This year’s LCK lineup for the World Championship is extremely stacked. Not only do they have returning star, Gen.G—formerly known as Samsung Galaxy—they also have Afreeca Freecs and KT Rolster joining them on the battlefields.
All three of these teams have performed extremely well at the LCK playoffs and they’re looking to grab another trophy for Korea’s legacy. After all, Gen.G grabbed one for them last year and the year before that, South Korea Telecom.
Furthermore, without South Korea Telecom, the one Korean team that every single League of Legends player knows, there might be some confusion as to who these new faces are and how well they can do. We won’t be seeing the familiar Faker or Bang anymore. We’re going to be seeing names like Cuvee and Kuro instead.
That being said, each of these teams are extremely strong in their own sense and each of them are worth analyzing. Afreeca Freecs is a rookie team that has turned into an extremely strong powerhouse and KT Rolster and Gen.G are familiar to the same. Once you’ve learned everything you need to know about these three LCK powerhouses, you might find your next new favorite team.
Formerly known as Samsung Galaxy, Gen.G has become a staple icon for Korea as last year, they took down South Korea Telecom in the 2017 World Championship finals. In fact, they could be identified as the team that ushered down SKT’s legacy as the best team in the world.
This year, they didn’t have as strong of a season. They finished fourth in a tight competition for the first place spot. Despite being 13-5 throughout the entire season, because KT Rolster, Griffin, and Kingzone Dragonx were able to have better head-to-heads, Gen.G failed to receive a seeded spot.
Moreover, in the playoffs, they faced a disappointing 3-0 loss to Afreeca Freecs, forcing them to go to the Regional Tournament to have any chance whatsoever at making sure that they could qualify for the 2018 World Championship.
This was where they shined even though they were up against some of the hardest teams in their bracket. First, they faced off against South Korea Telecom, the former three-time World Champion and if they won that, they would have to play Griffin, a rookie team that had placed second in the Regular Season.
If they managed to take down both of these teams, they would’ve had to face Kingzone Dragonx, a team who, at their best, took down South Korea Telecom with little to no opposition and had one of the cleanest seasons in the entire history of LCK.
However, none of this seemed to deter the team. Gen.G took all of them to work. First, they beat SKT in a close five-setter where everything went down to one very close team fight. Then, in the second, they took down Griffin in yet another close five-setter.
Despite facing off against Tarzan and Viper, two of Korea’s most prominent players to this day, Gen.G’s squad was able to barely edge past them to finally face off against Kingzone Dragonx, a team that they had consistent troubles beating.
Surprisingly enough though, they took down the squad consisting of PraY, Peanut, and Khan in a clean three to zero sweep, something that no LCK fan saw coming. They had something close to a Cinderella Run and they’re going to keep this going.
Gen.G doesn’t play like most teams. They can play consistent but they actually play better with their backs against the wall. They play better as the underdogs. Just take a look at their 2017 year where they took down both Longzhu Gaming and South Korea Telecom despite being a favored pick to be knocked out first round.
If they can take this playstyle into the 2018 World Championship, we could see them performing a two-peat by winning yet another title. But they’re going to have to give it their all if they want to see any shot at this happening again.
This is Afreeca Freecs’ first time to the World Championship and they certainly do deserve it. Before the 2018 Season, they had some of the worst performances in the LCK, almost being relegated at times but they’ve made a comeback and it’s one that they certainly do deserve.
They finished fifth overall in the Summer Split Regular Season, a worthy task compared to the competition that they were facing. However, they managed to make it past both Gen.G and Kingzone Dragonx before falling to Griffin in a tight best of five match.
Despite this, they were still able to qualify to the World Championship. They’ve put up one of the most solid performances in the past few years of their existence on the LCK and their fans could not be prouder.
They took the competition to big-time names such as South Korea Telecom, Kingzone Dragonx, and Gen.G to secure themselves a spot at Worlds. They need to keep playing the fast-paced game that they like to do because it’s been interrupting most teams.
Most teams in the LCK like to play steady and solidly and build on their lead but the Afreeca Freecs start fast from the very beginning. Their unpredictable decisions and quick thinking have lead to plays that will stay with the Afreeca Freec franchise.
If there’s one newbie that you want to keep your eyes on at the World Championship, keep your eyes glued on Afreeca Freecs. They’ve proved time and time again that they can face off against the best teams and with Worlds being a competition of the best of the best, the Afreeca Freecs will thrive.
KT Rolster used to be known for their curse of never making the World Championship despite extremely solid performances during the Regular Season. Now, they’re known as the leading champion inside the LCK right now with South Korea Telecom stepping down from the spotlight.
There’s no doubt that the LCK is one of if not the toughest region in the world right now. They have some of the strongest teams and they’ve won the World Championship every year since Season 3. That sets a strong precedent on the region and KT Rolster is currently the only team that looks like they’re homed in on their mission.
Right now, KT Rolster has one goal: to win the World Championship and it’s entirely possible. They have the team and they have the experience to make it. Even when they weren’t at their best, they were able to take on South Korea Telecom’s best squadron—Marin, Bengi, Faker, Bang, and Wolf—to at least five sets.
Now, with KT Rolster at their possible best, it’s very likely that we’re going to see a team that takes hold and completely destroys the competition at the World Championship. They destroyed every single team they played in a head-to-head count and in the playoffs, they pulled off a convincing though extremely tight 3-2 victory versus Griffins, the rookie challenger team that almost flipped the LCK on its head.
In the current moment, KT Rolster has the shot at making LCK history and creating yet another legacy for Korea. In order to do so, they’re going to have to keep up the game that they’ve been playing for the past Summer season and make sure that it transitions well into every stage of the World Championship.
