When Samsung Galaxy White won the 2014 World Championship of League of Legends, the Great Korean Exodus began. Seeking to finally put a Chinese team on the Worlds Throne, Chinese millionaires forked out mind-blowing amounts of money to pick up some of the best Korean League of Legends players for their teams. It didn’t go so well, the following Worlds was won by SK Telecom T1. This achievement was repeated once again last weekend.
If the announcements by Heo “PawN” Won-seok and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu are to be believed, it seems possible that most, if not all, of the Koreans who participated in the exodus, might be coming back home, finally realizing that the dosh isn’t worth it if you have to lose to get it. If this happens and some of the most talented Korean players come back, it spells trouble for the rest of the world in their ambition to win the World Championship 2017.
Even a dominating region like Korea can’t have a bottomless pool of talent. Even with the Korean methods, some players rise above the rest. When they don’t have many other players of similar skill to compete against, their progress slows and the “gap” between the rest of the world and South Korea gets a little bit smaller. At least that’s what the Westerners hope to happen.
This phenomenon could be seen in the playstyle of LCK’s AD Carries. When gods like Deft, Gu “Imp” Seung-bin, and Chae “Piglet” Gwang-jin left Korea, their up and coming replacements weren’t as exposed to the god’s lane crushing playstyle. As a result, We don’t see dominant Korean AD Carries, who absolutely crush lane and almost seem to carry 1v9 anymore. Of course, this could all be bullshit. It might as well be that the metagame shifted and shenanigans like this are simply not possible in pro play anymore. Still, the first option sounds more exciting, doesn’t it?
If Korean superstars start coming back to their motherland and the Chinese businessman don’t manage to buy other ones (there’s been rumors that Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok was recently offered $4 million), the upcoming LCK season is going to be even stronger than it was last year. That’s a scary thought, because even with the region weakened a bit by Korean player’s exodus, all three Korean teams to play in Worlds 2016 made it into the Semifinals. What happens if they get even stronger? At that point, it might be a good idea to just put the Koreans in the Semifinals and make the rest fight for the right to face the Gods of League of Legends.