The LCK is the main LoL competition in South Korea. It was founded by OnGameNet (OGN) in 2012 under the name of “The Champions” and was later rebranded as the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK). Nowadays, the LoL LCK is a collective effort between Riot Games, KeSPA, OGN, and SPOTV Games, and it is best known for its high level of play and incredibly competitive structure. Here’s everything you need to know about LCK betting, including the best betting sites for the LCK, tips, and strategies for safe and smart bets.
Highly Recommended LCK Betting Sites
LCK Summer 2023 Schedule
|Regular Season - Summer||June 7 - August 6th|
|Summer Playoffs||August 8-20th|
|LCK Regional Final||August 25-27th|
Teams Competing in LCK Summer 2023
This section of our betting guide will provide a list of the ten teams competing alongside odds provided by GG.Bet Esports in regard to teams’ chances of winning the LCK Summer. Without further ado, let’s get straight into it.
|Hanwha Life Esports||11.0|
GG.Bet odds available at time of writing – June 6th, 21:00 CEST
As you can see from the provided odds, T1 is labeled as the favorite to go all the way and win LCK Summer. However, they will definitely have a hard time against Gen.G and KT Rolster, who are also on a mission.
Otherwise Dplux KIA is on an impressive rise since their poorer performance earlier this season
LCK Regular Season Format
Every LCK season is separated into Spring and Summer Splits, each with its own LCK standings. The regular season split takes place over the span of 9 weeks, and 10 teams compete with each other for the opportunity to reach the playoffs.
The matches are conducted in a Double Round Robin format where every lineup plays two Bo3s (sets of three games) against every opponent. The first one to reach two victories takes the match, but individual game records can also come into play during the playoff seeding.
Once the regular split comes to an end, the top 6 teams in the LCK standings move on to the LCK playoffs.
The seeding process used to be quite unusual, as it put a strong emphasis on the regular season performance. Both the first-place team and the second-place team are directly seeded into the semifinals, with the number one seed choosing which quarterfinal winner they want to go against. In the quarterfinals, instead, the 3rd-place team goes up against the 6th place, with the remaining 4th and 5th-place teams fighting in the other series.
This means that a team with the best regular split comes with a very big advantage in the LCK playoffs. The team has the power to choose its opponents and has a high probability of securing at least a finalist spot. Not only that, but these teams have more time to prepare and work out their best strategies. Needless to say, this also has a huge impact on the LCK odds, as the top teams come with great bonuses that they can easily take advantage of.
The Road to Worlds 2023
All playoff matches are conducted in a Bo5 series format, meaning that the first team to win three games advances to the next round of the competition. The only exception is the wildcard match that still takes the form of a Bo3. Playoff contenders receive Championship Points that go towards qualifying for the World Championship (or Worlds). Naturally, the first-place team gets the most points, and the fifth-place team gets the least.
Additionally, the two Spring Split finalists were invited to the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), an international competition that occurs between two splits.
This year, at MSI, T1 and Gen.G represented the LCK, finishing 3-4th in a great showing – only losing to the LPL teams.
After the end of the Summer Split, the winner gets a free ticket to the most prestigious tournament in the scene, LoL Worlds.
Thanks to the LCK’s recent performances, the LCK gets a total of four seeds for Worlds. The second seed will be the team with the most Championship throughout the season (if the winners of Summer also have the most championship points, then the second team with the most points is chosen). The two remaining seeds, instead, are given through one last tournament, the LCK Regional Finals. The 3rd to 6th ranked teams (with AQ included as the 1st team) in total championship points will fight in a King of the Hill single elimination bracket, with the finalists locking the last two spots.
Every split counts in the LoL LCK, but most teams will try to hit the highest level of play in the Summer Split. After all, every League of Legends player dreams of going to Worlds.
LCK Relegation Gone with Franchising
Back when the LCK was not a franchise, the two bottom teams with the worst regular split records had to fight to keep their LCK spot. The relegation tournament included the bottom two LCK teams and the top two teams from Challenger Korea (Korea’s second division).
These lineups battle each other in a competition similar to the playoffs, and if one of the LCK teams loses, it’s eliminated from the league. Meanwhile, one of the LCK teams takes its plays and gets into the crosshairs of fans and pundits, usually as underdogs in the LCK betting landscape. Relegation served as an added incentive for teams to remain competitive throughout the entire season, and it was a great opportunity to see rising talents prove their worth in the most competitive domestic tournament. A great example was DAMWON Gaming, when they rose to the LCK through CK.
With that being said, in 2021, the LCK was the first year of Korea’s professional League of Legends league under the partnership. With its change to the format, the relegation/promotion tournaments are now gone, and bottom-tier teams can remain in the league as long as they’re willing to keep their spot. This grants more stability to the organizations that can have a bad split, with the possibility of coming back in the following tournaments.
