Week 9 of the LCK Spring Split is currently underway in Korea as the top region in the world continues their play in the League of Legends 2017 World Championship cycle.
SKT remain dominant
With only a single series loss against Afreeca back in Week 4 to stain their record, SK Telecom T1 have once again proven they are the best team in Korea (and thus the world).
Regular watchers of the LCK Spring Split are still buzzing about the match-up earlier in the month when SKT played fellow top team KT Rolster twice in a week, giving viewers some of the best League of Legends matches in history. The most notable clash was the third game of the opening set as both teams fought hard to prove they were top dogs in League of Legends.
KT start quickly
The final game of the first set (Week 6 Day 3) saw Faker pull out his signature champion; Zed. Zed was the champion that gave Faker his fame and after PawN had pulled it out in the previous game, all eyes were on Faker in Game 3.
However, KT came out on fire, securing six kills (compared to SKT’s one) in just 11 minutes. SKT started to turn the tables on the 14 minute mark with a well-executed series of plays in the bottom lane though.
After diving the turret to take down KT’s mid-laner PawN, SKT lost support Wolf while attempting to flee. However, KT overstepped in their chase, allowing for both SKT’s top-laner Huni to arrive via teleport and AD carry Bang to run down through the river, giving SKT a 3-for-1 exchange of kills. SKT then won a series of fights in the mid lane, giving them a substantial gold lead.
Both teams then battled back and forth until the 32 minute mark when KT forced a fight around the baron. KT picked up the baron, but only retained the buff on two members as they sat at a 5,000 gold disadvantage.
From there the game dragged out, with constant trades of kills and objectives until the 50-minute mark. With their base in a shambles, SKT took the baron, but lost jungler Blank in the process. KT then attempted to end the game, but fell short as SKT defended their nexus 4v5, picked up the ace and pushed down the mid for the win.
MVP in contention
The biggest surprise so far of the 2017 Spring Split has to be MVP, who sit in 4th place. After retaining all their members from last season, MVP were expected to struggle to remain relevant amongst the all-star lineups formed in the off-season. However, instead they have quietly performed exceptionally well, primarily off the back of unusual champion pools and stellar play from their mid-laner Ian.
Starting off in the pick and ban phase, MVP have multiple advantages over other teams. Top-laner ADD consistently draws Sion bans, a champion rarely seen in today’s competitive scene. Likewise, support player Max has played the likes of Syndra and Sion, picks not seen in that role anywhere else this season.
However, mid-laner Ian has been the key to MVP’s success as his consistent high levels of play have been essential in his team’s victories. Also with a wide champion pool, Ian has thrived against even the highest tier mid-laners, giving MVP a consistent base to play their games around.
Surprisingly sitting in 6th place are Afreeca Freecs, a team with high expectations coming into the Spring Split. Currently the lowest seeded super team formed during the off-season, Afreeca have struggled to find any sort of consistency. Afreeca may have been the only team to defeat SKT in a series, but they have struggled against lower tier teams on a weekly basis.
One of the few bright spots for Afreeca has been top-laner MaRin, who after a brief stint in China has excelled while back home in Korea. If Afreeca are to realise their lofty pre-season expectations, someone other than MaRin must make an impact on a weekly basis though.