LCK Roster Moves: SKT, Samsung, Longzhu, and KT

LCK had some sweeping roster moves! How do SKT, Samsung, Longzhu, and KT look coming into the new season?

by Daniil Volkov

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the League of Legends Champions Korea is going to look very different in 2018. Most notably, the top-4 teams went through a number of roster changes.

How are each of their chances looking next year?

SKT T1 remove Huni and Peanut

Let’s start with the fan favorites!

SKT parted ways with top laner Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon, jungler Han “Peanut” Wang-ho, and their substitute mid laner Kim “Sky” Ha-neul. The rest of the lineup remains intact, and it looks like Blank and Untara are finally going to get their starting spots. That, or SKT is going to replace them with up-and-coming talent.  

The Huni/Peanut duo has been the primary point of contention for SKT fans. Some said that both players performed reasonably well and went toe-to-toe with the best LCK talent. Others argued that ‘reasonably well’ doesn’t quite cut it when you’re in the SK Telecom lineup. 

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Huni and Peanut couldn’t find their footing on the most accomplished team in the world, and their preferred playstyles seemed out of place on SKT. As for Sky, being a substitute for the best LoL player means you’re not going to get a lot of playtime, and considering he hasn’t started once since joining the team, it’s no wonder he decided to look for greener pastures. 

This leads us to believe that this move is in the interest of all parties involved. Of course, there’s still a question of how Blank and Untara will perform in the spotlight. But with Bengi joining Kk0ma in the coaching position, we have no doubt that SKT will work out their issues. 

Samsung Galaxy stay together

Samsung Galaxy blindsided everyone by showing up at the 2017 World Championship and scoring a 3-0 victory over SKT T1 in the finals. This run is even more impressive when you consider they’ve barely made it to the tournament at all.  It comes as no surprise that Samsung decided to keep their lineup intact, and we’ll see CuVee, Ambition, Crown, Ruler, CoreJJ, and Haru (jungle substitute) playing in 2018. 

But SSG did make one roster move that might fly under everyone’s radar. That is, they’ve parted ways with the substitute bottom lane of Stitch and Wraith. With how seldom they started, it isn’t exactly a huge blow to the organization, but it’s nice to see Samsung putting their faith into Ruler and CoreJJ. 

Still, SSG are going to be hard-pressed to keep their winning streak going. Their next goal is performing well in the domestic league, and that might be even harder than scoring a Worlds victory. But if they can retain their synergy while mixing in early game aggression and incorporating Haru’s gank-heavy playstyle into their game, they’ll definitely stay at the top of the LCK ladder. 

Longzhu Gaming sign Peanut

Even though most fans are down on Longzhu after their underwhelming Worlds showing, this team still went above and beyond by winning the 2018 LCK Summer Split.

Much like SSG, LZ made the call to keep their lineup intact. With one notable exception: Han “Peanut” Wang-ho will join the team to share playtime with Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan in the jungle!

It’s fair to say that out of all Longzhu members, Cuzz shined the least. His jungling was very hit-or-miss, and he often got caught out in the river and gave up free kills. Still, this level of performance is expected from a rookie, and Cuzz picked up the slack by the end of the season, so it’s not like he’s the reason why Longzhu failed at Worlds.

But that doesn’t make us any less excited about seeing Peanut come in! Not only does the superstar jungler get reunited with his former ROX teammates, PraY and GorillA, but LZ’s aggressive playstyle suits him much better than SKT’s cold and calculated approach. With that in mind, we expect Longzhu to remain a force to be reckoned with in the next season. 

KT renew contracts

In one of the most bizarre announcements of the off-season, KT Rolster also decided to stick together!

After a whole year of playing in the LCK, a lineup of Smeb, Score, PawN, Deft, and Mata barely has any results to show for its efforts. They routinely fell to SKT T1 in the playoffs and they even got denied a Worlds trip after falling 0-3 to SSG in the Regional Qualifiers. 

One thing to note about this lineup is that there’s a very obvious imbalance here. Deft and Smeb are both very dominant players, but one of them has to play a supportive role while the other gets to shine. And it’s very likely that this dynamic of two world-class carries fighting for resources resulted in KT’s downfall. Only time will tell whether they’ll figure things out, but we wouldn’t hold our hopes high.  

What do you think about LCK’s roster moves involving SKT T1, Samsung Galaxy, Longzhu Gaming, and KT Rolster? Share your opinion in the comments below!

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Daniil Volkov

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