It’s been already two weeks since the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) went on a hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. Riot Korea did announce the possibility of the Spring Split resuming in an online format, but to the fans who are longing for LCK matches, it’s not enough.
In that while, Inven had a chance to track down Kim “Wadid” Bae-in who has been appearing at the analyst desk in the LCK. In the online conversation, we were able to hear about Wadid’s candid thoughts about the first round, not as a player, but as an analyst. As we wrapped up the interview, Wadid said that he discussed things that he wouldn’t have if he were active as a player. As everyone’s longing for the second round to begin, let’s have a look back at the teams and meta of the first round.
Gen.G EsportsThe cleanest performance among the top-tier teams
It seems that the players worked hard to fit themselves into the mold called Gen.G. I like the fact that they showed Gen.G’s style regarding gameplay or macro. The game time was very short and I think they delivered the cleanest performance among the top-tier teams.
Frankly, before the season started, I thought Gen.G wouldn’t be able to do that well in the spring. I personally think the teams with veterans would do well early in the season, because I thought that teams with many rookies can only blossom in the summer. It may have helped that there were no spectators due to the coronavirus epidemic. LoL Park surprisingly has more seats and spectators compared to other leagues. This is also a part that cannot be passed without consideration. The players probably were affected by this as well.
I’m not sure about Gen.G’s intention of starting Kellin early in the season and Life later in the season. As an analyst, it’s clear that Life isn’t a six-tool support. There are things that he’s good at, but it would be awkward to put the title “Korea’s best support” on him. Maybe Gen.G intended good competition between the two players. I think Korea uses this “good competition” well. Gen.G would want to have Life grow and they would have also wanted to have Kellin improve as well. It probably motivated both of them.
T1Synergy between the players is improving… Faker seems to be back to his prime
I also think T1 did really well. Not many people would have thought that they would do this well. Their head coach, Kim Jeong-soo also had said that they failed to sign a good top laner and expressed his worries about the upper half. Objectively, T1 doesn’t seem that strong, but I can say that T1 wasn’t able to make the greatest choice, but they made the best choice among the options they had. I said this at least five times in my streams (Laughs). The league is stopped right now; I think this would be a great chance for T1.
It feels that Faker is back closer to his prime this year. Last year, SK Telecom T1 had good results, but to name the best mid laner, there were many that came to mind before Faker. I watched Faker’s plays very closely. As a person who watched all the matches very closely this season, I can say that he seems to be doing well what coach Kim requested of him. Of course, there were off days, but compared to last year, he’s been doing better even in the worst situations.
Usually, the mid and jungle go together, but I want to tie Faker with Teddy. The synergy between the T1 damage dealers is improving constantly. Their positioning in teamfights is splendid. When Faker and Teddy were positioned well, I rarely saw them lose teamfights. In my opinion, Faker having more stable performances compared to last year had something to do with Teddy’s role. The problem with Teddy last year was his performance in international stages. There were a lot of non-ADCs and all kinds of champions appeared. The current meta can make Teddy really shine.
DragonXUnderperforming top and jungle? It means they can improve more
Q. Last week, you had an interesting(?) “issue” with Pyosik. You picked Pyosik as the most overrated player and cvMax said that to Pyosik.
When I was saying that in my stream, the chat said that Pyosik was mourning. I thought it was just a joke, but when I saw Keria’s stream, it was true. Although it may have been offensive to him, Pyosik seemed to be reflecting on himself. I really hope that he does well in Round 2 and says that Wadid knows nothing about LoL (Laughs).
Going more into detail, it’s clear that there are things Pyosik lacks. However, I believe that his mechanics are the most intuitive among the junglers. If his macro improves, he’ll definitely become a fearsome player. Doran has to get more consistent and has actually been improving. This means that DragonX can improve more.
I mentioned Keria often in my stream; it’s because he was really good. I only see the players' performances. Last year, I thought Effort was the best player. This season, it’s Keria. I often watch the POVs from the backstage and Keria’s just simply good. He really made me think that I want to return as a player.