I’m not saying that the World Championship isn’t going to be hard because they’ve gone close with teams such as RNG and Edward Gaming as well as their own home teams of Gen.G and Afreeca Freecs but they certainly have the highest shot of winning Worlds out of the three teams.
There are several star players on the trio of teams that will be going to the 2018 World Championship this year. All three of these teams will be looking to utilize these players and make sure that they’re doing their job right: to snowball and win them games.
Each of these players were key reasons as to why their team was able to have such a big impact on the LCK and eventually secure a ticket to Worlds. If you want to be looking out for any players at Worlds this year, look for these players.
At one point, Smeb was considered to be the best top laner in the world and it looks like he’s recaptured the title. In a meta where top laners are either tanks or bruisers, Smeb has found an intermediate between the two which he uses beautifully to establish his dominance.
He may not have the best KDA or CS per minute but he certainly knows what to do and when to do it. If his team is fighting in the bot side, he knows when to join the fight or when to start split-pushing for his team.
If League of Legends is chess, then Smeb is the Grandmaster. He’s always thinking two steps ahead of his opponents and it shows when his opponents can’t seem to figure out why they’re losing but Smeb does. He’s calculated and calm and it shows in every match they win.
Out of the eleven games he’s played on Gnar, he’s only lost two. During their matches versus Griffin for the LCK championship, Smeb’s Urgot played a vital role in securing both team fights and objectives and Griffin’s top laner seemed to be able to do nothing.
Smeb can play League of Legends like a board game. He seems everything that’s going on around him and acts on it. This ability will be key to giving KT Rolster any chance at winning the World Championships this year.
Spirit may be known for his brief time on Fnatic or for his appearance at the 2014 World Championship but either way, Spirit has gained more fame than he’s ever accumulated in the past ten years and this is all thanks to his jungling potential.
Not only did Spirit end the playoffs with the third-highest KDA, he also proved to have a good hand of champions he could switch between. He can pull off a gank-heavy Gragas or Lee Sin or easily transition into a farm-based Trundle. It’s up to what his team wants.
I have no doubt that Spirit will have a big impact on Worlds. In 2014, when he made it to the World Championship, his team—Samsung Blue—almost won the entire thing and this was when League of Legends was at its peak, when players were at the highest caliber and Chinese and Korean players were regarded as legends, not just humans.
If Spirit can play to that level in a time where League of Legends had some of the best players touching the sport on an international level, imagine what he can pull off for Afreeca Freecs at this year’s World Championship.
Last year, Ruler was one of the main reasons why Samsung Galaxy, their former team name, was able to win the World Championship. He played a big role in it and this year, he played a big role in making sure that they made the World Championship yet again.
Despite having a tough time in the playoffs of the LCK, Ruler took it to the competition in the Regional Tournament. Not only did he acquire fifty kills in the short span of time, he also made sure that professional legends such as PraY and Viper were silenced.
He played a cool and calculated game that would make anyone else tremble and it showed versus Kingzone Dragonx. During their match, Ruler only acquired four deaths while accumulating thirteen kills and sixteen assists.
Ruler has some of the best mechanics in LCK and when he’s not in a slump, he can easily rival Bang’s legacy or Viper’s mechanics. At his best, Ruler will rarely ever make any mistakes on the field. He’s mastered almost every AD Carry in his arsenal and every AD Carry he faces against, he knows their weaknesses.
That being said, I think that Ruler will have yet another big impact on the League of Legends scene this year. He’s fresh off the momentum from making Worlds and he’ll want to go into the World Championship this year with a bang.
His cool and calculated status will help Gen.G have another shot at winning another title and if done so, then Ruler won’t just be a part of Gen.G—or formally known as Samsung Galaxy—he’ll be a part of history.
By looking back at the history of these teams and what they’ve accomplished, I would definitely say that you should go with KT Rolster if you want to try to win the entire thing. They’ve shown high consistency in getting to the Knockout Rounds and there have been very few times where they haven’t completely swept away the competition.
They can easily make it to the semifinals and if they don’t, then that’s going to be the biggest upset of the entire season. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a dependable underdog, I’d highly recommend that you set your eyes on Gen.G.
Last year, no one expected them to win anything at all. No one even expected them to make it out of the Groups Stage yet they did and they managed to sweep Kingzone Dragonx—then Longzhu Gaming—and then take out South Korea Telecom for the World Championship.
This is the iconic Gen.G, pulling off upsets and playing better under pressure. Gen.G is the literal definition of underdog and it would be a mistake not to bet on them when it comes to looking for upsets in the tournament.
As for Afreeca Freecs, there’s not much we can expect yet. They definitely have an extremely strong lineup consisting of Spirit and Kuro in the jungle and mid lane respectively but the Afreeca Freecs will have to prove that they’re here to stay in the matches.
You can definitely expect a strong Groups Stage performance. Korean teams have always exceled in the Groups Stage and even though this is Afreeca Freecs’ first time at Worlds, it doesn’t mean that there performance will change in any way.
It’s always exciting to see the three LCK teams that make it to Worlds and this year won’t be any different. We’ll be seeing a former World Champion coming in to have a shot at making their mark on history.
We have KT Rolster, the strongest Korean team on the scene right now and one of the strongest teams in the world, who will be looking to win their first World Championship and finally, we have Afreeca Freecs who will be coming to their first rodeo and they won’t be leaving without making some of their own marks.
There will be plenty to watch and plenty of highlights to take home but in the end, only one team can take home the trophy and I can guarantee you that one of these three teams will be looking to do so to keep the Korean legacy alive.
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