League of Legends Champions Korea

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League of Legends Champions Korea
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2021 LCK season
League of Legends Champions Korea logo.svg
GameLeague of Legends
Founded2012
No. of teams10
CountrySouth Korea
Venue(s)LoL Park, Seoul
Most recent
champion(s)
DWG KIA (2nd title)
(Spring 2021)
Most titlesT1 (9 titles)
QualificationFranchise partnership
Sponsor(s)HP Omen, Logitech, McDonald's, Secretlab, Woori Bank[1]
Domestic cup(s)KeSPA Cup
International cup(s)Mid-Season Invitational
World Championship

League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) is the primary competition for League of Legends esports in South Korea. Contested by ten teams, the league runs two seasons per year and serves as a direct route to qualification for the annual League of Legends World Championship. The LCK is administered in cooperation between Riot Games and KeSPA.

The league was formerly named League of Legends Champions before undergoing a major restructuring in late 2014, which saw a change in the competition's format and a rebranding to its current name. OGN reserved exclusive broadcasting rights of the league until 2016 when rights were split with SPOTV Games.[2] In 2019, Riot Games took over the broadcasting of LCK.[3][4] In 2021 the LCK franchised, and Challengers Korea (CK) and the LCK promotion tournament were discontinued.[5]

The LCK has been long considered one of the strongest League of Legends leagues in the world, with the game's World Championship having been won by teams from the league from 2013 through 2017; 2018 was the first season since 2013 where a team from the LCK did not win the World Championship.

History[edit]

Pre-LCK era (2012–2014)[edit]

Following the launch of South Korea's League of Legends server in December 2011, cable broadcaster OnGameNet launched the country's first major League of Legends tournament in March 2012. Named The Champions Spring 2012, the tournament ran from March to May and was contested by a total of 16 teams. MiG Blaze was crowned the competition's inaugural champion after defeating their organizational sibling team MiG Frost in the finals. The Champions Summer 2012 followed later that year, with a rebranded MiG Frost, now known as Azubu Frost, claiming the title themselves. Azubu Frost, along with NaJin Sword, went on to represent South Korea in their first appearance at the League of Legends World Championship in October.

A tri-tournament annual circuit was soon set as the norm for the league's calendar year, now consisting of three seasons held in the winter, spring, and summer. Azubu Frost and NaJin Sword clashed early in 2013 in the finals of Champions Winter 2012-13, with the latter emerging victorious. Champions Spring 2013 and Champions Summer 2013 later followed, being won by MVP Ozone and SK Telecom T1 K respectively. SK Telecom T1 K went on to win the Season 3 World Championship later that year, becoming the first team from the league to do so.

SK Telecom T1 K became the first team to successfully defend their title the following year, sweeping Samsung Galaxy Ozone in the finals of Champions Winter 2013-14 to cap off an undefeated tournament run. Ozone's sibling team, Samsung Galaxy Blue, went on to win Champions Spring 2014 but were bested in the finals of Champions Summer 2014 by kt Rolster Arrows.

In October 2014, plans were announced for a drastic overhaul of the league's structure.[6] League of Legends Champions was rebranded to League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK), and the winter season was abolished in favor of an annual circuit consisting of the Spring Split and Summer Split. The competition's format, which consisted of a 16-team tournament with a group stage progressing into a knockout stage, was changed to a 10-team league operating on a round-robin basis, with the top 5 teams qualifying for a playoffs bracket. Furthermore, organizations were prohibited from owning more than one team - in particular, this change most heavily affected KeSPA-affiliated teams, all of which operated two squads as part of a sibling team system - forcing numerous organizations to merge or disband rosters.

LCK era (since 2015)[edit]

LCK Spring 2015 marked the debut of the league operating under its new format and identity. A newly minted SK Telecom T1, a product of the prior year's merger between SK Telecom T1 K and SK Telecom T1 S, swept the calendar year by winning both LCK Spring 2015 and LCK Summer 2015.

SK Telecom T1 retained their crown in LCK Spring 2016, becoming the first team in competition history to win three consecutive titles. Their streak of dominance was ended in LCK Summer 2016 by ROX Tigers, who became only the second team to win the league since its restructuring.

SK Telecom T1 won their sixth title as an organization on 22 April 2017, by defeating KT Rolster in the finals of LCK Spring 2017. In LCK Summer 2017 Finals, Longzhu Gaming won their first title on 26 August 2017 after defeating the spring winner SK Telecom T1.

