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League of Legends: LCK Summer Preseason Power Rankings

After an exciting Spring Split and an unfortunate semifinal exit by SK Telecom T1 at the Mid Season Invitationals, the ten teams of the LCK return to the drawing board as they get ready for the Summer Split. With an automatic ticket to Worlds at stake, where does each LCK team rank after a short offseason? Find out right now with another round of power rankings.

10.Jin Air Green Wings (1-17 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

It was a rough Spring Split for Jin Air as the team found themselves in last place for most of the split. Unfortunately for Jin Air, with no changes being made for the Summer Split, it’s very likely the hard times will continue.

If Jin Air wants to make an unlikely run to the playoffs, their younger players will need to step up big time. The likes of jungler Kim “Seize” Chan-hee and ADC Moon “Route” Geom-su will need to show massive improvements since the Spring Split and carry a fairly weak roster into the playoffs. However, in the long run, it’s hard to see Jin Air stealing any wins this time around especially as the other bottom teams in KT Rolster and Gen.G have made great upgrades to their team. As a result, Jin Air will start the Summer where they ended in the Spring, in 10th place.

9.Afreeca Freecs (5-13 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

As yet another bottom tier team that didn’t make any changes coming into the Summer Split, Afreeca Freecs find themselves at 9th in the power rankings. As a result of no roster changes, the issues for the team are mostly the same. While top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in is still one of the best players in the world, the rest of the roster simply can’t keep up against their opponents.

Luckily for Afreeca, they still have a chance to make a huge comeback this split if the likes of mid laner Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon can have a comeback split and perform at a level similar to his time on KT Rolster. Along with that, Afreeca needs to decide on a main starting roster instead of making constant substitutions as they did during the Spring Split. If they allow a set starting five to play together and develop synergy, Afreeca could make a huge jump up the power rankings later in the split.

8.Hanwha Life Esports (9-9 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

While the potential for the team seemed high near the end of the Spring Split, Hanwha drops to 8th in the power rankings. While the team has a lot of room to improve, the issue is that the some teams below them have also improved a lot through roster changes. As a result, they’ll likely find themselves dropping in the standings as well for the Summer Split.

For the team to improve and push for a playoff spot, they’ll have to rely on the bot lane tandem of ADC Gwon “Sangyoon” Sang-yun  and support Kim “key” Han-gi to reach the next level and become one of the top duos in the league. Along with that, the teams needs to improve their use of their substitutes and give the likes of top laner Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong more play time. While the upcoming split will be tough, Hanwha still has a decent chance to sneak into the playoffs, especially if they can have a strong start to the season.

7.Gen.G (5-13 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

Despite making the biggest offseason move heading into the new season, Gen.G disappointed as they were at risk of facing relegations. However, with some upgrades to the roster, Gen.G head into the Summer in a much better spot.

With jungler Yoon “SeongHwan” Seong-hwan now on the roster in case Han “Peanut” Wang-ho continues to underperform and mid laner Lee “Kuzan” Seong-hyeok joining the roster, Gen.G has made some solid upgrades to some of their major weak points. Along with that, Gen.G has Lee “Rich” Jae-won, a player that was widely considered the best player in the Heroes of the Storm scene on the roster. If Rich can continue to make huge improvements as he learns the game, he could prove to be a game changer for Gen.G moving forward. While Gen.G will be an interesting team to follow going forward, they start the split at seventh in the power rankings.

6.Kingzone DragonX (13-5 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

One of the biggest surprises of the Spring Split was the performance on Kingzone DragonX as they ended the regular season in 3rd place. A huge reason behind this was due to the improvements of jungler Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan and mid laner Heo “PawN” Won-seok who both had huge games through the split. Their performances helped ADC Hyuk-kyu “Deft” Kim carry some of the burden of leading the team to victory.

However, the team took a huge hit heading into the Summer Split as it was announced that Pawn would be taking a break due to health issues once again. As a result sub mid laner Yoo “Naehyun” Nae-hyun will take over the starting spot. While Naehyun is a serviceable mid laner, his limited starts during the Spring Split were fairly forgettable. With a fairly big loss, Kingzone will likely see a large dip in their performance. As a result, they find themselves in sixth on the power rankings to start the season.

5.KT Rolster (4-14 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

Despite a rough time in the Spring Split, KT Rolster come into the Sumer Split with a huge upgrade to their weakest position by bringing back legendary ADC Kim “PraY” Jong-in. While they faced relegations in the Spring Split, KT could easily make a push for the playoffs this time around.

For their playoff hopes to become a reality, the team will be looking to top laner Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho and jungler Go “Score” Dong-bin to return to their previous level of play as they appeared to start doing so during the relegation tournament.  Along with that, PraY will need to show that he isn’t rusty from his extended break if the team wants to make a solid run. While it may be too early to believe in KT Rolster, their roster on paper lands them in fifth place on the power rankings.

4.SANDBOX Gaming (13-5 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

While SANDBOX Gaming were able to exceed expectations in the Spring Split, they ended up falling short as they dropped out of the playoffs in the wildcard round. With the same roster coming into the Summer Split will they be able to improve on their results?

While the roster had some great performances throughout the Spring Split, their issue came in the form of their difficulties with mid to late game decision making. As a result, top teams that were able to neutralize their early game were able to take easy wins off the team. If SANDBOX were able to fix these issues during the offseason, they could become a solid contender. However, they’ll stay put in fourth on the power rankings to start off the Summer Split.

3.DAMWON Gaming (11-7 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

While DAMWON Gaming struggled throughout the season, the team continued to improve through the split and looked like a solid contender at the end of the season. With the same roster coming back, the team will be able to show the same amount of flexibility as before between their use of top laners Lee “Flame” Ho-jong and Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon.

The main concern for DAMWON heading forward will be in the jungle. While both Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu and Son “Punch” Min-hyuk can provide some solid performances, they have both been fairly inconsistent. If either jungler is able to find a consistent level of play heading into the Summer Split, then DAMWON could easily contend against the likes of Griffin and SK Telecom T1. For now, they’re still a tier above the other teams in the league and sit at third in the power rankings.

2.Griffin (15-3 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

After losing in the finals to SK Telecom T1, the question for Griffin heading forward is whether they’re able to step up and win when it matters most. While it’s no question that Griffin can dominate through the regular season, their performance when it matters most during playoffs continues to be an issue.

As expected, Griffin comes into the Summer Split with mostly the same roster. The only change comes in the form of a substitute top laner in Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon. Most fans will know Doran as the top laner for team Seoul in the most recent KeSPA cup where they beat Hanwha Life Esports and took DAMWON to a third game. As a fairly talented player, his presence on the team will provide some much-needed competition to Choi “Sword” Sung-won, who was considered the weakest player last split. Another split is ahead of Griffin, with it, another chance to win it all. Will they finally succeed? Or will they throw it away once again? Only time will tell.

1.SK Telecom T1 (14-4 last split)

Courtesy of: KeSPA League of Legends Facebook

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite Griffin being the favorites for most of the Spring Split, SKT continued to improve and ended up dominating the playoffs. Unfortunately, their performance at the Mid Season Invitational showed that Korea hasn’t quite made the comeback yet. While SKT will likely dominate domestically once again, the question now becomes when will they be able to dominate internationally once again.

With no major roster changes, most fans should expect more of the same to come out of SKT. Jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min will continue to dominate and dictate the flow of the early game as he snowballs the carries of the team. With how dominant the team was near the end of the Spring Split, will any team be able to challenge SKT? Or will they simply steamroll through the LCK all the way to Worlds?

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 LCK flickr.

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