After the worst year in the organization’s history, SKT T1 may be looking to shuffle its roster. The team has reportedly inquired about jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho.
— Esports_Inven (@Inven_Esports) November 15, 2018
This would not be the first time Peanut would play for SKT T1. In 2017, Peanut would join the perennial world champs alongside Korean top laner, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. However, they would not find as much success as they would have liked. That iteration of SKT would win the 2017 Spring Split championship, but not the Summer Split title. Additionally, that would mark the end of their dominant Worlds run from 2013. That year, they would fall to Samsung Galaxy in the Grand Finals of Worlds.
A Tough 2018 for Peanut and SKT
Maybe misery loves company when it comes to Peanut and SKT T1? Both parties had a pretty disappointing 2018 run, with SKT failing to make Worlds for the first time in its history. Peanut would also miss Worlds after a lackluster end to their Summer Split. However, could this reunion spark some magic for the former Korean superteam? We know that SKT would struggle through this year, due to its lackluster support around their superstar mid laner, Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok.
The jungle was a pretty big weakness for SKT this year, with Kang “Blank” Sun-gu. Blank would join SKT back in 2016, but he would constantly be a substitute jungler. After Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong would move to a coaching role, and Peanut would leave, he would take over the starting jungler position. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t perform quite as well as SKT would have wanted him to. He had some of the worst stats of any jungler in the LCK, and would be a liability for his team. In turn, SKT’s lanes would suffer quite a bit. Even Faker would play a bit slower, and due to his lanes losing, he would be forced to make some bad decisions.
Why Peanut Is Crucial
Peanut would be a good step in the right direction for SKT, who has been lacking some starpower in the lineup. Although Peanut would have a pretty lackluster 2018, bringing back to a team with a powerhouse mid laner like Faker could be good. It is also obvious that Peanut is better than Blank, and should entice more players to join SKT. However, Peanut is much more than just a good player for the team. He is also a good piece to convince Faker to stay with SKT.
After this horrible 2018 year, Faker’s legacy as the Best Player in the World is at risk. There is a good chance that he could have left the team, should SKT not make any big changes. Also, a team like SKT cannot be struggling for too long. Their pedigree as a constant World Champion cannot allow them to falter. Their success also relies on Faker, as he has been the centerpiece of the team since its inception. They cannot ever lose him, or the organization will lose their relavency in the esports world.
Therefore, Peanut is only the first step to world domination for SKT. I could see them completely overhauling the roster, save for Faker, who will be their mainstay once again. There are multiple free agents available in the Korean scene, so this offseason should be a spicy one.
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