Quest's Musings Vol. 8: LCK Playoffs and the impact of patch 11.16 in competitive play

And just like that, the fierce race came to a close. The regular season of the 2021 LCK Summer split came to its conclusion on Aug 15. It was a day that made Gen.G fans very happy, as they climbed from 5th place, all the way to 2nd place in the standings. T1 fans were left worried as their form has been on a decline heading towards playoffs; getting 0-2’d by Hanwha Life Esports only grew those worries even further.

 

The 2021 LCK Summer playoffs will be played on patch 11.16. On this week’s Quest’s Musings, I’ll be breaking down the playoffs, as well as a run through of what to look out for in the new patch.


The furious race for the LCK throne. And Worlds.

Image via Riot Korea

Due to the results of the matches on Aug 15, the standings have shook up quite heavily. Because T1 lost to HLE 0-2 and Gen.G beat NS 2-0; this resulted in DWG KIA finishing the split in 1st place, and Gen.G climbing from 5th place to 2nd place. DK/GEN/NS finished the split at 12-6, while T1/LSB/AF finished with a 11-7 record.

 

Both NS and LSB have faltered when things mattered the most; NS would’ve been at least top 2 in the standings if they beat Gen.G on the last day of the regular split. As the two teams that have to overcome a lot more obstacles to prove that they’re the best.

T1 and Gen.G really need to refresh. T1’s heading into playoffs with a loss against Hanwha Life Esports, a match that T1 realistically should’ve won. T1 will need to be thorough to compose themselves for playoffs, starting from draft [Ezreal-Trundle bot lane clearly doesn’t work for them]. Meanwhile, GEN’s going into playoffs with a huge win against NS; however, it looks like their playstyle doesn’t really fit the current meta [Still waiting for Ruler’s Ziggs by the way].

 

Lastly, I’m personally hoping that the Afreeca Freecs will finally be able to turn things around for themselves, and hope they shed their gatekeeper image that they’ve had for so long.

Possible meta changes: patch 11.16.

 

Let’s start with the jungle, the most important role in the game. I think that Diana’s the only ‘good’ AP jungler left in the competitive meta, and the nerfs to her on patch 11.16 did not help her at all. Nidalee is another AP jungler that’s utilized in the LCK, but I think that she’s only good in poke compositions; when paired with other poke champions such as Ziggs, Varus and Jayce.

Jarvan IV buffs on patch 11.16 [image via Riot Games]

Because of how small the jungle champion pool is in the AP side of things, AD junglers will most likely be utilized. Lee Sin/Trundle/Xin Zhao will still be prioritized, but champions like Graves and Jarvan IV also have the possibility of climbing to the top of the jungle meta. For two reasons; both champions received buffs in recent days [Graves in patch 11.14, J4 in the playoff patch], and they can also be flexed into other solo lanes [Graves mid/J4 top]. I actually think the Jarvan buffs are especially huge, and feel that the stars have aligned for him to make his return to competitive play.

 

As for bot laners, Ziggs and Varus should be permaban/permapick champions. Ziggs offers more freedom in picking either AP or AD in a draft, so his versatility is one of his biggest strengths in competitive play. Varus also offers versatility, in the sense where he can either be built AS or poke. Off-meta picks such as Syndra being flexed into bot lane against Aphelios proved to be a viable counter pick, so there’s a lot more freedom in drafting bot lanes.

 

In terms of the solo lanes, not much will have changed from patch 11.15 other than the new champions that can be flexed into multiple roles [ex. Graves/Syndra/J4]. While AP mids do dominate the current mid lane champion pool, be on the lookout for explosive mid-jg duos such as Yasuo-Diana.

Image via Riot Korea

The playoffs will start on Aug 18, with NS facing off against AF in the first round 1 match of the playoffs. For the full schedule of the 2021 LCK Summer split playoffs, please refer to the visual above.

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