Longzhu Gaming rebranded to Kingzone DragonX following the 2017 World Championship, and they defended their title in LCK 2018 Spring by defeating the Afreeca Freecs. kt Rolster won the LCK Summer 2018 championship, defeating Griffin in the finals.

SK Telecom T1 won the title for LCK Spring 2019 after defeating Griffin in the finals with 3–0. This marked the seventh LCK title for SK Telecom T1.[7] On 31 August 2019, SK Telecom T1 once again defeated Griffin in the finals with a score of 3–1. This was their eighth championship title, and also their back-to-back LCK title in 2019.[8]

Format[edit]

Regular season[edit]

  • Ten teams participate
  • Double round robin, all matches are best-of-three
  • The best six teams advance to the playoffs
    • The top two teams get byes into the semifinals
  • If two teams have the same record, ties are broken by:
    • Game record (teams get +1 point for a won game and –1 point for a lost game; the team with more points wins the tie)
    • If points are tied, ties are broken by head-to-head record
    • If still tied, teams play a tiebreaker match

Playoffs[edit]

  • The top six teams participate in the playoffs
  • Single-elimination, double bracket format
    • All matches are best-of-five
  • The winner of the Spring Season qualify for the Mid-Season Invitational
  • The winner of the Summer Season (seed 1), the team with the most championship points (seed 2), and the winner of the regional qualifier (seed 3) qualify for the World Championship.

Teams[edit]

  • As of 19 April 2021; players in the same position are listed in alphabetical order.
Team Roster Head
Coach
Top Laner Jungler Mid Laner Bot Laner Support
Afreeca Freecs Kiin Dread Fly Bang
Leo
Lehends
MapSSi
Rigby
DRX Destroy
Kingen
Pyosik Solka BAO Becca SSONG
DWG KIA Khan Canyon RangJun
ShowMaker
Ghost BeryL kkOma
Fredit Brion Hoya Chieftain
UmTi
Lava
Yaharong
Hena Delight Edgar
Gen.G Burdol
Rascal
Clid
Flawless
Bdd
Karis
Ruler Life oDin
Hanwha Life Esports DuDu
Morgan
Riss
Arthur
CaD
yoHan
Chovy
Mask
Cheoni
Deft
Baut
Vsta
Kezman
KT Rolster Doran Gideon Dove
Ucal
HyBriD
Noah
Zzus Hirai
Liiv Sandbox Summit Croco
OnFleek
Fate Prince Effort Micro
Nongshim RedForce Rich Juhan
Peanut
Bay Deokdam
Wayne
Kellin sBs
T1 Canna
Zeus
Cuzz
Ellim
Oner
Clozer
Faker
Gumayusi
Teddy
Keria Daeny

Results[edit]

By season[edit]

world champion Background shading indicates that the team won the world championship.
Year Split 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Qualified for World Championship
Seed 1 Seed 2 Seed 3
2012 Spring MiG Blaze MiG Frost Xenics Storm Team OP Azubu Frost Najin Sword N/A
Summer Azubu Frost CLG Europe Najin Sword Azubu Blaze
2013 Winter Najin Sword Azubu Frost KT Rolster B Azubu Blaze Najin Black Sword Samsung Galaxy Ozone[a] SK Telecom T1 K world champion
Spring MVP Ozone CJ Entus Blaze SK Telecom T1 2 CJ Entus Frost
Summer SK Telecom T1 K KT Rolster Bullets MVP Ozone CJ Entus Frost
2014 Winter SK Telecom T1 K Samsung Galaxy Ozone KT Rolster Bullets Najin White Shield Samsung Galaxy Blue Samsung Galaxy White world champion Najin White Shield
Spring Samsung Galaxy Blue Najin White Shield Samsung Galaxy Ozone CJ Entus Blaze
Summer KT Rolster Arrows Samsung Galaxy Blue Samsung Galaxy White SK Telecom T1 S
2015 Spring SK Telecom T1 GE Tigers CJ Entus Jin Air Green Wings SK Telecom T1 world champion KOO Tigers KT Rolster
Summer SK Telecom T1 KT Rolster KOO Tigers CJ Entus
2016 Spring SK Telecom T1 ROX Tigers KT Rolster Jin Air Green Wings ROX Tigers SK Telecom T1 world champion Samsung Galaxy
Summer ROX Tigers KT Rolster SK Telecom T1 Samsung Galaxy
2017 Spring SK Telecom T1 KT Rolster Samsung Galaxy Team MVP Longzhu Gaming SK Telecom T1 Samsung Galaxy world champion
Summer Longzhu Gaming SK Telecom T1 KT Rolster Samsung Galaxy
2018 Spring Kingzone DragonX Afreeca Freecs KT Rolster SK Telecom T1 KT Rolster Afreeca Freecs Gen.G
Summer KT Rolster Griffin Afreeca Freecs Kingzone DragonX
2019 Spring SK Telecom T1 Griffin Kingzone DragonX Damwon Gaming SK Telecom T1 Griffin Damwon Gaming
Summer SK Telecom T1 Griffin Damwon Gaming Sandbox Gaming
2020 Spring T1 Gen.G DragonX Damwon Gaming Damwon Gaming world champion DRX Gen.G
Summer Damwon Gaming DRX Gen.G Afreeca Freecs
2021 Spring DWG KIA Gen.G Hanwha Life Esports T1
Summer

