BLOG ARTICLE League of Legends | 12 ARTICLE FOUND

  1. 2013.04.15 Week 2 Power Rankings
  2. 2013.04.02 Najin Sword
  3. 2013.04.01 CJ Entus Frost
  4. 2013.03.31 SKT T1 Team 1
  5. 2013.03.31 KT Rolster A
  6. 2013.03.29 MVP Blue
  7. 2013.03.29 SKT T1 (2)
  8. 2013.03.27 Najin Shield
  9. 2013.03.27 iG vs NJ SWD
  10. 2013.03.26 MVP Ozone

OGN Power Rankings – Week  2

1.      KT Rolster B (Last wk 1) – Most impressive thing about KT B this week wasn’t that they played well as a unit or that they showed the ability to dominate when given the chance it was their ability to adapt to situations and make adjustments on the fly. In the first game against Shield, the game looked to be a repeat of their first match against ahq but KT B was able to make the tactical decision of sacrificing ssumday so that inSec could grow as a carry threat and this worked to perfection as inSec was able to garner MVP honours. The team however will need ssumday to step up his game for their future matches for KT B to succeed against the stronger teams. (Next wk vs LG-IM)

2.       CJ Entus Frost  (Last wk 4) – Frost played like their usual selves against the weak ahq Korea team even without their normal line-up. In typical Frost fashion, both matches were even or disadvantageous for Frost in the early going but after the 20 minute mark Frost was able to showcase their superior team fighting and game management abilities en route to two relatively easy victories. Even though Space and Muse had their chance to shine this week, look for Hermes and MadLife to make a triumphant comeback next week when Frost faces off against their biggest rivals Shield in the highly anticipated “LoL Classico” match (Next wk vs NJ SHD)

3.       SKT T1 (2)  (Last wk 3) – Even though T2 seemed outmatched by a hungry Sword team, they were able to eke out a draw with a good comeback victory. T2 displayed superb game management abilities which aren’t often seen from a new team like T2. They also displayed their ability to recuperate from a devastating loss mentally and play a well-executed game when the second game seemed to be a repeat of the first game. Unfortunately for T2, the brutal schedule continues when they meet the other hot team of group A in MVP Blue next week. (Next wk vs. MVP Blue)

4.       MVP Blue (Last wk 2) – MVP Blue ended  up with a draw in two closely contested matches to their sister team MVP Ozone. Even though MVP Blue had the advantage in the first game, they were unable to cope with the Blitzcrank pick but they recovered by having a vastly superior team fighting  compared to Ozone in the second match. This week definitely showed some weaknesses in MVP Blue’s playing especially ChuNyang who played very inconsistently in both matches and the bot lane who was being out played by the imp/mata lane. MVP Blue will face a true test next week when they face the talented T2 team (Next wk vs SKT T1 (2))

5.       Najin Sword (Last wk 10) – The defending champions were able to take the kids to school this week when Najin Sword was able to stomp T2 in their first game. Even though they lost the second game, this along with their SWL match, was the Sword team that we were used to seeing. PraY and Cain played like their usual dominant selves being able to bully their opposition but much of Sword’s resurgence goes to the revitalized play of SSONG, Watch and MakNooN. Watch especially was impressive in the last week because he realized that when he was performing bad, he was becoming nothing more than a walking pink ward thus Watch tried much hard to make an impression early and often which definitely worked out for the better. With SSONG and Watch showing vast improvements on their form, Sword becomes one of the most dangerous teams again. (Next wk vs. KT A)

6.       MVP Ozone (Last wk 6) – MVP Ozone played well in the two matches against their sister team Blue considering all the volatility involved with an in-house affair. However, Ozone was out managed in both games by their sister team and if it weren’t for Mata’s great grabs this week’s outcome could have easily been a 2:0 for MVP Blue. MVP Ozone will need to find ways to create an environment that dade and imp can carry in going forward. Much of this burden will fall under Homme and DanDy who will need to provide their carries this room for their team’s success. With their matchup against Blaze next week, MVP Ozone will look to go on full offensive during the entire match and exploit Blaze’s weaknesses. (Next wk vs. CJ Entus Blaze)

