The Summer play-offs in the League of Legends Champions Korea get under way on Wednesday when the first match in what is a unique format is staged.
Unlike tournaments in the rest of the world, the LCK play-offs begin with the fourth and fifth seeds going up against one another in a best-of-five series.
then winner stays on as the third, second and then top seeds – SANDBOX Gaming,
DAMWON Gaming and Griffin respectively – enter the fray as each round goes by.
Freecs lean on solo stars
The opening best-of-five series pits Afreeca Freecs against SK telecom T1, two teams who only scraped into the play-offs in the final week of the regular season.
For Afreeca, the team have worked together as a unit well.
Aiming is able to contribute consistent damage but the star power in this squad belongs to the solo laners of Kiin and Ucal who have each shown the ability to be the best in the world at their position.
do have the ability to bring in veteran Jungler Spirit should they feel the
need, although that seems unlikely given Dread’s solid showing in the Summer
SKT look vulnerable
SK telecom T1 they have a more star-studded roster, although at time of writing it is unclear whether they will field Effort or Mata, with the assumption being they will roll with Effort until a loss.
Faker remains one of the best players in the world, with Khan, Clid and Teddy also incredibly gifted players. However, SKT have been much more unstable than anticipated since their extended win streak was broken, and now this team full of skill and talent will have to put it all together if they are to make it all the way through to the final.
Dafabet have installed SKT as 1.408 favourites for the clash with the Freecs offered at 2.960.
SANDBOX being overlooked
The second best-of-five will feature SANDBOX Gaming who have somehow continued to go under the radar despite being the third seeds.
SANDBOX lack the traditional big names that fans attach too, and while there are incredibly skilled players throughout their line-up, they are more concerned about winning as a group than individual plays.
The Top side of the map is key for this squad with Summit, OnFleek and Dove being incredibly strong with the current meta champions. The latter continues to perform well on Akali, in particular.
and Joker have been no slouches, but Ghost has previously struggled in high-pressure
situations and it will not get any more stressful than their first match
against opponents who will be coming fresh off a victory.
DAMWON a solid side
Round three brings in a DAMWON Gaming side with an immense amount of skill from their solo-laners.
Nuguri is an incredibly skilled and aggressive Top-laner with ShowMaker arguably being one of the top candidates for the play-offs’ MVP award.
Akali has become a must-ban against ShowMaker and overall DAMWON are one of the more difficult teams to prepare for in the pick-and-ban phase.
was named MVP of the regular season but keep in mind he has been wildly up and
down, albeit with his highs obviously being some of the highest in the league.
Griffin need to step up
Whoever reaches the finals will meet a Griffin squad determined to finally break through and win a meaningful title.
Griffin have been titans of the regular season for some time now, but they have historically been unable to find success in the play-offs when the pressure is on.
Griffin have clearly been a different version of themselves this split with Doran as their Top-laner. They produced an overall showing that, while still impressive, was not as dominant as in previous splits.
Chovy has been one of the stars of this squad throughout the Summer campaign, with Tarzan and Viper also being incredibly talented and dangerous players.
However, Griffin need a win here to silence the notion that they choke in play-offs and with World Championships just around the corner they need all the momentum they can get.