The last year has been a wild ride for T1 fans. From the constantly changing squad to a disappointing spring performance and coaching problems, everything that could go wrong went wrong. As we head into 2022, many of these core issues have been addressed. For the time being, T1 has a stable squad and stable coaching. In terms of performance, they made it to the Summer LCK Finals and Worlds Semifinals. T1 turned it over. The question, however, is whether or not T1 can maintain this momentum through 2022? Here’s a look at the T1 2022 LCK Preview for the Spring Split.
T1 only made one move on the grid in the offseason and decided to get rid of Canna. Canna and Zeus fought for the starting place throughout 2021. T1 ended up with Canna, a player who was aggressive and known for his crosses and team fights with picks like Kennen. Zeus, on the other hand, was more of a traditional top laner and played the meta-picks like Renekton, Sion, Gnar and Gragas. Canna was able to do better on T1 than Zeus. This step looks a bit strange on paper. The reason for the change is likely because T1 values stability in top lane a lot more with the current roster.
T1 is a team with a super aggressive jungler in Oner and arguably the best bot lane in the world in Keria and Gumayusi. This plays a part in why Zeus got the place. If Faker and Oner use their Top Lane resources, Gumayusi and Keria won’t get them. Bot Lane is where T1 should and wants to mess around. Unfortunately for Zeus, he will be a warrior of the weak.
There’s a reason Canna got caught by Nongshim RedForce, he’s a really great player. Canna just isn’t what T1 needed.
T1 had a very controversial coaching history in 2021. According to the TLDR, it didn’t work out for a number of reasons. From the LS rumors to internal problems, T1 was a wreck. This went on until Stardust became the interim head coach as Daeny and Zefa got the boot. Stardust brought stability back to the roster by sticking to a practically 5-man roster with a few Gumayusi exceptions. It wasn’t shocking to anyone that T1 performed better and much more consistently. Stardust trained the team to a LCK final, a world championship and a world semi-finals.
How does T1 decide to repay Stardust? Well, he lost the head coach position to Bengi and Moment. Moment was also on the coaching staff during the T1 Summer Split run. There’s probably something behind the scenes that the average fan here doesn’t know about. Maybe Moment was the real leader. Perhaps Stardust had no intention of remaining head coach, so moment got it. Bengi, on the other hand, is pretty cool to look at. He was with T1 Challengers in 2021 and worked on that team with Moment. He’s obviously also the former T1 jungler who won the world championships three times. If anyone knows success, it is him.
Culturally, Bengi and Moment probably go well together. However, it’s a shame to see a coach who did so well get poorly rewarded. Regardless, this is an improvement on the 2021 coaching staff fiasco.
With T1 staying largely the same, fans already know what to expect in terms of performance. The main question is how does T1 2022 LCK compare to the rest of the LCK? Damwon Kia appears to be a bit weaker than it has been for the past two years. The loss of Khan in particular is enormous. Damwon really didn’t have a real replacement so they got Burdol from Gen G. Deokdam and Kellin are a solid bot lane too, but it remains to be seen if they can bring more stability to this team than Ghost BeryL. T1 is likely better than this iteration of Damwon Kia.
The biggest threat to T1 is Gen G. Gen G built a super team in the offseason, consisting of Doran, Peanut, Chovy, Ruler and Lehends. This roster is downright disgusting with upgrades everywhere. T1 and Gen G are always known for great rivalry games, but these two teams are definitely the best two LCK teams on paper. It’s going to be hot.
But are there teams that T1 has to worry about potentially moving up? The two most likely are the Nongshim RedForce and the Kwangdong Freecs. The squads of both teams are really solid. If you’d like to learn more about them, check out our LCK power rankings.
Worlds or bust:
The expectations for T1 in 2022 are simple. Dominate the LCK and win Worlds / MSI. T1 decided not to make big changes because they felt this team could do it. If T1 does not create the first seed for the World Cup, it is likely a failure in the eyes of the organization. So the question is, will T1 be able to step up when it comes down to it and win?
The LCK returns on January 12th, where T1 will face the Kwangdong Freecs and Fredit BRION in Week 1.
For more coverage of the LCK and everything related to League of Legends, stay up to date in the League of Legends section of The Game Haus.
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