League of Legends

Hot Stove of the LCK - Who are the winners of the offseason?

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The ‘hot stove’ of the League of Legends scene has been boiling over madly after the World Championship seems soon to be concluded. During mid-November, free agents started looking for teams all around the world. You’ll never know how it is until you open the lid and look, but there seem to be some winners and losers of the stove league.

Many teams were rebuilt in the LCK. There were a lot of transitions. Several players and coaches went abroad, such as Peanut or kkOma. Even within the league, stars like Clid or CuVee went to different teams. Here, let’s have a look at how the changes were for each team.

※ As of Dec. 16th official rosters

Completely differentRebuilt thoroughly in preparation for the 2020 LCK

One of the most noticeable changes for the teams is kt Rolster. KT had gone to the promotions/relegations series for the first time in the history of their team. They took drastic measures during the offseason and changed every member of the team.

KT filled in the bot lane first, which was recognized as the biggest weakness of the team. By signing Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram and Park “TusiN” Jong-ik, they started off with a strong lower half. They then reached out to some veterans that were active in foreign leagues. They signed Jeon “Ray” Ji-won and Lee “Kuro” Seo-haeng. Additionally, KT brought in Kim “bonO” Gi-beom, Kim “Malrang” Geun-seong, and Kim “SoHwan” Jun-yeong.

The coaching staff that had been around for long, Oh “ZanDarC” Chang-jong, Jeong “NoEX” Je-seung, and Son “Sonstar” Seung-ik, was changed to former Kingzone DragonX’s Kang “Hirai” Dong-hoon, Choi “supreme” Seung-min, and Choi “Acorn” Cheon-ju. KT Rolster was once called a ‘super team’. Will they be able to retrieve the glorious days again?


Hanwha Life Esports also changed their whole roster with the exception of their two mid laners. They parted ways with head coach, Kang “OnAir” Hyun-jong, and signed Son “Kezman” Dae-young as their new head coach. Jeong “NoFe” No-chul and Lee “Sake” Jung-hyeok supports Kezman as the coaching staff.

As for the players, Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin, Kang “Haru” Min-seung, Jeon “Zenit” Tae-kwon, and Son “Lehends” Si-woo were added to the team. It would be interesting to see what kind of synergy this composition can create.


Big changes have come to DragonX as well. They signed Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho as their head coach, despite all the controversy. The only player that stayed in the team was Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu. Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon followed their coach and joined the team.

Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon will be playing in the jungle. Pyosik was especially known for his Kindred skills during his amateur years. After watching his mechanics, cvMax himself picked out Pyosik. As for who to partner Deft in bot lane, Ryu “Keria” Min-seok was called up. Will cvMax’s “magic” again strike in 2020?

 

Efficiency over changeTeams that maintained their core, with a few additions


DAMWON Gaming that stormed like a hurricane in 2019 is the only team in the stove league that maintained the starting roster. The players that lacked experience in the last World Championship will be back with determination. However, there was a change in the coaching staff. Coach Kim Jeong-soo moved to T1, and T1’s Lee “Zefa” Jae-min joined.


SANDBOX Gaming terminated the contracts of several players including Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun, but 4 of their starting roster still remains. They signed Han “Leo” Gyeo-re and Moon “Route” Geom-su in bot lane and veteran support, Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon.

Coach Kang “Laden” Byung-ho was promoted to head coach, and they picked three more coaches. SANDBOX played well throughout the year but wasn’t able to take that last step. They will be aiming to move forward past their limit next year.


Afreeca Freecs managed to keep their ace, Kim “Kiin” Gi-in. Their roster was slightly changed; two veterans were brought in in place of rookies. Instead of Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon and Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram, Song “Fly” Yong-jun and Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun were signed. 

Meanwhile, although they are the first team that had emphasized the importance of the 10-man roster, they only have 1 support. Coach NoFe has left; now the role of Choi “iloveoov” Yeon-sung would become bigger again.


APK Prince will be setting their foot on LCK territory in 2020. They have a solid roster, even compared to the LCK teams. Although Lee “KaKAO” Byeong-kwon’s contract ended, veteran Seong “Flawless” Yeon-jun will take his place. Two more coaches were added as well.

Even so, compared to Griffin, SANDBOX, or DAMWON, who rushed in like a tsunami into the LCK, APK's roster feels less explosive. It wasn’t easy for them to get to the LCK; they would want to avoid getting back to the relegation series right away.

Balance between Change and PreservationHalf-preserved, half-rebuilt… How would it go?


All LoL fans always wonder how T1’s roster would end up during the stove league. There have been some changes in the team; Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, Kim “Clid” Tae-min, Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong, and head coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun left and T1 registered trainees Kim “Canna” Chang-dong, Choi “Ellim” El-lim, Lee “Gumayushi” Min-hyeong, and Choi “Kuri” Won-yeong on their roster. They additionally signed Kim “Roach” Kang-hui and Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan and finished the 10-man roster. The head coach spot kkOma left was filled in by Kim Jeong-soo.

All of the T1 trainees have been boasting their prowess in the Korean solo queue. Many say that they all are fit for immediate performance, but there’s still a possibility of them not being able to deliver in the LCK due to lack of experience. It would be a matter for legendary veteran Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok to keep the rookies on track.


Griffin had the hardest offseason ever. In all the controversy, several members including head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho left along with Doran, Seo “Kanavi” Jin-hyeok, Chovy, and Lehends. They still have Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong, and Park “Viper” Do-hyeon, but their level doesn’t seem close to the previous Griffin.

The main point is how the new members, Jeong “Kabbie” Sang-hyeon, Park “Untara” Ui-jin, and Yoo “Naehyun” Nae-hyun would perform. It may be impossible for them to reform the synergy they had with the previous members. Another point to keep an eye on is how the new head coach, Han “H-Dragon” Sang-yong leads the team.


Gen.G had a pleasant stove league. Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk, who is considered one of the best ADCs in the LCK remained with support Kim “Life” Jeong-min. On top of that, they signed a strong upper half: Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee, Clid, and Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong, supported by one of the strongest organizations in the LCK.

Considering the performances and reputations the players have, Gen.G easily becomes one of the heavy favorites for the 2020 LCK Spring Split. However, no one can tell until it starts and it ain’t over till it’s over. There are still more players waiting to be signed or have been negotiating, and they also might just be able to change everything.

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