After an entertaining series to start off the LCK playoffs, SK Telecom T1 was able to take down Afreeca Freecs 2-1 and move on to the quarterfinals. Waiting for them is the first of three new teams that have begun taking over the region in SANDBOX Gaming. In a matchup of old guards against the young up-and-comers of the league, who will prevail?
SK Telecom T1
In their victory against Afreeca Freecs, SKT saw some great performances from every carry on the roster. From ADC Park “Teddy” Jin-seong dominating on Varus and Kai’sa to Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok having an amazing game with Qiyana, everyone on SKT was able to remind fans why they are considered some of the best in the region. However, one issue that remained present was the performance of support While Lee “Effort” Sang-ho who had a rough time in Game 3 as his performance on Alistar slowed down SKT’s eventual victory.
If SKT wants to outlast SANDBOX Gaming and any team further down, they need to maintain their current level of play. On top of that, Effort needs to move past his performance in Game 3 against Afreeca and avoid a repeat performance. Aside from that, SKT is looking strong going into their showdown against SANDBOX.
After a similar result to finish off the Summer Split, SANDBOX find themselves in a rough spot. If SANDBOX wants to make Worlds at this point, they must win the playoffs or go through the gauntlet. Luckily SANDBOX’s roster has been playing well in recent memories with some great performances from the likes of jungler Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom and mid laner Kim “Dove” Jae-yeon.
Despite SANDBOX looking good in recent weeks, they still lost their recent matches against the other three teams still in the playoffs (SKT, DAMWON Gaming and Griffin). While SANDBOX should match well against SKT on paper, there are concerns with how the team will do as SANDBOX continues to struggle against other top teams.
With two great teams set to face off in the first BO5 of the playoffs, it will surely be a great match all around. However, it likely won’t go the distance. Considering the recent records and performances of both teams and SANDBOX’s struggles against other top teams, I see SKT taking the series 3-1.
While SANDBOX has what it takes to take one game off of SKT, the team as a whole still feels fairly predictable and can easily fall apart as the game goes later and later. Along with that, SKT’s experience in long series should give them the advantage to completely outlast SANDBOX until the end.
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Featured image courtesy of LCK.
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