League of Legends World Championship 2018 is already down in the history books. It is already being labeled as one of the most exciting installments of the event thus far, and I for one couldn’t agree more! LoL Worlds 2018 has been one huge surprise packed in a plethora of smaller ones. We’ve seen incredibly tense matchups filled with mind games and spectacular plays. However, the post-Worlds era is well behind us with teams slowly starting to prepare for the regional championship series. And from the looks of it, South Korean LoL trades could be the first sign of a new era for all of their domestic teams.
With League of Legends being a massive part of the South Korean culture for the last couple of years, it’s understandable that such bad performance echoed throughout the country. Not just throughout the country but throughout the world too. Driven by these bad results, several teams have openly suggested they will make massive changes to their rosters. Plus, with LoL free agency period being opened just this morning, those changes are bound to happen very soon.
This year’s iteration of LoL Worlds tournament was a pretty hectic one. I guess I don’t have to be the one to tell you that since you’re probably among the roughly 130 million people who were in the peak viewing numbers. But if you are not, here is a short recap of all the things that happened in this installment of LoL Worlds that weren’t a common occurrence before.
Last surviving South Korean teams were KT Rolster and Afreeca Freecs, both of which have gone out in the quarterfinals. Needless to say, this is the worst combined peak placement of SK teams in the history of LoL Worlds.
The last Non-South-Korean team which won the Worlds was all the way back in 2012 in SK’s World Championship debut. Since then (5 titles in total), every Worlds title went to South Korean teams until Invictus Gaming showed their prowess earlier this year.
Ever since the four-group format has been introduced to LoL Worlds, all 3 SK teams have gone through to the playoffs from their respective groups. However, this year, the reigning world champions Gen.G failed to do that after losing crucial Group B matchups. Needless to say, such bad performances from South Korean teams raised quite a few alarms back home, bringing South Korean LoL trades one step closer to realization.
For those of you who don’t know, Gen.G stands for Generation Gaming. Prior to this, they were playing under Samsung Galaxy colors for quite a while. KSV eSports then bought this Samsung Galaxy roster as well as their LCK spot. They later rebranded to Gen.G as they turned a new page in their business. A new page which didn’t start off particularly well for anyone involved with the team.
However, it has to be noted that this roster stayed together for quite a while. Even winning the LoL Worlds back in 2017. Still, with a recent dry run of performances, the departures of their key players (Ambition and Crown) seemed like justifiable moves. The thing is – with Gen.G’s player departures, there’s a high chance other South Korean teams will follow in the path. As a matter of fact, another SK team already announced they will be doing a similar thing too…
In the midst of Gen.G turmoil, another big name in South Korean LoL scene has announced it will be making huge changes to its roster. As the title of this section implies, I am referring to SKT1 here. Need I remind you, SKT1 failed to even qualify for the LoL Worlds 2018. Hey, if you don’t qualify for the tournament, you can be bad at it, right?
Jokes aside though, SKT1 is considered as one of the biggest talent-producers out there. And, since South Korean teams are always trying to keep their talent inside their borders, it’s not a surprise LoL fans there always have words of praise for SKT1. But they’ve been struggling this season. They went from almost winning the 2017 iteration of LoL Worlds (lost to Samsung Galaxy) to not even qualifying for this year’s installment.
Driven by such poor results this season, SKT1 announced they will most likely be getting rid of the bigger part (if not all) of their current roster. Needless to say, this struck fans from all over the world by surprise as some of the fan-favorites were in danger of getting kicked off the team.
With Faker, Effort and Leo’s contract expiring yesterday, the whole LoL fanbase was on the edge of their seats waiting to see which teams will battle for their favorite players. However, just this morning, it was announced that SKT1 renewed all 3 contracts, meaning free agency period won’t get some of the biggest names on the current LoL competitive scene to its advantage. At the same time, South Korean LoL trades have started with both Gen.G and SKT1 releasing several notable players.
We’ve already covered the latest changes in Gen.G so there’s no point in turning back to that. However, since we were already talking about SKT1, let’s see which players left their roster in the turmoil that happened yesterday:
With that being said, the SKT1 active roster has only 3 players – Faker, Leo, and Effort. That makes their mid and bot lanes filled up with the jungler and top spots remaining to be filled with incoming talent. While there are many predictions as to which players will SKT1 opt for, with the free agency period just opening I believe it’s too early to make noteworthy predictions as of now.
The same thing will probably happen to other top-tier South Korean teams in the days to come. With the free agency period starting, South Korean LoL trades will undoubtedly be the most interesting one this season!
At the time of writing this article, I was not able to find any betting options reflecting the current state off affairs in South Korean LoL community. I was hoping for specials such as “will player A make a move in this free agency period”. These are insanely popular but tricky to nail down correctly as there is a ton of aspects that go into the final outcome. However, this makes betting on such bets thrilling experience for both newcomers and more seasoned bettors alike.
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