The preliminary of the League of Legends Champions Korea Spring Split season pertained to an end Friday, with the 10 groups all having dealt with each other, making apparent the benefits and downsides of the franchise system.

The existing standings after the first pairings of the 2nd round are as follows.

1. DWG Kia (9-1) 2. Gen.G (7-3) 3. DRX (7-3) 4. Hanwha Life Esports (6-4) 5. T1 (5-5) 6. KT Rolster (5-5) 7. Afreeca Freecs (3-7) 8. Nongshim RedForce (3-7) 9. Fredit Brion (3-7) 10. Liiv Sandbox (2-8).

With the eyes of the LoL esports neighborhood on the LCK after DWG Kia brought back the world champion trophy and as the franchise system has actually been implemented, the preliminary of the LCK showed that the league is as competitive as ever, and fear of an absence of motivation due to the removal of transfer matches was unneeded.

To start with, the entire LCK was stunned when first-place DWG Kia dropped its only game versus then last-place team Fredit Brion.

Before the franchise system, numerous last-place groups went winless or won just one game during the entire split, dull fans and casters. Upsets hardly ever happened between groups at the bottom of standings and top groups. Nevertheless, the first round showed that every group has what it takes to beat the top-tier groups.

Likewise, by increasing the number of teams heading to the playoffs to six, even the last-place group has a shot at picking up in the 2nd round to reach the playoffs. Only 3 wins presently separate the last location group from the sixth. As a result, each video game counts more than ever.

Another benefit of the franchise system shown so far is that lots of new talents got in the LCK to much success. Franchise teams choose to develop young players to represent the team instead of relying heavily on veteran gamers. Although fans feared the unexpected rush of groups consisting of novices would not have the ability to perform in their very first split because of absence of macro play, DRX, which includes four rookies and Hong “Pyosik” Chang-hyeon who debuted in 2015, had the ability to sit at 3rd location with solid macro play. The high mechanical skill level that the young gamers gave the LCK scene raised the quality of the league.

Nevertheless, the first round likewise showed that the franchise system still needs lots of improvements, with one glaring problem being the relative inflexibility of the roster in unanticipated circumstances.

In the preliminary, Kim “Lava” Tae-hoon, the mid laner for Fredit Brion, was unable to play in the match due to health reasons. Roster guidelines did not allow the mid laner in Fredit Brion’s second department to bet Lava, making the 2 jungle position players in the very first department take turns playing mid against Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. In a sport like baseball, that would be like an energy infielder pitching instead of bringing up a starter from the minors. The result was a disastrous 0-2 loss for Fredit Brion, simply as it was delighting in momentum from a victory versus KT Rolster.

At the root of the problem is that unless you are a wealthy group like T1 or Gen.G that can handle several players in the first division, groups can not have substitutes for several positions as they need to have a full five-man lineup group for the 2nd division Oppositions League. The franchise system also determines that gamers registered for the LCK have a minimum wage of 60 million won ($ 54,000), posing a monetary burden to teams.

On the other hand, if roster changes are extremely flexible, it could cause confusion for both fans and groups.

Under the brand-new franchise system, roster changes can only be made 3 times– before the split start, after the preliminary of the LCK and before the start of playoffs– by calling up players from the second-division Challengers League, by demoting players below the LCK or by adding a new player.

After the first round, Kang “Blank” Sun-gu and Lee “Bonnie” Gwang-su of KT Rolster were sent to the second division while Kim “Gideon” Min-sung and Oh “Noah” Hyeon-taek were called up. The Afreeca Freecs also called assistance Kim “MapSSi” Do-yeong. In addition, 6 brand-new players were signed up for the second round. Another modification is that Kim “OnFleek” Jang-gyeom of Liiv Sandbox, who was prohibited from playing in the preliminary for making a racist remark versus Chinese, can be reinstated in the second round.

The Spring Split is a time for teams to try brand-new methods and rosters in preparation for the Summer season Split, which has greater effect on going to the LoL World Championships in the fall. Numerous coaches have actually said that bad results and continuous modifications in the beginning lineup are all part of the procedure of preparing the very best team for the summer. The Spring Split is also a chance for Riot Games to see what modifications need to be made in the franchise system.

The 2nd round of the LCK will begin Thursday to Sunday and end March 28, with playoffs beginning with March 31.

By Lim Jang-won ([email protected]).