League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), the Korean professional league for League of Legends (LoL) esports, has announced a series of high-profile matches for fans to watch in Week 1 of the 2023 LCK Spring Regular Season, which will take place from Wednesday, March 18 to Sunday, March 22 at the LCK Arena located at the Grand Seoul Roll Park in Jongno-gu, Seoul.
Following the massive player turnover in the Stove League following the conclusion of the 2022 season, most of the starters of the 10 teams participating in the LCK have been replaced. DRX, which won the LoL World Championship (Rold Cup) in 2022, has seen its main players change jerseys, while other teams are rebuilding and bringing in a lot of young blood. In addition, there are players who have returned to the LCK after playing in the Chinese LPL, making the first appearance of the new teams.
Deft moves to Plus Kia, meets Chinjung DRX
The most notable team in the Stove League in 2022 was DRX. After their miraculous run from the play-in stage to the championship at the 2022 Rold Cup, DRX popularized the phrase, “The most important thing is an unbreakable heart”. After returning home and playing the Stove League, DRX had to make some big changes as four of their main players left the team, including supporter Beryl “Beryl” Jeong-hui.
Among the players who switched jerseys, long-distance dealer Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu, the protagonist of “Jungkookma,” will join DePlus Kia in the LCK in 2023. Coincidentally, of the four former DRX members who switched teams, Kim Hyuk-kyu will be the first to face his ‘home’ team, DRX. The opening match on the 18th was dubbed the ‘middleweight match’ as it was set to be a matchup between DPL Gia and DRX.
DePlus Kia was voted the strongest team of the Spring by players at the Spring Opening Media Day on Thursday, April 12. A whopping five of the 10 players on the roster chose Plus Kia, as three of the five will be playing together in 2022, and new additions Kim “Kanna” Chang-dong and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu are both highly regarded for their individual skills and experience.
It will be interesting to see how Kim Hyuk-kyu, who will be facing DRX in the opening match, fares with his new teammates.
The 2022 LCK Finalists will face off against each other
T1 and Genji, who faced off in back-to-back LCK Spring and Summer Finals in 2022, will meet in the second game of the opening day.
T1 and Genji are arguably the most iconic rivals in the LCK. In the three years between 2018 and 2020, the two teams met six times in the LCK in a best-of-five series, including three times in the finals, with T1 winning twice in the Spring 2020 and Spring 2022 finals and Genji winning in Summer 2022.
With 10 championships in the LCK, T1 has been strong in the spring, with a whopping six of them coming in the spring split. They’re also a favorite because they have the same five players who played together throughout 2022 in their starting lineup.
With a strong upper lane, the key to this matchup will be how the bottom duo of Kim “Phase” Soo-hwan and Yoo “Delight” Hwan-jung perform. “It’s not easy to fill the gap left by Park ‘Ruler’ Jae-hyuk, who has been playing for us for seven years, overnight, but we’re looking forward to Kim ‘Phase’ Soo-hwan’s stability in practice, which is uncharacteristic of a rookie,” said Genji head coach Ko Dong-bin at the media day.
Three-time Rold Cup winner Hanwha Life also has its eyes on the prize
Hanwha Life eSports is another team that has made waves in the Stove League in 2022. After parting ways with many of its members in 2022, Hanwha Life formed a “super team” by signing Hwang “Viper” Do-hyun, Hwang “Kingen” Sung-hoon, Kim “Zeca” Gun-woo, Kim “Clyde” Tae-min, and Kim “Life” Jung-min.
Park “Do-hyun” Park won the World Championship with Edward Gaming in 2021, while Hwang “Kinggen” Sung-hoon and Kim “Zeca” Gun-woo rose to the top of the world in a DRX uniform in 2022. Kim Tae-min and Kim Jung-min also have World Championship experience, so it will be interesting to see what Hanwha Life can do in the Spring. Hanwha will take on the Guangdong Freaks on Thursday, January 19, and the Reef Sandbox on Sunday, January 22.
The LCK has decided to move up game times starting in Spring 2023. Weekday games on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays will start at 5 p.m. as before, but game two will start 30 minutes earlier at 7:30 p.m. 토토사이트 On weekends, Game 1 will start at 3 p.m. and Game 2 will start at 5:30 p.m., two hours later than in 2022.
Week 1 of the 2023 LCK Spring will be broadcast live on online platforms such as Africa TV and NAVER Esports & Games.