The LCK’s promotion/relegation tournament begins tomorrow, and for many it will be their first chance to watch some of the best upcoming talent in the Korean scene. While not all of these players will become stars some of them will become the next wave of talent in Korea’s seemingly endless supply of top quality players. Perhaps the most promising of the challenger players is ??? ????, the ADC for Winners.
IGN: ??? ????
Solo-Queue Rank: Challenger (17th)
Games Played: 274
Most Played Champions: Jinx, Corki, Lucian
Honors: 1st place 2015 Spring Challengers Korea Series #2
Play-Style: ??? ????‘s play-style is very reminiscent of FORG1VEN’s in several ways. For starters, while he doesn’t quite match FORG1VEN’s prodigious farming rate he seems to be completely incapable of falling behind on cs. No matter how poor a lane matchup he has, no matter how many times the opposing jungler ganks, and no matter how many times his support dies he is seemingly always ahead or even on farm. Also similarly to FORG1VEN he has extremely strong lane mechanics that allow him to gain leads on opponents even without jungle pressure. He and his support do an exceptional job layering cc once they’ve caught an opponent and often use this force them to burn summoners defensively, removing an avenue by which opponents might be able to aggress on them. Though this rarely translates into kills in lane it does ensure that opponents will have limited tools to stop ??? ???? from raking in gold throughout the laning phase.
Once the team-fights start ??? ???? does his best Deft impersonation, dancing on the edge of fights just outside his opponent’s reach while dishing out near constant dps. Indeed the way they play Jinx in team-fights is remarkably similar, right down to the masterful ability to manage Pow-Pow/Fishbones to squeeze every last bit of dps out while remaining as safe as possible. ??? ???? showed a similar mentality when playing Sivir against Xenics in the third game of the finals, utilizing Sivir’s oft forgotten passive and ultimate not just as initiation tools but also to enable near perfect kiting of Xenics’s front-line. While not traditionally thought of as a hyper-carry, ??? ???? was able to make Sivir play that way as he almost single handedly carried Winners to victory in that game.
One aspect to his game that remains almost completely unknown is how well he performs in lane swap situations. Winners never lane-swapped throughout the challenger series, and despite ??? ????‘s effectiveness their opponents also declined to do so, leaving us with virtually nothing to go off of in that regard. Lane-swaps almost always result in safe farm for the ADC so I doubt ??? ???? will struggle in that regard, but it remains to be seen how well he can handle the nuances of when to fast push a wave, when to freeze, and the various other scenarios that play out after a lane-swap.
Champion Pool: By some distance ??? ????‘s biggest weakness, he will have to expand his champion pool if he hopes to sustain his current levels of success. Out of 274 games in solo-queue he has played Jinx, Corki, and Lucian a combined 238 times, more than 85% of his matches, with Jinx and Corki alone accounting for a staggering 217 total games (Jinx 133 times, Corki 84). While he’s also shown proficiency on Sivir throughout the challenger series, having only three or four champions in your competitive pool is not a recipe for long-term success. If a meta shift makes Jinx weaker, to say nothing of becoming outright nonviable, ??? ???? will likely become significantly less effective as a player unless he is able to demonstrate proficiency on additional champions. That being said, the fact that he was able to find success on Sivir despite having logged very few solo-queue games on her this past season (he did play her much more often in Season 4) bodes well for his ability to enlarge and adapt his champion pool, especially considering how different Jinx and Sivir are as champions.
Summary: ??? ???? put together an absurd score of 36/3/8 with an average kill participation of a shade under 90% over three games against Xenics in the challenger series finals, demonstrating just how dominant he is capable of being. I would be very surprised if opposing teams in the upcoming Promotion/Relegation tournament ever let him pick Jinx which will force him to dig deeper into his champion pool if he is to have any chance of carrying Winners past Incredible Miracle or Anarchy and making it into the summer season of the LCK. Even if Winners fail to make it through it seems very unlikely that ??? ???? won’t get a chance to strut his stuff for a professional team very soon given his prodigious talent (I’d be stunned if there isn’t at least an offer from a team in China even if Winners does qualify for the LCK). Could ??? ???? be the next Korean ADC to join the likes of Deft and Imp at the top of the world? If his recent performances are any guide, don’t bet against it.
*WARNING: Profanity/Inanity follows*
One final note for any interested readers, ??? ???? means roughly “We don’t fuck up ganks in the butt kingdom”, so there’s a tiny chance Riot will make him change his name for the upcoming tournament and beyond (apparently it’s based on a Korean comic? I really don’t know). Also, thanks to domXthebomb (KefkaLoL on twitter) for showing me the translation!