Week 5 of the 2019 Spring Split is about to kick off on February 20! The competition is finally stabilizing, as Korean teams keep revealing their strengths and weaknesses on the Rift. With that in mind, we’re making some tweaks to our LCK power rankings 2019!
10. Jin Air Green Wings (0W, 8L, no change)
Jin Air Green Wings are set for relegation. Their early game is riddled with holes, and you can count on them being several thousand gold down at the 20-minute mark. On top of that, they’re making bizarre roster swaps like using both of their mid laners—Grace and CheonGo—to fill out the solo lane positions. And while Grace does his job, CheonGo crumbles at the slightest hint of pressure.
The weirdest thing, though, is that Jin Air’s players aren’t even that bad. Malrang is adept at mechanically intensive champions, and his constant aggression even put the likes of SANDBOX Gaming on the back foot. Nova also shows promise in the support position, and his initiations can open opportunities for explosive teamfighting. Unfortunately, Jin Air are far too disjointed to capitalize on them, and at this point, we’re not sure they can score a single victory in the 2019 LCK Spring Split.
9. Afreeca Freecs (2W, 6L, no change)
Afreeca Freecs find themselves in a similar spot. They seem to have put a stop to their wild roster shuffles, but they’ve yet to decide who to start in the jungle position. Spirit comes with a strong understanding of macro and teamfighting, but he provides zero pressure to his laners. Dread is his polar opposite. His early ganks are explosive, as he always finds creative ways to get a few kills for his teammates, however, he’s completely inept in the later stages of the game.
Afreeca’s drafts also leave a lot to be desired. They still put a lot of stock in scaling champions and late game team comps, but they don’t have the carries to execute them. Combine that with their complete inability to put together a coherent teamfight, and Afreeca Freecs might be destined to stay at the bottom of our LCK power rankings 2019.
8. KT Rolster (2W, 6L, no change)
KT Rolster also suffer from a distinct lack of firepower. A team built around a carry top laner, they fell into a massive slump as soon as Smeb stopped being his usual dominant self in the laning phase. To make matters worse, KT’s bot lane is drastically mediocre, as neither Zenit nor Gango can show up in the marksman position.
Of course, not everything is doom and gloom here. UmTi is quite potent in the jungle, and his ganks and river skirmishes act as a pillar of KT’s early game. The same applies to Bdd, who’s still holding his ground and performing like a top-tier LCK mid laner. In the end, though, KT don’t have the game sense or macro prowess to play around these strengths, and we don’t expect this to get better in the foreseeable future.
7. Gen.G (2W, 6L, no change)
Gen.G are struggling to gain momentum! They tried to double down of the new (and already hotfixed) Frostfang strategy, but they ended up falling flat on their face in the late game. Their synergy is lacking, and they have a hard time finding advantageous teamfights despite having a world-class AD carry to play around. Another issue lies in the mid lane. Fly might be decent at setting up roams and playing the map, but he has no idea how to stand up for himself in laning phase.
Finally, there’s the jungle. Peanut is the hallmark of inconsistency, as he went from a confident playmaker to someone who can single-handedly throw away the entire game from the jungle position. And considering the already sorry state of Gen.G’s early game, that’s not a flaw they can reliably play around.
6. Kingzone DragonX (4W, 4L, -2 spots)
There’s no denying that Kingzone DragonX show promise, however, their transition to patch 9.3 went rougher than expected. They tried to switch up their game plans by drafting more carries for Rascal, but the top laner had no idea how to execute these picks on stage. Kingzone also attempted giving Naehyun more play time in the mid lane, and while the substitute mid laner had a decent showing on Yasuo, he’s a far cry from becoming a reliable carry threat.
That being said, Kingzone still have their dominant bot lane to play around. Deft is outstanding in the AD carry position, and his mechanical prowess acts as a solid foundation of KZ’s teamfighting. Meanwhile, TusiN pulls through with clutch flanks and confident initiations, so Kingzone always have a way of starting a teamfight. Throw in a well-rounded jungler in Cuzz, and this team might very well climb to the top of out LCK power rankings 2019.
