A tough road for Afreeca Freecs and SANDBOX Gaming
The Afreeca Freecs opened their season with a pentakill, but their success might be short-lived as their schedule turns much harder. They’ll be facing off against juggernauts T1 and DragonX in their second week. DragonX look like they’re in top form right now, but it’s possible that they can pull off a victory against a struggling T1.
If Afreeca can secure key victories through heavy skirmishing and team fighting around the bottom side of the map while the three-time world champions are mired in a split identity, they just might be able to hold a top-four position at the end of the week. T1 will likely attempt to win advantageous front-to-back team fights in the mid-game around key objectives while their bot laner, Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, dishes out the damage.
SANDBOX Gaming will have the same schedule as Afreeca, facing off against T1 and DRX. Coach YamatoCannon will have to patch the holes in the last place team as best as he can because his team is about to go through one of their toughest weeks.
Team Dynamics: More to prove
The sudden arrival of Team Dynamics out of Challenger League isn’t the breakout story of Griffin in 2018, but it comes close. The decorated Heroes of the Storm player Lee “Rich” Jae-won will return to the stage to face off against SeolHaeOne Prince as well as Hanwha Life Esports, two bottom-of-the-table teams. To prove themselves as possible contenders for a title, Team Dynamics have to win both series in a convincing fashion.
DragonX -- a return to its 2018 days?
DragonX has looked brilliant in the first week. Taking down both T1 and Gen. G in its opening week, they’re looking like the strongest team for now. Having hurdled the top two finishers of the last split, it seems that they all but guarantee themselves a first-place finish in the first half of the 2020 LCK Summer Split’s regular season. This squad is firing on all cylinders. The last time DragonX were playing like this, they reached the finals of the Mid-Season Invitational. Though this iteration of DragonX is filled with different players and has dropped the “Kingzone” from its name, they look poised to regain the championship from T1.
This week, DragonX will play Afreeca Freecs and SANDBOX Gaming. If they lose to either of these teams, it means that there’s a weakness that can be exploited in one of LCK’s strongest teams.
Can DragonX return to the heights of the pictured 2018 roster? (Picture: Riot Korea)
Damwon Gaming’s hyperbolic time chamber
The Korean representatives of Worlds 2019 were SKT, Griffin, and Damwon, and all three would top their groups. In the earlier half of this year, T1 won the spring split championship while Griffin fell to relegation. As for Damwon, they landed squarely in the middle of these two teams. They ended fifth in the regular season and would fall in the first round of playoffs.
But the first week saw Damwon Gaming return to their 2019 form, smashing SANDBOX and SeolHaeOne Prince to take the throne of first place so far. They’ll meet their first major obstacle in Gen. G. After that, it’s expected that they’ll sweep the Afreeca Freecs.
Damwon have revitalized themselves and will look to take down the LCK’s giants. (Photo Credits: Riot Korea)
Gen. G will look to attack through the dominant laning phases of bot laner Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong while Kim “Clid” Tae-min backs them up from the jungle. On the other hand, Damwon will likely try to play for the top side of the map through Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwo, supported by key roams from Heo “ShowMaker” Su and Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom. This match will put Nuguri’s ability to carry games to the test.
They took down DRX in the Spring, can they take down Dynamics?
Many remember that T1 won the Spring Split, but many also forget that it was APK Prince -- now rebranded as SeolHaeOne Prince -- that helped them get there. They played spoiler to DragonX in the last week of the regular split, taking them down to finish third and bringing T1 up to second place.
The first match of the week will feature this roster, which plays much like the LPL, and the roster of Team Dynamics. We’ve talked about Rich before, but his attempts at carrying might be matched by Son “Mickey” Young-min -- a player who’s pulled off some amazing performances and just as many horrific ones. Not only that, Lee “HybriD” Woo-jin’s Aphelios has looked good so far with only two losses. Team Dynamics might look to ban Aphelios and place HybriD on far less comfortable picks, such as the Lucian that he had a shaky 3/4/5 performance on. Despite a 60 cs advantage, Damwon’s Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun would pilot his Ezreal to greater effect and sweep SeolHaeOne Prince.
It’ll be the battle of the bot laners, but each teams’ solo laners are more than up to the task of tipping the balance one way or the other.
The LCK’s second week begins on June 24, 2020. It can be watched from YouTube, Twitch, or lolesports.