The LCK goes into hiatus with Gen.G at the top of the standings

Melany Moncav • March 12, 06:35

Round one in the 2020 LCK Spring Split is over and the standings are looking exactly as expected.

Earlier this week, the LCK announced that it would postpone the activities due to the coronavirus outbreak. With the first round of the season over, the LCK is going into a hiatus effective immediately. It remains unclear if Riot Games Korea is planning on transitioning into an online format like the LPL.

Right now, the standings are a perfect reflection of the competition. There’s a clear distinction between the teams at the top, the middle, and the bottom.

The kings of the LCK hill are Gen.G

Coming into the spring, Gen.G was considered one of the strongest teams thanks to the addition of jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min and mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong. The new jungler-mid duo was expected to achieve great things in the tournament and so far, are living up to the expectations. Clid and Bdd are a match made in jungle-mid heaven.

The only obstacle on Gen.G’s path right now is T1, Clid’s former team. With the addition of new players and new coaching staff, T1 has evolved into a different beast. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Park “Teddy” Jin-seong are having a great season and are looking even better than in 2019.

T1 dropped one series against Afreeca Freecs and another against Hanwha Life Esports. Those two losses are the only thing keeping T1 in a tie for second place with DragonX.

DragonX is the team that everyone expected to shine in Spring. The organization snatched the best pieces from Griffin in 2019 and built a solid roster. If there’s one thing holding DragonX back it’s the inexperience of jungler Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon. Pyosik is a prodigy recruited from solo queue that still needs time to learn what it takes to be a top tier jungler in the LCK.

Afreeca is the final team in the top tier. Every player in the Afreeca roster had its time to shine in the season, but there’s something missing. Despite winning the 2019 KeSPA Cup, Afreeca is struggling to break into the top three.

Middle of the pack LCK teams

Assuming that the four top teams are guaranteed to move to playoffs, only one spot remains up for grabs. Right now, three teams are fighting for a pass to playoffs: Damwon Gaming, KT Rolster, and Hanwha Life Esports.

Damwon gained international recognition in 2019 with its World Championship run. The team was creative and aggressive. Damwon was regarded as one of those promising teams that would take over in 2020. Unfortunately, Damwon has failed to live up to these expectations. Damwon often drafts a composition that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The team ends up with losing lanes and poor scaling.

KT Rolster is recovering from a slow start in the season and climbed all the way to the sixth place. The roster, which includes three former Afreeca Freecs players, is finally getting some wins. KT has the potential to make it to playoffs as long as they keep performing at the same level in the second half.

Hanwha made significant upgrades to its roster in the offseason and was expected to perform well in Spring. So far, Hanwha only secured three wins, just enough to avoid the bottom of the standings. The team has the right ideas but fails to execute on the plans. Hanwha shouldn’t be written off just yet.

Fighting to avoid LCK relegation

The LCK is the only major region with relegations. At the end of the season, the bottom two team must go through the promotion tournament to defend their spot in the LCK. Right now, three teams are fighting to avoid relegations: Griffin, APK Prince, and Sandbox Gaming.

APK Prince is the big disappointment of the season. The team fought its way to the LCK only to end up at the bottom of the standings. APK is inferior to the rest of the teams in the league. The roster tries it’s best, but it isn’t good enough to compete with well-established and seasoned players.

It’s surprising to see Sandbox so low in the standings. Through 2019, Sandbox was one of the breakthrough teams in the LCK joining from Challengers Korea. Roster changes hurt Sandbox and left the team lacking their spark from the previous season.

In the last place is Griffin, the up-and-coming organization that was ruined by controversy in 2019. Griffin is just not the team it used to be. The players are underperforming and the team is struggling to get results. Right now, Griffin is looking like a lock for the relegation tournament.

The LCK is in a hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak. Riot Games Korea is yet to announce any plans to resume the action live at LoL Park or a transition into an online format.

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