Half of the LCK 2019 Spring Season has already passed and round 2 is on. Certain rookie teams are on the rise while some old teams have been struggling to keep their performance up; the situation is unusual, but for spectators, it has been very exciting. Other than Griffin, who are currently standing far above all the other teams, and Jin Air Green Wings, the team with no victories, all the teams placed in between are fiercely competing to climb the ranks in the last few remaining matches.
It’s quite satisfying to see a team win through equal and focused effort, but it is also pretty amazing to see a team win thanks mainly to the extraordinary efforts of one player. The players responsible for the latter are often named ‘MVPs’. In this new and unusual season, which players are most deserving of that MVP title?
1. Griffin Chovy: 900PThe Team Pillar That’s in a League All His Own
Chovy made his debut in the 2018 Summer Season. At the time, the mid laner that guided Griffin to the LCK stage was Rather. He and Chovy used to take turns playing during the early season, and Chovy began to play in the starting lineup more and more; this helped him strengthen his great potential as a mid laner along with Ucal.
As the 2019 Spring Season drew near, all of Chovy’s rookie tendencies seemed to vanish and he became an almost perfect mid laner. There seemed to be no area he was lacking in -- super plays, stability, champion pool, etc. His favorite picks this season were Akali and Zoe - each played 6 times - and now that Akali is nerfed, Zoe will be his biggest weapon.
2. SKT T1 Clid: 700PThe Most Wanted Player During the Trading Window
Clid is one of the players that got the most calls from many teams during the trading window. His name wasn’t as renowned in South Korea, but he had already shown what he is capable of in the LPL. With how the LCK was overwhelmed by the LPL’s playstyle, it seemed like a blessing when Clid - who was already familiar with the LPL-style jungling - joined the LCK’s dream team, SKT T1.
Despite it being his debut in the LCK, it seemed like Clid didn’t need to take time to adapt. He won 7 out of 11 times when picking Lee Sin, a champion known to be heavily reliant on the player’s mechanical skill. He also scored 3 wins with Jarvan IV. He recently showed some instability when T1 lost to DAMWON Gaming, but many players believe that Clid is still a player they can trust to perform well.
3. SANDBOX Ghost: 700PFrom a Simple Ghost to a ‘Holy Spirit’
If fans were to pick an LCK player who has improved the most since last year, many would immediately pick Ghost. Ghost went through his worst season with bbq Olivers and didn’t receive much attention when he joined SANDBOX Gaming.
But now Ghost seems to be at his peak strength with his new teammates -- he was even picked as MVP 7 times. He made a bold move by picking Draven multiple times, even though he isn’t a very popular bot lane pick; despite this, he scored 3 wins, 0 losses. He also picked several different AP champions like Vladimir and Viktor, which caused his fans to grant him the nickname of ‘Holy Spirit’. However, his performing suffered from the losses against Afreeca Freecs and Kingzone DragonX. His team has another game against Afreeca Freecs; it will be a huge disaster for SBG if they lose, but fans are hopeful that the Holy Spirit will pull through.
4. DAMWON Gaming ShowMaker: 500PA Team Full of MVPs with ShowMaker at the Top
DAMWON Gaming was one of the teams that got a lot of attention from the fans when they made it to the LCK after placing first in last year’s Challengers Korea Summer Playoffs. Although their 2W:4L performance in the early season did not match expectations, they later managed to make it to 4th place in the standings with 6 wins and 4 losses following a nice winning streak. ShowMaker, their mid laner, is placed 1st in the team for the MVP points with 500 points, and 7th in the total MVP ranking; this isn’t very high if you consider how the whole team is placed 4th.
On the other hand, this also means that everyone on the team earned a good portion of MVP points. Punch got 300 points, Nuguri 200 points, and Canyon, Nuclear, Hoit, and the recent newcomer Flame all got 100 points. ShowMaker, meanwhile, has taken 500 points and placed 1st in the team. His performance has been outstanding as of late, especially with his Le Blanc, who he has scored 4 wins with.
5. Kingzone DragonX Deft: 900PThe Best Bot Lane in the LCK?
In the case of Kingzone Dragon X, Deft’s performance is overwhelming compared to the team’s ranking. KZ is placed 5th, although Deft is placed 1st along with Chovy for total MVP points. Deft has shown performance befitting a veteran AD Carry; he has proven that a hard-scaled AD Carry can carry the game just as well as 5 scaled mid laners can.
Deft also showed us just how annoying a skilled Ezreal can be when he completed building 2 core items in just 15 minutes while playing against SD on February 23rd. While Deft’s MVP is good for him, it also implies that his team is quite reliant on him. If they wish to climb higher, the rest of the team needs to catch up to Deft.
6. Hanwha Life Esports Tempt: 600PTransferees Still in Action?
People have said that Hanwha Life Esports has been improving ever since their team was created. However, their improvement has not really lead to a big change in their team ranking. Players who underperformed last year, like Thal, Tempt, and bonO, are certainly doing better than before, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough.
