On the 17th (KST), round 1 of the 2020 LCK Summer split came to a conclusion. While many of the top teams from the Spring split were still standing at the top of the standings, the order of these teams were vastly different from Spring.
The ‘Elite 4’ of the LCK are still DragonX, DAMWON Gaming, Gen.G, and T1. However, the dominance that T1 showed in Spring seemed to be missing, as their decline in performance has been evident through some match losses that, quite frankly, should’ve never happened. While Afreeca Freecs and kt Rolster are in the middle of the pack, no one expected the newcomers to the LCK, Team Dynamics, to perform as well as they did in round 1.
Last April, Team Dynamics were promoted into the LCK via the LCK Summer Promotion tournament. While many have discredited them and predicted that they won’t be able to perform in the LCK, they showed much promise throughout round 1. The high and low points of their performance were clear as day. Their losses made them look as helpless as ever, but their wins showed that they can even go head to head with the top teams in the LCK.
SANDBOX Gaming, SeolHaeOne Prince, and Hanwha Life Esports ended round 1 at the bottom of the LCK standings. While teams in the bottom of the standings continue to show the same flaws as Spring, the most notable team out of the three definitely has to be SB. The timeline of the team can easily divided into before and after YamatoCannon got out of his mandatory two-week, COVID-19 quarantine, as the team climbed out of a five-match losing streak to go on a four-game winning streak, and looks to threaten a spot in the middle of the pack to keep their playoff hopes alive.
This past week, Inven Global conducted ‘LCK Reflections’, a series of interviews in which various head coaches of the LCK teams were interviewed to reflect back on their teams’ performances in round 1, and what their teams needed to do to improve in round 2. While the answers they provided were different from one another, they all spoke in unified intent of becoming LCK champions.
Coach Kim of T1 shared that the team’s underperforming at the moment, so solidarity with in-game calls is one of the key things that the team needs to work on to be back in top shape. The interim head coach for Gen.G, oDin, stated that the player mentality sometimes crumbles after losses in important matches, so for success in round 2 and beyond, he credited player mentality as the most important thing that Gen.G needs refining. YamatoCannon of SB stated that refining the fundamentals of the team’s gameplay will be critical for the team, and the team’s growth will come from continuing to tackle the problems that they face after each match.
Meanwhile, the head coaches for the top two teams in the LCK, Zefa and cvMax, offered answers that were different. Zefa of DWG stated that the way they 'end' games needs refining, as he felt that how the team closed out the games, especially against the top LCK teams, looked quite shaky. CvMax of DRX stated that the finite details in their gameplay is what the team needs for round 2, as he felt that even when the team’s ahead, there’s always that insecurity that’ll make the team lose grip of the game.
With keywords such as 'Solidarity', 'Mentality', 'Fundamentals', 'ending' and 'details' being mentioned by various head coaches, it’s clear that each team has different paths to improvement and growth. There’s only about a month left of the regular season of the 2020 LCK Summer split, so it’ll be curious to see the standings being shaken up.
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