Monday, May 23, 2022

LCK Performance Ranking: 2022 Spring Split Week One

The LCK caused a stir in the first week of the 2022 season with upsets and exciting games across the league. Factoring in the unexpected that some of the league’s underdogs were producing results and their titans producing instant classic games, the LCK is already proving to be one of the most competitive domestic leagues in this young season of competition League of Legends.

As the 2022 LCK season opened, most of the movement in our power rankings came at the bottom of our table, with the top four teams from our preseason rankings cementing their place. Still, a game week isn’t a huge pick, and with eight weeks left before the end of the regular season, it’s fair to say there’s still plenty of potential to turn the LCK upside down.

Here are our LCK power rankings after the first week of the 2022 Spring Split.

rank team rank change
1) Gen.G
2) T1
4) Nongshim RedForce
5) KT roller +1
6) sand sandbox +2
7) Fredit Bron +2
8th) DRX -3
9) Hanwha Life Sport +1
10) Kwangdong Freecs -3

Preseason Sliders: DRX, Hanwha Life, Kwangdong Freecs

Photo via Riot Games

DRX and Kwangdong Freecs were the two biggest climbers in our power rankings this week, with winless starts for each of these teams forcing them to slide down the table. In particular, Kwangdong Freecs kicked off their 2022 season with two ugly losses to T1 and KT Rolster, which saw them rise from ‘fringe playoff candidate’ section to ‘certified worst in league’ in our rankings.

Thoroughly routed by both Gen.G and Liiv Sandbox this week, DRX also failed to claim a win in a game let alone a series. It’s too early to say for sure if these two teams are already out of the playoff race. There are eight weeks left in the split; there is enough time to recover. However, the first results are not good for these two teams. Even Hanwha Life, a team we gave the title of “Worst Team on Paper” last week, pulled down a win last week. DRX and Kwangdong Freecs will play against each other to complete the second week. So if both teams are still winless by next Sunday, someone has to come onto the board at some point.

Stronger than we thought?: Liiv Sandbox, Fredit Brion

Photo via Riot Games

It’s still hard to pinpoint exactly how strong these two teams are, especially considering they have yet to play most of the LCK’s top contenders. But if first impressions are any measure of success, then Liiv Sandbox and Fredit Brion (already climbing our rankings after an impressive opening week) could be hanging out in the playoff discussion during the Spring Split.

Fredit Brion has been involved in two 2-1 series in the past week – one in the winning column and one in the losing column. The 2021 ‘giant hunters’ looked particularly strong last week (despite the loss) against T1, topping the World Cup semi-finalists in three straight 40-minute games. Brion jungler UmTi had the strongest combined score of any member of his team in that series, finishing three games 9/6/16 after going toe-to-toe in the jungle match against T1’s Oner.

Sure, it might have been a scratchy organizational move to keep Brion’s relatively weak core intact from 2021, but the developmental cohesion in a five-player lineup is invaluable League of Legends. If Brion’s line-up can continue to perform competitively against top teams in the LCK – while continuing to grow as a unit – there is immense potential to surpass last year’s record of 10-26 games.

Not much to report: Nongshim RedForce, KT Rolster

Photo via Riot Games

Nongshim RedForce and KT Rolster are still mid-level playoff contenders, just like in our preseason leaderboard. Neither team gave us enough noticeable results to dramatically affect our view of them. Both fall into the mid-tier soup of teams that opened the Spring Split 1-1, and it will take a lot more than two games to change our perspective on teams that haven’t necessarily intrigued us for better or for worse first place.

If there’s one key result from last week to watch from these two teams, it would be it Nongshim’s 2-1 loss to Hanwha Life. A loss to the disembowelled remains of a former World Cup qualifier doesn’t look good on a resume and could potentially come back to Nongshim later on should tiebreak scenarios play a role later on. Still, we feel that Nongshim is relatively strong enough in its starting lineup to justify fourth place in our ranking. Strength and potential on paper still carry some weight early in the season and results aren’t everything. We’re only a week into the season and the sample size of the games on the table is still too small to determine if a team is a title contender after just two games.

Triple Threat: Gen.G, T1, DWG KIA

Photo via Riot Games

Change as many players as you like, DWG KIA and Gen.G continue to produce classic games. This weekend, the two rekindled their rivalry with the best game of the regular season so far (anywhere in the world), with Gen.G backing Lehends using an under-the-radar pick in Singed to secure a two-for-one win for the team still at the top our team stands table. If you haven’t seen this game (or even the highlights), we recommend taking a few moments of your day to watch some of the best players in the world set the standard for the regular season league straight from the season jump. From two of the best (if not the best) mid laners in the world as ShowMaker and Chovy slug it out, to a bot lane matchup featuring Ruler and Deokdam – one of the greatest AD carries of all time and the reigning LCK rookie von the Split – this match delivered on each of the matchups and storylines that were thrown down.

Gen.G and DWG KIA were at each other’s throats all of last year and sat at the top of the league until the end of the 2021 regular season. Just a week after the slate was wiped clean, it’s evident that these two titans brought all the fire they had last season into 2022, despite the presence of seven new starters in the long-running rivalry.

Additionally, T1, the only other team besides Gen.G to boast a perfect record after a week, still claims second place in our power rankings. These three teams had a combined record of 5-1 in the first week of the season, with the only loss among them coming to one of the other three. While it could be a few weeks to say definitively if the Gen.G, DWG KIA and T1 will have the same stranglehold on the LCK this year as they did in 2021, all signs are already pointing to an electric season from both these three powerhouses .

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