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How The Eastern LoL Leagues Are Shaping: LCK & LPL Summer Part 2




A while back we covered all of the Power 4 regions developments in a pair of articles near the start of the season. Now that we are past the halfway point, it seems like a good time to do it again. Today we cover the Eastern leagues, the LPL and LCK, and how they are developing. 

A Race To The Top

LCK

In the LCK Summer Split, there is a standings shuffle the likes of which we have never seen in South Korea. Kingzone, Sandbox, Gen.G, and Damwon Gaming are all gunning for the top spot. 

Of these, the most dangerous at the moment is Gen.G. After a slow start they have cranked off four wins in a row. Who were these wins against? Griffin, Sandbox, Kingzone, and Hanwha Life. How many games did they drop in those series? One. Ruler and Life are playing like the best bottom lane in Korea at the moment, both rocking 6+ KDA for the season. They are currently fourth in the standings, but are not to be underestimated. If you are betting on LCK Summer, bet on Gen.G.

Sandbox became the first to qualify for playoffs. The issue is they have been lackluster as of late. Losses to Gen.G and Damwon make them an unconvincing number one team. This is doubled when their wins were against barfs Jin Air and Hanwha Life. 

Kingzone are an interesting case. They are able to stand up to any team in LCK Summer, but float between the top four spots constantly. Naehyun is having the split of his life, helping their situation. They are likely the second scariest team after Gen.G, but are known to drop series they shouldn’t. LoL Betting on Kingzone should be done with careful consideration. 

Damwon are arguably the most exciting team in Korea. Nuguri and Showmaker make for the best one-two solo laner punch in the league. They sit right behind Sandbox, and will play them in Week 7. If they win that game, they should have an easy route to the number one playoff seed.

LPL

In the LPL Summer Split, there are five that stand above the rest: FunPlus Phoenix, Invictus, RNG, Suning, and Top Esports. After that the gap is massive.

FunPlus are looking to be the best team in the league. They have only lost four games all split, half of those in their only series loss to Invictus Gaming off a returning Rookie. They have a rough stretch to end the split, with four of five series to end the split being against top seven teams. For all the hype they have a lot to live up to, but should be a betting favorite in all of those. 

The champ is back in LPL Summer, and they are on an odd course. With Rookie back they look better, taking out the seemingly unbeatable FunPlus. The issue is that they only win by 2-1 margins. I’m not kidding they either go 2-1 or they lose. Never bet on them to 2-0, no matter the opponent. 

Royal Never Give Up are about to be put through the grinder. They rock a 14-3 game record, with the only match loss coming against FPX. Xiaohu, Uzi, and Ming are back and as good as ever. There is just one catch. Five of their seven remaining games are against top eight teams, including IG, SN, and TES. Avoid betting on these because they are too close to call.

Suning appeared cooked after Spring, but LPL Summer has seen them come back strong. A recent win over Top Esports solidified them as a contender, and Angel has been a downright god in his role swap to top lane. (37 KDA in 4 games) They need a strong run if they hope to make the World Championship, as they still look the weakest of the top five. 

The final team of this top….is Top Esports. They can dominate when they have the full roster, but they still seem a bit too green to beat out RNG, Invictus, and FunPlus. They have an outside shot to make Worlds, but seem to be a step below those three. LPL Summer would be the time to prove the pundits wrong.

Middling Mess 

LCK

What started so well fell to crap fast. In LCK Summer a lot was expected of Afreeca, SKT, and Griffin. They haven’t fulfilled expectations at all. 

Afreeca just can't stay consistent. They will take games off top teams before being jobbed by a bottom feeder like KT Rolster. Their remaining schedule includes five of the top seven, a stretch that could put them in playoffs or see them sitting at home. The odds are stacked against them for the rest of LCK Summer.

The reigning champions of Spring have a mountain to climb. SKT bounced back with a five match win streak after swapping in Effort at support. They are also the last team to beat Gen.G. The problem? The other four opponents were bottom feeders, and they face all of the top six to close out the season. We’ll either see a redemption story for the ages or a repeat of 2018 Kingzone. 

Griffin…...just why? What happened to the team that started 7-1? Griffin have lost three straight, including Gen.G and Damwon handing them their asses on a platter. Chovy, the Spring MVP, has been a shade of that form. The LCK playoff only has five spots, and Griffin is in danger of losing theirs. They have three of the top four to close out the final weeks, meaning this could spell doom for Griffin. 

LPL

The middle tier of the LPL Summer is much less exciting than their LCK counterparts. Where there are more interesting stories in the LCK, the story for the middle three LPL teams is the same. EDG, LNG, and Bilibili can all be summarized in a sentence. They all have a fluke win over a top team, win against the lower tier, trade with each other, and lose to the top tier. I don’t expect any of these teams to contend in playoffs, but they are an obvious step above teams like Victory5 and JDG. They should at least be good enough to make the playoffs. This comes with a heavy emphasis on the word “should” as it is the LPL. Bet on them against the bottom, bet against them when facing the top.

Under the barrel

For those of you that get the reference, this is a play on “bottom of the barrel” by saying that the following team isn’t even that. I’m going to skip the mid-low of the LPL and LCK because that’s not what you are reading this for. But I cannot miss this opportunity to cover how god awful Jin Air is. Anyone who says they would beat teams like Origen or TSM are being idiotic for the sake of it. They have yet to win a match, have a 2-24 game record, and haven’t won a game since Week 2. I would say they will be relegated, but they dominated the relegation tournament in Spring. LCK Summer is blighted by this piece of crap, so we can only hope they will be gone soon.

Featured Matches

Okay, time for the look ahead at the great matches. Looks at the remaining LCK Summer and LPL  Summer schedules. Wow, there are a lot of great matches coming up. Just watch any game involving two of the top-mid teams covered in-depth above, you will be in for a show. If you are looking for odds on betting favorites, RNG and Gen.G should be favored in any matchup. After them, Invictus, FunPlus Damwon, and Kingzone should be favored. Top and Sandbox should probably be avoided unless playing the mid-tier. SKT and Suning are the wild cards, and Griffin is a risky bet. If you feel lucky that day any of those teams could be a small bet situation.