DePlus Gia of Jeonseung faces off against T1
The 2023 LCK Spring kicked off last week, capturing the attention of fans with non-stop action over the Lunar New Year holiday, and is poised to continue its upward trajectory in Week 2 with some of the best big matches on the schedule.
League of Legends Champions Korea (CEO Oh Sang-heon), organizer of the Korean professional league of League of Legends esports, announced that the opening week of the 2023 LCK Spring, held at the LCK Arena located at Roll Park in Jongno-gu, Seoul, from Wednesday, January 18th to Sunday, January 22nd, saw DPLUS Gia and T1 start off on a high note with two undefeated games and will face off in Week 2 on Saturday, January 28th in the Satuday Showdown.
Plus Gia and T1 were as strong as expected
When asked to name the teams they thought would be strong this spring, the 10 teams that participated in the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) Spring 2023 media day on Thursday, January 12, cited DePlus Kia and T1. Five teams predicted a strong showing from the former, while four picked T1.
When the lid was lifted, both teams were just as strong. In their Spring opener against DRX on the 18th, DePlus Kia swept both sets with a 10+ kill margin. Against Reef Sandbox on the 20th, DPLUS Kia secured a 2-0 victory before the one-hour mark of the combined first and second set thanks to long-range dealer Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and support Kim “Kellin” Hyung-kyu dominating the bottom lane without dying once in either set.
T1, which hasn’t made any changes to its roster ahead of the 2023 season, also put on a strong showing. Facing Genji, who they met in the Spring and Summer Finals in 2022, with a 1-1 record, T1 showed off the chemistry they’ve had for over two years, winning 2-0. After dropping the first set to carrier opponent KT Rolster on the 20th, T1 dominated the second and third sets to pull off a 2-1 upset.
Saturday’s results will determine the course of 1R
DePlus Gia and T1 go head-to-head in Week 2. This is the second edition of the Saturday Showdown, which was introduced this spring. The two teams will face each other on the 28th, after the former hosted the Nongshim Red Force on the 25th and the latter faced the Guangdong Freecs on the 26th. Barring any major upsets, both teams will enter the match with a three-game lead, so the outcome of the 28th match will likely determine the outcome of the first round of the Spring.
The head-to-head record between the two teams is 9-7, with a slight edge in favor of DePlus Kia. In 2020 and 2021, the team won big games, while in 2022, T1 won all five meetings, including four in the regular season and one in the Summer Playoffs.
Another notable matchup is between the 1996-born Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and T1’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk, who were classmates at Mapo High School. The two have faced each other a whopping 84 times (in sets) in the LCK alone, with Lee “Faker” Sang-hyuk holding a commanding 56 wins and 28 losses. However, Kim “Faker” Hyuk-kyu has been on a good run of results, including losing the 2022 LoL World Championship in three sets to two and losing to Team Deft in the season-opening Specials, so all eyes will be on the 28th.
What’s next for Hanwha Life Esports?
Another team to watch in Week 2 is Hanwha Life Esports. The only team to have three players who have won the LoL World Championship since 2021 on the same team, Hanwha Life suffered a blowout loss to Reef Sandbox in Week 1. Still finding their groove, Hanwha showed a pattern of relying on the individual skills of their players.
In Week 2, Hanwha will face KT Rolster and Genji. KT Rolster is made up of players who have been through the wringer, but it will be interesting to see how Hanwha will find a solution with players who have won on the big stage of the World Championship.
It will also be interesting to see if Hwang “KingGen” Sung-hoon and Kim “Zeca” Gun-woo, who are playing in Hanwha’s uniform this year, can take down Genji again, as they played a huge role in the team’s victory over Genji in the quarterfinals of the 2022 LoL World Championship.
Week 2 of the 2023 LCK Spring 한국야동 will be streamed live on online platforms such as Africa TV and NAVER Esports & Games.