The KeSPA Cup Day One
The KeSPA Cup. A League of Legends competition viewed as superfluous by some but entertaining by so many more. After all, who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to see some fantastic roster moves from the off-season in full effect?
Hanwha Life Esports
Following their most significant signings ahead of 2019 - former SK Telecom toplaner Thal, growing at an exponential rate but not considerable enough to warrant LCK’s dynasty team keeping him. And former Flash Wolves promising jungle talent Moojin set to make a triumphant return to a home region he’d never officially competed in - the team decided it was best to field a roster without them.
Granted, they were facing a team comprised entirely of rookies - amateurs, even, including a 16-year old trainee marksman player. Yet, for a team that made purported offseason upgrades to a roster that secured sixth place in the LCK regular season... a loss here was unexpected or, more accurately, suboptimal. Seoul, on the other hand, played their hearts out. The aforementioned rising rookie Gumayusi, StarCraft legend Innovation’s younger brother, put on an especially convincing performance on Caitlyn of all things.
It seems HLE at least read KGS well in one regard. They secured Thresh for themselves in game one, and banning it out in game two. Where the team that theoretically should have had an insurmountable advantage in the draft phase faltered. However, they left it up in the third game - KGS support Pop quickly took the Chain Warden for himself and made plenty of clutch hooks alongside more than one lifesaving lantern.
Not to say HLE’s draft was utterly nonsensical, even if their execution left much to be desired. Picking Fiora, or any splitpush champion that is difficult to deal with after level 16, tends to expose teams with the weaker macro game. Therefore selecting it against a team that you would assume was lacking in coordination makes near-perfect sense. However, after a shaky early game, it felt like every bit of time Sohwan bought for his HLE teammates. The Fiora pick in a sidelane was for naught since the rest of the lineup struggled to siege into Zoe/Caitlyn and couldn’t find proper footing around neutral objectives.
It is important to note that the KeSPA Cup is being played on the very same patch we received this morning. Therefore this tournament could be a good indication of what we will see from teams come regular season, provided things don’t change too drastically between our current patch 8.24b and then. Expect even more action, upsets, and overall craziness tomorrow as this week is sure to deliver some premium quality League of Legends from a region looking for redemption after Worlds.
Image Via: The Game Haus