option as an upgrade in the jungle could improve the situation in the top lane.
Park “Teddy” Jin-seong
Any success Jin Air Green Wings has had in recent memory has been off the play of their ADC Teddy. Despite his efforts, Jin Air continues to be a bottom tier team that lacks the ability to win games consistently to challenge for a spot in the playoffs. If the team is unable to get any players that can help Teddy out during the off-season, will it become time for Teddy to move on to another team that can provide the support needed to turn his performances into wins?
If Teddy decides to seek a new team, he’ll be a huge free agent that will improve most teams in LCK. From new teams like Team BattleComics to top teams like Afreeca Freecs, any team would be possible for Teddy. As such, realistically a team that should take a risk and sign Teddy should be Hanwha Life Esports. While Gwon “Sangyoon” Sang-yun has been a solid ADC for the team, the addition of Teddy could be what’s needed for Hanwha to maintain a permanent spot in the playoffs. Regardless of wherever Teddy goes, that team will immediately become better.
Lee “IgNar” Dong-geun
With the relegation of bbq Olivers, it wouldn’t be surprising if IgNar ends up moving into a LCK team instead. During their abysmal LCK Summer split, IgNar was often the only player that looked solid and was able to hold his own against his opposing laner.
For most teams in the LCK, adding IgNar into their roster even as a sub would provide a lot more flexibility in their planning and overall strategy. This is something that could prove to be a huge advantage.
In the case of IgNar, there isn’t a specific team for him to join but rather a player he should try to pair up with, that player being Teddy. IgNar’s aggressive playstyle would work great with Teddy as they’ll be able to dominate most bot lane duos in the LCK and carry any team to victory. As such any team that tries to pick up Teddy should heavily consider bringing on IgNar into the roster as well.
Regardless of where these players move to during the off-season, it’ll be an interesting time in Korea. The players and angry and determined now, they want to win titles again and remind the world that the Korean dominance still exists. As such, I’ll be keeping a very close eye on roster moves in Korea during this off-season, and you should too.
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Follow Rui on Twitter @ruixu38
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