Damwon Gaming took the Summoner’s Cup home for the League of Legends Champions Korea in Worlds 2021. Coming into 2021, we are looking at how the LCK is shaping up following their return to form in the past season. Welcome to our comprehensive betting guide for the 2021 Spring Split of the LoL LCK.
What is LoL LCK?
The League of Legends Champions Korea known as the LCK is one of the leading competitive regions in the game. Known for their dominance from Season 3 onwards, the region has won six Worlds championships including Damwon Gaming’s dominant run at LoL Worlds 2020. The region has taken home two Mid-Season Invitational trophies as well in 2016 and 2017 with the historic SK Telecom T1 (now known as T1). LCK LoL is undoubtedly the most dominant region in the game’s 10-year history.
The South Korean league had its beginnings in 2012 when cable broadcaster OnGameNet (OGN) launched one of the country’s first major League of Legends tournaments. Before then, Korean LoL was still looking to make its mark as Season 1 and Season 2’s trophies went to Europe’s Fnatic and Taiwan’s Taipei Assassins (which has now disbanded) respectively. The league would then go on to be restructured following SK Telecom T1’s historic first win in Worlds 2013. The LCK used to be exclusively broadcasted under OGN from 2014 to 2016. Broadcasting rights would then be split between OGN and SPOTV games starting in 2016. It was only in 2019 when Riot Games took over the broadcasting of the league. OGN was reportedly set to shut down by the end of 2020.
LoL LCK Tournament Format and Who’s Competing?
In 2021, the LCK is moving on to a franchise model following in the footsteps of fellow major regions (the LCS and the LEC). As of now, the tournament will still follow its previous structure with a double round robin culminating in a King of the Hill playoffs bracket at the end of the split. Matches are done in best-of-threes where the top five teams advance to the playoffs.
In the playoffs, the team at the top of the standings will receive a bye to the finals. The team in second will receive a bye for Round 3 while the team in third will receive a bye for Round 2. The playoffs are done in a single-elimination bracket, but changes may take place due to the format changes the LCK has had in the past year.
The changes mean that the LCK will be forming long-term partnerships with teams and will be adopting an Academy League, which will eliminate relegation. The Academy League will be in place of the former Challengers Korea where teams such as Damwon Gaming and Griffin rose and blossomed.
With the removal of relegation, teams can start focusing on long-term plans and develop their infrastructure. However, there is always the fear that teams could be complacent given the security of their placement within the league.
Thus far, the following teams will be competing in the LCK 2021 Spring Split:
- Afreeca Freecs
- DWG KIA (formerly known as Damwon Gaming)
- Fredit BRION (taking the place of SeolHaeOne Prince)
- Hanwha Life Esports
- KT Rolster
- Liiv SANDBOX (formerly known as SANDBOX Gaming)
- Nongshim RedForce (formerly known as Team Dynamics)
LoL LCK Schedule
The LCK has yet to announce their schedules for the 2021 season. However, if the past season is to be followed, LCK 2021 Spring will be starting around early February. Last year, the LCK 2020 Spring started on February 05, 2020 and went on till April 16, 2020. Meanwhile, LCK 2020 Summer went on from June 17 to August 23, 2020.
The matches for the LCK are held from Wednesdays to Sundays with two best-of-three series held per day. Game times are set at 17:00 KST for the first series followed up with another series at 20:00 KST. This article will be updated as soon as the LCK announces their schedule for the 2021 season.
LoL LCK Standings
In the past season, the Worlds 2020 champions Damwon Gaming won the summer split uncontested. DRX were a step below Damwon in second while Gen.G Esports clawed their way into third. The playoffs played as it did in the regular season with the top teams retaining their spots. T1 were one series away in the Regional Finals (or known as the LCK gauntlet) but could not pull through when it counted as they lost 0-3 in the Grand Finals.
▫2020 SUMMER STANDINGS▫
Here are the #LCK standings for the regular summer season!
With playoffs around the corner, who will be left standing at the top, and the first to qualify for the World Championship? pic.twitter.com/YvrXon2xXT
— LCK Global (@LCK_Global) August 24, 2020
LCK Betting Predictions 2021
In League’s tenth-year anniversary, Damwon Gaming, now DWG KIA, finally reclaimed the Worlds trophy for the LCK after a two-year hiatus from 2018 to 2019. From their 3-0 of DRX in the LCK Finals in Summer 2020 to their win against Suning at Worlds, Damwon stood their ground against the rest of the competition. In their run, the Korean powerhouse came to be known as one of the most dominant teams to ever lift the trophy. With a top-tier jungler in Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu and remarkable solo laners in Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon and Heo “ShowMaker” Su, Damwon was a force to be reckoned with. Their dominance even landed them a sponsorship deal with automobile manufacturer KIA Motors which led to their rebranding heading into LCK 2021.
Aside from the roster changes, the LoL KeSPA Cup is currently ongoing which started on December 21, 2020. The KeSPA Cup is a yearly tournament held by the Korea e-Sports Associaion (KeSPA) which allows teams to warm up in the pre-season. The tournament, which invites the competitors of the LCK, is now down to its last two teams in DWG KIA and Nongshim RedForce in the Grand Finals. You can catch the finals on January 2, 2020 on YouTube.
