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South Korea League 2023 Preview: Dplus KIA and SANDBOX Gaming favourites for Copenhagen Major

The South Korea League 2023 starts today!

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Banner image: Ubisoft / @itsmeERROR

Today, the first BLAST competition in the 2023 Rainbow Six Siege season will kick off. The South Korea League 2023, led by SANDBOX Gaming and Dplus KIA, will be the first league to start.

However, South Korea isn't just about SANDBOX and Dplus. Keep on reading to know more about the region!

Teams

The South Korea League will have eight teams. These have been divided into two groups of four rosters.

Group A

#flag@20:kr Dplus KIA - yass, coted, Woogiman, Harp3r, Soldier, HoundBird (Coach)

#flag@20:kr Talon Esports - Kanos, Marb1e, Misa, saeyeora, RoyBoy, DongUk (Coach), LabyRinth (Coach)

#flag@20:kr Beyond Stratos Gaming - Kira-Miki, retaddress, HI_Im_JIN_00, Gakki, Yeebbal, MinGoran (Head Coach), WATB (Coach), Cloud (Analyst)

#flag@20:kr BlossoM - Accident, GodGimbap, Napz, Notion, Seolleyo, Tov

Group B

#flag@20:kr SANDBOX Gaming - EnvyTaylor, Arukaze, GoodBoy, Mephi, Demic, Nova (Coach), Fanxy (Coach)

#flag@20:kr Spear Gaming - DRUMsangXD, CHEONG, Bonja, INNO, Jazz

#flag@20:kr PANTHERA - JLT, Rider, Shu, Vamos, EroSA, GlowMe (Coach), Irride (Analyst)

#flag@20:kr LAVEGA Esports - Crown, dmaly, Guard, Marine, Wplly, NIGO (Head Coach), aEnde (Analyst), bennet (Coach)

Storylines

Dplus and SANDBOX are the clear favorites to top the groups. The two rosters are the only ones that have experience at international events, so them missing out on the BLAST Major Copenhagen seems improbable at best.

The South Korea League will begin with the former APAC North teams of Dplus and Talon Esports facing each other. This means that Lee "Soldier" Si-hyeon, who is playing for Dplus on loan from Talon Esports, will be up against his former teammates.

Looking beyond them, Beyond Stratos Gaming may be the strongest team outside the former APAC North rosters. They finished in fifth place in the Korean Open 2022 Autumn and featured in the APAC SI 2023 Closed Qualifiers, where they won a map against Fnatic. Moreover, the roster hasn't had changes since, as the players were only picked up in Aug. 2022.

BlossoM will be the least-experienced team in the competition, with some of their players making their professional debuts this year.

Meanwhile, in Group B, all eyes will be on SANDBOX, who head into the South Korea League with the recent signing of Kim "Demic" Dae-yeong. It will also be the first time we see Park "Mephi" Ju-wan playing for them since his move to the Korean powerhouse in Dec. 2022.

In another ex-teammate battle, SANDBOX's first opponent in the tournament will be against Mephi's former team, Spear Gaming, who will compete with a brand-new roster.

PANTHERA, who are led by the former T1 player of Kang "Vamos" Sank-un, will be the favourite to upset one of the two former APAC North rosters. The group is rounded out by LAVEGA Esports, a team built by four of the five players that competed for PREP eSports in the Korean Open 2022 Autumn.

Format and Calendar

The South Korea League 2023 Phase 1 will begin on Mar. 10 and will run until Mar. 17. The best team of each group will advance to the semi-finals of Phase 2, while the second and the third of each group will advance to the quarter-finals. The bottom team of each group will drop to the Open Qualifiers Playoffs.

The South Korea League Deciders will start on Mar. 23 and will run until Mar. 30. The top two teams will qualify for the BLAST Major Copenhagen, with the first-seeded team advancing to the Major's Phase 2, while the second-seeded team will advance to the Major's Phase 1.

The losers of the quarter-finals will face off in a game to determine who will finish in fifth place. They will play for a chance to advance to the Major South Korea Last Chance Qualifiers. The loser will drop to the Open Qualifiers Playoffs.

Meanwhile, the third and fourth-placed teams will qualify for the Major South Korea Last Chance Qualifiers.

All of the games played in the group stage will be BO1s, while the matches in the South Korea League Deciders will be BO3s.

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