SK Telecom T1 are not having a great summer split. The reigning LCK champions have now lost four games in a row and sit 9th in the league rankings with 1-4 record, just slightly better than the struggling Jin Air Green Wings.
This performance is quite surprising, even in the wake of a disappointing MSI 2019 showing. SKT flew Korea’s banner to Taiwan to redeem the region for its early exit at Worlds 2018 but they faced elimination to G2 Esports in the semifinals. As a result, Korea also lost its third Main Event seed for Worlds 2019, dropping below the LPL in the worldwide power rankings.
Fans of SKT hence hoped for a stronger summer return of their team, but so far, the games Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and co. have been playing have been duds. While almost always going the distance, SKT have only managed to beat JAG — LCK’s worst team — with 2-1 and have lost to Afreeca Freecs (1-2), Kingzone Dragon X (1-2), SANDBOX (0-2) and now DAMWON Gaming (1-2).
In the first game against DWG today, it looked like SKT are back in their top shape, leaving their opponents little room to breathe, winning at the 34th minute with 14k gold lead. A flawless-as-always Kalista from Park “Teddy” Jin-seong and a 1/1/6 MVP performance on Lux from Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong gave SKT the lead, but in games 2 and 3, the champions crumbled.
Heo “ShowMaker” Su was the star for DWG and was especially disruptive on his Vladimir in game 3. The longer the game went, the more powerful DWG’s mid laner grew and SKT had no answers. With every lane struggling and Faker and Clid failing to secure mid lane kills together, SKT lost at the 37th minute, having given up two Barons to the opposing team.
SKT still have plenty of matches to play in the double round robin group stage, but it’s evident this trend cannot continue. Old time franchises are no longer immune from relegation, as the case of KT Rolster in Spring showed, and SKT don’t want to see themselves compete for survival against the Challengers.