The 2022 LCK Summer split finally kicked off on June 15, and with week 1 wrapping up, we've now seen every LCK team come back stronger than the Spring split versions of themselves. With the addition of the durability patch and subsequent gameplay shift, it’s essentially become a race to see who can figure out the meta first and hone their teamwork best.
In recent years, we’ve seen the support role be the most versatile in the LCK at least. From those that make the seemingly impossible hooks [before Faker, there was MadLife], to essentially map hacking through the vision game [Mata], to just snowballing other lanes with their presence, they’re the players that need to have a broader sense of vision in the game, as they tend to spend more time looking at the minimap.
Here are the top 5 support players you should be keeping an eye out for the 2022 LCK Summer split.
5. Kim “Life” Jeong-min - kt Rolster
Life is someone who has shown consistent growth since his early days as a pro player. Having spent the start of his career with Gen.G, the most notable point of his career came with the same team in the ‘20 & ‘21 season. As part of Gen.G’s ‘Fellowship of the Ring’ roster, he helped bring the team to Worlds, where they lost to EDward Gaming in the semifinals 2-3.
Life joined kt Rolster for the ‘21 season in the LCK. While KT hasn’t shown promising results in the Spring split, Life proved that his time with Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk was a period of tremendous growth as a pro player. However, while Life has shown that while he can play at an elevated level on his signature champions like Sett, he’s yet to show the same gameplay on others. This is not to discredit him in any way, it just shows that he’s still a young player with more room for growth.
They say that KT always comes back stronger in the Summer, so will Life be able to carry his team to Worlds this year? Will he be able to return to the Worlds’ stage two years in a row?
4. Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu - DWG KIA
Born in 2001, Kellin was a relatively undervalued player during his early days with Jin Air Green Wings. He found moderate success when he met his current DWG KIA bot lane partner, Seo “deokdam” dae-gil, on Team Dynamics [Nongshim RedForce]. After a successful split in the ‘21 LCK season, he and deokdam were picked up by DWG KIA.
In a recent interview with DWG KIA’s mid laner ShowMaker, he stated the following:
“During [the] Spring [split], we didn’t have too many options as a team. Although the meta changed from scaling in the side lanes, what I’ll say now is that our mid-jungle can play greedy and have more options.”
Even in the year that DWG KIA won Worlds, their bot lane, Ghost-BeryL, was considered to be their weak side. However, the ‘deokdam-Kellin’ duo seemed to reinforce their weak side, providing more options to play out the game for DWG KIA this season. With many teams expecting DWG KIA to be one of the top teams of the split, will Kellin be able to bring DWG KIA to the finals stage once again? Will they make it to Worlds and live up to fan expectations once again?
3. Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee - DRX
BeryL is a player who’s shown a new level of innovative gameplay in the support role. He was the first player to discover, showcase, and dominate with non-traditional support champions like Pantheon.
However, he’s a player who’s very hit or miss. When he’s on his game, he looks like one of the best supports in the world. But when he’s not, his plays have a tendency to make people’s heads tilt in confusion. Will he be able to showcase his distinct qualities as a support with DRX and carry his team into playoffs and Worlds this year?
2. Son “Lehends” Si-woo - Gen.G
As 1/5th of the legendary Griffin squad, it's fair to say Lehends had quite a slump when he was on Afreeca Freecs [Kwangdong Freecs]. However, once he was picked up by Gen.G for their superstar roster this split, a second chapter of his pro player career began, and this part of story is just full of domination.
Not only has he proven that he and Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk is arguably one of, if not, the best bot lane in the LCK, he’s shown innovation on the Rift as well, with his off-meta picks like Singed [he was the first player to pick Singed in the support role]. He was even named Player of the Game in his recent match against DWG KIA on day 6 of the 2022 LCK Summer, where he did showcase the signature Singed.
After losing to T1 in the 2022 LCK Spring finals, Lehends and his team look even stronger and more motivated in this split. Will he finally be able to capture his first LCK title? Given his desperation to return to the international stage this year, just how well will he perform at Worlds?
1. Ryu “Keria” Min-seok - T1
Keria’s a player who seems like his boundaries as a player are limitless. He was already making a name for himself even as a rookie player on DRX, but his splits with T1, especially this past Spring split, is where he ascended to the next level.
It felt like he unlocked the ability to see the future, but exclusively on the Rift. He’s had multiple highlight reel moments where it seems like he was almost trolling by engaging on his enemies by himself, but turned out to be plays that alley-ooped them to his teammates. He was an integral part of T1’s undefeated run in the Spring split, and without his influence as a player who sees the bigger picture of the game, T1 would not be standing where they stand today.
However, he and T1 seemed vulnerable during MSI. While there’s no doubt that they’re still a very talented team, it’s undeniable that they’re struggling to find the same footing as the V10 team since their loss to RNG in the MSI finals. Keria stated the following in a recent interview: “The quality of our gameplay is very low. I hate it. We’ll need to play smarter. We need to be good at the things we’re good at, and not give any room for the enemy to make good plays.”
He also explained in the same interview that the current role of a support player is vastly different from that of the Spring split, mostly due to the recent massive changes to the game; the durability patch.
“In the current meta, it’s hard for the support to make plays on their own. It’s different from my playstyle, and it makes me a bit angry. It’s hard to make something happen through roams or tower pressure. Right now, the support’s role is to follow around the jungler, prioritize objectives, and take care of the carries to hit their power spikes. Almost like a nanny."
T1 still remains undefeated in the Summer split so far, but they’ve struggled more than anyone anticipated in the two matches that they played. Will Keria and T1 find their footing, win the Summer Split and become back to back regional champions? And if so, how will they perform at Worlds this year?
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