Afreeca FreecsShouldn’t become a Kiin one-man-team
Kiin played like Kiin, but I think the other players did really well too. Obviously, Kiin is currently the best top laner in the LCK. Even so, the reason Afreeca Freecs isn’t in the top 3 is that their mid lane isn’t enough. It did feel that Fly blended well into the team in the last match although he fell behind in lane. If they improve as a team, Afreeca will become stronger. However, if they become a Kiin one-man-team instead of a “team”, they won’t get any better.
I originally rated Mystic as a very good ADC. When I heard that Afreeca signed Mystic, I thought it was a great choice. I’ve always thought that Spirit was better than Dread in the jungle, but Dread proved himself in the last match of Round 1, so I thought both of them were quite alright.
However, compared to Clid-Bdd, whoever it was, Afreeca’s mid-jungle seems weaker. If Afreeca is able to have solid synergy between their mid and jungle, they may be able to climb to higher places, as they did in the KeSPA Cup. Again, if they become a “Kiin team” or “Mystic team” instead of “team Afreeca”, it won’t happen.
DAMWON GamingThe sharpness of mid-jungle gon, Nuguri still dominating
There are two teams that made me wonder during the entire Round 1. They are DAMWON and SANDBOX. I kept thinking, ‘why aren’t they doing well?’ Their members haven’t changed that much and they’ve been doing so well before the season started. Maybe because of the changed coaching staff? They might be in the process of adapting to the changed system.
Anyways, what’s sure is that DAMWON’s mid-jungle are fumbling compared to last year. Last year, only about the top 3 upper halves of the LCK were able to go face to face with DAMWON’s upper half. However, they’re not that strong even against the lower teams. They’re not as sharp anymore. On the other hand, Nuguri seems to be even better than last year. I was dumbfounded while watching. It was a match that they were losing completely, but Nuguri hyper-carried and won.
I think Nuclear is always the “human shield” for DAMWON. Although he isn’t getting the best evaluation, I think he’s doing well enough. The bot lane is affected by both the bot laner and support. DAMWON had been sharing time among two players, so there would have been difficult parts. The bot duo synergy hasn’t come to the top yet which probably would have been a problem.
In my eyes, Ghost has great mechanics and shotcalls but lacks mental. It may be difficult, but he would have to prove himself. DAMWON is an upper-half-team; DAMWON’s bot laner needs to have strong mental. This game isn’t won by having all five players super-carrying. If one side carries, the other side has to stand ground and deal with the opponent’s attacks. In that matter, whether Ghost can stand that or not could be an important point for DAMWON to improve.
kt RolsterThere’s still more to go in top lane
Before the season started, I rated KT highly. I might be earning myself the nickname “WaPele” (Laughs). I thought the combination of veterans and young players would be great, but they struggled too much early in the season. The bot lane wasn’t strong enough. Kuro has been doing well all the time. He had a major role in their winning streak later in the season.
Whenever looking at TusiN, he reminded me of Hylissang. Hylissang is incredibly good when he’s on his top performance. There’s nothing you can do about him when his performance is at his peak. From engaging, positioning, teamfights, shotcalls… He does everything alone. But when he’s not doing well, you don’t know when he’ll stop falling. It would be right to say that he’s inconsistent. I do think that TusiN is a better player than Hylissang, but there were parts where TusiN was falling indefinitely. As a support, I completely understand; TusiN would have been given many roles within the team. The support and jungle are responsible for the vision so TusiN would be taking care of much of the macro. Since he had to do too much on his hands, he may not have had enough time to manage the basics.
Both top laners of KT have more to go. It seems that they’re in the lowest group in the LCK. Both players have been appearing, but the champions they play are always similar. If Sett isn’t banned, they play Sett, otherwise, they often play Kennen or Gnar. The style of those two picks is normally not dying in top lane and not falling too much behind until teamfights. I think it’s time for KT to let go of Kennen and Gnar. Those two champions have a limit unless they’re really good. Gnar is a difficult champion. KT goes well with easy-strong champions. There’s no need to go around.