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5. Hanwha Life Esports (5W, 3L, +1 spot)
Hanwha Life Esports should not be performing as well as they are! Their roster has no standout players, so they have no choice but to bank on synergy and macro knowledge to get their wins. Yet, somehow, some way, they make it work. Hanwha’s early game is surprisingly potent, and it’s common to see them setting up deep jungle invades and decisive river skirmishes. Moreover, their players know where and when they need to be on the map, so Hanwha frequently outmaneuver their opponents.
It’s also worth noting that Hanwha have actually managed to tap into the potential of their players. Thal is performing better than ever in the top lane, and his Vladimir is a menace in teamfights and skirmishes. Sangyoon also showed up with three dominant games on Ashe, and Tempt put on an absolute clinic on carries and playmakers. Granted, we need to see more before we officially jump onto the Hanwha hype train, but it’s hard to deny that they’re on the right track.
4. DAMWON Gaming (4W, 4L, +1 spot)
DAMWON Gaming had a resurgence! ShowMaker recovered from his slump with a string of explosive games on Zoe and LeBlanc, and Nuclear redeemed himself with solid showings on Ashe and Ezreal. But the biggest change came from the jungle. It’s no secret that Canyon hasn’t been performing up to his usual standard, so DAMWON Gaming replaced him with Punch. And suddenly, everything came together. A new hungry jungler was exactly what the doctor ordered, and DAMWON finally managed to ramp up the aggression in the early game.
Our only worry is that their wins came off Afreeca Freecs and Jin Air Green Wings, so it remains to be seen whether they can repeat this success against stronger lineups. It’s also worth mentioning that Nuguri didn’t look convincing on top lane Sylas, but as long as DAMWON don’t tunnel on this pick, they should have no issues regaining their top lane dominance.
3. SANDBOX Gaming (7W, 1L, -1 spot)
SANDBOX Gaming are a mixed bag. On one hand, their early game is disgustingly powerful, so they can secure massive gold leads by bullying their opponents in the laning phase. On the other, they’re prone to overstepping their limits and throwing their advantages through hectic skirmishes and questionable Baron setups.
Despite their flaws, it’s hard to deny that SANDBOX are playing with skill and conviction. Their aggression is potent enough to overwhelm some of the strongest teams in the region, and their split-seconds shot calling makes it all-too-easy to initiate teamfights and capture objectives. Combine that with their ability to outmaneuver their opponents in the pick/ban phase, and SANDBOX deserve a spot in the top-3 of our LCK power rankings 2019. We’re just not sure they have the consistency to keep it.
2. SKT T1 (6W, 2L, +1 spot)
Looks like SKT finally figured out they can play around something other than their bot lane! As it turns out, setting up your best player with good champions can be an effective strategy because Faker put on an absolute clinic on carries. Clid also had a much easier time finding ganks and jungle invades, which is a promising sign for SKT’s early game.
However, their biggest improvements have to do with macro. The moment SKT secure a lead, they pick their enemies apart through methodical rotations and calculated objective setups. They’re also great at finding flanks and teleport plays to break open the mid game. Granted, they only done this against the likes of Gen.G and Kingzone DragonX, but there’s no doubt in our minds that SKT will be able to showcase this strength against better opponents.
1. Griffin (8W, 0L, no change)
Griffin are the final boss of the 2019 Spring Split! Chovy is monster in the mid lane, and his razor-sharp mechanics and acute game sense give him a solid claim to being the best player in the world. The same can be said about Viper, who seamlessly dominates one opponent after another with his relentless aggression and unorthodox pocket picks. Combine that with the force of nature that is Tarzan, and it’s easy to see how this team climbed to the top of our LCK power rankings 2019.
Griffin isn’t just a 3-man show, though. Sword might not be the most explosive top laner, but he has no issues scoring solo kills or acting as a massive splitpushing threat in the side lane. And while Lehends can be all over the place with his champion pool, he always seems to find playmaking opportunities to set up his teammates with advantageous teamfights. Perhaps some squad will be able to find the chinks in Griffin’s armor in the future, but for now, they’re as close to invincible as a team could possibly get.