The League of Legends Champions Korea 2022 spring season is underway as the LCK just finished up Week 3. This week, the LCK showcased some newer players and teams rising to the occasion, but ended with the best series of the split with a battle of the two titans of Korea. Here are the lessons we learned from Week 3 of the LCK 2022 spring split.
Faker is turning back the clock
After a deep run at the League of Legends World Championship 2021, T1 and their face of the franchise Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok took on a new identity. No longer were T1 a team with the best mid laner in the world and a veteran supporting cast. Instead, Faker, with his near 10-year presence in professional League of Legends took on the role of a veteran teaching a young roster of prodigies how to win. T1’s new look got them one game away from a Worlds 2021 finals berth, but they ultimately fell short.
Heading into 2022, the young prodigies were now battle-tested on the World’s stage. T1 came into 2022 as a favorite to not only win the LCK, but to compete for a Worlds title. Three weeks in and T1 are making good on those expectations. But, in Week 3, even though Faker didn’t play Zilean, he turned back the clock.
In the marquee matchup of the week, T1 went up against DWG KIA; a rematch from the semifinals of Worlds 2021. DK’s roster looks a lot different in 2022 but the talent is obviously there and they showed it in Game 1. The new mid lane golden boy of the LCK, Heo “ShowMaker” Su picked up Player of the Game honors as DK stole Game 1 in a 55-minute slugfest. Game 2 saw T1 clap back at the hands of T1’s bot lane with Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong going deathless on Aphelios and their support Ryu “Keria” Min-seok being named Player of the Game with a 1/1/16 performance on Thresh to push the series to Game 3.
But, in Game 3, it was Faker who put his young team on his back. He showcased a beautiful performance on one of his signature champions, Leblanc. T1 and Faker cleaned up DK to take the series 2-1 and move to 6-0 on the season. With T1 clicking on all cylinders and Faker finding more fuel left in the tank, T1 are as good as anyone in the world right now.
KT Rolster are on the rise
One of the old guards of the LCK, KT Rolster, haven’t been to Worlds since 2018. Now, in a four-year drought, the 2022 spring split version of KT Rolster came into this season as a team with upside. This year, they have above-average players in every role with a question mark in the mid lane. After a breakout year in the League of Legends Japan League, Lee “Aria” Ga-eul came over from DetonatioN FocusMe. With the gamble on a wild-card region mid laner, KT Rolster were set to go only as far as Aria would. Three weeks in and KT Rolster are going places.
After hugging to the lower-middle end of the standings after their 2-1 loss to the bottom-tier, Liiv SANDBOX, KT Rolster shocked the LCK in their last match of Week 3 against the stacked Gen.G Esports squad.
In the matchup, Aria went toe to toe with Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon, who many point as the best mid laner in the world. With Chovy being Aria’s hardest matchup yet, he lived up to the challenge. Not only did Aria outplay Chovy, but KT Rolster beat the then-undefeated Gen.G team in 2-0 fashion. Aria didn’t pick up Player of the Game honors in either game despite his 8/3/16 K/D/A across both games. But that just shows the strength of KT Rolster’s roster overall. They might not have the best player in any position in the LCK but the talent is there, and they end Week 3 in a four-way tie for third place. If the team can show that their match against Gen.G wasn’t a fluke, KT Rolster may be on their way to their first world championship in four years.
DRX are no longer bottom dwellers
Speaking of teams that are tied for third place at the end of Week 3, after finishing the LCK 2021 summer split with a 2-16 record, DRX have already surpassed their win total in only three weeks into the 2022 spring split. DRX came into Week 3 with a 1-3 record which pointed at more of the same from last year’s last-place team. But something clicked for the squad in their two matches in Week 3.
Their first match of Week 3 was against Fredit BRION, a bottom of the barrel 2021 LCK team. DRX showed they have improved with a 2-0 victory to put them at two wins on the season, tying their mark from the last split. But, instead of celebrating, a scandal hit DRX in the middle of the week: their Head coach Kim “KIM” Jeong-soo was mysteriously removed from the team. Heading into their match against Nongshim RedForce, the team had an interim head coach, but they didn’t let the change distract them. DRX put together their first 2-0 week in a long time with a 2-0 upset over NS RedForce.
The 2-0 week puts them at an even win-loss ratio in both series and games this season. The 3-3 score is currently good enough for a tie for third in the standings. Now DRX has a week break to figure out their coaching situation. After that, they will be kicking off Week 4 of the LCK 2022 spring split against the other rising team in the league, KT Rolster.