When it comes to professional League of Legends (LoL) esports, no one can deny the fact that Korea is the number one country. In 8 seasons, Korean teams have won 5 World Championship of this game, with the most popular LoL professional team SK Telecom T1 (SKT). SKT is the 3 times World Champion of LoL esports in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

For many years, the meta created by the Korean has dominated the whole world. Their idea is to play slow, control the objectives, expand the vision control and wait for the opponents’ mistakes. To win a Korean team, each of every single player in your team has to play perfectly, or else your team will be punished by even a small single mistake. We have seen many comebacks from Korean teams despite being led 10k gold or 3 inhibitors down. The superstars in your team have a massive lead? That doesn’t mean much when you’re facing a Korean team. They will retreat, defending their base by vision and objectives control and wait until their carrying positions have enough farming and then combat. With all the vision control they have, they can easily out-combat you.

However, that golden ear is over. Eventually, professional teams from other regions figure it out how to defeat Korean meta.

At the 2018 League of Legends World Championship, things turned 360 degrees. Although the tournament was hosted in the home ground of the Korean, their 3 representing teams (Gen.G, KT Rolster, and Afreeca Freecs) got kicked out the championship before the semifinal. Even more embarrassing, the defending champion Gen.G (previously was team Samsung Galaxy) couldn’t make it out of the group stage and only had one win in their 6 games in the group stage. You may ask where was SKT? Well, SKT even couldn’t qualified for the ticket to the 2018 League of Legends World Championship.

It’s time for the Korean team to change, or else they will be left behind. The current meta for the game is tempo. If nothing is done by your team in the early time of the game, chances are that your team won't be able to do anything to prevent the opponent team. Now the League Champions Korea (LCK) – the highest-class LoL championship in Korea – will operate 100% under the control of Riot Game, and it has a brand new studio. With this good news, we can believe that a new era has begun in the birthplace of esports.

"The existing LCK teams have been playing against other LCK teams," newly promoted Damwon Gaming midl aner Heo "ShowMaker," Su said. "They've been playing the 'LCK-style macro' against one another -- fewer kills, slow-paced -- while we who have been promoted Challengers have been playing the Challengers game. A Challenger Korea match, on average, will have a lot more kills per game, so I think the new teams are more adapted to the current meta."

With the bold interview answer from Heo "ShowMaker" Su, who don’t we take a look at the next generation that has taken ahold of the LCK in the first two weeks of the regular season.


Team Grifin

If we call this trend a revolution in the LCK, team Griffin is without a doubt the leader of this fast tempo revolution. Their first LCK championship was the LCK summer split 2018, and they showed a dominating performance, which led them all the way to the final before they fell short against KT Rolster. When they got kicked out the LoL World Championship qualification in 2018 by Gen.G, they show no sign of breaking down.

Instead, they went back to practicing immediately. There were tons of rumors going through all Seoul and Busan that they have destroyed many top teams in the scrimmages (friendly training games) during the 2018 LoL World Championship. Whether or not these rumors are true, Griffin did prove their strength in the most recent KeSPA Cup competition (a small cup to start the new year), with the finals even taking place on New Year's Eve, Griffin swept through the championship without losing a single game.

Players to watch

Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong

Lee "Tarzan" Seung-yong

Is this young jungler too arrogant to name himself “Tarzan”? I’m afraid not. The 19-year-old jungler has lived and played the game up to his name, and even already been given the nickname "King of the Jungle" in South Korea. We definitely can say he is the amulet of the Griffin team. What is special about this young talent is that he can play both styles: aggressive or experienced control. You need a level-2 jungler gank?

He can deliver it with style by some mechanically sophisticated champions. You need a game when your jungler plays defensively, experiencedly control the map? Tarzan 100% got you. This is why he is the scariest player in Griffin now because the opponents cant predict whether they will face a predator Tarzan or a Tarzan with years of experience in controlling the map.

Park "Viper" Do-hyeon

Park "Viper" Do-hyeon

You want an AD carry who can play in any meta, Park "Viper" Do-hyeon is definitely the name you are looking for. We have witnessed incredible changes in the AD carry role in 2018, but no AD carry can adopt the new meta as quickly as Viper. Before Tarzan joining the team, Viper is the most famous player in Griffin. When the AD carry meta shifted toward untraditional ADC champions, it was Viper who adopt the new meta the fastest. Trust me, what he needs to be confirmed the best ADC in the world now is only one major cup.

Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon

Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon

The final member that we need to take a closer look at in team Griffin is also the youngest member of the team: Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon. He is only 17-year old. Last year, barely eligible to even play in the LCK, Chovy was the main mid-laner for Griffin and he showed that he was not intimidated by the big old famous brothers in the mid-lane. This year, he has even bigger balls when he unafraid picks the carrying mid-lane champions and become one of the main damage dealers for Griffin. Chovy is definitely among the rare talents that one generation only has few.

And, please keep in mind that none of them is even 20 yet. Moreover, these young talents’ contract with team Griffin lasts until 2021. Now other teams in Korea and the world should show them some respect.

This is the end of part one. Part two of the series also has been posted.