LCK Playoffs Preview Round 1: T1 vs. Afreeca

Published: Aug 26, 2020 - Last Updated: Jul 26, 2023

For the first round of traditional LCK playoffs this Summer, SK Telecom face Afreeca Freecs in the first bo5 of the postseason. With their current head-to-head record, SK Telecom have a comfortable 2-0 series victory over them this season. During the entire 2020 season, Afreeca Freecs have only managed to take one series away from T1 but there are a few startling statistics to consider heading into Round One’s matchup before locking in your picks. Faker’s downswing heading into playoffs isn’t an omen for good news but rather a question mark that needs answering if they want to secure World Championship aspirations.

Afreeca Freecs have yet to beat a team that is seeded higher than them this entire season, and with their roster suffering from fewer form issues than T1 at the moment, this may be the perfect time to capitalize and reverse that trend.

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T1: Roster swaps at the wrong or right time?

The final week of LCK action saw an apparent changing of the guard as T1 depended on a mid laner and strategy overall that had nothing to do with their long-time talisman Faker as they overcame the second seed DRX in a dramatic 2-1 series. While Faker’s Galio performance saw him sit on the sidelines last week, fans wonder if T1 coaches and staff will be willing to risk the existing synergy between Clozer, Effort and the rest of the team. For whatever reason, Clozer has looked mightily impressive where Faker has faltered this year. Of course, the intention of a substitute is to plug up holes that a certain starting player may have, but the increasing dependency on Clozer to achieve victories on match point has been a trend that could be worrying for long time fans of Faker and his illustrious moments as the ‘best player in League of Legends’ of all time.

When looking at team stats for SKT T1, it’s hard to bet against the team-wide consistency that these players have developed. Less than a month ago, Clozer was named to the starting lineup of T1 in what seemed to be a curious move for an organization at the top of the LCK tournament and already possessing one of the most sought after Mids in the entire world. But the confidence in Clozer has been paying off as they relied on their new look Mid laner for serious moments of stability in their final regular-season series against DRX. Clozer’s ability to perform on new champions and ruthless aggression on picks like Sylas and Akali have lifted T1’s allure to new levels, as they now have two elite level mids to mix and match against any team.

Even still, roster swaps at this level of competition have the potential to be destabilizing. If T1 truly want to pave their way to Worlds in an effective fashion, taking this series to decide which Mid will reign supreme for the remainder of games played will be beneficial to their cause. If Faker is merely going through a slump, continuing to keep him around for less stressful games as the rest of the T1 coaches ‘download data’ on their opponents for Clozer could also be a useful strategy against higher-ranked opponents down the stretch. When looking at value esports betting picks for this series, look no further than T1’s Effort to give you everything you need. When it comes to KP, early gold and objectives, there are few players who can put it altogether like T1’s Effort. Last year’s postseason saw him make his entrance as he dethroned Mata from his starting spot, and this year has seen him grow and mature into a full-fledged Support that can pair well with the hyper carry tendencies of Teddy.

Afreeca Freecs: The tried and true trident

While Afreeca Freecs haven’t done much to consider themselves world beaters this season, you can’t deny the worrisome talent of Kiin, Fly or Mystic against any opposition. Even though Afreeca Freecs haven’t been a top-three team during the entirety of Kiin’s career, he somehow finds a way to insert himself in the best top laners of Korea conversation every single year. His laning mechanics are second to none, his matchup knowledge also helps him develop counter-strategies for his team that aren’t utilized as often as they should be, and if the right factors are in place during their match, he has the potential to give Canna a run for his money during the laning phase.

With that being said, we all know League of Legends isn’t played in a vacuum, and the rest of the map will have an obvious influence on how these lanes will go. Cuzz continues to be a stellar force within the brushes for T1 that will surely complicate gameplans for Afreeca, but luckily they can combat his jungle prowess with the tactical mind of a veteran in Spirit. With both solo laners performing at a high clip, Afreeca Freecs have the opportunity to send T1 back to the drawing board and scramble for a new option by taking a few early-game advantages. The Freecs have always been a team well equipped for odd level one plays or mismatching their solo lanes in order to have adequate counter picks. This time around, it will require a full team blitz for Afreeca Freecs to pull it off as Mystic, Kiin and Fly look to put an end to the reign of dominance that T1 has had over their organization for years now.

Featured Image Credits: @Freecs_LoL
ESB Staff

Since: August 10, 2015

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