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  1. Esports

Esports: Sunday's LCK Spring 2023 matches

South Korea's LCK is back and the opening week of the LCK Spring 2023 has almost finished.

The LCK was the dominant division on the League of Legends circuit last year with three of the four semi-finalists at Worlds 2022 hailing from South Korea's top division.

And 2023 is set to be another big year for the region with the end-of-year League of Legends World Championship this year taking place in South Korea.

The LCK Spring 2023 is the first split of the season and features 10 sides initially competing in a double round-robin group format with the top six progressing to the playoffs and the top two receiving a bye to round two of the playoffs.

At the end of the S-Tier event, one side will take the lion's share of the $300,000 prize money on offer and the winners and runners-up of the LCK Spring 2023 will qualify for the prestigious Mid-Season Invitational 2023, which takes place later this year.

Every team in the division has played their opening match and, by the end of Sunday's action, they will have all played twice.

Sunday features two matches - Liiv SANDBOX take on a new-look Hanwha Life Esports before Nongshim RedForce and KT Rolster lock horns.

Hanwha Life Esports can build on opening win

WhatLiiv SANDBOX v Hanwha Life Esports
WhereSouth Korea
WhenSunday January 22nd 2023
How to watchLCK Twitch channel
OddsLiiv SANDBOX +750, Hanwha Life Esports -2000

For Hanwha Life Esports, 2022 was a year to forget. After finishing bottom of the LCK Spring 2022 with a 3-15 win-loss record, they also finished bottom of the pile at the LCK Summer 2022 with a 2-16 win-loss record.

Something had to change coming into the new campaign and change is exactly what supporters of the team have got.

There was no messing about from Hanwha Life Esports in the off-season with the team moving to enhance their roster with some top talents.

Top laner Hwang "Kingen" Seong-hoon and mid laner Kim "ZEKA" Geon-woo, who were both part of DRX's Worlds-winning side last year, have both been snapped up by Hanwha Life Esports, who also secured the services of 2021 world champion Park "Viper" Do-hyeon from Edward Gaming.

As a result, expectations surrounding the team have shifted and a playoff berth is the very least this team should be securing by the end of the split.

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Many people even have Hanwha Life Esports down as LCK title contenders and it is fair to say with the talent they have brought in, it would be considered a significant failure if they were to not make the Worlds stage later in the year.

Fortunately for them, they have started strongly, sweeping aside Kwangdong Freecs 2-0 in their opener and they are -2000 to follow that with a victory over Liiv SANDBOX.

Liiv SANDBOX themselves became one of the first teams to feel the wrath of Dplus KIA in their first match, losing 2-0, and last season was one of two halves as they missed out on the playoffs in the spring but finished third in the summer.

Given how they performed last time out, a repeat of the LCK Spring 2022 looks more likely and Hanwha Life Esports are worth a bet at -9.5 on the kill handicap on map one, while a 2-0 win could even be worth consideration at -300.

New signings should strengthen KT Rolster

WhatNS RedForce v KT Rolster
WhereSouth Korea
WhenSunday January 22nd 2023
How to watchLCK Twitch channel
OddsNS RedForce +450, KT Rolster -800

KT Rolster were pretty much the definition of a mid-table side in the LCK last year, just missing out on the playoffs in seventh spot in the LCK Spring and then securing a top-five finish in the LCK Summer.

But they look on course for more consistency in 2023, having enhanced their roster in the off-season, most notably with the addition of Son "Lehends" Si-woo.

"Lehends" is considered one of the best support players in the LCK and loves an unusual pick and he brings experience to the party too, having won the LCK Summer with former side Gen.G last year.

Top laner Kim "Kiin" Gi-in also looks a smart addition and the team looked fairly handy in their opener, losing to - but taking a map off -juggernauts T1.

Nongshim RedForce will represent a step-down in quality and KT Rolster are worth a bet at -175 to win this one 2-0.

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