The LCK Spring Split, where top Korean teams spar to be the best League of Legends team in their region, has begun. That means the superteams we reported on have been released onto their hapless competition—but do they live up to the hype? The short answer is, yes: in their first match of the split, the newly renovated KT Rolster went up against the ROX Tigers and delivered a conclusive thrashing, handily winning both games before the match could even get to a third round.
Granted, the ROX Tigers, once the best team in Korean League of Legends, were unrecognizable in almost every sense of the word. For one, not a single member of the 2016 team appears on the roster. Wang-ho “Yoon” Peanut has gone to SKT; Beom-hyeon “Gorilla” Kang and Jong-in “Pray” Kim both play for Longzhu now; Seo-haeng “Kuro” Lee is on the Afreeca Freecs; and Kyung-ho “Smeb” Song was, in fact, playing for KT. Even their logo, once a stylish silver tiger’s head, now looks more like a biker tattoo.
But let that not discount the performance of KT Rolster, who are living up to their status as the team to beat in every conceivable manner. Throughout their two games against the Tigers, there was almost never a moment where KT wasn’t ahead. In game one, Hyuk-kyu “Deft” Kim seemed almost jubilant to be playing with a team that could keep up with him after two years in the LPL. This team fight is probably most representative of the way that KT Rolster’s new ADC ran circles around the enemy team, in this case quite literally.
In game two, with Smeb on the duelist Fiora and Won-seok “Pawn” Heo on the battle mage Ryze, they slowly squeezed the life out of their opponents with a split-pushing strategy, playing in a clean and surgical manner almost reminiscent of SK Telecom. The few times that the Tigers managed to bring down one of KT’s split pushers, they were immediately punished for leaving their structures unguarded.
So far, KT Rolster has shown that they’re more than a match for a diminished team like the Tigers. Whether or not they’ll be able to keep it up against a team of their caliber—I’m looking at SK Telecom and Samsung Galaxy, at the moment—remains to be seen.