7.       SKT T1 (1) (Last wk 5) – After a disappointing showing against LG-IM this week, T1 will need to think long and hard about their ADC problems as the tournament progresses. In both of the games Raven was caught out many times and he failed to make much impact in the game after often being outplayed by Paragon and Lasha. With an ineffective ADC, it will be difficult for SKT1 to compete against teams with strong bot lanes. It will be interesting to see how Reapered and company decide to deal with this pressing matter in order for T1 to become a more consistent team moving forward. (Next wk vs. ahq Korea)

8.       CJ Entus Blaze (Last wk 9) – Blaze showed the same weaknesses that failed them last week and the same weaknesses that have been pestering them ever since the Winter season in their match against KT A. Even though Flame played very well in both matches as Kennen, Helios remained a non-factor and the bot lane struggled when they had to go 2 vs 2 against Hiro and Me5 in the first match. Added to the fact that Ambition was subdued by constant ganks from KakaO, it was no surprise that Blaze lost the match again in a rout. However, unlike last week, Blaze did recover in the second game with a great game from Flame and a Pentakill from Ambition on Khazix. However, their bot lane and jungle still remains a huge liability for the team going forward especially Helios who really needs to break out of his slump or Blaze may end up being relegated to the NLB for the first time in the team’s history. (Next wk vs. MVP Blue)  

9.       KT A (Last wk 11) – KT A played very well against Blaze in both sets with KakO and Zero quietly becoming top players in their respective roles. KTA’s problem however still lies in their top laner Vitamin who was badly outplayed by the opposing top laner Flame in both games. Even though Vitamin had some nice ultimates with Rumble in the second game, he was a liability in both 1 v 1 and 2 v 2 situations which was tough for KT A to deal with. With an ineffective top laner and an ordinary bot lane, KT A will have to rely on Zero and KakaO to carry every single game. (Next wk vs NJ Sword)

10.   Najin Shield (Last wk 8) – After impressing during the first week of competition with their crisp play, Najin Shield started off their match against the mighty KT B in a similar fashion to last week when they managed to grab an early lead. However they squandered their early game lead ultimately resulting in a 0:2 defeat for the team. Shield will need to brush up on their poor calls and poor team fighting after reviewing their play from this week. Some of the blame for Shield’s poor playing has to be placed on vinylcat who was hardly noticeable in both of the games as Janna. Shield (especially Loco) will prepare extra hard for their next match as Loco will square off against his old teammates in the highly anticipated rivalry match. (Next wk vs. Frost)  

11.   LG-IM (Last wk 12) – IM definitely showed they were no pushovers when they managed to draw against SKT1 this week behind some great plays from Lilac and Lasha on their signature champions. Even the new member Smeb had a decent outing in the first match when IM was able to dominate T1 from start to finish. However, IM still showed their weak game management in the second game when T1 was able to stay close to IM despite falling behind early and eventually winning out with a great series of team fights. For LG-IM to be successful, Lilac will need to spread his Jarvan skills onto other jungle champions as he’s shown that when that Jarvan pick is not available to him, his effectiveness decreases significantly. Life doesn’t get any easier for Lilac and co as they face InSec and co next week. (Next wk vs KT B)  

12.   ahq Korea (Last wk 7) – after having an impressive introduction to the scene, ahq was quick to show every why they were considered to be the weakest team in the tournament. The highlight of ahq’s ineptitude came from the support play Loray who uncharacteristically whiffed on two Crescendos which made Elementz’s Crescendos look good in comparison. Even though the games were definitely close between the two teams, the superior team fighting from Frost made it clear that ahq was not going to come out as victors as the game progressed.  The plays from ActScene and Trace still remained top notch and they tried their best to will their team to victory but the bot lane and mid were out classed and ahq just didn’t have enough fire power to deal with Frost. Ahq will need a repeat performance of first week from their bot lane duo if they want to have a chance of winning some matches in the future (Next wk vs. SKT T1 (1))

 

 

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Najin Sword – can they pull off the first ever repeat?

