Who's in trouble and who won: LCK mid-stove league report (so far)

Source: LCK Flickr

 

We’re in the middle of the hot stove league with many teams changing their rosters completely. Some teams have announced their full rosters, and there are still pieces to fill for some other teams. Let’s have a look at the rosters and see who’s the winner of the stove league.

 

Who’s in trouble?

Hanwha Life Esports

Top: Morgan, DuDu → DuDu

Jungle: Willer, yoHan → Willer, yoHan

Mid: Chovy → Karis (TBA)

Bot: Deft → TBA

Support: Vsta → Vsta

Coach: Kezman → Kezman

 

The stars of Hanwha Life Esports last year were Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, and they are both gone: Chovy to Gen.G and Deft to his former team, DRX.

 

The only announcements HLE have made have been farewells. According to reports, they will keep head coach Son “Kezman” Dae-young again, but only four players remain on the roster: top laner Lee “DuDu” Dong-ju, junglers Kim “Willer” Jeong-hyeon, Kim “yoHan” Yo-han, and support Oh “Vsta” Hyo-seong.

 

It is said that HLE's 2022 plan is to bring up young prospects but while rookies are the future of LoL esports, a team still needs a veteran player that could lead them through the growing pains and HLE lack that player so far.

 

Fredit BRION

Top: Hoya → Sword

Jungle: UmTi, Chieftain → UmTi

Mid: Yaharong, Lava → Lava

Bot: Hena → Hena

Support: Delight → Delight

Coach: Edgar → Edgar

 

Fredit BRION are a team that needed upgrades during the offseason, but apparently, the only upgrade they made is signing Choi “Sword” Sung-won. Sword may have been a good player a few years ago on Griffin, but he was seldom the carry of the team. Besides the top lane, BRO haven't announced any more signings, nor are there any rumors about them. 

 

Fredit BRION 's 2021 season was rough, with 10th place in Spring, and 9th in Summer. Sword may have an answer, but he surely doesn’t seem like enough. At least they didn’t lose their core members in Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon and Eom “UmTi” Seong-hyeon.

 

Liiv SANDBOX

Top: Summit → Dove

Jungle: Croco, OnFleek → Croco

Mid: FATE → Clozer

Bot: Prince → TBA

Support: Effort → TBA

Most talents from Liiv SANDBOX have left the team: Park “Summit” Woo-tae, Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom, Yoo “FATE” Soo-hyeok, Lee “Prince” Chae-hwan, and Lee “Effort” Sang-ho — that's almost their whole starting lineup.

 

They have signed Kim “Dove” Jae-yeon as their top laner and Lee “Clozer” Joo-hyeon as their mid laner but these acquisitions come with asterisks. Dove has role-swapped from mid lane, and Clozer has never started a whole season. What's more, LSB are yet to announce their bot lane duo and there aren't many bot laners or supports left in the stove league as free agents.

 

Who’s alright?

T1

Top: Canna, Zeus → Zeus

Jungle: Oner, Cuzz → Oner

Mid: Faker, Clozer → Faker

Bot: Teddy, Gumayusi → Gumayusi

Support: Keria → Keria

Coach: Stardust → TBA

 

T1 were a generous giver during the stove league. Before the offseason even started, they released Park “Teddy” Jin-seong without any strings attached. Kim “Canna” Chang-dong, Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan, Choi “Ellim” El-lim, and Lee “Clozer” Joo-hyeon have also left T1 and found new teams. Even their interim head coach, Son “Stardust” Seok-hee left.

 

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However, they managed to re-sign the one and only GOAT, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. The remaining roster looks quite similar to T1’s Worlds 2021 starting roster and only Canna is missing. Choi “Zeus” Woo-je showed potential in his limited appearances in the LCK but the fans still hope for a big name signed to the top lane.

 

Overall, T1 aren't that different from the roster that finished top 4 at Worlds 2021. Not too bad stove league for them so far.

 

DWG KIA

Top: Khan → TBA

Jungle: Canyon → Canyon (TBA)

Mid: ShowMaker → ShowMaker (TBA)

Bot: Ghost → deokdam (TBA)

Support: BeryL → Kellin (TBA)

Coach: kkOma, Daeny, Poohmandu, Ares → kkOma, Daeny, Zefa

 

DWG KIA’s biggest homework during the stove league was to re-sign their main players: Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu and Heo “ShowMaker” Su. Although nothing has been announced, it is quite likely that this will be the case. On the bot side, DWG KIA's bot duo of Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee left the team, and, obviously, top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha left to start his conscription. 

 

Initial reports pointed to Canyon and ShowMaker reuniting with Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, but Nuguri announced that he’ll be taking a sabbatical next split. On the bottom half of the Rift, however, reports point to Nongshim RedForce's bot duo Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil and Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu slated to join DK.

