1. 2013.03.26 CJ Entus Blaze

CJ Entus Blaze - is Spring their time to shine once more?

Flame (Top)


Helios (Jungle)


Ambition (Mid)


Cpt. Jack (AD)


Lustboy (Supp)


Team overview

Being two time MLG winners, winners of the 2013 IEM world championships, winners of the inaugural OGN Champions along with a couple of 4th place finishes in the last two OGN Champions, CJ Entus Blaze is no doubt one of the best teams in the world. All the accolades aside, they are also one of the only teams in the Korean scene to have kept the core of their roster over the past year (only change being Reapered leaving the team for Flame). With stability in the roster, Blaze boasts unparalleled teamwork unlike no other. From top to bottom, this roster is filled with talent and the members of Blaze expect a win in every tournament that they compete in. OGN the Spring is no exception


Blaze is a team that has been known for their aggressive tower pushes and lane swaps. When Reapered was still on the team, he would freely swap mid top and bot lanes in order to mask the weak laning of their bot duo and to this day Blaze likes to utilize lane swaps if they feel that the bot lane matchups are unfavourable for them. By pushing towers early swapping lanes back, pushing more towers and gaining objectives Blaze tends to build a good gold lead which they use to engage an advantageous team fight in order to snowball further and further into a dominant victory.


Team Strengths:

Blaze mid laner Ambition is always in the discussion of being the best mid players in Korea. With his vast pool of champions, consistent play and godly game sense you can always count on Ambition to perform at a high level in any game. The top laner Flame has also grown unbelievably (from the guy who bought 2 phages) since being acquired by Blaze after the Season 2 championships. Being a top laner in the region with arguably the best tops is a difficult job (poor Lpanda, Kangqui) but Flame has proven that with his impeccable mechanics he could go toe to toe with any top laner in Korea and even dominate when given the opportunity.  Flame has also increased his champion pool so much that it is no longer viable to target bans against him. The luxury of having two top tier solo laners allows Blaze to lane swap freely in any situation with the belief that both Flame and Ambition can hold their own in a 2 v 1 setting.


Finally, perhaps the best strength of Blaze has been their ability to snowball even a small lead to victory and this can be credited to their amazing team fight ability. When it comes to team fight setting, Blaze is definitely one of the best in the world. Every member of their team knows exactly what to do once a team fight begins but one person who shines the brightest in a 5 v 5 team fight setting is their ADC Cpt. Jack. Cpt. Jack with his great positioning and mechanical skills is able to deal an incredible amount of damage in every team fight and you can see often that teams try to engage in on him first when facing Blaze. 


Team Weaknesses: 

When Reapered left, Blaze lost their tactician and shot caller. The duty was then assigned mainly to Helios but other members also tend to chip in from time to time. This became a problem for Blaze during the Winter Season and persists to this day (their match against GG in IEM world championships during the group stage being a good example) where questionable calls led to losses. In addition, their overall management of the game has noticeably deteriorated from their Reapered days.


The one thing which has remained since the days of Reapered is their weak bot lane during the lane phase. It was no coincidence that when NJ Sword first came out, they could consistently dominate Blaze whenever they faced each other because top and bot would always fall behind during the laning phase which led to Ambition being focused every game. After Flame improved, the top lane was no longer a problem but their bot lane still fell behind many times during in the lane because of Cpt. Jack’s tendency to just play safe and farm (tendency is also seen in his favoured choice of ADCs Vayne, Kog, Trist). And with the dawn of Season 3 where the ADC’s ability to carry has decreased significantly, Cpt. Jack was faced with a tough task of changing his play style accordingly. The mixed results from the winter season and IEM world championships seem to suggest that there is still work to be done.


The final weakness of Blaze is their failure to adapt to new metas and new strategies. Whenever the opponent utilizes a strategy that is novel or unexpected, Blaze tends to struggle mightily against it (same goes for Frost). Prime example is against GG at Katowice, GG for their 4 games against the CJ Entus teams basically implored the same strategy (armor shred comp, early 4 man dive bot leading to dragon) but Blaze could not react to GG’s strategy even after seeing them beforehand. Even during the Summer season when they faced Frost, it was evident that they did not expect the Diana and Lux picks from RapidStar which evidently led to their downfall in the set (all 3 games that frost won were arguably carried by RapidStar). With so many new players and new teams participating, Blaze will need to be better at coping with unexpected strategies if they want to go deep in this tournament.


Key Player:  Helios (Jungle) 

Helios is the key player who will need to step up his game if Blaze wants to win the OGN Champs this time around. Helios has always been the guy mostly in the background for Blaze, doing all the things he needs to do while supporting the laners so they can carry the game and not him.  This worked very well in Season 2 where the jungler was expected fill in a secondary support role most of the time and Helios excelled at playing this role while playing champs like Chogath and Maokai. When Season 3 came around however, he was expected to do a lot more than just be a supportive jungler, he was expected to be an active ganking force and up to the end of Champions Winter, Helios showed that he wasn’t adapting properly to Season 3 and played rather poorly.


In their recent matches, Helios has shown to favour champs such as J4, Vi and Xin showing signs of change in his playing style to fit the current state of the game. For the most part, he seemed to be adapting well to this change but from time to time he seemed to be out of his comfort zone. For a player who has shown not much improvement in his playing ability since the Summer season, this season of Champions will be important for him to show that he can carry his team on his back as well. If he can show that he can be a force to be reckoned with coming out of the jungle, then there is no doubt that the Spring season will be Blaze’s time to shine once more.


Season expectations: 

At their current state, it’s still uncertain if they can compete with the aggression of NJ Sword and KTB in the early laning phase but they are still a top 4 team given that they don’t meet a team like Frost in the round of 8. However if they have addressed their issues through their training, then Spring should be their time of the year once more.


Honourable mention: 

Realized I didn’t say anything about Lustboy… best lulu in the world :D. In all seriousness, he’s one of the best supports in Korea and it’s a shame I didn’t say anything about him but I felt that Blaze’s key strengths and weaknesses don’t really revolve around Lustboy. 

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