Less than 24 hours remain until the LCK returns to broadcast. This week, I felt like I was playing Majora’s Mask: I was counting down the days until not only going back to see my peers in the media room but to also see the fans at LoL Park at full capacity again. It’s the first time since COVID has started, so I can’t wait for the arena to be filled with cheers from the audience.
Day 1 of the 2022 LCK Spring split kicks off with two matches: DRX vs. Liiv SANDBOX and T1 vs. Kwangdong Freecs and below is our previw.
DRX vs. Liiv SANDBOX
Following their abysmal performance last Summer, DRX have really spent money on bringing in proven talent onto their team. They balanced out their roster quite well, with veteran bot lane Deft-BeryL balancing out their younger top side of Kingen-Pyosik-Zeka.
On the flip side, LSB have built their roster around young, rookie prospects. With promising names such as Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon, who has shown moderate success during his time on T1, and Kim “Croco” Dong-beom, who received much praise from LCK insiders, LSB’s 2022 roster definitely shows talent. One other notable member of this roster is Kim “Dove” Jae-yeon, as he role-swapped from mid to top.
During the 2022 LCK Media Day last week, DRX head coach Kim "Kim" Jung-su stated that “Deft & BeryL will be able to carry the team once they’re in the mid-late game.” DRX’s bot lane is definitely their biggest win condition, and whether LSB’s rookie bot lane will be able to shut them down remains to be seen.
In counter-balance, LSB’s biggest win condition will undoubtedly rely on their mid-jungle duo, their ability to gain leads in the early-mid game, and ultimately shut down DRX’s scaling in the bot lane. Individually, Lee "Clozer" Ju-hyeon and Kim "Croco" Dong-beom have definitely shown that they have talent but just how much synergy exists between them is still untested.
T1 vs Kwangdong Freecs
With the exception of their top lane, T1 continue to field the same roster from 2021. Following the departure of Kim “Canna” Chang-dong, Choi “Zeus” Woo-je fills his shoes as the team’s starting top laner. On the other hand, Kwangdong Freecs (the re-brand of Afreeca Freecs) went through multiple roster changes and ended in a diametrically opposite situation to T1: they only kept their top laner in Kim “Kiin” Ki-in and replaced everyone else.
While KDF’s roster is no pushover, T1 head into this match with an edge in their team synergy, built throughout the entire 2021. Still, KDF pack enough firepower to be dubbed "the little T1" or "T1 2.0", which could help them to finally shed the nickname "Gatekeepers of the LCK".
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