LCK Champions: SKT T1 and Dplus KIA
LCK had many different teams claim its title, but there’s one that stands out the most: SK Telecom T1. Fielding the undisputed best player in the world – Faker – T1have enjoyed unrivaled success in the LCK, including a decisive victory during the original Champions league. SKT have long since cemented their legacy as the most dominant team in the history of League of Legends. Every year, they get the first or second lowest LCK odds to win the LCK and they also score high in the bookmakers’ preferences to win at Worlds.
On the other hand, in the last few years, Dplus KIA (formerly DAMWON Kia) has dominated the LCK during the regular season, winning both Spring and Summer Split in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, we saw a lot of surprises in the LCK. First and foremost, LCK Spring saw T1 dominate both Freecs and Gen.G to win this event stage. Moreover, the Summer stage is much more interesting for the teams as it offers a direct slot to the Worlds. This time around, Gen.G only dropped one map out of the six maps played as they sealed themselves the status of LCK Summer champions.
LCK Teams’ Performance at Worlds and MSI
When it comes to international League of Legends tournaments, LCK teams used to be impossible to challenge. Since 2013, Korean teams have seamlessly thwarted their international counterparts to win every League of Legends World Championship. T1, in particular, have three Worlds titles to their name and had won every World Championship they attended until Samsung Galaxy shattered their winning streak in 2017.
Chinese teams ended their dominance in 2018 when Invictus Gaming won the trophy, and one year later, FunPlus Phoenix doubled down on that win. Damwon Gaming fired back in 2020 to return the prize to South Korea and make LCK betting even more exciting for the upcoming season.
With four LCK teams reaching the playoffs of Worlds 2022, we expected yet another Worlds trophy to go to this region, which is exactly what happened. Gen.G and DAMWON Gaming were matched against each other, which saw one of the favorites eliminated in the quarterfinals. Despite advancing through to the semifinals, Gen.G did not have what it takes to beat DRX.
On the other hand, T1 looked incredible in the first match of the Worlds 2022 playoffs by beating Royal Never Give Up without dropping a map. On top of that, they looked solid against JD Gaming in the semifinals. However, DRX proved to be too tough for them to beat in the grand finals as Zeka and his crew brought another Worlds trophy to South Korea.
Things are a bit different at the Mid-Season Invitational. And while SKT T1 did score back-to-back MSI victories in 2016 and 2017, the 2015 and 2018 trophies went to the Chinese EDG and RNG, respectively. In 2020 the tournament was canceled because of the global pandemic; instead, South Korean and Chinese teams competed in the Rift Rivals event. Last year, the tournament returned to its original format, but the LCK representative DWG Kia failed to relinquish the title, losing to the LPL Team RNG in the finals. Nonetheless, the team representing Korea will still have a relatively high chance of winning it and for sure have a strong result at MSI.
In 2022, T1 once again led the charge against their Chinese rivals. This time around, T1 eliminated G2 with ease, while Royal Never Give Up did the same to Evil Geniuses. We were in for a real treat in the MSI 2022 grand finals as two titans went head to head. All five maps were required in order to determine a winner, and this time around, the MSI trophy went to the Chinese region.
Sweeping changes to the LCK made in 2021
With the partnership, League of Legends Champions Korea dished out larger amounts of prize pools from 2021. Winners and runners-up have collected more money as big sponsors like HP Omen, and Secretlab joined the list of sponsors.
To ensure higher stability for players and staff, minimum salaries were increased overall, both for LCK teams and the roster competing in Challengers Korea. This made the competitive scene more attractive to the younger talents, as they get more guarantees when taking this career path. Top League of Legends players will also be more motivated to remain in Korea and contribute to the success of the LCK.
More flexibility is given to teams in regard to player transfers, as exchanges can be made between the Champions and Challengers divisions. Teams can promote and relegate players three times during each split at the start of the 1st and 2nd rounds and before the spring and summer playoffs.
Punters will also benefit from these changes, having more LCK betting opportunities during the regular season.
Why watch the LCK?
There are times when all you want to do is to watch good League of Legends matches. And when that happens, there’s no better place than the LCK. South Korea has a long-standing tradition of forging esports champions, and LoL is no exception. A unique pool of incredible talent, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and grueling practice regimens put LCK teams into a league of their own.
The South Korean Championship is more balanced than other regions, and LCK odds reflect that reality. Many years ago, T1 dominated the league, but nowadays, several teams are capable of causing upsets, even in the best-of-three series. This gives punters superior LCK betting opportunities, as they can bet on underdogs to win at least a match in the series.
Whether it’s teamwork or individual skill, Koreans always seem ahead of the curve, and many League of Legends fans consider claiming the LCK trophy a harder feat than winning Worlds. And if that doesn’t speak volumes about the nature of this league, we don’t know what does.