Week 10 of the 2019 LCK Spring Split begins on March 28! Most playoffs placements are already decided, but there’s still an ongoing fight for who’s going to finish the regular season in second. There’s also a desperate struggle to avoid ninth, as KT, Gen.G, and Afreeca are trying their hardest to avoid relegations. With that in mind, we’re updating our LCK power rankings 2019 to help you navigate the final week of the competition.
10. Jin Air Green Wings (1W, 15L, no change)
Jin Air Green Wings don’t have much to fight for. Their fate has already been sealed, and there’s no way they can avoid the Promotion/Relegation tournament. That being said, there is a chance they’ll get through it. Route is looking much sharper in the bot lane, and his lane-dominant playstyle can even put some of the most experienced AD carries on the back foot. Seize also shows quite a bit of promise in the jungle position, so Jin Air have some decent pieces to work with.
Their main issues come from the solo lanes. Grace is a solid mid laner, but Jin Air’s coaching staff seems intent on using him as a way of plugging the hole in the top lane. Meanwhile, CheongGo is starting in the mid lane, and… well, let’s just say he’s not making the best impression there. Combine that with Jin Air’s overly aggressive drafts, and they really need to figure things out if they want to get through the relegation matches.
9. KT Rolster (4W, 12L, no change)
Truth be told, we’re still not sure how a team with Smeb, Score, and Bdd found itself on the verge of relegations. Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that KT are longer fielding Smeb in the first place. Yet the substitute top laner—Kingen—doesn’t seem to be a solution to their problems. Sure, he isn’t as resource-hungry as Smeb, but he struggles to play around jungle pressure and hold his own against other top laners.
This wouldn’t be that bad if KT could play through the bot lane, but while Gango does lane well in winning matchups, he doesn’t have the game sense to deal enough damage in late game teamfights. With that, KT’s only win condition lies in the mid lane, and as great as Bdd is, he won’t be able to single-handedly carry this team to the top of our LCK power rankings 2019.
8. Afreeca Freecs (5W, 12L, -2 spots)
Right as we decided to reconsider our stance on this team, Afreeca Freecs crumbled. The bottom line is that they’re far too inconsistent for our liking, and we don’t see an easy way to fix this without making any roster moves. Granted, Jelly and Dread show promise in the early stages of the game, and SSUN has a number of tricky pocket picks at his disposal. But where are the shot callers? Aiming and Kiin aren’t exactly known for their macro prowess, so there’s no one capable of leading Afreeca’s rookies on the Rift.
With that, it’s common to see the Freecs crumbling in fights, messing up objective setups and losing vision control battles. There’s also the fact that their coaching staff keeps setting them up with complex drafts and narrow win conditions, and even though some LCK teams could pull off such a difficult playstyle, the current iteration of Afreeca Freecs isn’t one of them.
7. Gen.G (5W, 11L +1 spot)
Gen.G is the Ruler show. They are downright dysfunctional in the early game, and, barring occasional ganks from Peanut, Gen.G don’t have anything going for them for the first 15 minutes of the match. Once they get past that point, though, they rally behind their world-class marksman to produce some of the most coordinated front-to-back teamfighting in the league.
This makes Gen.G very predictable, as everyone in the league knows what to expect from them. However, other bottom-tier lineups don’t have the tools to exploit their early game weaknesses, so Gen.G keep getting away with their one-dimensional playstyle. Of course, the Ruler train isn’t going to carry them to the top of our LCK power rankings 2019, but as long as Gen.G don’t commit any dire mistakes, they should be able to survive the spring split.
6. Hanwha Life Esports (8W, 9L, +1 spot)
Hanwha Life Esports prey on the bottom feeders. They’re in that weird spot where they can handily beat the teams below them, however, they also don’t have the talent to challenge any of the top-tier lineups. Their teamfighting is solid, and they always seem to have a good plan for the early game. However, their execution is lacking.
BonO is a wildcard in the jungle, and you can never know whether he’s going to feed or carry in a particular game. Meanwhile, Lava, Sangyoon, and Key are barely above average the LCK average, so they struggle to find meaningful leads against strong opponents. With that, Hanwha Life Esports have no other choice but to play around Thal and SoHwan, and while neither of these top laners is as bad as his name value suggests, HLE definitely need more firepower if they want to make something happen in the most competitive league in the world.