Out of all of them though, Tempt has the best performance at the moment. He seems to have taken over Lava, who was originally part of the starting lineup for their mid lane in the early season until Tempt started to play more. However, if they wish to aim higher, other players on the team will need to really ramp up their improvement rate.
7. Gen.G Esports Ruler: 600PThe Last Hope for Gen.G…
As expected, Gen.G Esports’ Ruler has the most MVP points on the team. Among the 9 set victories Gen.G has secured so far, Ruler is responsible for 6. While Ruler is at the top, Life-Fly-Roach received 100 points each.
Their current condition is a bit rough for a team that has made it to 2 World Finals and claimed a Worlds trophy. Although they were off to a good start before the split - coming in a close second place in the KeSPA Cup - this Spring, every role in the team seems shaky except for Ruler’s. The burden on his shoulders is a heavy one.
8. Afreeca Freecs Kiin: 400PKorean National Team’s Top Laner
Much like Gen.G, Afreeca Freecs also has a very strong player - one who has consistently been delivering solid performance. That player in question in Kiin. This top laner is capable of carrying games even when his team is at a huge disadvantage. Kiin’s Jayce performance has been exceptional, especially during the matchup against SANDBOX Gaming. He is undoubtedly one of the best top laners in the current LoL scene.
However, not many players have been able to maintain top-tier performance for more than a year. It’s a pity for Afreeca Freecs since they’re underperforming even with such a prominent top laner. The good news is that their ‘experimental’ strategies have finally worked out. Because of this, there is a high possibility that Afreeca will bounce back in round 2 and recover the performance they displayed last Summer.
9. kt Rolster SnowFlower and Bdd: 200P Each
KT Rolster - the champions of the 2018 LCK Summer and a team that has experienced Worlds - is stuck in 9th place. Their players have low MVP points since they have not won a lot of games. Bdd and SnowFlower have the highest points in the team at 200 each; they are the only 2 players that are performing quite well on a team that is currently being criticized for its performance.
In the case of kt, they are a team that failed to fix a ‘starting 5’ during round 1. They frequently changed their starters during this split. Although it seems like they did find a concrete starting lineup with Zenit delivering solid performance, they still seem shaky. At times, it seemed like they could maintain their pace and plays to the mid-game. However, kt Rolster’s mid to late game macro has been consistently sub-par. KT Rolster will have to give us something new since they won’t be performing this week.
10. Jin Air Green Wings Grace: 100P“Omnishambles”... The One and Only MVP
Jin Air is going through their worst split so far. Although they’ve never climbed high in the standings, Jin Air still successfully delivered an “LCK level” performance and sat in the middle of the standings. However, this team has lost their way this Spring; they still have not won a series. Jin Air has only a single set score win against Gen.G Esports.
In that single win, Grace was named the MVP. Despite the fact that he and Lindarang are the only 2 players that are playing their roles, Grace still has to display something more in order to lead his team out of this miserable state.
2019 LCK Spring Split MVP Standings
* as of Feb. 26th
1. Chovy Griffin 900
1. Deft Kingzone DragonX 900
3. Ghost SANDBOX Gaming 700
3. Clid SKT T1 700
5. Ruler Gen.G Esports 600
5. Tempt Hanwha Life Esports 600
7. ShowMaker DAMWON Gaming 500
7. Tarzan Griffin 500
7. Summit SANDBOX Gaming 500
10. Faker SKT T1 400
10. Teddy SKT T1 400
10. Kiin Afreeca Freecs 400
13. OnFleek SANDBOX Gaming 300
13. Punch DAMWON Gaming 300
13. Viper Griffin 300
16. Lava Hanwha Life Esports 200
16. Aiming Afreeca Freecs 200
16. Sword Griffin 200
16. Thal Hanwha Life Esports 200
16. Bdd kt Rolster 200
16. TusiN Kingzone DragonX 200
16. SnowFlower kt Rolster 200
16. Nuguri DAMWON Gaming 200
24. Life Gen.G Esports 100
24. Fly Gen.G Esports 100
24. Dread Afreeca Freecs 100
24. Canyon DAMWON Gaming 100
24. Nuclear DAMWON Gaming 100
24. Hoit DAMWON Gaming 100
24. Roach Gen.G Esports 100
24. Kingen kt Rolster 100
24. Score kt Rolster 100
24. Lehends Griffin 100
24. bonO Hanwha Life Esports 100
24. Key Hanwha Life Esports 100
24. Grace Jin Air Green Wings 100
24. Zenit kt Rolster 100
24. Rascal Kingzone DragonX 100
24 Cuzz Kingzone DragonX 100
24. Dove SANDBOX Gaming 100
24. Khan SKT T1 100
24. Flame DAMWON Gaming 100