MakNooN (Top)

Watch (Jungle)

Ssong (Mid)

PraY (AD)

Cain (Supp)

-          3rd OGN Champions Summer (W 2:0 Blaze)

-          5th ~ 8th Season 2 World Championship (L 0:2 TPA)

-          2nd MLG Fall Championship (L 1:4 Blaze)

-          1st OGN Champions Winter (W 3:0 Frost)

Team review

After the devastating loss against MiG Frost during the inaugural season of OGN Champions, many fans were voicing their dissatisfaction against MakNooN and his costly throws that caused the team to lose games. The head of the Najin corporation did decide to remove MakNooN from the Najin e-mfire team but knowing MakNooN’s talent, he decided to give MakNooN a second chance by letting him form a team which would suit his Do Dive playing style better. The end product of MakNooN’s search was what is now known as Najin Sword. In their early days, Najin Sword was known as MakNooN’s one man show who would love to dive the opposing team when given the chance and be flamboyant in their playing style. They were also a team who were known to be good in the lane but if you stalled against them, you could almost guarantee a victory. This was definitely the case until Najin Sword had a match with CLG.Eu, a team that was known to be one of the best in the world at dragging games out and winning those games. After their loss to CLG.Eu, Sword was a completely different team and with their new found improvement, they were able to beat Blaze twice en route to a place in the season 2 finals an impressive feat considering the team was only formed before the Summer season of OGN. After the Season 2 championships, the Sword team improved further and they were able to win OGN Champions Winter in a dominating fashion. During this season of OGN the champions, Sword will be out to defend their title as champions and they will look to once again triumph over their “lol classico” rivals en route to a victory.

 

Team Strengths

Much improved late game management

Ever since the aforementioned CLG.EU game, Najin Sword ‘s ability to manage late game situations has improved significantly. There are several reasons for Najin Sword’s improvement in their in-game management. The most important reason is the number of high level competitive matches that this was able to have in short amount of time and all of the experiences cumulated during that time. Many teams who are able to beat an established team during the laning phase don’t lack mechanical ability what they usually lack is the decision making which allows them to press their advantages and end games. When experience allowed the members of Sword to finally learn how to team fight at a high level and snowball their advantages by performing objectives, Sword became one of the most well rounded teams in Korea. The combined strength of Sword’s aggressive laning with their improve late game was too difficult for anyone to handle last season. It remains to be seen if Sword can still remain as the most balanced team in Korea for the upcoming season with their formidable laning phase and late game since they will be challenged by the old favourites CJ Entus Blaze & Frost but they will be fielding challenges from new powerhouses like KT B.

No longer a one man team

When people think about Sword, the immediate reaction is for people top think about MakNooN. In recent times however, the team’s focus has shifted from MakNooN to other members of the team. PraY is a player who is still not a household name outside of Korea but PraY is definitely one of if not the best ADC in Korea at this point and time. What makes PraY such an amazing ADC is his impeccable positioning in team fights which allows him to deal the maximum amount of damage without being killed by the opposing tanks. With signature champions like Kogmaw and Twitch, Sword can always count on PraY to fill a hyper carry role to win the game. In addition to PraY, Ssong has definitely improved tremendously ever since his introduction into the league scene. During the early days, Ssong (along with watch) was seen as liabilities for the team and when he was able to carry a game, people would be surprised more often than not. During last Champion’s Winter however, Ssong was able to carry games after games with his amazing mechanics and he was becoming the top priority target to shut down for the opposing teams instead of MakNooN. Ssong’s playing has improved so much that when teams face Sword, they are forced to ban TF, Evelyn or Kayle, the 3 champions that Ssong excels at.  With the emphasis now being on other members of the team, Sword no longer crumbles if you just shut down MakNooN in a game. In fact in recent matches, teams have been able to control MakNooN but Sword has demonstrated the ability to win games with an ineffective MakNooN. Even without the aggressive roaming that we are used to seeing from MakNooN, Sword now finds a way to win games and this is definitely a testament to the team’s growth in ability.

