If you ask a fan of Korean LoL about KT Rolster, they will immediately bring up Ssumday, the team’s MVP Top laner who is arguably the best in the world at his position, or Piccaboo, the Support player who joined the team halfway through the Summer split and revolutionized their season, inspiring them to a second-place finish in the Summer playoffs and victory in the LCK Regionals.
They might then mention Nagne, the team’s embattled Mid laner and most obvious weak point. There’s plenty to discuss about Nagne. Sure, they’ll say, he’s good on Azir, but put him on any other champion and he’s a major liability.
If they run out of things to say about Ssumday, Piccaboo, and Nagne, they might next discuss Arrow’s play at AD Carry, maybe mentioning his Ashe ultimates during Regionals and his exuberant miming of archery after their final victory.
Unless the conversation lasts a while, you probably won’t hear much of anything about KT’s Jungler, Score, a converted AD Carry who has spent the year adapting to a new position and more or less flying under the radar.
In most conversations about KT Rolster, Score is a subclause, a secondary or even tertiary feature. He’s most commonly mentioned as Piccaboo’s roaming partner, giving the impression that he is merely accompanying his Support on deep-warding jungle invades and two-man ganks. You could be forgiven for assuming that Score doesn’t really do much unless Piccaboo is helping him.
The common storyline surrounding all of Korea’s Jungler talent this year hasn’t helped Score’s case. The LCK Jungler talent pool was heavily depleted by the Korean exodus, as players like KaKao, Spirit, and DanDy headed for more lucrative Chinese pastures, following Insec, who had made the transition the year before.
Those departures definitely weakened the region’s Jungler position, but the perception may have exceeded the reality because of how recognizable the exiting players’ names were. These were some of the flashiest Korean Junglers, the ones who stood out, the ones with the biggest international reputations. Who was left behind? Bengi, Hojin, Ambition, Wisdom, Chaser: all good players, some very good, but on the whole their names didn’t carry the same cachet as KaKao or Spirit. That’s partly because most of them play the typical servile Korean Jungle style, ganking and warding and sacrificing their own strength (and farm) to power up their laners. Compared to other regions, it’s less common to see a Korean Jungler directly carry a game, and after the Korean exodus that became even more the case, because the best Korean carry Junglers were now gone.
That was the context Score was entering when he role-swapped into the jungle. Not only was he adapting to a new position, but his entire role was being written off as Korea’s weakest position. Add a poor team showing in the Spring split by means of a heavily under-performing Support, which gave way to a sensational savior story in Summer that put everyone’s eyes on Piccaboo, and throw in Ssumday’s incredible showings in the Top lane, and Score had very little opportunity to stand out.
Yes, you could be forgiven for overlooking Score in the story of KT Rolster’s season. Everyone else has.
As Group D wound to a close on Saturday, with KT Rolster comfortably atop the heap, the attention was again focused on Piccaboo and Ssumday, the team’s two superstars, with residual discussion of Nagne’s Azir and Diana play, giving him credit for improving on his poor Week 1 showing. But the lack of spotlight doesn’t diminish what Score accomplished over the past two weeks, which was to put in some of the best Jungle play the tournament has seen so far.
Score did it all this week, from ganks to warding to team fighting. And he did it unselfishly, frequently throwing himself into the enemy team to force fights, sometimes paying the price but allowing his teammates to follow through for multiple kills. Score’s play was proactive, efficient, and low on mistakes.
Despite his great work, Score has continued to float below the surface, letting his teammates reap most of the praise, just like he lets them receive most of the gold. Score just doesn’t capture our attention the way some of his teammates do. Maybe he likes it that way.
But I’m not overlooking Score at Worlds this year, and when the Quarterfinals roll around his opponents had better not, either.