For competitive League of Legends fans, these past three months felt like a void of emptiness. With no major leagues or tournaments occurring, there was almost nothing to satiate the LoL fanatics out there. While IEM did have their yearly offseason tournaments, those games could hardly compare to what we as fans were used to during the regular season.
But the wait is now over. Rejoice fellow die hard fans, the pinnacle of competitive LoL has returned. The LCK, the league of unarguably the most skilled region, has resumed play for the 2017 season.
With many major story lines beginning to unfold, here are some major takeaways from the first week of the LCK.
SKT and KT Are Very Good (Who Would’ve Thought?)
Totally revamping their rosters over the offseason, SK Telecom T1 and KT Rolster both came into the 2017 season with an obscene amount of hype. And while they are not at a totally unbeatable level yet, these teams looked quite impressive in their first week of play.
Upon joining SKT, many had their doubts that Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon would be a good fit for the team. Historically being the main carry for his previous teams, it was hard to picture Huni now transitioning to a more supportive/role player for SKT. Proving the critics wrong, Huni displayed his ability to diversify his playstyle in his LCK debut. Deciding to play the likes of Maokai and Poppy, previously uncharacteristic for him, Huni showed his ability to play more supportive champions that facilitate the rest of his team to carry rather than himself.
SKT’s other new addition, Han “Peanut” Wang-ho fit perfectly into his new team. Helped in part by the aggressive jungle meta, Peanut looks to be the jungler SKT longed for throughout 2016. Unlike Huni, Peanut has brought over his carry-oriented playstyle to SKT. Aiming to take over games on junglers like Kha’Zix and Rengar, Peanut has shown in the first week of play that he plans to be a main carry for SKT.
Undoubtedly the main highlight of KT Rolster’s first week of play was Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu. While KT might have had some coordination issues in both of their series this week, Deft more than made up for it through his teamfighting. Deft’s wonderful kiting and target selection singlehandedly won many teamfights for KT this week.
It’s pretty early to call, but from their roster’s raw skill, as well as their week one performances, both KT and SKT look to be the clear top two teams in the LCK at the moment. It’s a shame that we have to wait all the way until week six before we get to see these two teams play.
ROX Aren’t Terrible (No Seriously, Who Would’ve Thought?)
When the ROX Tigers announced their 2017 roster, everyone predicted this roster to be one of the league’s worst teams. This rushed roster filled with a mismatch of players was almost immediately condemned by the community.
But coming into the first week of the LCK, ROX performed better than expected. Despite an 0-2 loss against KT in their first series, the games were fairly competitive. Both Son “Mickey” Young-min and Gwon “Sangyoon” Sang-yun looked pretty good against KT despite losing the series.
Finishing their first week of play 1-1 after a 2-1 victory over Kongdoo Monster, ROX looks to have the potential to be a middle of pack team, and maybe even contend for a playoff spot.
MaRin is Still Pretty Good at LoL
Throughout his 2016 season in China, Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-hwan did not have the best performance on LGD. Returning to Korea, the community was unsure if MaRin could return to his 2015 SKT form. And while he is still a ways from returning to that point, this first week of play showed that MaRin was still in top form. Fearlessly being the first top laner in the LCK to try AD Kennen, MaRin and his new team defeated 2016 world finalists, Samsung Galaxy in a 2-1 victory.
Whether it be the all-Korean roster, or the difference in infrastructure, MaRin looks in much better form when compared to his days in China. Nevertheless, it’s going to be very interesting to follow MaRin’s progression as a player over the next season.
BBQ Olivers Have the Best Name in the League
That is all.
- KT Rolster 2-0 ROX Tigers
- Samsung Galaxy 2-1 Longzhu Gaming
- SK Telecom T1 2-0 Jin Air Green Wings
- BBQ Olivers 2-1 MVP
- Afreeca Freecs 2-1 Samsung Galaxy
- ROX Tigers 2-1 Kongdoo Monster
- KT Rolster 2-0 BBQ Olivers
- Longzhu Gaming 2-1 Jin Air Green Wings
- MVP 2-1 Afreeca Freecs
- SK Telecom T1 2-0 Kongdoo Monster
- KT Rolster (2-0)
- SK Telecom T1 (2-0)
- Afreeca Freecs (1-1)
- Longzhu Gaming (1-1)
- MVP (1-1)
- Samsung Galaxy (1-1)
- BBQ Olivers (1-1)
- ROX Tigers (1-1)
- Jin Air Green Wings (0-2)
- Kongdoo Monster (0-2)
What was your favorite moment of week one? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.
Article by Malcolm Abbas. Follow him on Twitter @SmashhLoL.
Photos courtesy of INVEN Global, ROX Tigers, KT Rolster, & the Afreeca Freecs