You know the end of a professional League of Legends split is near when fans can start counting how many matches are left on the schedule and their effects on the playoff race. This past weekend Europe’s LEC wrapped up its Spring Split, and the LCK is soon to follow with just two weeks left before the playoff bracket is settled.
Just four matches remain to be played for each team in the league. As the playoffs inch closer, two major races are worth keeping an eye on: the race for the final two playoff berths and the race for the bracket’s second bye. With more than half the league still under the .500 mark, no one has been eliminated from the playoff race just yet. Here are our LCK power rankings heading into the final two weeks of the LCK Spring Split.
|10)||Hanwha Life Esports||—|
Longshots after all: Nongshim RedForce, KT Rolster, Liiv SANDBOX, Hanwha Life Esports
Nongshim RedForce, KT Rolster, Liiv SANDBOX, and Hanwha Life Esports are on losing streaks of some kind heading into the final two weeks of the LCK Spring Split. And unless they turn their seasons around fast, they’re very likely going to miss out on the playoffs.
KT in particular started the season off with an even 4-4 record but have lost six matches in a row to plunge their loss count into the double digits. In fact, each of the teams in this tier have at least 10 match losses through seven weeks.
Surprisingly though, a playoff seed is still within reach for these squads, even in spite of their relatively uninspiring records. With Kwangdong Freecs and Fredit BRION occupying the final two playoff berths as of right now, and both of those teams sitting two matches under .500, a final push by any of these underdogs could catapult them into contention at the last minute. How long they’ll stay alive in the playoffs, though, is an entirely different discussion. Keep an eye on Liiv SANDBOX, who get to look forward to matches against KT, Fredit, and Kwangdong Freecs over the final two weeks of the split. If they can take advantage of those matches against direct competitors, their playoff chances could improve mightily.
Fringe candidates: Fredit BRION, Kwangdong Freecs
Fredit and Kwangdong Freecs are both firmly in the losing column this split, as there are obvious distinctions between them and the teams in the top four. Still, they aren’t as weak as the bottom four teams in the league, either. Fredit and the Freecs have occupied the midsection of our rankings for a few weeks now, so it’s fair to say they represent the cutoff point between the league’s serious contenders and its flopout squads. Multiple matches currently separate them from being out of the playoff bracket, just as multiple matches separate them from moving up.
As far as their own identities go, these two teams have plenty of kinks to work out ahead of the Summer Split before they can definitely fall into the “true contender” category. While it’s likely they’ll continue to tread water and reach the Spring playoffs (they both have over an 80-percent chance to reach the playoffs, according to a post by the official LCK Twitter account), the second half of the season—where the slate will be cleaned and their poor starts to the season can be left behind—is where the Freecs and Fredit will want to turn their attention.
Still rolling: Gen.G, DWG KIA, DRX
At this point, the top seed in the LCK is out of reach, and these three teams will likely finish in some combination of second, third, and fourth heading into the Spring playoffs. This past week, Gen.G had another chance to strike at T1, but were once again crippled by COVID cases in the starting lineup. AD carry Ruler—one of the only starters who played against T1 earlier this year—wasn’t able to start for the team in the rematch.
These three teams will want to shift their attention towards best-of-five play soon enough, as each of them have locked up a spot in the LCK playoffs. The top two seeds in the playoffs will receive a first-round bye, so there’s still plenty of reason to fight for every game down the stretch. DWG KIA, who have carefully hung around the top three all split, play both Gen.G and DRX over the next few weeks, giving these three teams ample opportunity to take shots at each other with a high-stakes bye on the line.
No one on the planet, let alone in Korea, is on T1’s level this year. Of the 117 professional League teams from Worlds-qualifying regions, T1 are just one of three to still have a perfect record. Team Spirit and One Breath Gaming of the LCL—whose season is on hold due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine—are the others. With a spotless 14-0 record, T1 are on pace to cruise to an unprecedented split, while a chance to represent the region at the Mid-Season Invitational looms on the horizon. No team has ever gone 18-0 in an LCK split, although T1 (then SK Telecom T1) came the closest when they won 17 of their 18 matches during the 2015 Summer Split.
Before T1 fans get too excited, though, the 2022 Spring Split will end for the team with three of their final four matches against playoff-caliber teams. They’ll need to win at least two of them to lock up the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
This article includes affiliate links, which may provide small compensation to Dot Esports.