5. DAMWON Gaming (9W, 7L, no change)
DAMWON Gaming are locked in fifth place. They started the regular season as one of the most promising teams in the league, but it quickly became apparent that they have a lot of issues to solve. Their individual talent is undeniable, yet their lack of structured game plans makes it difficult for DAMWON to keep up with the best teams in the region.
Another thing to consider is the distribution of DAMWON’s firepower. Flame and Nuguri can be downright overwhelming in the right circumstances, and while the rotating duo of Canyon and Punch isn’t as refined, it gets the job done in the jungle. Yet, their bot lane pales in comparison. Nuclear is unremarkable in the laning phase, and it’s only in teamfights and skirmishes that he finally starts pulling his weight. The same applies to ShowMaker, who gives up a lot of ground in the early game. And when you compare DAMWON’s carries to those of the top LCK lineups, it’s clear they don’t have a lot of different ways to approach the game.
4. Kingzone DragonX (12W, 5L, no change)
The rise of Kingzone DragonX is one of the most captivating storylines of the 2019 LCK Spring Split! They started the regular season as clear-cut underdogs, and their only victories came off the back of Deft flexing his AD carry muscles in teamfights and skirmishes. Now, 9 weeks into the season, Kingzone are a completely different beast compared to how they were in the past.
A lot of it comes from individual improvements. Rascal and Cuzz have grown immensely over the course of the split, and you can count on them to hold their own in lane and do their job in teamfights. PawN has also had a massive resurgence in the mid lane, and he’s been looking more and more like the former ace of Samsung White with every passing week. Of course, we can’t help wondering whether Kingzone’s success is fleeting, but for now, they deserve a place in the top-4 of our LCK power rankings 2019.
3. SANDBOX Gaming (12W, 5L, no change)
SANDBOX Gaming definitely made a statement this season. Many analysts (including us) expected them to spend the entire split at the bottom of the LCK standings, but SANDBOX turned this narrative on its head. A huge reason behind their success is laning. SANDBOX Gaming put a strong emphasis on drafting winning matchups and exerting as much early game pressure as humanly possible. For most teams, such a high-risk strategy would be akin to flipping a coin and praying it lands on the right side, but SANDBOX have so much individual talent that they consistently make it work.
They don’t live and die by the early game either. Their macro might be unrefined, but they do a decent job of trading objectives and navigating the map. And if someone dares to challenge them in 5v5s, SANDBOX will meet him with some of the most explosive teamfighting in the league.
2. SKT T1 (12W, 4L, -1 spot)
Don’t take us wrong: SK Telecom T1 are still a very strong team. They might be a single spot above SANDBOX Gaming in our LCK power rankings 2019, but the gap between these lineups is as wide as an ocean. Their roster has the perfect combination of mechanical skill and veteran game sense, so SKT’s starters routinely crush their opponents in lane and outmaneuver them on the Rift.
Moreover, they enjoy the benefit of having some of the sharpest macro in the region. Whether it’s practiced jungle pathing, confident turret dives, or solid Baron setups, you can count on SKT to do exactly what they need to take over the game. Their only problem is that they don’t have the killer instinct of some of the younger teams, so they tend to adopt a slower pace in the late game. Even so, few teams can hope to exploit this weakness, so SKT will keep dominating the LCK for the foreseeable future.
1. Griffin (14W, 2L, +1 spot)
Griffin are back, and they are pissed! Week 8 losses were a huge wake-up call for them, so Griffin went above and beyond to reclaim the LCK throne. The most noticeable changes have to do with the jungle position. Tarzan has always been at the top of the jungler food chain, but he really ramped up his aggression to become LCK’s apex predator.
The same applies to Lehends, who honed his playmaking mechanics to turn into one of the best initiators in the league. Combine that with two ridiculous carries in Chovy and Viper, and Griffin have all the tools they need to dominate South Korea. The only concern you could bring up here is that Sword isn’t as overwhelmingly dominant as his superstar teammates, but even then, Griffin have plenty of firepower in other positions to make up for it. Combine that with their explosive teamfighting and split-second decision-making, and this team already seems ready to take on the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational.