With the Worlds Quarterfinals coming up real soon, we look at the Cinderella story of Longzhu Gaming and specifically their star top laner, Kim “Khan” Dong-ha. Longzhu went from 7th place in the 2017 LCK Spring Split to Grand Champions in the Summer Split, beating out three time World Champions SK Telecom T1 three games to one. Now they are one of the favourites to win Worlds 2017.
This astonishing success and turnaround from their Spring Split performance came off the back of several roster changes, keeping their bottom lane duo of Kim “PraY” Jong-in and Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon, arguably the best bottom lane in the world right now, and bringing in solo queue stars Moon “Cuzz” Woo-chan and Kwak “Bdd” Bo-seong as well as the highlight of this story, Khan.
Opening A Khan Of Whoop-A$$
Khan is a player who has been playing competitively since 2014. He started on Prime Optimus, a team that upset one of the best teams back then, SK Telecom T1 S. He then left the team for a stint in China and the LPL but did not see much success there and spent much time on the bench. Khan went from having little success to instant fame almost overnight, as he carried Longzhu to the LCK title in his first ever split.
Khan heavily favours carry-style top laners. His signature pick, Jayce, has an insane record of 8 wins and 1 loss in the Summer Split. Here’s a look at all the champions Khan has played throughout the entirety of the Summer Split:
In a meta that heavily favours tank champions such as Maokai and Cho’Gath instead of carry champions, how does Khan make his picks work?
Khan is really good at punishing any small mistakes that his opponents make while making very few himself. His teammates are also happy to take on supportive roles, funnelling resources into him in order to allow him to succeed. That isn’t to say he is incapable of playing tanks, as he has several successful performances on Jarvan and Gragas under his belt, but he is most comfortable on picks that can bully his opponents such as Jayce and Renekton.
Below are the highlights from the deciding game of the Summer Split finals, which clearly showcase how Longzhu supports Khan and allow him to shine:
They can be confident with PraY and GorillA’s ability to hold their own in lane and thus Cuzz and Bdd are allowed to constantly gank for Khan and put him miles ahead, which he has to be in order to succeed in the tank meta as a carry champion as the tanks, when allowed to sit back and farm, will comfortably out-scale most carry champions in teamfights.
Along with a number of resources funnelled into Khan, he also has the individual mechanics to back it up and make full use of it, as can be seen in this 1 vs 3 outplay when SKT collapsed on him.
He punishes the over-extension by Wolf and proceeds to make full use of his abilities to make a clean escape. He has also famously solo-killed SKT’s Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok on multiple occasions, showing that he too can make LoL gods bleed.
These plays above showcase why he is the player to watch at Worlds 2017. He clearly recognises opportunities to punish any and every small mistake, then consistently uses his mechanical prowess to secure and extend advantages across the map.
Every Worlds has its player to watch. In 2015 it was the unkillable demon king himself: Faker. The year after that it was Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, who took the MVP award for the LCK from Faker. This year will be the year that teams fear the wrath of Khan.
Longzhu faces off against Samsung Galaxy in the first Quarterfinals match this Thursday, October 19 at 4 P.M. (GMT+8). You can check out the stream on Twitch, and be sure to come on down to our Discord for more updates about Worlds 2017!
Top image credit: ESPN, Kenzi/Fomos