The opening match for the 2023 LCK Spring split was between the world champion Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and his former team, DRX. His new team, Dplus KIA, remain the only team to have not dropped a single game so far this split. Could this be because of picks like Elise, who hasn’t been picked in the LCK in over a thousand days.
Despite a day one, 2-0 win over former rivals and LCK Summer 2022 champions Gen.G, the T1 roster that remains the same from last season looked a little shaky as they went on to drop a game to KT Rolster on January 20.
While I think KT Rolster are set to do well this year and could make some deep playoff runs, the fact that Gwak “BDD” Bo-seong and Kim “Aiming” Ha-ram were given the space to perform well and take a game from the recent world finalists is worrying for T1 bettors and fans alike.
After their loss to T1, the Gen.G roster bounced back in their second matchup against DRX, who were swept aside easily for the second time in Week 1. Fresh from their academy, Kim “Peyz” Su-hwan put up 8/0 and 10/0 performances on Jhin and Zeri respectively. I do expect DRX to bounce back in the coming weeks, as I consider their opponents in Week 1 to be among the top three best teams in the league.
A potentially surprising result, despite how weak their initial opponents were, is BRION coming out of Week 1 with a 2-0 win-loss record, after taking down Nongshim RedForce (who were also beaten by KT Rolster) and winning a close series over Kwangdong Freecs. This has seen Park “Morgan” Ru-han develop a cult following and his own personal fanbase. Although their performances so far might show their potential to rise into the middle of the pack by the end of the split, it would be remiss to expect them to achieve a better placement than the first round of the playoffs.
Like BRION, the newly revamped Hanwha Life roster, containing recent world champions Kim “ZEKA” Geon-woo and Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon, also defeated Kwangdong Freecs; though in their case it was a swift 2-0 win.
Lee “Envyy” Myeong-joon, with support from Lee “Clozer” Ju-hyeon, put in a perfect performance in game three of their series to gain Liiv SANDBOX a close 2-1 victory over the former world champs, Hanwha Life, which is not something to be scoffed at considering he was playing against 2021’s world champion Park “Viper” Do-hyeon.
- Read: LCK Spring Split Preview
It might be a little early to make assumptions about Hanwha Life based on a game this close, although it is advisable to see how the team develops before getting too invested in them.
Overall, I think the league has had a couple more surprises than its Chinese and European counterparts during its opening matches; however, we might see more of a return to normality in the coming weeks. A lot of the upcoming matches are between a team with high expectations and a team with low expectations. The exception to this rule being the highly anticipated matchup between the reforged Dplus KIA and T1. Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is likely to be determined to claim a victory against his rival “Deft”, and although I think this match could go either way, I have “Deft” and Dplus KIA coming out on top.