Coming into worlds 2017 all eyes are on SKT and Longzhu, especially their top-lane situations.
Longzhu has what is considered by many to be the best top in the world in the form of Kim “Khan” Dong-ha. On the other hand, SKT has become a popular topic of discussion due to their struggles from the position and their decision to only bring Heo “Huni” Seung-hoon. These two factors coupled with the group draw have led to what is most likely going to be the second-best top in the tournament being swept under the rug, Samsung star Lee “Cuvee” Seong-jin.
This will be the second year in a row an unexpected team is coming out of Korea – named Samsung Galaxy. Same as last year, they would defeat KT and claim their spot at the world championships off the back of well-rounded teamplay and veteran leadership from Cuvee and Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong. This series would end in a sweep for SSG and perfectly exemplify what makes Cuvee a great top-laner.
Cuvee does not put up jaw dropping stats and is typically not a very flashy player, which can often lead to him being undervalued by many. In the series against KT we would see Cuvee fall behind Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho in nearly all statistical categories for a majority of the early to mid-game. Unlike so many other teams SSG relies on their top-lane to be levelheaded and play for the win, not for the lane.
This is one of their biggest strengths as they often can take trades across the map and avoid deaths on top that most teams fall victims to. Cuvee has shown he can play to punish or to absorb punishment, which that level of versatility will be critical when heading into a tournament like worlds where you will have players from across the globe playing in a multitude of styles.
Samsung, just as they were last year, will be the Korean team that is almost an afterthought when compared to the other two Korean squads. But much like last year they have a very well-rounded team and consistently stick to their playstyle which can often be the difference in a long, grueling tournament.
Although they lost convincingly to SKT in the LCK summer playoffs they have traditionally matched up quite well against them. Last year they would push SKT to a fifth game in the finals and come closer than any team had ever even imagined to knocking SKT off their throne. There are many reasons for the drop-off but most of which come from the mid-lane and have not been the mistakes of Cuvee.
— lolesports (@lolesports) October 30, 2016
The only top-laner in the entire tournament that could be an issue for Samsung will be Khan, as he is a hyper-aggressive carry style top. He nearly always receives heavy assistance from his team and his strong laning can mask the weakness of their jungle position. This will be the biggest threat to Samsung’s playstyle and most likely be the measuring stick for all teams.
With names such as Khan, Flame and Huni being in the tournament, it is only natural that people will be drawn to big plays and aggressive laning. By the end of the tournament, many will undoubtedly recognize for the second year in a row that a levelheaded veteran top such as Cuvee is the perfect fit for this Samsung team.