This past Tuesday, May 24th, the KeSPA (Korean e-Sports Association) officially announced the League of Legends roster that will represent South Korea in this year’s Asian Games.
Team Korea’s roster will feature Choi "Zeus" Woo-je (T1) on the toplane, Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok (JDG) as the jungler, Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok (T1) and Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon (GEN) as midlaners, Park "Ruler" Jae-hyeok (JDG) in the ad carry position and Ryu "Keria" Min-seok (T1) as the support. This fine team will be coached by former T1 and Damwon manager Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun. He will be the one having to make the tough decision as to whom to bench between Faker and Chovy.
Basically a superteam made of T1 and JDG players, team connection and coordination should run just smoothly among the crew. Not to mention that this very scary roster has two players in common with Korea’s squad at the 2018 Asian Games in Faker and Ruler. Moreover, if Chovy might seem to be a lone wolf here, he has in fact already played with Kanavi in Griffin, Keria in DRX, and Ruler in Gen.G. Interestingly, Kanavi will be part of an all-Korean team for the first time since he is considered one of, if not the best jungler in the world.
We can’t wait to see these players compete for the pride of their country and a probable exciting fixture against China. Moreover, this competition bears another stake for Korean players. Since it would represent a great honor for the country on the international stage, a gold medal would exempt them from military service, which can sometimes represent an awkward hiatus for players or even the anticipated end of a career.
The 2022 Asian Games are set to be held from September 23 to October 8, 2023, in Hangzhou, China. You read the dates right: they were supposed to take place last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the event to 2023. As a consequence, the League of Legends 2023 World Championship, which will be held in South Korea, has been moved further down the calendar – it will start on October 10.
The first League of Legends gold medalist ever?
For the first time in the history of the Asian Games, esports will be an official event with medals earned in the discipline to be counted in the overall medal tally. League of Legends will be one of the 7 esports medal events, along with PUBG Mobile, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, FIFA, Street Fighter V, and Arena of Valor. It looks like South Korea saw a great opportunity to close the gap with Japan in the medal table and decided to appoint what is probably the most stacked League of Legends roster possible.
Team Korea will feature as a strong favorite to earn the gold medal, although China, whose teams impressed at the Mid-Season Invitational, will also be a strong title contender, while Taiwan appears as an underdog.
A roster that China could send to the Asian Games might look like Bai "369" Jia-Hao (JDG) or Chen "Bin" Ze-Bin (BLG) on the toplane; Zhao "Jiejie" Li-Jie (EDG) or Peng "XUN" Li-Xun (BLG) in the jungle; Zhuo "knight" Ding (JDG) on the midlane; Zhao "Elk" Jia-Hao (BLG) or Chen "GALA" Wei (newly LNG) as an ad carry; and Tian "Meiko" Ye (EDG) or Lou "Missing" Yun-Feng (JDG) as a support. South Korea’s roster announcement and the fact that a lot of JDG players are likely to feature in a China vs. Korea final already sparked some ironic comments about a JDG White vs. JDG Blue match on Chinese social media Weibo.