After a short, but extremely busy offseason, the League of Legends Champions Korea 2022 season kicks off on Wednesday. There is a lot to look forward to heading into Week 1 with so many roster swaps and big-time faces in new places. Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon is on a new team and mid lane superstar Lee “Aria” Ga-eul is making his big league debut as another year of League of Legends gets underway. Here are the top 5 things fans should keep in mind heading into the LCK 2022 spring split.
Chovy makes his Gen.G debut
After dragging Hanwha Life Esports to the quarterfinals at the League of Legends World Championship 2021, Chovy fell short at capturing the Summoners Cup yet again. In the offseason, Chovy tested free agency, looking for a new team for the fourth straight season. He took his talents to Gen.G Esports on a one-year contract with hopes of winning the LCK and Worlds.
LCK summer split MVP Han “Peanut” Wang-ho also joined Gen.G in the offseason to give Gen.G a jungler-mid duo that can rival DWG KIA (DK). Speaking of DK, Chovy will get a chance to play against the reigning Worlds 2021 finalists right off the bat in Week 1.
DK aims to repeat Worlds 2020 success
Heading into 2021, DK were among the favorites to repeat as world champions after capturing the title in 2020. The team only went through one change going into 2021, bringing in Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, and DK didn’t skip a beat until the Mid-Season Invitational. DK’s bot lane weakness was put on display at MSI. The duo of Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun and Cho “BeryL” Geon-hee struggled in the middle of the year, forcing DK to consider substitutes, although the bot lane eventually regained their footing, DK fell short of repeating as world champs when they lost a thrilling best-of-five in the Worlds 2021 finals to Edward Gaming. In the offseason, DK decided to part ways with both members of the bot lane.
In the offseason, DK held onto Heo “ShowMaker” Su and Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu while bringing in Noh “Burdol” Tae-yoon to shore up the gap Khan left. Although DK’s bot lane pickup, the duo of Seo “deokdam” Dae-gil and Kim “Kellin” Hyeong-gyu, is the most intriguing change the team made. They had been the bot lane of Nongshim RedForce, a team that had a spectacular 2021 summer split in the LCK and came just short of qualifying for Worlds 2021. Deokdamn was chosen as the LCK All-Pro bot laner while Kellin was the second team LCK All-Pro support. Neither of DK’s old bot lane duo made any All-Pro teams last summer.
Heading into 2022, DK appear to have an upgraded bot lane that will get a chance to prove that their breakout summer performance wasn’t a fluke.
Aria makes his big-league debut
At Worlds 2021, Japan made history as DetonatioN FocusMe became the first team from the LJL to qualify for the group stage portion of the tournament. Their mid lane superstar Lee “Aria” Ga-eul was a major reason for this as the undisputed best player in the entire LJL region in 2021. He also got a chance to showcase his talent to the entire world at both MSI and Worlds 2021, and the world certainly took notice. Kt Rolster, in particular, kept a close eye on him. In the offseason, Aria landed a starting roll on one of the most storied franchises in the history of League of Legends.
Kt Rolster haven’t made it to Worlds since 2018, when Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho was their starting top laner and Son “Ucal” Woo-hyeon was in the mid lane. Aria will look to become the rock that can help kt Rolster regain their footing as one of the top franchises in the LCK.
NS RedForce revamp roster
NS RedForce took the LCK by storm in the 2021 summer split. After a poor spring split that saw them enter the playoffs with a losing record, they looked like the best team in the region at times throughout the summer. The team even tied for first place in the standings heading into the playoffs. Their performance was due to the majority of their roster having breakout splits. Their jungler Peanut captured MVP. Mid laner Kim “Gori” Tae-woo won player of the split and their bot lane of Deokdam and Kellin both made All-Pro teams. But, instead of running it back after barely missing out on Worlds, NS RedForce decided to blow it up and start over.
NS RedForce put together an impressive roster from nothing in the offseason. They acquired Kim “Canna” Chang-dong from T1, Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong from Gen.G and Jang “Ghost” Yong-jun from DK. All three of those players had incredible performances at Worlds 2021. NS RedForce also acquired support player Lee “Effort” Sang-ho, who was the third team All-Pro support selection last summer, to round out to roster. NS RedForce enter 2022 with a new roster of players coming off of breakout performances.
Zeus over Canna; Will it pay off?
Finally, there is T1. T1 entered Worlds 2021 with an endearing roster. Instead of a roster filled with veteran talent, T1 took a risk and put Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok in the veteran roll, surrounding him with a ton of young talent. T1 managed to make it all the way to the Worlds 2021 semifinals and pushed DK to the brink of defeat. T1 enter 2022 with nearly the same exact roster and high hopes after the Worlds 2021 tournament, where every player except Faker getting international experience for the first time. There’s just one change in the top lane.
Canna won the starting job and carried it throughout the entirety of the summer split. Although he performed well, T1 have taken on the 17-year-old prodigy Choi “Zeus” Woo-je, for the starting roster. T1 have the young talent and potential to be even better in 2022 with Zeus in the top lane.