Catching the opposing team by surprise during the draft phase can provide a considerable edge in any League of Legends game. This is exactly what Hanwha Life Esports wanted to do in their first match of the 2023 LCK Spring Split against Kwangdong Freecs today. They went for LCK’s first-ever Jhin support pick to counter the enemy’s Heimerdinger pick. But this choice almost became a disaster for the team.
While Jhin is often considered one of the most balanced marksmen in League, picking him up in the support role is a bad move. Hanwha learned this the hard way as their bottom lane got completely run over by the Freecs.
Jhin lacks any sustainability or hard crowd-controlling skills, hence Hanwha’s early game looked weak. They lost both Rift Heralds and the first four dragons to the Freecs, who looked poised to win the game easily. Although the Jhin was able to get two kills for the team thanks to his long-range poke, he was not as effective as Freec’s Heimerdinger in teamfights.
Hanwha got a lifeline by securing the first Elder Dragon and shifting the momentum in their favor. The final deciding moment came down to the fight for the second Elder dragon. Seeing their jungler getting picked off, Hanwha’s mid and top laners (Zeka and Kingen) rushed to destroy the enemy base while the Freecs focused on getting the dragon.
By the time they killed it and teleported back, the world-champion duo had opened up the base and destroyed the Nexus before the Freecs could make a comeback play.
The win boosted the team’s morale and they went on to win the second game of the series, this time with a more meta lineup. Rather than the Jhin pick, the credit for Hanwha’s win can be given to Zeka and Kingen who made the correct decision in that clutch moment.
Hanwha’s next match will be against Liiv SANDBOX on Jan. 22 from 12am CT while the Freecs will face Fredit BRION on Jan. 21 from 2am CT.