It’s no secret that Korean Players are extremely good at League of Legends to the point that most regions spend a lot of money and effort to scout them from abroad to play for their teams. The LCK has won more World Championships than all the other regions combined and even those they didn’t win recently had Koreans as their star players. Koreans aren’t just good at League of Legends but in other esports titles as well and are recognized internationally. The question is, why are Korean players so good at these games?
The Rise of Korean Players
Korean players have already been prominent since the age of Starcraft I, arguably one of the most serious esports in its time. In fact, Asians in general have a reputation for having a great standing when it comes to competitive video games with personalities like Daigo, a Fighting Games player from Japan. However, among all the Asians countries, Korea really stands out as the most competitive of them all and for good reason.
To answer the question on why Korean players dominate every esports they play, let’s take a closer look at the Esports Culture and community outlook on Gaming in the country compared to other regions. Koreans aren’t simply born with magical hands and are programmed to automatically know how to play any video game from birth. Their skillsets are born from a completely different environment that westerners and some eastern countries could only wish for… or not, depending on which ones.
10 Reasons Why Koreans Are So Good at LoL
Before we start, it’s important to clarify that most items on this list are merely observations and a few are speculation derived from those observations. Even if some of the items on this list are true, not all of them are applicable to every Korean player and other factors might also come into play when it comes to answer the question on why Korean players are so great. Nonetheless, here are the 10 reasons we think are why Koreans are so good at LoL
1. Esports Is a Job
Yes, we know Esports is a legitimate career everywhere in the world. For gamers though, Esports as a career has an elevated status and isn’t simply a career you take for the sake of making money or being famous. Being an esports player means that you’ll need to have the qualifications and mindset to take on the grueling challenges and be able to compete against established players in the League. It’s a legitimate career in a sense that it feels more of a job than a hobby so you don’t do it because you enjoy it.
There are probably thousands of players in Korea lining up to be the next League of Legends player even if it means that they only get to play in an Academy Team. As such, players get rejected and accepted on rotations with very small chance of making it all the way to the top. Teams are even being formed outside the LCK in hopes of qualifying for a spot in the LCK after the relegation series. Once players successfully make it as a player, they devote the entirety of their existence into keeping it.
2. High Standards On Coaching Staff
The coaching staff, analyst team, managers, and even player support staff all need to be high-caliber in the LCK. In other regions, orgs like to choose coaches depending on their popularity instead of their achievements in the past. Teams like T1 and Gen.G try to get coaches with colorful resumes who have lead several teams to success in the past. If not, professional players with first-hand knowledge of leading a good team is what most orgs will look towards getting.
In the past, the Esports Organizations have faced controversy regarding poor choice in coaching staff to the point that fans threw our threats and even verbally abused potential candidates for the coaching staff position. You can’t choose someone to be the coach of your team simply because they’re your friend. These coaches play an important part in team development and don’t just sit on the sidelines watching their teams make the decsisions for them.
3. Intensive Training Schedules
The most dominant factor on why Korean players are so dominant on the rift is because they spend almost 90% of their time training to become the best. On average, Korean players will have 1 day off every 2 weeks for personal activities. The teams will spend all their time scrimming against other teams, discussing tactics with the coaching staff, or playing solo queue on their own time and sometimes they still do that on their free time.
Western players are notoriously known for having a lot of free time on their hands which explains the massive difference in skill level among regions. Organizations in the east are stricter when it comes to their players as they see them mostly as employees that need to prove themselves more than a novelty they want to keep for the sake of face value. Players that don’t show the fruits of their labor will most likely be facing replacement.
4. Competitive Solo Queue Environment
The caliber of players in Korea is already extremely high even outside the competitive stages. There is a reason why most professional players create a solo queue account in the KR servers even if they’re not from Korea themselves. They say that NA Diamond is Korean Bronze and that statement might not be far off since playing a game in the region can feel pretty intimidating and no one really plays for the memes in the region.
The main reason that the solo queue environment in Korea is so serious is because players bind their account to their Social ID No. so you virtually can only really get one account. Players that don’t take the games seriously might face a permanent ban and will lose the chance to play League of Legends permanently. Every player will tryhard and stick to the meta so not everyone plays a champion simply because they like it and never “for the memes”.
