One of the most underrated teams in Korean League of Legends beat T1 today after outmaneuvering the three-time world champions in the pick and ban phase.
Hanwha Life Esports players were creative with their champion pools and almost flawlessly executed their unconventional compositions against T1.
In the first game of the best-of-three series, Hanwha Life picked Sett top, Diana jungle, Rumble mid, Miss Fortune AD carry, and Shen support to great effect. They may not be the flashiest of teams and they certainly lack some of the mechanical prowess of T1, but their strategy and late-game teamfighting were more than enough to clinch the win.
In the second game, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok showed up and stole the spotlight with his Cassiopeia. But in the end, after another favorable draft, Hanwha Life won 2-1.
T1 had the early-game advantage in the final game of the series, but with the help of Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin’s top lane Soraka, Hanwha Life took the lead. For the first 30 minutes, they were on the back foot, losing each of their three lanes by a sizable amount. They dropped a kill or two and were severely behind in CS, but their scaling comp came into full effect before it was too late.
The combination of Kang “Tempt” Myung-gu’s tanky mid lane Ornn, Son “Lehends” Si-woo utility Yuumi, and Cuvee’s healing-intensive Soraka made them unstoppable. Despite T1’s lead, they barely made a dent in Hanwha in the late game. When Soraka hit her two item spike, her healing alone was enough for the team to win.
Soraka has quickly climbed the rankings in the competitive meta and is now set to receive nerfs in League’s next patch. In solo queue, she has an unprecedented 55 percent win rate in the top lane.
Riot has targeted her laning phase, reducing the damage she deals to minions with her Starfall (Q) ability. This should be the end of top lane Soraka, but for now, she’s up for the taking at least in the current competitive patch.
Hanwha Life will face Afreeca Freecs on Sunday, Feb. 9 in their second series of the LCK Spring Split.