Who to Look Out For in 2021
Now, as we enter 2021, the LCK will be looking to runback their success from the past season. However, roster moves have been out and about as World champion Nuguri announced his move across the ocean to the LPL’s FunPlus Phoenix. With the throne up for the taking, we put down the top contenders who could continue what Damwon started.
Before we head to our contenders for the regional trophy, it is worth noting that the ongoing KeSPA Cup 2020 has limited implications on the results of the regular season. In the 2019 KeSPA Cup, Damwon Gaming finished dead last in the pre-season tournament. However, previous winners such as the 2017 KT Rolster and the 2018 Griffin did well locally and internationally in their respective years but ultimately failed to win Worlds. Teams have been known to field their academy rosters in the tournament as well to let their rosters rest up for the season. Therefore, take the results of the KeSPA Cup as you will. WIth that said, let us get into our LoL LCK odds for Spring Split.
Of course, who better to continue their legacy but the champions themselves? Despite Nuguri leaving the team, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha, who comes from FPX, will be filling in his shoes in the Top Lane. Thus, heading into 2021, Damwon are still competitive enough to hold their ground. Time will tell, however, if Khan can perform at the caliber that Nuguri was able to in the past year. Since his fallout with SKT in Worlds 2019 at the hands of G2 Esports, Khan has seen lukewarm success in the LPL getting 3rd in LPL 2020 Spring and a disappointing 8th finish in Summer. Perhaps, if Khan went back to his dominance on carry picks from years back, Damwon can hope to replicate the success they had with Nuguri.
Aside from changes to the roster, Damwon’s coaching staff in Lee “Zefa” Jae-min and Yang “Daeny” Dae-in have left the organization which leaves a hole for them to cover up. In the latter half of the year, Zefa and Daeny were credited for their drafting as they ended the split with a 16-2 record and swept DRX 3-0 in the Summer Finals. For the next season, they have chosen to go with former SKT and Vici Gaming head coach Kim “kkOma” Jeong-gyun and Lee “PoohManDu” Jeong-hyeon as coach. It appears as if Damwon Gaming are running it back with former players and coaching staff from SKT in the hopes of tasting glory once again.
It is worth noting however, that the rest of the Damwon line-up remains to be the same. Ghost, now with a world championship under his belt, can now stand toe-to-toe with his teammates and prove himself as a top-contending marksman in the league. Meanwhile, Canyon still looks as if he is going to be one of the top-performing junglers in the 2021 season. Case in point, DWG KIA are still looking as formidable as ever in the KeSPA Cup 2020. Nevertheless, the tenacity of Damwon will be tested in the coming year to see if the World champions can defend their title without their trustworthy spear in the top lane.
T1 has made moves in the offseason after failing to qualify for Worlds in the past year. Even with their last-ditch effort as they put in upcoming talent Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong, the team still fell short at the hands of Gen.G in the LoL LCK 2020 Regional Finals. Now, T1 wants to stick with what they know as they picked up Zefa and Daeny from the crowned Damwon Gaming. Furthermore, Keria, one of the most sought-after supports in the LoL LCK, announced his decision to join the storied organization earlier in November. With a team of up-and-coming rookies in Kim “Canna” Chang-dong and Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon, T1 are on the rise and have a ton of potential heading into 2021.
After all the dust’s been blown, what T1 has is a highly-proven coaching staff, promising rookies, and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Last season, the team seemed lost as the macro decision-making that once marked T1 was nowhere to be seen. If they are to succeed, the team will have to make decisions on who to start on their roster as well. To decide between Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan and Choi “Ellim” El-lim in the jungle and Park “Teddy” Jin-seong and Gumayusi will be one of the deciding factors to their success in the next season. Perhaps Keria joining the roster can finally bring the jungle-support synergy that the team desperately needs.
Though Faker may be reaching the eclipse of his prime, the experience he has across his championships cannot be understated. The team did manage to win the Spring split of LoL LCK 2020, but unfortunately, fell off throughout the rest of the year. In 2021, the team’s coaching staff will have to step up and guide these players in the right direction if they want a chance at the Summoner’s Cup. At the end of the day, potential is just potential when it cannot be cultivated into realization.
While everyone has been on their toes changing it up for the upcoming season, Gen.G has decided to stay together with the players who made it to the Worlds 2020 Quarterfinals. Throughout 2020, it feels as if Gen.G were always one step short of making it big. In Spring they finished 1st with a 14-4 record but fell to T1 0-3 in the playoffs Finals. Come summer, they managed to qualify for Worlds after getting their revenge in T1 in the Regional Finals. They got out of Groups, but once again were swept by G2 Esports.
For LCK 2021, expect Gen.G to remain as a consistently good team with their superb bottom lane in Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk and Kim “Life” Jeong-min. Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee is still the key point that the team should be worried about as the top laner had one of the lowest KDAs in his role at 1.9 in Worlds 2020. Kim “Clid” Tae-min was half-and-half as well in Worlds, having unreliable performances to carry his team despite their bot lane advantages. As one of the core parts of the team, Gwak “Bdd” Bo-seong will have to step it up as well and return to his formidable self in Kingzone DragonX or Longzhu Gaming.
