The next LCK trophy will soon be handed out, and it’s looking like the defending champions from DWG KIA will be in a good position to take it.
After 10 intense weeks of the 2021 LCK Spring Split‘s regular season, the six best teams are ready to compete in the playoffs. This year’s first playoff is looking to be very competitive, but with one clear favorite in DWG KIA. The defending LCK and world champions have been popping off this split, with great records across the board. Teams like Gen.G, Hanwha Life, and T1 are all looking to do the impossible and take DWG KIA down, but the question is if it’s even possible.
[2021 #LCK Spring Split Final Standings]
Here are the final standings for the 2021 LCK Spring Split! We will be back for the first round of playoffs on Wednesday, March 31st! pic.twitter.com/dCcMVTm6RU
— LCK Global (@LCK_Global) March 28, 2021
With the playoffs starting this week, here’s an overview and a look at the favorites.
A total of six teams will participate in the LCK Spring Split playoffs, with DWG KIA coming in as the clear first seed. DWG KIA locked a spot into the playoffs with several weeks left to play of the regular split, while Nongshim RedForce had to fight until the last games to keep KT Rolster and Liiv SANDBOX out of playoff contention. Ultimately, NS RedForce ended up taking the last seed in their first-ever LCK split.
The 2021 LCK Spring Split playoff teams are:
There is a clear difference in strength between most of the playoff teams, but as it’s been proven before that anything can happen in a best-of-five environment. NS RedForce and DRX enter the playoffs as the two weakest teams, so it will be interesting to see if they can go against all odds and make a deep run. For that to happen, they have to beat Hanwha Life and T1, respectively.
Today’s #LCK matches are two that you won’t want to miss… or maybe you’ll want to watch again 😳👍
— LCK Global (@LCK_Global) March 28, 2021
For this year’s playoffs, the LCK is using a new format. Previously, the LCK playoff was decided in a king of the hill format, where teams were seeded into the rounds based on their regular-split performances. This year, the LCK is taking a more classical approach with a single-elimination bracket starting with the quarterfinals. Once again, the teams are seeded based on regular-split performance with DWG KIA and Gen.G seeded directly into the semifinals.
This gives DWG KIA and Gen.G a chance to win the trophy with just two best-of-five wins, while the rest have to win three. The winner of the final will get the LCK spot at the Mid-Season Invitational in Iceland, starting in May.
In contrast to other leagues around the world, the LCK has a clear favorite in DWG KIA. After winning the 2020 World Championship, DWG KIA has continued its dominance in the LCK. With a mind-boggling record of 16-2 in the regular season, DWG KIA looks like a team that could potentially take the trophy without dropping many games. During this split, DWG KIA has only lost 10 games out of 43. This is five less than Gen.G, who has the second-best record.
During the regular split, DWG KIA dropped a series to Fredit BRION in what might be the biggest upset this year. DWG KIA took the loss seriously and didn’t look as shaky until week 9 when Gen.G beat them 2-1. During this game, DWG KIA had already locked in the first seed for playoffs and might have taken things a bit easier than usual.
In the playoffs, it’s hard to see who could take them down. The first potential team to do it will be either NS RedForce or Hanwha Life. It’s expected that Hanwha Life ends up playing DWG KIA in the semifinal, but it’s not expected that they win. During the regular split, Hanwha Life won only a single game against DWG KIA out of five played.
The biggest competitor to DWG KIA is likely coming from the other part of the bracket in either Gen.G or T1. Both teams ended the regular split on a good note and have the experience to play against the best in the world when it matters. The best bet would be Gen.G, who already beat DWG KIA this split, but never count out Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and the rest of the T1 squad.
The 2021 LCK Spring Split playoffs kick off on March 31 with Hanwha Life against NS RedForce. This series is followed up by the other quarterfinal between T1 and DRX the day after. The semifinals will be played on April 3 and 4, with the grand final on April 10.