 

As long as DWG KIA makes sure that they sign Canyon, ShowMaker, deokdam, and Kellin, DWG KIA should be fine with almost any top laner they could start.

 

DRX

Top: Kingen → Kingen

Jungle: Pyosik → Pyosik

Mid: Jett → Zeka (TBA)

Bot: Taeyoon → Deft (TBA)

Support: Jun → BeryL (TBA)

Coach: cvMax, SSONG →  Kim (TBA)

 

DRX’s Summer Season was a massacre with a 2-16 scorecard, so they parted with their whole coaching staff, including head coach Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho and coach Kim “SSONG” Sang-soo.

 

However, on the bright side, DRX didn't need to worry about re-signing players as DRX’s starting members are mostly signed through to 2022, some even 2023. To make it even better, rumors indicate that coach Kim “Kim” Jeong-soo will return to the LCK with DRX, and it is also said that they have signed Deft and BeryL as their bot lane duo.

 

Even with the young roster, DRX had a great run in 2021 LCK Spring. With a new coach, mid laner, and bot lane duo, DRX might have the strength to create a new splash in 2022.

 

Afreeca Freecs

Top: Kiin → Kiin

Jungle: Dread → Ellim

Mid: Fly → FATE

Bot: LEO → Teddy, LEO

Support: Lehends → Hoit

Coach: Cain → Cain

 

Afreeca Freecs were quick about their roster moves during this stove league. They parted ways with most of their starters and signed new players for each position, and T1 were a big help for AF — Ellim, Teddy, and Ryu “Hoit” Ho-seong are all from T1. Even their original bot laner, Han “LEO” Gyeo-re, began his career in SK Telecom T1.

 

It would be like T1’s little brother playing in the LCK next season, and most likely Kim “Kiin” Gi-in will lead the team at the vanguard. Nothing needs to be said about Teddy in the bot lane while FATE started showing how good he could be from last season. The other players proved that they are capable of competing at LCK level as well. Even though they made a lot of changes, Afreeca Freecs should turn out fine.

 

Who are the winners?

Gen.G

Top: Rascal → Doran

Jungle: Clid → Peanut

Mid: Bdd → Chovy

Bot: Ruler → Ruler

Support: Life → Lehends

Coach: oDin → Score, Mafa, Museong

 

Gen.G parted ways with most of their roster as the stove league started. Even though they made it to the semifinals at Worlds, they still made sweeping changes, releasing top laner Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee, jungler Kim “Clid” Tae-min, mid laner Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong, and support Kim “Life” Jeong-min.

 

They were quick about their next step as well, signing a power quartet of Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, Choi “Doran” Hyeon-joon, support Son “Lehends” Si-woo, and the hottest FA, Chovy.

 

Franchise star bot laner Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk will continue his career in Gen.G with four new friends now. Building synergy with this roster would be rather easy as Doran, Chovy, and Lehends were a part of the mighty Griffin back in the days, and Peanut is already familiar with Ruler and Gen.G. Although people change through the years, Gen.G’s roster seems like one of the most promising ones in this stove league.

 

Source: NS RedForce

Nongshim RedForce

Top: Rich → Canna

Jungle: Peanut → Dread

Mid: Gori → Bdd

Bot: deokdam → Ghost

Support: Kellin → Effort

 

Nongshim RedForce started the stove league with claims of tampering issues and even got wound up with the Canna controversy as well. All of these issues seem to be resolved now, however.

 

Fortunately for NS, they have signed a full roster, collected from five different teams. Canna ended up joining Nongshim RedForce after the contract disputes, and so did Ghost, who also had some issues regarding the move. The big Bdd-Peanut swap deal came in handy while they signed Lee “Dread” Jin-hyeok and Lee “Effort” Sang-ho.

 

Overall, they are one of the few teams that have completed their roster, and four of their players have been to at least Worlds semifinals. Nongshim RedForce’s 2022 looks bright.

 

Source: KT Rolster

KT Rolster

Top: Doran → Rascal

Jungle: Blank → Cuzz

Mid: Dove → TBA

Bot: Noah, 5kid → Aiming, Noah, 5kid

Support: Harp → Life, Harp

Coach: Hirai → Hirai

 

KT Rolster have had a decent stove league up to now. They signed Rascal from Gen.G, Cuzz from T1, bot laner Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram from Bilibili Gaming, and Life from Gen.G, all of whom are promising players. This is already a good team, with only the critical mid lane piece missing.

 

Although they haven’t signed a mid laner yet, rumors indicate that KT are likely to acquire the Worlds 2021 MVP Lee “Scout” Ye-chan. If this turns out to be true, KT Rolster will easily be considered as one of the favorites going into 2022. However, it is still not confirmed that Scout will return to the LCK — if he doesn’t, KT Rolster would have to find another mid laner from the remaining players.

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