When Han “Peanut” Wang-ho was announced to be the new SK Telecom T1 Jungler, the only spot on the team in need of improvement in strength was the Top Lane. Today, it’s been announced that the former Immortals’ and Fnatic’s Top Laner, Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon is the one who will be responsible for that position on the most winningest (:P) League of Legends team in the history of the game.
While Huni was one of the best Top Laners in the Western scene, the decision to sign him to play for SKT is a little bit suspect for several reasons. While Huni is definitely better than Kim “Profit” Joon-hyung, SKT needed a true beast to have any chance of fighting about the team assembled by KT Rolster, which is turning out to be an amalgamation of superstars not seen in a very long time.
Is Huni a true beast? He is, in the West. In Korea, however, his quirky shenanigans will stand out opposite to Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok’s calm countenance. Where Faker is a roboplayer, Huni is an overgrown child, happy go lucky, emotional, passionate. While those are good qualities in certain cases, it remains to be seen how the player is going to do in a stricter Korean environment, where his star status doesn’t allow him to get away with stuff that would get others benched.
Another thing, the Top Lane meta at the moments seems to be favoring tanky champions. Peanut is an aggressive Jungler who would probably do well on more damage oriented champions. What will Huni do? Actually play tanks for the first time in his career? Why didn’t he when he was playing in the West and everyone else did? It seems like we will finally get to see how seriously Huni took playing in the West. If he suddenly becomes part of the program, playing what the best players in the world play, we will know that Huni was trolling for most of his career in the West, playing somewhat suboptimal picks and making it work due to his superior skill when compared to Western Top Laners.
The same strategy won’t work in Korea in many cases, however. Once he starts 2017 LCK Spring, Huni won’t be top dog anymore. In fact, he won’t be second-top dog, probably. He will not be his team’s main carry because only an idiot would focus on Huni when they have Faker on the roster. In response, he will probably have to adopt a more low econ playstyle and tone down on his… quirkiness in game. If he doesn’t, if he tries to play the same as he always did, only going up against players like Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, who are the centerpieces of their team, he will get smashed. Hard.
With Peanut and Huni on SKT, the famous discipline of that team will also be harder to keep up. With one coming from ROX Tigers, the team which was known to sing while playing, even when losing, and Immortals’ the team which smashed most of their opponents hard enough to still win the game despite making mistakes due to being plain better than their opponents, there could be a lightening of the atmosphere in the SKT house. Hopefully, it goes well.
Huni joining SKT is a surprising and ambitious move. While we may criticize the player for his shenanigans, we are not denying the fact that he’s one of the best in the world in his position. In LCK, however, he will play against THE best in the world on a regular basis. This will either make or break the player. Let’s all hope that it makes him.