As expected, the Korean League of Legends team was able to finish first in the qualifiers for the 2018 Asian Games. Additionally, the qualifier games were not broadcast anywhere, to the disappointment of the fans. The Asian Electronic Sports Federation had to confirm the results on their website.
Fans knew that Korea would face some pretty tough opposition in the qualifying stage. Also, this was the weakest the region has looked in a long time. Korea was coming off of a loss in the Mid-Season Invitational at the hands of China’s Royal Never Give Up. This was following one of the evenest seasons in Korean League of Legends Champions history. Multiple teams finished tied at the end of the Spring season. KSV, ROX Tigers and perennial champions SK Telecom T1 all finished with 9-9 records.
SKT T1 would not even get to the Finals, as KT Rolster would eliminate them in four games. The biggest surprise came from Afreeca Freecs, who were constant bottom five finishers in the league. However, they would end up finishing second, only losing in the Finals to Kingzone DragonX. The team was led by rookie top laner Kim “Kiin” Gi-in, who would end up being the top laner for the Korean national team.
At the same time, Korea’s usual powerhouses in SK Telecom T1, KT Rolster, and Kingzone DragonX have all been playing at a suboptimal rate as of this season. The biggest surprise is the surge of Griffin, a new Korean team made up of all rookie players. This rookie team has taken first place in the most competitive region in the world. If there was any time to take an international event from Korea, it would have been now. However, it seems like placing the best players from the region was too much for the other Asian countries.
In fact, China, who was looked at as the possible team to dethrone Korea, placed third behind Taiwan. They did not seem to show the same dominance they had during the Mid-Season Invitational. China’s roster was comprised of mostly players from the recently victorious Royal Never Give Up. It is surprising to see that they were not able to use the momentum from MSI to propel them past the Koreans.
On the other hand, Taiwan’s lineup consists of Hsieh “PK” Yu-Ting, Wang “BayBay” You-Chun, Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang, Lu “Betty” Yu-Hung and Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Jie. Taiwan is a strong region in their own right, but many fans would underestimate them, even on the World Championship stage. There are also reports that Korea, Taiwan, and China had to play against each other in an additional tiebreaker.
Predictions for the Asian Games
If this pattern persists for the actual Asian Games tournament, Korea may stomp on the rest of the competition. This is not saying that Taiwan cannot pull off an upset. However, if China keeps underperforming, no one will be able to take down an in-form Korean national team. We will need to watch for All-Star bot lane carry Uzi and how he can help push China towards success. It will be especially hard because of the current meta, but if there is one person who can pull through, it would be him.
Who do you think will come out on top at the Asian Games this year? Will there be an upset, or will the Korean national team steamroll the competition? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. If you want to see more League of Legends news, check us out here!