As will be tradition, the top teams of the world will come from the LCK and are set to set the world aflame. Samsung have been showing everyone just how strong of a team they are ever since their surprise appearance last year at world’s, even making it to the finals to face SKT. KT Rolsters are another team that is performing immaculately, though they stumble now and then. SKT Telecom T1, three time world champions, are not in the same boat and instead the number one team of LCK has been taken from them by Longzhu. Currently, SKT sits in fourth place and might only just barely make it to World’s this year from a point margin and not by winning first in the summer split.
Is the SKT House Burning Down?
Many are wondering what is happening to SKT after the weeks of Rift Rivals where they lost to LPL’s Team WE despite that being their only loss throughout the tournament. Apparently, it carried a lot more weight with it than people had initially would have theorized. After coming back to Korea, not only have they lost every series, but they have lost every game. Eight straight losses. Granted they lost to SSG, AFs, and a red hot LZ, but the icing on the disappointment cake came from a clean sweep by Jin Air over them.
Do things need to change for SKT? Untara, Blank. This is the answer, right? That’s what a lot of people were chanting prior to Rift Rivals, but then the meta shifted. Fiora has been nerfed, tank junglers are the flavour everyone wants to taste, but it seems to be too spicy for SKT to handle. Blank was notorious for his Olaf and his Zac last year, but not necessarily tanks in general. Peanut is even more uncomfortable on tanks as he has always wanted to carry from the jungle.
What about top lane? If tank junglers are in, that has to mean carry tops are back right? Well, the thing is that there are a number of ccarryingchampions coming back, but tanks are still in the top. Huni, who would love to be able to play some Jayce, Kennen, or Rumble, can’t really match up or kill a tank if the late game comes out. While he has played Cho’Gath in the past and we know he can do it, it is sort of going to be difficult in 7.14 when it is on the perma-ban list.
SSG, KT, and LZ are Fire!
It isn’t fair to only say that SKT is falling from grace because that takes away a lot from the other teams that are thriving. SSG was already receiving praise, especially after World’s and into Spring 2017. KT, on the other hand, has been more likely to be criticized than any other team top outside of SKT recently. However, even though not all their games have been the best, they have been able to transition a lot of leads from their laning into victories. More so than we saw the last split and it will be key to see how they handle playoffs.
The team that truly came from nowhere is Longzhu. Last split, they weren’t ever bad but failed to excite leading to a middle of the pack finish. Not this time. Summer has been kind to them along with their new additions of Khan and Cuzz. Cuzz fits perfectly into the meta, more from his consistent play as opposed to flashy. Khan has been exciting to watch. Straight into the split he was busting out the Jarvan the 4th to show everyone why they need to play it and ever since has been able to flow with every change. The true MVP of LZ isn’t either of them nor is it the infamous duo Pray and Gorilla, who have both been solid performers. BDD has been sitting on an 11 KDA for some time and even boosted it up to almost 16 after LZ’s 2-0 victory over ROX.
The moral of the story is simply that SKT hasn’t been too terrible, but that the rest of LCK has been that good. The meta might not favor SKT, but if they can’t adapt then they will continue their slide. Keep your eyes out for more subs in SKT and just hope they don’t fall in playoffs too early and be forced into a situation similar to season 3.