The Old Guard
Korean League has always had its share of truly great ads and none have as storied a career as PraY. Consistently one of if not the best at his role, PraY has seen the top and with support Gorilla was arguably the best AD of last season. His sheer proficiency with utility focused champions made him the idol of any would be Ashe or Jhin main. He’s no slouch when it comes to the carry part of his role either. Averaging an excellent 665 damage per minute in LCK summer he trails only behind Bang for raw damage dealt. While he may be leaving for a new team he promises to be a boon for a new Longzhu roster. The only question is will the rest be able to keep up.
Of course Bang has been the standard for all marksmen to live up to the past 2 seasons. It’s hard to define perfection in League of Legends but Bang is one of the few players you can say has met that mark. Capable of playing everything and carrying on it his DPM and KDA are untouchable in Champions thus far. However with the likes of Deft entering his arena along with a new team dynamic he’ll have to show not only resilience but the ability to adapt to a new team environment. Still, when he’s on he’s on and Bang has proven unflappable for 2 years straight and shows no signs of slowing down.
The Returning (Almost) Champion
When it comes to names that hold the most weight in the Marksman role Deft is perhaps the weightiest of them all. Multiple Worlds showings, Korean titles, Chinese titles, and one of the few who have ascended to the top of the International stage make Deft one of the role’s true greats. Still despite all the accolades he’s earned the title of World Champion is the one that has eluded him so far and with his move to KT along with so many other greats shows that his thirst will not be quenched until he does.
Deft’s numbers from Worlds are unbelievable. Averaging at 35% of his teams damage it’s clear that Deft has what it takes to carry a slouching team and like Bang he moves effortlessly from meta champion to meta champion. When hyper carries are in vogue Deft moves as quickly and smartly as his name implies and can tear teams apart. With the weight of a KT super team behind him the grand re-entrance of Korea’s lost wonder ad will be a sight to behold.
The New Blood
To enter LCK as a newcomer is hard. The test it takes to show you can compete with the best is one many new faces fail. Samsung’s Ruler proved he could beat the odds last split and has developed into an AD to watch.
Rivaling Bang and PraY’s damage per minute, Ruler gave the Samsung org life it hadn’t seen since season 4. He was confident on stage and was an expert farmer averaging a higher cs per minute than anyone. Criticism was not absent; his poor champion pool was a stickler for many but by the end of the split his play went from good to excellent with the introduction of CoreJJ as his support. Suddenly laning became much more explosive and by worlds his dpm had shot up from 550 to nearly 675 placing him as the closest ad to Bang in terms of damage. This performance has continued into IEM despite a poor showing at Kespa. Ruler and CoreJJ have rapidly developed as a duo and this season will see them try and cement themselves as the premier duo lane in the league.
Ssol is also a young player hungry for success. In Kongdoo’s first teetering steps in LCK this past spring Ssol found himself as arguably the best part of a bad team. His DPM was middle of the pack at 500 and he kept even in most matchups. Still, for his return he padded those stats significantly upping his dpm to 673 in the recent IEM GyeongGi tournament. His cs per minute has also taken a rise to the excellent with him averaging 9 per minute. Indeed the only question about his play is that his support Guger has not seen the same growth and still gives up first blood pretty regularly.
Finally, we have to take a look at Jin Air’s Teddy. While having only played in Kespa Teddy already proved himself as a driving force to lead a new Jin Air to a bright future. He accounted for 31% of the team's damage in Kespa with an excellent 661 dpm average despite being new blood. He fell behind early and the extent of his champion pool has yet to be tested but Teddy is going to be one to watch over the coming split.
While largely unremarkable every other ad brings something to the table. Sangyoon and Kramer aren’t truly standouts but give them space and they’ll perform. Maha stands out as the weak link of both his team and the league but performs well enough to keep MVP competitive most of the time. Finally there is Ghost, another rookie who has yet to play but has big shoes to fill replacing Loken.
The LCK talent is consolidating and while the race to replace Faker as the best Mid in Korea is still ongoing the potential is there for a shift of attention to the botlane. With a shockingly high stat floor any ad will need to come in ready shine. From the oldest player in PraY to the youngest with Ghost the time of the Korean ad is upon us and promises to be a joy to watch.