Starting with the 2020 Spring Season, the LCK expanded its award season to include several more categories, including “All-LCK Team”, “Best Coach”, “Young Player”, “Regular Season MVP”, “Player of the Split”, and “Finals MVP”.
Of those categories, the “All-LCK Team”, given to the best performing players by position, is the most hotly discussed. Last split, the winners for the first team were Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, Kim “Clid” Tae-min, Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong, Park “Teddy” Jin-seong, and Ryu “Keria” Min-seok. But who will take the award for the Summer Split?
Top laneNuguri aims for his second consecutive title with fewer isolated deaths
Despite DAMWON Gaming's fifth-place finish in spring and the unrelenting focused attacks from his opponents, Nuguri got the best top laner vote. His explosive performance and ability to carry fascinated many and it is how he beat Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee to the top lane award.
This split, Nuguri has a very good chance of a repeat first. Without losing his identity, he has been showing off more stability and has become a much stronger top laner. His average deaths went down from 3.2 to 1.9, and he has fewer isolated deaths too.
Nuguri's stats are towering, and there's nobody that comes close, starting from the lane phase. The GD@15 is 1053, giving Nuguri one Serrated Dirk more than his opponent. Even compared to Choi "Doran" Hyeon-jun, who is second, the GD@15 difference is quite staggering, which also leads to Nuguris CSD@15 and XPD@15 top 1 stats.
The next player worth focusing on is T1 Kim “Canna” Chang-dong. It’s only the second season for him, but his stability and balance are already notable. With 28 solo kills, Canna leads the entire league. His laning isn’t exceptionally strong, but he has the ability to capitalize on his opponents’ weak points and his season-long growth has turned him into the ace of T1.
The second and third team winners of the spring split, Gen.G's Rascal and DRX's Doran, played well and helped their teams to the top of the standings. However, their performances weren’t as impactful as the two above and it seems they will be competing for the third team this time. Rascal is solid but lacks the ability to carry while Doran is rather inconsistent. It's not easy to predict who will be third.
JungleCanyon, undoubtedly the best jungler in Korea
It seems that the jungler spot for the first team would go to DAMWON Gaming as well. This summer, there hasn't been any jungler that could threaten Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu’s position. Canyon completely overcame his slump during spring, perfected his skillset, and developed and extremely wide champion pool.
Canyon's skills are near perfect, especially his ability to scale, which is out of this world. When he plays champions like Nidalee, Karthus, or Lillia, he scales much faster than the enemy jungler and builds a lead large enough to carry the team. There was even a game where his Nidalee was five levels ahead of the opponent Trundle jungle.
Canyon excels at maximizing the effect of the strong laning on the top side. He uses the lane priority to scale himself or sometimes make aggressive movements for skirmishes, collecting kills and assists for his laners. Most of the officials say that Canyon is as good as last summer, where he was awarded the split MVP, or maybe even better. Canyon has the most POG points among the junglers and third-most in the LCK overall.
After Canyon, it's a close race between the junglers of the remaining top four teams — DRX's Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon, Gen.G's Clid, and T1 Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan. Pyosik is ahead in gold and experience difference or DPM, but he makes more critical mistakes than the others. That’s not to neglect all his other abilities, however, as Pyosik is quite a clutch player.
Cuzz and Clid didn’t have a completely satisfying season. Clid played the role of a playmaker for his team during the first round but, on the other hand, Cuzz had great performances towards the end of the season.
Mid laneShowMaker vs Chovy vs Bdd
Among all positions, the mid lane has the fiercest competition, just like it was in spring. Bdd had 155 points during the spring, which was only five points difference from second place Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok came third with 131 points, which was still quite higher than the other lanes. But in the summer split, Heo “ShowMaker” Su is competing instead of Faker.
ShowMaker, Chovy, and Bdd all seem to be a step ahead of the other LCK mid laners, and they are the difference-makers between the top tier teams and the rest of the league.
ShowMaker has the best stats. His KDA is at an unbelievable 16. He is also the only player in the whole LCK that averages fewer than one death per game, and his kills and assists are both higher than Bdd's and Chovy's. As much as DAMWON Gaming snowballs well in the early game, ShowMaker’s average GD@15 minutes is 670 — 300 more than both Bdd and Chovy.
However, the three players are much closer as far as other stats are concerned, and in some, Bdd and Chovy are even ahead. The POG points are very close too. Bdd is first with 1300, ShowMaker is second with 1100, and Chovy is tied for third with 1000.
Still, there is a good chance that the first-team spot would go to ShowMaker, one of the carries of the top-ranked team in the league. What's more, ShowMaker had better performances against Bdd and Chovy in round 2, who stood up as his nemeses.
Bot lane Ruling over the lane, Ruler
Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk has entered his second prime. During spring, Ruler’s performance was a bit lacking to what people expected of him. Before the season started, he was named a top-three ADC alongside Teddy and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, but the spring split results denied his place at the All-LCK team in favor of Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram.
In the summer, Ruler returned to his old top form, perhaps even exceeding expectations. Ruler dominated his opponents game after game, starting from the laning phase. His stats at 15 minutes are the highest among bot laners and he topped the list for team damage percentage and DPM. If the Gen.G of the past aimed for the late game, feeding Ruler and dreaming of a “Ruler ending”, the Gen.G of today snowballs through Ruler’s insane laning strength.
The problem with his champion pool seems solved as well. Apart from staples like Ashe, Ezreal, or Kalista, Ruler even played Caitlyn, Jhin, Jinx, and Senna, which weren't in his repertoire before.
Looking at Ruler’s hot performance during summer, the other bot laners pale a bit in comparison. Their stats are still quite high, so most likely, the second and third-team spots will go to Teddy and Deft.
Support Pantheon BeryL vs Best rookie Keria
Arguably, Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee played the biggest role in DAMWON Gaming’s upturn this summer. BeryL’s aggressive and leading playstyle has a big influence on DWG's early snowball macro. Using unconventional support champions, he has shown his ability in laning and helping out the other lanes as well.
The first champion that comes to mind when discussing BeryL is Pantheon, which shook up the Rift from the first game of the season. In the nine games played, it's 8-1. In addition to Pantheon, BeryL played several unconventional champions such as Maokai, Wukong, Sejuani, or Poppy. Finally, BeryL has deep understanding of the game and is, therefore, one of the main shotcallers of the team and he often brings the team together in comms through his quick decision making.
DRX Keria, was won Rookie of the Split in spring and was voted in on the All-LCK first team, is still as hot. Playing his large champion pool with confidence, Keria has the most POG points as a support with 800. BeryL is ahead in terms of impact, but Keria’s performance isn’t to be belittled.
If BeryL is picked on the first team, the summer split would conclude as a festival for DAMWON Gaming.