The Chovy and Deft Show, also known as Hanwha Life Esports (HLE), is a team that somehow made Worlds despite being 8th in the Summer Split. How is this possible? Are they any good? And most importantly, will they make it out of Play-Ins? Well, the answer is complicated.
The thing is, HLE wasn’t an awful team in the Spring Split. They got 3rd place in the LCK Spring Playoffs losing to the eventual winner, Damwon Kia. This 3rd place positioning is the sole reason that HLE was able to make it into the LCK 2021 Regional Finals. HLE had to win 2 BO5 series versus NS Redforce and Liiv Sandbox. They beat Liiv 3-1 and then NS Redforce 3-0 to qualify for Worlds. Frankly, fans and analyst were not expecting them to win these series. HLE looked abhorrent in the regular season, but they have Chovy. Chovy is one of if not the best Mid Laners in the LCK. Showmaker and Faker are both great, don’t get it wrong, but Chovy’s ability to carry such a mediocre team is unmatched.
That leads HLE to the precarious situation it is in right now. A team that barely could win in the Summer Split representing the LCK in Play-Ins. What could go wrong?
The Other 3 Players:
The biggest issue with HLE is that there are 3 players besides Chovy and Deft. While it may seem like fans and analyst are bashing them, the simple truth is they are the weakest links of the team. Despite this, some credit is due. Morgan, Willer and Vsta all stepped up in their Regional Finals run. Willer and Morgan in particular showed that they have the ability to play carries and set up the team. The problem is that these games were against some weaker teams. LNG is just objectively better than NS Redforce or Liiv Sandbox. Now fans may say that the T1 series went to Game 5. This is true, but T1 was the reason T1 was looking bad.
The question for HLE is if these players are able to handle the increased pressure from the better teams in Play-Ins. Furthermore, they are inherently less familiar with these teams and have a new meta to understand. As long as these players don’t break down, HLE is in a good spot.
Deft / Vsta:
While Chovy is the king of HLE, Deft is the Prince. Despite being on a team with barely over a 40% win rate, Deft still has some solid stats. His [email protected] is 45, [email protected] is 5.7 an DPM is 552. These are all upper half stats which is incredibly hard to do on a losing team. Deft also accounted for 29.5% of HLE’s damage, which is the second highest in the role. These stats aren’t too surprising for fans who remember his days on EDG, DRX or KT Rollster. Deft has always been a player who is able to pump out insane damage numbers and carry team fights.
On HLE though, if he doesn’t carry a game along with Chovy, they will probably lose. On the DRX days, Deft had other great players he could fall back on like Doran or Pyosik, now he can only fall back on Chovy. Sure, Morgan can have a pop off game, but he is nowhere near as dependable. The consistency is what is lacking with this team. It’s not whether or not they have the ability to win, that is obvious, they can. It’s if HLE can do it on a consistent basis. There is little to no doubt that Deft will be able to compete on the World’s stage, but the bigger question is if Vsta can.
Vsta is a peak middle of the road player. His stats aren’t bad per-say, they just aren’t good either. He is middle of the road in laning stats, WPM, KDA, assist and more. Vsta’s best stat is WCPM, which is fine, but not the one that standing out in matters the most. Deft may be dragged down by Vsta’s inability to compete equally with some of the stronger supports at Worlds, especially after the Play-In stage.
It all comes back to Chovy and Deft:
The answer for HLE is really simple, are they stable enough to feed their super carry in either Chovy or Deft? The regular season would indicate no. They won only 40% of individual games, not series. There was a glimpse of hope in the form of the Regional Qualifiers. A little glimpse into what this team has the possibility to be. Fans should expect HLE to make it out of Play-Ins unless an absolute collapse happens. Beyond that? Probably going nowhere. HLE would be placed into Group C which includes PSG Talon, Fnatic and RNG. This is some stiff competition. In this environment, the cracks in HLE will show more than versus Red Candis, sorry CBLOL fans. Group Stage feels like the proper resting place for 2021 HLE.
There is a chance though that the Church of Chovy comes true. Where HLE is able to play at their potential and take games off of teams like Fnatic and RNG. At the end of the day, it all comes down to Chovy and Deft carrying.
“From Our Haus to Yours“