Week 1 of the LCK was an exciting slugfest between teams that featured new names, new teams, and some of the heaviest skirmishing the Korean league has seen. Here’s our recap.
200 Years -- Mystic’s Pentakill in the opening game
The opening game of LCK Summer featured SANDBOX Gaming up against Afreeca Freecs, with Afreeca holding a significant advantage at 27 minutes. At soul point and 4.5k gold in the lead with Death’s Dance bought by Aphelios but not by Ezreal, Afreeca were slowly but surely pushing towards a win condition.
It was SANDBOX that initiated the fight: a flag and drag by Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom’s Jarvan started off what looked to be a 4v3 engage, with Kim “Dove” Jae-yeon’s Azir coming in from the topside entrance to the mid lane to join the fray. As Dove leapt in and brought Afreeca’s carries into the middle of SANDBOX’s team, he forgot one thing: Aphelios loves to fight enemies at close quarters.
The Afreeca Freecs’ AD Carry, Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun, grabbed a pentakill for the first game of LCK Summer 2020 and would go on to win both series that week. They currently sit in second place and trail the Week 1’s trailblazers, Damwon Gaming, by a single point.
Dominance from DragonX
The name of the game for DragonX this week was innovation and mechanics as they debuted a composition featuring Ziggs, Ezreal, and Bard. Though it might not have looked strong at first, it set up some of the most difficult to beat combos we’ve seen helping clinch the series against the spring split champions, T1.
T1 wasn’t the end, though. DragonX had to fight another hard opponent this week in the spring split runner-ups, Gen. G. On the side of DragonX, Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon’s abilities were on full display as his mind games on Leblanc baited Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk into a seemingly brilliant team fighting position -- until Chovy showed up once more, landed a chain and a Q as well as an auto-attack to kill the AD Carry and win the team fight.
Solidification of the Ezreal-Aphelios meta
The meta across the world has turned to Ezreal facing off against Aphelios in the bottom lane. Why? At the moment, the constant roams of a mid-jungle duo often means four-man dives in the bottom lane. The result is a shift towards a safer bot lane, with Ezreal and Aphelios being cemented as the favourites and Varus also in the top tier of ADCs.
Ezreal is, of course, very safe with Arcane Shift essentially being a low-cooldown version of Flash that can be used offensively or defensively. Meanwhile, Aphelios’ sheer versatility often means that he can play the laning phase as safely or as aggressively as he wants to, and in team fights, he becomes an absolute menace with Severum-Chakram or an Infernum-infused ultimate.
Lethality Varus also remains strong and allows for sheer lane dominance, and for extra protection, Varus can cast his ultimate on any gankers to waltz out to safety. As the effectiveness of roams will fall off due to the upcoming shared exp changes, the safe ADC meta isn’t expected to stay for too much longer.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Damwon Gaming returns to form
The rookies that shocked the world last year along with Griffin, Damwon Gaming hold a 4-0 match score and hold the first-place position after the week 1. Most recently, they rolled over SANDBOX in under an hour by playing through their midlaner Heo “ShowMaker” Su and their support, Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee. BeryL played creative supports like Maokai and Pantheon to ensure a lock on enemies while the rest of his team piled in. For SANDBOX Gaming, imported coach Jakob “YamatoCannon” Mebdi has a long job ahead of him, as the team currently sits in 10th place. Damwon’s victories also featured highlights from star player Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, as you can see below:
The last rookie team from Challenger explodes to 4th in their first week
The franchising of the LCK means that the winners of the 2020 Summer Promotion Tournament would be the last time we’d see a new team enter the LCK, and the new faces haven’t disappointed. Team Dynamics currently sit in fourth, ahead of powerhouses Gen. G and T1, and much of it can be attributed to their top laner and former professional Heroes of the Storm player, Lee “Rich” Jae-won.
Rich was one of the most well-known names in HoTS and performed remarkably well in League of Legends. He’s never achieved less than fourth place in Heroes of the Storm, and he’s done well in his first week of the LCK. Against KT Rolster he brought Jayce and the Aatrox he’d cosplayed in the LCK cinematic opening to steamroll his opponents with personal KDAs of 6-2-12 and 3-0-6.
(Picture: Riot Korea)
How teams perform in the opening weeks speak of what improvements they need to make and what kind of playstyles they’re looking to execute. The long march to Worlds is getting shorter, week by week, and every team is looking to get there.