Earlier this week, it was confirmed that the entire ROX Tigers roster would disband. This wasn’t the only roster that would be revamped. In just one week, KT Rolster dropped four of their starting players in the mid, top, support, and AD carry role. Sure, it was understandable to explore other options for a new bot lane. No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon and Ha “Hachani” Seung-chan both looked to go even while plays were made elsewhere on the map. But when Song “Fly” Yong-jun and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho were let go, both very competent solo-laners, it was starting to look like KT Roltser wanted to upgrade every position they could.
Rumors of a Korean superteam began to surface. The whispers throughout internet message boards were prophesizing Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong would leave China and replace the KT Rolster botlane while Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho and Heo “PawN” Won-seok would replace the solo lanes. The latter part of this prediction was confirmed to be true.
Fresh off of winning the 2016 LCK Summer Split, season MVP, and taking SKT to five games in the semifinals of worlds, Smeb’s stock couldn’t possibly be higher this offseason. He was the star player of ROX Tigers and could play a wide diversity of champions from tanks to carries. PawN hasn’t had relatively as much success recently. This is attributed to being plagued with back injuries that would prevent him from retaining a full-time starting position on EDG. Despite this, Pawn has a phenomenal track record as a midlaner, especially in the matchup versus Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok. Even though he was never touted as the most elite mid, PawN has been able to succeed when his teammates were equal or greater in talent (winning the 2014 World Championship on Samsung White).
And it’s no coincidence that Smeb and PawN will have the best jungler in the world to work with: Go “Score” Dong-bin. KT’s head coach, Lee Ji-hoon discussed how re-signing Score was instrumental in recruiting talent and the team was being built around him.
KT Rolster was a hair away from qualifying for the 2016 World Championship. Losing in a game five twice in the Summer final and the Regional qualifier has made them hungrier for the title in 2017. We have yet to see if this superteam assembly will pan out for them.