What started out as an amusing pair of unfortunate incidents appears to be snowballing into a worrisome trend over in the LCK, as yet another team has now lost standings points due to intentional disconnects. Much like Samsung Galaxy before them, the Afreeca Freecs find themselves down a point this morning thanks to Riot Korea's ruling.
On March 20th, Riot announced that they would be penalizing the Afreeca Freecs with a Caution, as the rules of the LCK state that teams will be penalized for disconnecting intentionally. This isn't altogether new, as Samsung took a loss just last week from this very rule. What is new is the circumstances of the incident, as Afreeca has never been warned for this offense in the past in the same way that Samsung had been earlier on in the split.
The penalty was meted out after the Afreeca Freecs intentionally disconnected a total of four times in one match. The first two came from Seohaeng "KurO" Lee, who disconnected at the end of Games 1 and 2 of their match against the ROX Tigers. The latter two came from Dayoon "Spirit" Lee, who also disconnected at the end of those same games. Due to the number of infractions that were made during this single match, the Freecs were immediately given a match loss as opposed to the more traditional warning.
Despite some opposition from the fan base, Riot is well within their rights to penalize the Freecs in such a way. While normally an intentional disconnect only merits a Caution, two of which add up to a Warning and thus a loss of match score, there is very rarely multiple incidents that occur within the same match thanks to the harsh penalty that the LCK metes out for intentional disconnects. In this case the Freecs simply earned four Cautions and were immediately given a single warning, which makes the punishment actually seem a bit merciful in hindsight.
Unfortunately, that's unlikely to make the Freecs feel much better about it. While Samsung's set loss was largely irrelevant when it came to their position in the standings, the Freecs have no such luck. They were in hot competition against both the ROX Tigers and Longzhu for the final playoff seed, and this loss will make their road into the gauntlet that much harder than it already was. For fans of the organization, this set loss comes as a heavy blow for a team that is known for their equally swingy highs and lows. It seems that this season will fall into the latter category.