One of the benefits of sticking together however can be the synergy that the team has built up in the past. Despite their past, Gen.G have had world-class performances that can live up to the history that the organization has as world champions. If they have managed to iron out these issues in the pre-season, there is a chance that they can put up a fight against behemoths like Damwon Gaming in Spring.
Hanwha Life Esports
Following their loss once again against Damwon Gaming in the Worlds 2020 Quarterfinals, DRX split apart and had their key carries in Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu move over to Hanwha Life Esports. Now, the duo will look to put Hanwha Life on their back as they start over in an all-new team.
In 2020, Hanwha Life placed at the bottom of the standings despite having Son “Lehends” Si-woo and Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin on their roster. Coming into 2021, they seem to be sticking with the rest of their roster but with a few newcomers. Park “Morgan” Gi-tae will be joining the team straight from his year in the LPL in JD Gaming and Team WE, while Park “Arthur” Mi-reu is coming from Oceania’s Dire Wolves. This means that the weight of the team will be placed on the veterans Chovy and Deft.
With Oh “Vsta” Hyo-seong still in his first year after role-swapping to support, Deft will have to lead the bottom lane to teach him the ropes. It could go well for the team however as we have seen successful transitions to the support role such as Golden Guardian’s Choi “huhi” Jae-hyun in 2020. Take note, Hanwha Life took a game off the world champions DWG KIA in the semis of the KeSPA Cup 2020. And who else to lead the five-man into their victory but Deft’s 13/1/5 Miss Fortune.
Without the guiding hand of Kim “cvMax” Dae-ho over Chovy, we will see how the promising mid laner evolves in time. All in all, Hanwha Life will have to go through a few growing pains as these up-coming players learn to stand head-to-head against the best talent in the world.
Ahh, Afreeca Freecs. Once again, prodigy Kim “Kiin” Gi-in is choosing to play with Afreeca and this time, he is now joined by Bae “Bang” Jun-sik and Son “Lehends” Si-woo in the bot lane. Since bowing out of Worlds 2018 in the Quarterfinals, Afreeca Freecs have been barely able to keep themselves at the middle of the pack.
Bang comes from a short stint in North America, while Lehends is coming from a second to the last placing in LCK Summer 2020. But the relief is that these players have once been at the top of the standings in their respective teams in SKT and Griffin. In Afreeca, they will have a fresh opportunity to make themselves known once again in their home region. However, the team must stabilize their mid-jungle in LCK 2021 if Lee “Dread” Jin-hyeok and Song “Fly” Yong-jun remain to be at the level they played at historically. The inclusion of rookie Kim “Keine” Joon-cheol from SeolHaeOne Prince therefore might just be what the team needs to find their groove.
Afreeca Freecs have their work cut out for them in the upcoming season. Despite the hurdles in their way, the team still has an entire year to strengthen themselves for the battles to come. Looking back, 2020 was supposed to be the year the Afreeca Freecs found their stride after starting off strong with a championship win in the KeSPA Cup 2019. Perhaps 2021 could be the year that Afreeca finds themselves in Worlds once again after what seems to be a step-up from their past roster.
As a reminder, the season is still a long way from now. Thus, there can be game-changing roster moves that can change our perception of the league’s standings. But for now, this is how we see the LoL LCK will be playing out in 2021.
LoL LCK Betting Sites
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Knowing how champions work, the individual champion roles, game mechanics, objectives, and everything goes together is critical for your success as a bettor.
What Can You Bet On
In League of Legends, there are a few ways for you to bet on in tournament games. There are moneyline wagers, handicap bets, totals, prop bets, and futures. You can explore how these bets work in our LoL Betting guide here.
Before exploring on betting on League of Legends, it would be optimal if you can learn about the basics of the game first. Aside from playing the game, there are resources that you can look up such as Mobalytics, ProGuides, and Skill Capped. You can follow the game’s esports scene on LoL Esports, Twitch, and YouTube.
Where to Watch LoL LCK
The LCK have yet to announce their start date for the upcoming season. However, we can assume that the Spring will run in the earlier half of the year, followed by the Mid-Season Invitational, then the Summer split. For further updates, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or on LoL Esports.
LoL LCK YouTube
LoL LCK FAQ
When does the LCK start?
The LCK has yet to announce their start dates for the 2021 Spring Split. However, do expect the league to begin around early February.
What does the LCK stand for?
The LCK stands for the League of Legends Champions Korea. The LCK is currently the strongest competitive region in LoL esports as DWG KIA won Worlds 2020.
What tournaments does the LCK hold in a year?
The LCK has the Spring and Summer splits to determine the teams that will be representing the region in the Mid-Season Invitational and Worlds. The LCK then holds the Regional Finals after summer playoffs to determine the last team that qualifiers for Worlds.
Does the LCK have an international broadcast?
Where is the LCK hosted from?
The LCK is hosted live from the LoL PARK in Seoul, Korea.