2016 KeSPA Cup Preview

by theScore Staff Nov 8 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of KeSPA / LCK Summer 2016

Last year, ESC Ever won the hearts of international fans as the plucky Korean challenger team that won IEM Cologne. But before they were surprising international opponents, they shocked domestic ones in the 2015 KeSPA Cup, which qualified them to the IEM circuit.

This year's KeSPA Cup should be full of a few more surprises, up-and-coming talent and, of course, two chances to qualify for the upcoming IEM circuit.

The Teams

All 10 teams from the 2016 LoL Champions Korea Summer are invited in addition to the two top teams from 2016 Challengers Korea Summer and two teams from the 2016 KeG Championship. SBENU Korea was initially invited but had to decline due to the team disbanding. Ever8 Winners was then invited, but declined. RisingStar Gaming, who finished fourth in 2016 Challengers Korea, will play in their place.

Afreeca Freecs
Top Heo "Lindarang" Man-heung
Jungle Yoon "Seonghwan" Seong-hwan
Mid Son "Mickey" Young-min
AD Carry Gwon "Sangyoon" Sang-yun
Support No "Snowflower" Hoi-jong
CJ Entus Player 1 Player 2
Top Park "Shy" Sang-myeon Seo "Soul" Hyeon-seok
Jungle Lee "Reach" Joo-won
Mid Kim "Sky" Ha-neul
AD Carry Park "Momo" Min-shik
Support Hong "MadLife" Min-gi Park "SungHo" Sung-ho
ESC Ever Player 1 Player 2
Top Kim "Crazy" Jae-hee Jin "Firetrap" Jae-seung
Jungle Kim "Ares" Min-kwon Choi "Bless" Hyeon-woong
Mid Kang "Tempt" Myung-gu
AD Carry Lee "LokeN" Dong-wook
Support Kim "Key" Han-gi Eun "Totoro" Jong-seop
Jin Air Green Wings Player 1 Player 2
Top Yeo "TrAce" Chang-dong Kim "SoHwan" Jun-yeong
Jungle Park "Winged" Tae-jin
Mid Lee "Kuzan" Seong-hyeok Jin "Blanc" Seong-min
AD Carry Park "Teddy" Jin-song Na "Pilot" Woo-hyung
Support Choi "Chei" Sun-ho Lee "Sweet" Eun-teak
KT Rolster Player 1 Player 2
Top Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho
Jungle Go "Score" Dong-bin Moon "Steal" Geon-yeong
Mid Song "Fly" Yong-jun
AD Carry No "Arrow" Dong-hyeon
Support Ha "Hachani" Seung-chan  
Longzhu Gaming Player 1 Player 2 Player 3
Top Koo "Expession" Bon-taek Lee "Flame" Ho-jong
Jungle Lee "Chaser" Sang-hyun Lee "Crash" Dong-woo  
Mid Shin "Coco" Jin-yeong Kim "Frozen" Tae-il Yoon "Justice" Suk-joon
AD Carry Lee "Fury" Jin-yong
Support Kim "Pure" Jin-sun Jang "Zzus" Joon-soo
Top Kang "ADD" Geon-mo
Jungle Kim "Beyond" Kyu-seok
Mid An "Ian" Jun-hyeong
AD Carry Oh "MaHa" Hyun-sik
Support Jeong "Max" Jong-bin
ROX Tigers Player 1 Player 2
Top Song "Smeb" Kyung-ho
Jungle Han "Peanut" Wang-ho
Mid Lee "KurO" Seo-haeng Hae "Cry" Sung-min
AD Carry Kim "PraY" Jong-in
Support Kang "GorillA" Beom-hyeon
Samsung Galaxy Player 1 Player 2
Top Lee "CuVee" Seong-jin Kwon "Helper" Yeong-jae
Jungle Kang "Ambition" Chan-yong
Mid Lee "Crown" Min-ho
AD Carry Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk Lee "Stitch" Seung-ju
Support Jo "CoreJJ" Yong-in Kwon "Wraith" Ji-min
SK Telecom T1 Player 1 Player 2
Top Lee "Duke" Ho-seong Kim "Profit" Jun-hyung
Jungle Bae "bengi" Seong-woong Kang "Blank" Sun-gu
Mid Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok
AD Carry Bae "Bang" Jun-sik
Support Lee "Wolf" Jae-wan Kang "TaeHoon" Tae-hoon
Kongdoo Monster
Top Kim "Roach" Kang-hui
Jungle Son "Punch" Min-hyuk
Mid Lee "Edge" Ho-seong
AD Carry Seo "SSol" Jin-sol
Support Kim "GuGer" Do-yeop
RisingStar Gaming Player 1 Player 2
Top Park "Hyuni" Su-hyeon
Jungle Kwon "BBang" Yeong-jae Yun "Catch" Sang-ho
Mid Kim "Crow" Sun-kyu
AD Carry Song "OdduGi" Kwang-ho
Support Song "HighDin" Bang-hyeon
Top   Park "WooTae" Woo-tae
Jungle Lee "Jaeha" Jae-ha
Mid Choo "FireRain" Hwa-woo
AD Carry Kang "Jihoon" Ji-hoon
Support Lee "Changdong" Chan-dong
Seoul City  
Top Kim "Khan" Dong-ha
Jungle Kim "Hoglet" Gwong-hyeop
Mid Huh "Bbo" Chung
AD Carry Pak "Egoist" Seung-jin
Support Ryu "Hoit" Ho-song

The Schedule

The 2016 KeSPA Cup kicks off on Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. Korea Standard Time (3 a.m. ET) with ESC Ever taking on CJ Entus. After that series, Seoul City will face Kongdoo Monster. The Qualifying Round features six best-of-three series from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12. Quarterfinals will take place on Nov. 13 and 14, with KT Rolster and the ROX Tigers seeded into the playoffs due to their second and first place finishes in 2016 LCK Summer. Semifinals are on Friday, Nov. 18, and finals are on Saturday, Nov. 19. All playoff matches are best-of-threes with the exception of the finals, which will be a best-of-five series.

Qualifying for IEM Oakland and Gyeonggi

Two teams from the KeSPA Cup will qualify for the IEM circuit.

IEM Oakland is the trickier qualifier to understand, but makes sense in the context of scheduling. The highest-ranked team — based on their finish in the 2016 LCK Summer season — not in the KeSPA Cup playoffs that also did not participate in the 2016 World Championship semifinals will qualify for IEM Oakland. This narrows the field down to either MVP or the Afreeca Freecs. The winner will move on to the KeSPA Cup quarterfinals, while the loser will attend IEM Oakland.

IEM Gyeonggi will invite the winner of the KeSPA Cup, provided that it’s not SK Telecom T1, who have already been invited to the 2017 IEM World Championship. If SKT wins the KeSPA Cup, the next highest-ranked team will attend IEM Gyeonggi.

Emily Rand is a staff writer for theScore eSports. She wants to see MVP or Afreeca at an international event. You can follow her on Twitter.