Summer Split is done in the land of kings, and that means we are on to the LCK Summer 2019 Playoffs! Five of the ten LCK teams have qualified, and today we will talk about their chances. We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up, so let’s get started.
Undoubtedly the most inconsistent team in the LCK Playoffs, there is not much faith to be had in Afreeca Freecs. A lot of casual fans have described this team as “Kiin 1v9” but there is much more to it than that. They can put a bit of faith into Aiming or Ucal, however, both are outclassed by nearly every other LCK playoff ADC and Mid. Kiin has to pop off for this team to win in the playoffs.
Their round one opponent is arguably the second-best team in the LCK Playoffs, SKT. Afreeca is at a disadvantage everywhere but top, and are 7-2 in games against SKT in 2019. They are not a safe bet in any sense of the word. In fact, if you take one thing away from this article, it should be to bet on Afreeca Freecs with great cuation.
What started so terribly has finished fairly strong for the reigning champions. They could have finished higher if not for disasters against Damwon and Hanwha Life. Effort gave the team the boost it needed, posting a 20-7 record in the regular season when he was playing. Teddy is arguably the best ADC in the world, and Clid has been a beast as of late. Strangely the weak points of SKT have been the solo lanes, Faker and Khan, who look to be near the bottom of the mid and top laners in LCK Playoffs.
SKT should annihilate Afreeca Freecs in the first round. They have the advantage in every lane but top, and it isn’t a close matchup. The second round matchup probably will go to SKT, as Sandbox have looked suspect as of late and are notorious underperformers in Bo5 scenarios. If SKT do get to Damwon or Griffin, they should no longer be favored. We won’t tell you to avoid betting for them, as SKT defy conventional wisdom in the playoffs. By that point, it will be a toss-up. At the end of the day, they should still make the World Championship, be it in the playoffs or gauntlet.
Sandbox are less a wild card in LCK Playoffs and more a gigantic question mark. They have a collection of good but not superstar players, resulting in a really well-rounded team. Dove and OnFleek are the main focus of the team’s play, and sometimes have to pick up the slack left by Summit. The bottom lane can be really hit or miss against top tier competition.
The main talking point of Sandbox is their tendency to falter in must-win situations. They will likely be facing SKT, a much more experienced and star-studded team. Sandbox probably shouldn’t be favored unless Afreeca do upset SKT, and after that Sandbox shouldn’t be bet on at all. Damwon and Griffin have long histories of beating Sandbox at every turn, and in their current forms, it appears to be more of the same. We would be surprised if Sandbox took a game off either of those, but that is IF they get past SKT.
No team has been more consistently impressive than Damwon this summer. They are arguably the most consistent team in LCK Playoffs, never really undergoing a slump period like Griffin, Sandbox, or SKT. Canyon was recently named the Summer MVP for good reason as the best jungler in the league. They don’t have a true weakness, as even Nuguri could be considered top three at his position in the league. Damwon are considered the only true challenge to Griffin, and could be the team that roadblock SKT if they get past Sandbox.
In LCK Playoffs, Damwon could be seen as the favorite to win it all. They would be the favorite against everyone but Griffin, and even then it would be considered a close series. Damwon have gone even or better against every team in LCK playoffs, and are a safe bet in every situation. Even if they don’t win the LCK, they should make Worlds as a force to be reckoned with.
They actually did it. The mad lads freaking did it. Griffin made Worlds. The team long called overrated, chokers, or playoff losers clutched the end of the season to earn the first seed. They won five of their final six matches to tie Damwon in matches but surpass them for game record. They have gone even or better against every team in the LCK, and last lost to SKT in Week 7. Everyone but Sword finished with the highest KDA in their position during LCK Summer. They have a star-studded roster only weakened by the aforementioned top laner. Griffin was the first team to lock their spot at Worlds, either as a first or second seed from Korea.
The boys in red should be favored in every matchup. SKT have the potential if they go on a dominant run, but haven’t looked as strong in their peaks as Griffin. Damwon and Griffin would result in a five-game knock down drag out series that will almost certainly go a full five games. Even in such a series, Griffin should be the favorite. Against either Sandbox or Afreeca, who would have to shock the world in the process, Griffin should sweep the series. There isn’t a foreseeable future in which Griffin enter finals as the underdog, and there is a good reason. In short, bet on Griffin.
We now hit the point of the article where we give playoff predictions for the LCK playoffs as a whole. In the first round matchup, we expect SKT to sweep Afreeca Freecs, 2-0. For Afreeca to win the entire team would need to overperform and let Kiin go god mode. We just don’t see it happening.
In the second round, we see SKT winning over Sandbox 3-1. Sandbox have been inconsistent as of late, and are outclassed in most positions. This would give SKT the lock for a Worlds berth, and access to the LCK semifinals.
For the semifinals, we're predicting Damwon beating SKT 3-2. We are not convinced SKT could remain consistent enough to convincingly close out Damwon in the long run, leaving them to falter in the end.
For the final, we expect a full five-game series between Damwon and Griffin. Knockdown, drag-out, neither wanting to give an inch. But in the end, we are predicting the LCK champion to be…..Damwon. We believe that they reasonably can beat Griffin if given a proper chance, and predict them for the 3-2 over the boys in red.
So ends our betting primer of the LCK Playoffs! Check back later for primers on the other Power Four regions!
Update: Check out our LPL Summer Playoffs 2019 Betting Primer.