5. Government Support
We mentioned that you need your social ID no. to register for an account in League of Legends Korea but you can also register using a Korean mobile number or I-Pin. Asian countries take esports as seriously as they do with other traditional sports. The Asian Games features esports as one of the primary events and winning on this stage will aptly reward your team with a gold medal.
Players that win in the Asian Games are exempted from being conscripted for the country’s Mandatory Military Service. This is enough incentive for players to strive really hard in order to become the most prominent in their respective lanes so that they will be chosen to participate in the Asian Games. The Korean Senate also actively engages with issues regarding players and their contracts so much so that they have to pass a law to prevent unjust agreements between parties.
6. Critical Gaming Community
One of the most prominent factor of Asian League of Legends communities is that they have one of the most critical fanbases in the world. While other regions like to meme around or flame other regions, Asian communities tend to be very serious about supporting their teams and thus, they expect their team to return their support by playing games with expected results. If a player is caught slacking off or losing intentionally, that’s the time you’ll see the community’s overly passionate side.
Organizations tend to prevent their players from engaging with the community since it becomes unavoidable to see negative comments on the internet regardless of their performance or standing. However, that doesn’t mean that those same organizations aren’t pushing their players to meet the expectations of their fanbase. Players will try to do everything in their power to play at a higher level to avoid being flamed by internet randoms.
7. Monetization of Skillsets
Boosting is a pretty profitable endeavor in the East but is also one of the most controversial. It is literally illegal in Korea for players to receive boosting services which is why it can be pretty expensive. Player rankings are equivalent to social status so Korean players want to make it to at least Diamond rank so that they’ll be able to gain a decent amount of respect from the community and be acknowledged as a really good player.
One of the most popular boosters in Korea is Dopa, who is often called Korea’s true #1 Player. He has one of the most interesting backstories and has long been banned in Korea for being caught boosting accounts for a ton of money. Everyone wants to be good enough to offer some boosting services so that they can earn some easy money with players in the lower ranks. However, it’s difficult to find boosters online since most of them can only be contacted directly.
8. Experience Yields Experience
When you’re playing in region filled with World Champion caliber players, you’ll have an easier time developing your skills close to their level. This is because players unconsciously pick up habits and strategies that high-level players do during the game. Players in your region are only as good as the player that represents the entire region. With players like Faker representing the country, it’s no wonder every Korean mid laner in the LCK is unstoppable.
In the competitive scene, this can also be applied in the coaching staff as mentioned before. When you’re a player with such a high standing in the competitive scene, you’ll most likely have an easier time landing a job in the esports industry. If you have an experienced coach that really knows what teams need to have in order to succeed, you’ll have a higher chance of succeeding and be able to execute the demands of the coaching staff much smoother.
9. Honor Bound To Uphold Victory
Everytime the LCK or LoL Esports releases a teaser featuring a Korean team, the teams always mention how they want to preserve the integrity of LCK’s standing at the international scene or that they want to take back the glory that was once theirs. These aren’t scripted comments that they say in front of the camera, these are genuine goals for Korean esports organizations and the players themselves since they know that the world expects a lot from them.
Every new generation of League of Legends pro in the LCK has the same goal. To make sure that Korea takes home the trophy regardless of how many times they already won it or how the fans think that “LCK winning worlds is boring”. For the Korean fans, they always believe 100% in their hearts that their teams will be able to win Worlds. Korean players are honor bound to make sure that they achieve their goal no matter what it takes.
10. Korea is a Country Developed For Gamers
Korea is arguable the best country to play League of Legends. From it’s high quality League of Legends solo queue environment, smooth ping, and a society built mostly by gamers, you’ll find that it’s easier to be a LoL player here than any other country. So much so that players from all around the world want to try out playing in the server even once in their lives to see for themselves why their favorite streamers are all trying to play there.
Is Korea the best League of Legends region?
Yes, definitely. League of Legends is dominated by Koreans and are considered the kings of the game. However, this won’t always be true and the following years might prove otherwise with a lot of other regions developing quickly and being able to stand up against these titans.
Who is the best player in Korea?
The most accomplished player in Korea is Faker because of his countless achievements in the League. However, there is one player that people believe to be better than Faker and that is a player named Dopa/Apdo.