Huge LCK Roster Changes for 2020 Season

by in General | Nov, 26th 2019

Let’s take a closer look at two huge (and fairly unexpected) LCK roster changes. For the LCS and LEC regulars, the off-season is pretty much over. Some hype trains and rumors quickly derailed. Whereas others came to fruition. For the LCK, however, there’s still a ton that’s left unresolved.

A good chunk of their top-tier players and teams are still in a confusing state of flux. The Griffin debacle is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Three of their players entered free agency (and are rumored to have signed for DragonX).

Several other LCK players are supposedly leaving Korea for different regions and leagues. The first two big transfers include former SKT T1 top laner Kim “Khan” Dong-ha and legendary head coach Kim “Kkoma” Jeong-gyun. They’re both transferring over to the LPL!

LCK Roster Changes: Khan and Kkoma Moving to the LPL

Khan is supposedly signing for the most recent 2019 World Championship winners FunPlus Phoenix. In contrast, Kkoma is also finalizing a deal to coach an LPL team for the 2020 season. Rumor has it he’s signing for Vici Gaming. Both individuals are talented and highly sought-after during the off-season.

Khan is supposedly replacing FPX’s current top laner Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem. It is a strange development as their play styles and avenues towards success differ. GimGoon was fantastic on utility picks and tanks. While Khan has the edge in a carry-oriented meta, it’s fair to say GimGoon’s low-econ play style enabled FunPlus more often than not.

In no way is Khan a downgrade. There are also a couple of rumors saying GimGoon is looking to retire. So if that happens, FPX is set for 2020 with a stellar, world-class top laner.

Kkoma, on the other hand, is as synonymous with SKT as their mid laner. He won three World Championships, two Mid-Season Invitationals and eight LCK splits. He’s the most storied, respected and accomplished coach in the history of the game. It seems like the SKT era of dominance was a one-off thing; an occurrence that is almost impossible to replicate.

Heck, Kkoma even has his own ward skin in-game!

Seeing him move on from the LCK and SKT is truly shocking, although it’s also an understandable decision. He has solidified his spot as an all-time great, so he might as well look for a different challenge in a different (major) region and rebuild from the ground up. That’s a much more enticing challenge when compared to pushing SKT to yet another Worlds title.

The fact that he’ll coach a team not called SKT is undoubtedly a more relaxed experience. It is a job relieved of the immense pressure that comes with coaching the best and most accomplished team in the history of the game.

LCK Roster Changes: SKT T1 Moves on to Kim

With Kkoma entering another chapter of his career, SKT is supposedly finalizing a deal with former DAMWON Gaming’s coach Kim “Kim” Jeong-soo.

If there’s anyone capable of delivering results and filling the void left by Kkoma’s absence, it is coach Kim. He’s a known quantity and has a Worlds title behind his belt. Whether this change pans out in SKT’s favor remains to be seen, but the odds are in their favor.

LCK Roster Changes: SKT Finds a New Top Laner

SK Telecom T1 Logo

SKT didn’t need a lot of time to find a replacement for Khan. They are supposedly finalizing a deal with former Gen.G top laner Kim “Roach” Kang-hui. Roach, while undoubtedly talented and capable, is not exactly a fitting replacement for Khan. At least not right now.

The organization also tried to bring over Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok from Invictus Gaming, although that didn’t pan out for various reasons. Kim “GimGoon” Han-saem and Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho were also supposedly in the mix.

Roach became SKT’s No. 1 choice when coach Kim came on board. Kim is well-known for his tendency to mold young players into bona fide superstars. He already coached Khan and TheShy back in his Longzhu (now DragonX) and Invictus Gaming days, respectively.

The amount of success with DAMWON Gaming’s young line-up was also staggering, so if coach Kim feels that Roach has enough potential, we’re inclined to believe him.

With Roach on board, this is what SKT’s 2020 line-up will look like:

  • Top lane: Kim “Roach” Kang-hui
  • Jungle: Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan
  • Mid lane: Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok
  • AD carry: Park “Teddy” Jin-seong
  • Support: Lee “Effort” Sang-ho

Overall, it’s fair to say that they downgraded from 2019, but they’re still carrying a fair bit of potential. With enough time and the right guidance, there’s no doubt that they’ll once again contest for a spot at the very top.

These huge LCK roster changes are just the beginning, as multiple top-tier teams still haven’t finalized their line-ups. Expect more exciting news over the coming days!


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