Photo by: Riot Games
LCK Spring 2019 has been more than enticing so far. The first two weeks shaped standings that made little sense and shattered all predictions of the pundits. After all, how could a former Challenger team outclass the likes of KT Rolster, Gen.G and Kingzone DragonX so decisively.
But that is the current reality of LCK. SANDBOX Gaming, one of the new teams in the league, leads the standings undefeated with 5-0 and having dropped only two games in total: one to the legacy powerhouse of SK Telecom and another to DAMWON Gaming. The only other team undefeated in the league is Griffin — the fan favorites from 2018 Summer, who barely couldn’t make it to Worlds.
Weeks 1 and 2 were also soul-crushing for the old guardians of LCK. Midway through week 2, KT Rolster, Kingzone, Afreeca Freecs and Gen.G were all in the bottom half of the bracket, barely a few wins between them. Some of these teams have gradually started to recover now, but the ones on top are not slowing it down either. To put it short, the race for LCK has been more than tense.
This leads us to Thursday, Jan. 31, which is set for a couple of high-octane matches. In the first match, Griffin take on SK Telecom.
Griffin vs. SK Telecom
The two teams don’t have a long history between them, but GRF managed to beat SKT twice during 2018 Summer Regular season. Griffin are widely considered the best team in Korea right now as well, riding the wave of their KeSPA cup victory and undefeated 4-0 streak in the LCK.
At the same time, SKT are the only from the LCK powerhouses that is performing up to expectations. After a disastrous 2018, the team rebuilt and gathered a dream team of talent around Lee “Faker” Sasng-hyeok. SKT’s only loss this season came at the hands of rankings leader SANDBOX and a win against Griffin tomorrow is a chance for them to show they still belong at the top.
Many fans will no doubt pay close attention to the jungle tomorrow. SKT’s Kim “Clid” Tae-min and Griffin’s Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong are the MVP ranking point leaders in the LCK with four titles each and their face-off is expected to be bloody. The mid-lane match-up is also one to watch. GRF’s Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon has been gathering praise and there’s no better test to individual skill than going against the best mid laner in LoL history.
KT Rolster vs. Gen.G
While GRF vs. SKT is a battle for the top, KT vs. GEN is a battle of redemption. Both teams entered Worlds 2018 with high hopes of reaching the finals. None did. Gen.G flopped out in the group stage ended their run in the quarterfinals, bested by the eventual champions. Even though the teams performed well in KeSPA Cup, with Gen.G even reaching the finals, their start to the LCK season has been disappointing to their fans.
Both KT and GEN stand at 1-3 and the only team worse than them is the 0-5 Jin Air Green Wings. JAG are also the only team either of the two teams has managed to beat and have been losing even to mid-table teams like DAMWON Gaming. Both also have difficult matches later this week, with KT playing Afreeca on Saturday and GEN playing Kingzone on Sunday. It’s terefore very likely that one of KT and GEN will start its season 1-5 a third way into Spring.
When to watch
GRF vs. SKT — 00:00 PST / 09:00 CET / 17:00 KST
GEN vs. KT — 03:00 PST / 12:00 CET / 20:00 KST