By team[edit]

Team Winners Runners-up Winning Seasons Runners-up Seasons
T1[b] 9 1 2013 Summer, 2013–14 Winter, 2015 Spring, 2015 Summer, 2016 Spring, 2017 Spring, 2019 Spring, 2019 Summer, 2020 Spring 2017 Summer
Gen.G[c] 2 4 2013 Spring, 2014 Spring 2013–14 Winter, 2014 Summer, 2020 Spring, 2021 Spring
KT Rolster[d] 2 4 2014 Summer, 2018 Summer 2013 Summer, 2015 Summer, 2016 Summer, 2017 Spring
OGN Entus[e] 2 3 2012 Spring, 2012 Summer 2012 Spring, 2012–13 Winter, 2013 Spring
DRX[f] 2 1 2017 Summer, 2018 Spring 2020 Summer
DWG KIA[g] 2 0 2020 Summer, 2021 Spring
Hanwha Life Esports[h] 1 2 2016 Summer 2015 Spring, 2016 Spring
Fredit Brion[i] 1 1 2012–13 Winter 2014 Spring
Griffin 0 3 2018 Summer, 2019 Spring, 2019 Summer
CLG Europe 0 1 2012 Summer
Afreeca Freecs 0 1 2018 Spring
  1. ^ Named MVP Ozone before September 2013
  2. ^ Previously known as SK Telecom T1
  3. ^ Previously known as MVP Ozone, Samsung Galaxy Ozone, Samsung Galaxy Blue & White, and Samsung Galaxy
  4. ^ Previously known as KT Rolster Bullets and KT Rolster Arrows
  5. ^ Previously known as MiG Blaze & MiG Frost, Azubu Frost & Azubu Blaze, and CJ Entus Blaze
  6. ^ Previously known as Longzhu Gaming, Kingzone DragonX, and DragonX
  7. ^ Previously known as Damwon Gaming
  8. ^ Previously known as GE Tigers, KOO Tigers, and ROX Tigers
  9. ^ Previously known as Najin Sword, Najin Black Sword & Najin White Shield, Brion Blade, and hyFresh Blade

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hitt, Kevin (5 January 2021). "League of Legends Champions Korea Making Big Changes for 2021". The Esports Observer. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  2. ^ "리그 오브 레전드". leagueoflegends.co.kr (in Korean). 16 December 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  3. ^ Fogel, Stefanie (11 January 2019). "Riot Games to Independently Broadcast 'LoL' Champions Korea This Year". Variety. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  4. ^ Leslie, Callum (13 November 2017). "Riot plans to take over LCK production in 2019, open LoL Park studio". Dot Esports. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  5. ^ Daniels, Tom (2 November 2020). "Riot Games reveals LCK's 10 franchised teams". Esports Insider. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  6. ^ Deesing, Jonathan (28 October 2014). "Korean Professional League Getting Overhauled". redbull.com. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  7. ^ "[롤챔스] '제왕의 귀환' SK텔레콤, 그리핀 꺾고 LCK 첫 'V7' 축배(종합)". sports.news.naver.com (in Korean). 13 April 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  8. ^ David "Viion" Jang (31 August 2019). "League of Legends: [2019 LCK Summer Finals] SK Telecom T1 Wins their 8th LCK Championship". Inven Global. Retrieved 31 August 2019.

External links[edit]