The League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) spring season is in full swing and we will soon know which teams will be facing off in the 2022 Regional Finals. Last year, T1 beat Hanwha Life in the Regional Finals, allowing both teams to progress to the World Championship.
League of Legends is one of the most popular esports worldwide. It is this international following that makes it so interesting to watch. While some of the biggest teams come from Europe, many of the best teams are based in South Korea. LoL is definitely a mainstream favorite today.
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While sports gamers tend to be most interested in, well, sports games, League of Legends makes it worthwhile to branch out into another genre. Especially at the elite level, LoL is as exciting as any FIFA, Rocket League or NBA 2K championship.
T1 and Hanwha Life are two of the best teams in LCK and probably the world. Could this be the year that Hanwha Life breaks T1’s streak or will T1 be able to maintain their dominance for another year?
The LCK season
The LCK season is broken down into two sessions, referred to as Splits. In the regular season, 10 teams participate in a double round robin series of matches. While some leagues have gone for the single knockout round style, the LCK has stuck with the best of three format.
The top six teams compete in the playoffs, which are a single-elimination event. At the end of both Splits, four teams are sent to the World Championship, including the winner of the Summer Split, the team with the most championship points, and both teams that were finalists in the regional qualifier.
The only teams that get to compete in the Regional Finals are the four teams with the most championship points. This doesn’t include those teams that have already qualified for the World Championship. In 2020, T1 lost to Gen.G but still qualified, and in 2021, T1 beat Hanwha Life.
In 2019, SK Telecom T1, one of the original LCK teams, rebranded as T1. Since 2013, they’ve won LCK nine times and been runners up twice. It’s safe to say that no matter what they’ve been called, T1 is one of the biggest powerhouses in the game.
This year their roster is stronger than ever. Their line-up currently includes Zeus as Top Laner, Oner as Jungler, Faker as Mid Lander, Gumayusi as Bot Laner, Keria as Support and Asper as a sub. Faker has been at the center of the team since it was formed.
A team’s success can’t be linked to a single player, but Faker has been referred to as the GOAT of LoL. Part of T1’s continued success can, however, be attributed to the fact that he keeps his ego in check because this has allowed for a healthy team dynamic to form.
T1 has been dominating this year’s Spring Split. They have won all four of their matches so far, though in fairness they haven’t played any of their biggest rivals so far. Their recent match against DRX showed how well they work together and how quickly they can identify an opponent’s weaknesses.
Unlike T1, Hanwha Life is a relatively new team to the LCK. Their first appearance was in the 2018 Summer Split where they earned a respectable mid-table finish. 2021 was their best season so far. They even finished ahead of T1 in the Spring Split and qualified for the World Championship.
Like most esports teams, Hanwha Life has had a lot of turnover. Three players on their current roster only joined the team in December 2021. Whether or not they can work well as a team is still coming in to focus.
Their current roster includes DuDu as Top Laner, OnFleek and Willer as Junglers, Karis as Mid Laner, SamD as Bot Laner and Vsta as Support. Their head coach, Kezman, led them to a second-place finish in the Regional Finals last season and a mid-table finish in the World Championship.
According to preseason rankings, Hanwha Life is among the top ten LoL teams in the world. The changes to the roster made since then could push their ranking even higher as they have moved away from having a single star player to having a well-rounded team.
When T1 and Hanwha Life met at the 2021 World Championship, T1 swept the game. They won the first three matches and demonstrated why they are considered one of the very best teams in the world.
If the exact same teams that met last year were up against one another this year, it would probably be another easy win for T1; however, both teams’ rosters have changed significantly. Only Deft and Vsta are still on Hanwha Life’s roster and T1 has replaced their Top Laner Canna with Zeus.
These changes could have a major impact on the outcome of the upcoming matches between the two teams. They have yet to face each other in the Spring Split – once we’ve seen the outcomes of those matches, we’ll have a better idea of what’s in store for the Regional Finals.