Hanwha Life Esports fell to Liiv Sandbox 1-2 in a match-up during the LCK Spring 2023 on January 22.

This loss came as a surprise to many fans, as Hanwha Life Esports was expected to take the win against Liiv Sandbox. After all, the team comprises three championship-winning Worlds 2022 players who were part of DRX last year along with Worlds 2021 champion, bot laner Park “Viper” Do-hyeon.

However, the team’s performance did not meet expectations, and criticism began to surface, with fans dubbing them “ZEKA One-Man Team“.

HLE’s head coach, Choi “DanDy” In-kyu, responded to the loss in the post-game press conference, acknowledging that the team’s drafted composition was not able to perform up to par. 

Hanwha Life Esports still has room to grow, according to coach DanDy

HLE vs LIV LCK Spring 2023 first round robin game one draft
Screenshot by Amanda Tan/ONE Esports

“I think I was arrogant when preparing for the draft picks. After losing the first set, I attempted to change the composition for the second and third sets, but the results were not good due to team and personal performances along with draft picks,” coach DanDy said. 

In game one, HLE put together team composition that had limited range. Sejuani, Jax, and Zeri are short ranged, and they could only rely on Heimerdinger and Azir for poke. They went up against Karma-Ezreal, the epitome of poke and elusiveness, who were hard to pin down in team fights, especially with a solid frontline comprising K’Sante and Wukong.

DanDy further responded to the criticisms of Hanwha Life Esports being a “ZEKA One-Man Team”.

During practice, the team had several players who took turns leading the team to success, he explained. However, they were not able to replicate that success in their draft strategy during their match against Liiv Sandbox. 

League Of Legends Hanwha Life Esports' Kingen shaking hands post-match with Liiv Sandbox at LCK Spring 2023
Credit: Riot Games

Additionally, the coach identified an issue with the team’s ability to fully execute the strategies they had practiced during scrims.

Emphasizing that the current state of the game has made it challenging for teams to create a gap based solely on player skill, DanDy stressed the importance of securing an early lead through the bottom lane.

While they did win game two, game three saw an odd combo pairing Ezreal with Heimerdinger to go up against Varus, who again had Karma for protection.

As such, the team’s composition failed to achieved this desired outcome. The head coach acknowledged the presence of multiple issues at play, and assured that efforts would be made to address and overcome them in preparation for the next game.

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READ MORE: Full roster of every team competing in LCK Spring 2023