Hanwha Life EsportsLack of damage dealers, supporting roles shine more
(To the interviewer) When you write articles about Hanwha Life, you probably would be starting the headline with Lehends, CuVee, or Haru. The roles that get more attention are the supporting roles rather than the damage dealers. It seems that Hanwha Life has a long-term plan. If they went into surgery, the result of the surgery has to come out quickly. Wouldn’t it be really sad if they went into the surgery room a month ago and there’s no word? The break we have now would be like a painkiller for Hanwha Life.
If Hanwha Life was looking at the results from early in the season, they would have changed the players around. If it were up to me, I would have banned Aphelios while playing Lava and Zenit, in my words, band-aid strategy. However, Hanwha Life went with Vsta, looking into the future and waiting for him to reach his potential or higher.
Like KT, there should be many roles that Lehends is taking care of. Lehends originally isn’t a conventional support. Even when no one else was playing Yuumi, he played Yuumi, and when everyone played Thresh with Aftershock, he played Thresh with Unsealed Spellbook. He’s an unconventional support; in a strong team, that could work as one of the main cards, but in a team like Hanwha Life, there’s a demand for leadership. Lehends may have to let go of a lot of what he’s known for.
SANDBOX GamingIndecisiveness of who to play
I think SANDBOX was way too indecisive. They should have played Joker who they were playing all along or should have gone with GorillA for the long-term plan even if the results weren’t good. They were like, “we’re not winning with GorillA. Should we play Joker?” and then “Joker’s not winning either. What should we do?” That didn’t go well for the team and I think that affected the top lane as well. They were good until the KeSPA Cup so it’s regretful. I really thought SANDBOX would do well this season.
APK PrinceA unique LCK rookie
If the wild card team is decided based on who’s doing really great, it would be APK. They have a unique style, and they showed it at the end of Round 1. Especially, their ADC, Hybrid’s performance was noticeable. I’ve been emphasizing the importance of the damage dealers up to now. The later the game goes, it’s their game. The reason APK was able to drag the game into the late game was because of their ADC. In the same matter, I’d like to see MIA more often.
GriffinThe mid lane’s form has to rise for the team to rise
I thought Griffin would obviously be at least around the middle of the standings. The top, jungle, and ADC have experience at Worlds and the LCK finals. The mid laner has an LCK championship. The only rookie is their support, but that rookie would have learned over the back of Lehends. Just with this, they’re an insane team. It wouldn’t be awkward to see them in 4th place.
I think Griffin may be an “unlucky Afreeca”. Sword is actually doing his role better than expected, but he wasn’t a one-man-carry style in the first place. Tarzan used to be called the best jungler in Korea, but as he’s a jungler, the mid lane has much influence. In that regard, Ucal and Naehyun have been showing disappointing performances. They feel like typical low-tier-team mid laners. Ucal seems to have become more serious and careful. I hope to see him overcome this difficult situation with confidence, with his values.
Going into the draft, it would be talking off the results. The only time the draft was actually a problem was just one game against DAMWON. They weren’t able to win starting from the draft in that game. Other than that, there weren’t any problems. The synergy between the players was the issue. The picks and bans are usually more about the players. The coaches usually just suggest a guideline. Since the players share the responsibility, their current placement isn’t just the fault of the coaching staff.
Of course, there’s still a chance for them to bounce back. As I mentioned about Afreeca, their mid lane has to do well. The mid laner’s form has to rise for the team to rise. I can’t emphasize enough about the importance of mid lane. All the top-tier teams’ mid lanes are solid.
Q. We've discussed the first round of the 2020 LCK Spring Split. Do you have anything to say to the fans?
I'm not sure how people would react. I don't read communities often so I don't know, but I've heard that people evaluate me quite well as an analyst. I'm very thankful. I was also asked that if I'm not worried about the reactions after being harsh. I personally think what I say isn't very harsh. It's what happens in sports.
Also, the reason I'm able to say these things is because my role right now is appropriate for it. If I was an active player at the analyst desk, I wouldn't have been this candid. I'm speaking as "analyst Wadid" instead of "player Wadid"; I'd appreciate it if you keep that in mind. I'm thankful for all the positive reactions. I'll do my best to be back with better content. Everyone, please take care.
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.