After the part one of this series about the current situation in the League Champions Korea (LCK) – the highest-class League of Legends (LoL) championship in Korea and the first rising team Griffin, in this part two we’ll have a closer look at two more rising teams in the LCK.

DAMWON Gaming

I 1
DAMWON Gaming

You need a new, younger version of SKT vs KT, you better have a look at Griffin vs DAMWON Gaming. These two emerging esports organizations have been battling endlessly in the minor leagues before Griffin promoted into the LCK in the 2018 LCK summer split. As an inevitable result, the secondary South Korean league was crushed by DAMWON Gaming due to Griffin's absence and DAMWON Gaming was promoted to the 2019 LCK spring split with little trouble at the end of the year. Similar to Griffin, all the corner in Seoul and Busan talked about the strength of the unknown DAMWON Gaming in the scrimmage (friendly training games) over world top teams during 2018 League of Legends World Championship.
Yes, Griffin seems to be the older brother of DAMWON Gaming, this rivalry is surely worthy to wait for. And the fact that Griffin is currently ahead of DAMWON Gaming doesn’t mean that DAMWON Gaming will stop until they are 100% sure Griffin is ten steps behind them.

Players to watch

Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon

Nuguri
Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon

It would be difficult to say that Jang "Nuguri" Ha-gwon is the best top-laner in the LCK. However, we need to have a fair perspective on the current situation in the top-lane. In the time that all the Korean big name in top-lane are either not playing in LCK, retiring or not showing their true forms, it seems that Nuguri now is the premier name in the top-lane of LCK. Although his form in the LCK promotional games was questionable, he has found this true form – an offensive carrying top-laner – back right before the LCK kicked off and he is his team’s carry at the moment.

Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu

Kim "Canyon" Geon-bu is just 17 year old, the same as Chovy from team Griffin. He just started his professional gamer carrier a few short months ago. Nevertheless, he has made the LoL online world terrified with his skill and his brutality style. His online performance has gained the attention of DAMWON Gaming and in the offseason, he got his first professional contract with DAMWON Gaming.
Of course, scrimmages and playing alone online are totally different from performing in the professional games, especially in the LCK. It takes time for Canyon to grow up and bring out his best qualities. But DAMWON Gaming seems to have patience with Canyon. If he can actually turn out to be as good as people’s expectation, we will have a very interesting competition over the title "King of the Jungle" between Canyon and Tarzan.

Heo "ShowMaker" Su

Showmaker
Heo "ShowMaker" Su

When DAMWON gaming entered the LCK, their mid-laner Heo “Showmaker” Su was expected to show us a very offensive style. Previously, he was famous for his Katarina pick in the online games, as well as a bunch of other high-damage champions while he was playing in the minor leagues. However, in his first games in the LCK, his picks were more about the utility and the tanks for his team (he mostly picked Galio and Urgot in his first games). While Nuguri and Canyon have gained the attention of the press by their outstanding game, Showmaker seems to be trying to do the same things. Or he is scarifying for his team? We are not sure about the answer yet. But we all are waiting for a true show by Showmaker.

SANDBOX Gaming

I 2
SANDBOX Gaming

Let’s get this straight, SANDBOX Gaming did not receive any of my attention 2 weeks ago, not to mention putting them next to Griffin or DAMWON gaming. Before the 2019 LCK spring split kicked off, I thought this team would definitely in the below part of the table. Nevertheless, they have defeated some really experienced team in the LCK so far. My most sincere apology toward SANDBOX Gaming for looking down on them.

If Griffin and DAMWON Gaming have young talents to build up, SANDBOX Gaming has a tendency to recycle the “leftovers” of other teams. Still, SANDBOX Gaming know how to fill their blank by their pressure in the game. They will definitely go for a Baron if they see the chances, regardless of their side lane pushing position. An opposing player slightly out of position? Jump on them without a second thought, even if the rest of the team is behind them in the shadows waiting. Want to shake things up? Why not swap around our mid and top laners.
SANDBOX is the complete antithesis of what people think of when they think of South Korean League of Legends, and that's why, at least in the small sample size (including a monumental victory over SKT), they're thriving.

Players to watch

Park "Summit" Woo-tae

Summit
Park "Summit" Woo-tae

It was a long road for Summit to finally win a starting job in the LCK. After bouncing around amateur teams and even winning a gold medal for South Korea at the IeSF world championship over Serbia in the final, he found a place on Afreeca Freecs. Unfortunately, the Freecs had their own blue-chip prospect in Kim "Kiin" Gi-in, who skyrocketed from unknown to the league's best top laner last year. Summit rarely left the bench, and with Kiin re-signing with Afreeca in the offseason, he was left with few options. SANDBOX, tinkering with their makeshift roster, scooped him up and have seen the late pickup pay dividends straight away. Summit is having his own breakthrough rookie season that could mirror Kiin's if things continue as they are.

Kim "OnFleek" Jang-gyeom

Onfleek
Kim "OnFleek" Jang-gyeom

The speed of a game comes from the tempo a jungler sets, and there's a reason why all three teams mentioned also have a standout jungler. OnFleek is much more of the Canyon build, the 21-year-old rookie only beginning his professional play last year Team BattleComics before that team's roster and LCK spots were purchased by SANDBOX.

In the promotional tournament to get into the LCK, OnFleek was the player that caught the most eyes, leading his team to the LCK off the back of dominating performances on Olaf. Sandbox's jungler doesn't have the shine of Tarzan's brilliance or Canyon's heralded mechanics, but as with all of SANDBOX, he puts his head down and pushes forward into even the most brazen teamfights.

Cho "Joker" Jae-eup

Joker
Cho "Joker" Jae-eup

No player on SANDBOX personifies the team more than its starting support. Joker is a rookie, just like Canyon, Nuguri and other of the rising rookies in the league. The only difference? Joker is not a teenager. Joker isn't even in his early 20s. Joker turned 27 in December and is the oldest player in the league, even surpassing KT Rolster's Go "Score" Dong-bin.
When SANDBOX qualified for LCK, it appeared like he might be replaced by a younger, more mechanically gifted player, but through the early stages of the season, Joker has persevered and been a driving force in SANDBOX's winning ways.

It's called the next generation. No one said anything about it being the young generation.