This LCK season didn’t quite go down the way everyone thought it might. What in the weeks before the split seemed like it could be a two-horse race going into the home stretch has turned into a somewhat open competition, with five contenders vying for a championship that will be decided through the LCK Playoffs.
The playoffs will use a gauntlet similar to previous LCK tournaments. Because there are, technically, only four places available for the playoffs, the first round will be a Wild Card Best-of-3 series that will happen between the LCK’s fourth- (Afreeca Freecs) and fifth-place (MVP) finishers from the Spring Split regular season.
The following match will see the winner of the Wild Card match facing third seed kt Rolster in a Best-of-5 series. The winner of that series will then play Samsung Galaxy in a Best-of-5, with the winner advancing to play SK Telecom T1 in a Best-of-5 for the LCK Spring Split championship.
The LCK Spring Split gave each of the teams the opportunity to play each other twice, leading to a final field of five teams that will enter into the post-season competition.
The number five seed in the league is Afreeca Freecs. While this year’s most notable additions to the league were to the kt Rolster and SKT super teams, one roster flew a little under the raider, but had its own fair share of stars. With former SKT player and World Champion Jang “Marin” Gyeong-hwan in the top lane and former ROX Tigers midlaner Lee “Kuro” Seohaeng, the team has a huge amount of carry threat out of its solo lanes who are likely going to be the driving force behind any run they make into the playoffs.
The league’s number four finisher in the regular season was MVP. With a fairly similar roster to last split, little was expected of MVP. However, after taking both series against kt Rolster, it suddenly became clear that this wasn’t a roster to be taken lightly. With a fairly large champion pool between them, one of MVP’s defining characteristics this split has been their ability to shake things up in the Pick and Ban, a talent that should be invaluable as they face off against the best in the league over the course of the postseason.
The third seed, and first team to gain a bye week, is kt Rolster. This kt roster is still something of a mystery. After the ten-week regular season they still seem to shift — almost minute to minute — between the best team in the league and something far shakier. The good news for the team is that the meta has made a massive shift in the last three weeks towards carry champions. These changes should favor to planer Song “Smeb” Kyungho and AD Carry Kim “Deft” Hyeokgyu, two players who up till now have struggled to fit into the more utility focused style of the split.
Fresh off their second place finish at the World Championships, Samsung Galaxy weren’t exactly favorites going into the split. After all, they made almost no roster changes while the league around them absorbed the former ROX Tigers into what were already some of the league’s strongest teams. However, after 10 weeks, it has become clear that their decision not to split the already successful team was the right one. Not to mention the fact that Samsung have looked better and better as the split came to a close, including a victory over number one seed, SK Telecom T1 in the second to last week of the split.
The final team, and undisputed favorite, is SK Telecom T1. After winning the World Championship back in October of 2016, SK Telecom won the 2017 LCK Spring Split with little to no resistance only losing two series along the way. While SKT winning may not be a shocking thing to hear, the standout player of the split so far is: former Fnatic and Immortals toplaner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. While exceptions for the star toplaner were mixed coming into the split he has outperformed even those who expected him to succeed managing a solid mix of the carry toplaners he was known for in other regions, with the tanks that have been necessary so far this split.
All time Eastern
Friday, April 7
Afreeca Freecs vs. MVP, 4 a.m., LCK1 — MVP wins 2-0
Tuesday, April 11
kt Rolster vs.
MVP, 4 a.m., LCK1 — KT wins 3-0
Saturday, April 15
Samsung Galaxy vs. KT Rolster, 4 a.m., LCK1 — KT wins 3-0
Saturday, April 22
SK Telecom T1 vs. KT Rolster, 4 a.m., LCK1