Week 6 saw the most controversial roster change of this year’s LCK: at the Summer Split half-point, T1 fired Yang “Daeny” Dae-in and Lee “Zefa’ Jae-min — the coaching staff that led their previous team, DAMWON Gaming, to the world championship title in 2020. To replace them, T1 appointed Son “Stardust” Seok-hee as interim coach and Kim “Moment” Ji-hwan as strategic coach.
In this week’s Quest’s Musings, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on T1’s controversial shuffle and also examine the meta changes that will come with the implementation of patch 11.14 in week 7 of the LCK.
Early terminations of the coaching staff now a trend with T1
For the second year in a row, T1 has fired its coaching staff prior to their contract expiration. In 2020, T1 released head coach Kim "Kim" Jeong-soo right after the team failed to qualify for Worlds. Now, Daeny and Zefa were terminated with just eight games left in the split.
Despite the immediate press conference held, General Manager Choi “Polt” Seong-hun refused to provide any clear answer as to why Daeny and Zefa were sacked. The coaches themselves gave statements on their personal social media accounts saying that while the decision was very unexpected, they will not comment on the management’s decision during the rest of the season, and wished T1 the best of luck.
Players also unified in their support and respect for their former coaches in the interviews they gave last week. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and Ryu “Keria” Min-seok both credited their intake of in-game knowledge to Daeny and Zefa, and thanked them for their efforts.
It’s really hard to form a perspective on the matter when we don’t have all the knowledge behind Daeny and Zefa’s firing. The mutual respect that the players and the former coaches have shown is wholesome and all, but this is the 2nd year in a row where T1 has fired their coaching staff before their contracts have ended, and this year, it was only with eight matches left in the Summer split.
No one but T1 themselves will ever know the exact reasons behind the firing of the world champion coaches, Daeny-Zefa. However, the T1 management believes that they’ve made the right decision that will ultimately help them achieve their goals. While T1 did beat both kt Rolster and DWG KIA with Stardust-Moment, it’s way too early to say that T1 looks better. 'Time will tell' is a vanilla cliche for their LoL team, but for the T1 management, they’ll need to look beyond and find a solution to their trend of firing their coaches before their end of term.
New champions to expect in week 7 [patch 11.14]
There are a couple of champions that I think that will make it back into competitive play, (assuming that LCK will be ahead of the curve in meta). There are four championsthat had their kit slightly reworked in patch 11.14, but for competitive play, Irelia and Lillia are the two that's only worth talking about.
In my opinion, the biggest adjustment to Irelia's kit comes with her W, Defiant Dance; it now reduces both physical and magical damage while active, and also now does a little bit more damage than before. This buff was big enough for pros and amateur players to max her W first in solo queue.
Lillia on the other hand, does a bit more damage in the mid-late game, has sustain in her passive, but has slower jungle clears early. Riot Games shared that their goal of this mini-rework is to be able to make her perform better in the skirmish-heavy jungle meta.
Lillia wasn’t completely out of the LCK meta, but she has definitely fallen since the Spring split. I feel that these changes will make her a great AP jungler [assuming that Diana’s banned], especially with AP mythic items being cheaper and Rumble not being so great as before. Irelia, on the other hand, is very dependent on matchups, so I don’t think she’ll be as high priority as Lillia.
On the side of buffed champions, I think that Graves, Seraphine and Taric are the three most notable champions. Graves only got his base AD buffed from 66 to 68, but I think that this small buff can potentially put him back on the map, both as a jungler and a mid laner (Lethality Graves).
Seraphine got buffed in patch 11.11, but saw little to no competitive action around the world, let alone LCK. Her AP ratios on her Q, High Note, got buffed from 40/45/50/55/60% to 45/50/55/60/65%, and I think this second buff will give her the nudge that she needs to return to the LCK.
Lastly, Taric’s Q and E now cost less mana. He’s a champion that was always gated by mana problems, to the point where Tear of the Goddess was part of his build many eons ago, back when he was in the meta. With these buffs, it’ll be a crime for him to not return to the meta.
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