The SKT vs Afreeca series takes place on January 18—and it has all the chances to become the most anticipated match of week 1 of the 2019 LCK Spring Split! SK Telecom T1 are the definition of a powerhouse. Their 2019 roster is composed of superstars that could easily have separate teams built around them. But while their raw firepower is immense, SKT suffer from having too many cooks in the kitchen. Every player here has a set way of approaching the game, and the clash of these ideologies has already raised synergy issues during the 2018 KeSPA Cup.
Afreeca Freecs are more well-rounded in comparison. Their players may not be as dominant on the Rift, but they make up for it with solid teamwork and intricate game plans. On top of that, Afreeca are renowned for their ability to prepare for specific opponents, so they’re likely to hit SKT where it hurts most. Combine that with them making a couple of roster upgrades in the off-season, and Afreeca Freecs have all the tools they need to become the dark horse of the 2019 LCK Spring Split.
SKT vs Afreeca LCK Match Breakdown
Top Lane Matchup
There’s no denying that SKT Khan is a gifted top laner. His performance on carries is downright overwhelming, and his Jayce instills fear into his opponents. He’s also very one-dimensional. Whenever the meta shifts towards tanks or bruisers, Khan suddenly becomes no different than your average LCK top laner. To make matters worse, his brash playstyle demands resources and jungler attention, and if SKT don’t give these to him, they run the risk of spending the entire series with a feeding top laner.
Afreeca’s Kiin is the most versatile member of his team. Much like Khan, he has an affinity for carry champions, and he can single-handedly take over the game if Afreeca set him up with a good matchup. However, he doesn’t shy away from other roles either. If Afreeca want to prioritize other lanes, Kiin is more than willing to take a step back and sacrifice himself for the team—and it’s this flexibility that gives him an edge over Khan in the SKT vs Afreeca matchup.
VERDICT: AFS Kiin takes the lead in the top lane.
When SKT first announced their 2019 roster, everyone expected Haru to be the starting jungler. But that was before Clid stole the spotlight with his stunning KeSPA Cup showings. Hailing from the Chinese JD Gaming, Clid puts a strong emphasis on ganks and mechanical outplays, which is exactly what SKT’s superstar roster needs to get going.
Afreeca’s junglers are a bit more timid in comparison. Dread had a decent debut in the 2018 KeSPA Cup by outmaneuvering Griffin’s Tarzan in the early game, but he faltered during the later stages of the game. With that, it’s much more likely that Afreeca will start Spirit—a battle-hardened veteran with a knack for pathing and teamfights. Unfortunately, neither of the two can hold off Clid’s onslaught, giving SKT a heavy advantage in the jungle department.
VERDICT: SKT Clid conquers the jungler.
Mid Lane Matchup
The mid lane will be the most important position to follow in this SKT vs Afreeca LCK matchup. On SKT’s side, Faker needs no introduction. Celebrated as the best League of Legends in the world, he has the perfect mixture of natural talent and competitive experience. That being said, his performances weren’t as convincing during the KeSPA Cup, and it’s clear SKT still don’t have a good idea of what role Faker needs to play on their 2019 lineup.
Afreeca Freecs have already set the stage for Ucal to carry—and for good reason. Not only did he cement himself as a strong individual mid laner in 2018, but he also managed to stand out on a team as stacked as KT Rolster. On Afreeca, Ucal will have more opportunities to be the star of the show. And while he might be still behind Faker at the moment, it’s not by much.
VERDICT: SKT Faker edges out a win in the mid lane.
Bot Lane Matchup
It’s been a long time since the bot lane has been this stacked for SKT T1. Teddy is exceptional in the marksman role, and his mechanical prowess allows him to shine on hypercarries and lane bullies alike. Meanwhile, Mata is a living legend among support players, and he’ll be sure to make his presence known in this SKT vs Afreeca LCK match. The only problem is that Mata tends to get overeager with his initiations, but if SKT manage to reign him in, they will have a very explosive bot lane on their hands.
Afreeca don’t have much to oppose SKT’s momentum. Granted, Aiming is a solid AD carry, and his lane dominance and constant proactivity will be an improvement over Kramer’s reserved playstyle. The issue lies in his lane partners. Aiming is paired with rookie supports—Jelly and Proud—and neither of them is capable of standing up to SKT’s powerhouse bot lane.
VERDICT: SKT’s Teddy and Mata score a convincing victory in the bot lane.
SKT vs Afreeca LCK Match Prediction
Afreeca Freecs are in for an uphill battle. SKT outclass them in terms of raw firepower, and it will take a ton of effort and creativity to bridge this gap. That said, this is exactly where Afreeca shine. And while off-meta picks and intricate game plans might not be enough to take the W, they aren’t going to go down without a fight. Our prediction is a 2-1 victory for SKT!
You can be on SK Telecom T1 winning the SKT vs Afreeca series with a 2-1 score for odds of 2.80 at Betway.