Fast adaptation to foreign strategies

Whether it’s because MakNooN keeps up to date on foreign tournaments quite frequently or for other reasons, Najin Sword has been one of the fastest adapters to new metas in the Korean scene. This fast adaptation to new “OP” champions or item builds has allowed Najin Sword to gain an advantage during the last season of Champions especially in the finals when they benchmarked GG’s tactics to dismantle Frost. Being able to play a new playing style in a short amount of time is definitely a daunting task especially if it involves learning new champions to work out at the competitive level. On the other hand, playing against new styles is an even more difficult task for the opposition as they may never have had the chance to prepare against it. However, with new comers showing they too can adapt to the new metas, it is uncertain if Najin Sword’s fast adaptation can remain their unique strength in the upcoming champions.

 

Team weaknesses

What happened to MakNooN?

After the winter finals, Sword has competed in numerous tournaments but in almost every single match they’ve had, MakNooN was being outclassed by almost every top laner. This is partially due to the fact that he was against a 2 v 1 match-up for teams not wanting to go against the PraY/Cain duo but even given this fact, he did much worse compared to the other top laner. One reason for this could have been that after he won the finals, he hasn’t practiced as much as before and given his tendencies to make decisions when the game doesn’t go too well for him, it wouldn’t bode well for him if his skill level has deteriorated. Another reason could have definitely been due to the MakNooN scandal that has surfaced after the winter finals ended. It’s clear that pro players are often checking on the fansites to see what their supporters thought about them and when MakNooN saw the community being quite negative about him, he could have become disappointed and lacked his usual confidence going into matches. The other reason could have been that all of his contemporaries have now caught up to him in terms of skill level or even surpassed him but this is hard to believe since this was a guy who displayed his dominance not too long ago. Whatever it is that’s ailing MakNooN, he must sort them out and go back to being MakNooN. Even if his team is not as reliant on him anymore, this is still his team and he still has quite an impact on his team with his playing. Sword better hope that MakNooN recovers fast else they may not be as dominant as people think they are.

Inconsistencies of Watch and Ssong

It is true that during the Winter season, this duo of Ssong and Watch has shown considerable growth as players and they have shown the ability to carry their teams when they need it. However, they still show that from time to time, their playing is not as consistent as the team’s bot duo. Ssong especially is the most noticeable victim to inconsistent playing largely due to the huge gap that exists between his good days and bad days. When you watch Ssong on good days, he can be an indomitable force in the mid lane being able to single handedly carry his team to victory from the brinks of defeat (Game 2 against LGD and entire set against KT B of Champions Winter) but when he’s not playing well he’s usually the reason that his team loses  (games against iG). Ssong will need to bring his best every night out in their group because all of the mid players in the group have the potential to carry their team to victory on any given night and with MakNooN being in the state he is in right now, Sword will definitely need Ssong to carry their games along with PraY on a nightly basis. The inconsistent playing of Watch is quite peculiar. On his good days he is definitely a great jungler being able to make ganks and also being able to make great decisions during team fights but on bad days it just seems like he’s lost, he makes terrible decisions and his movements get read by the other team quite easily. Having more of a support role compared to a carry role, Watch will need to play well to be able to support his carries from doing the maximum amounts of damage during team fight situations for Sword to be successful.

Weak early game?

For a Sword team which used to be known as the strongest team in Korea bdfore the 20 minute mark, it was surprising to see that in their recent matches, they actually fell behind quite a bit in all of their matches before turning it around with super human efforts in team fights and through overall good late game management (creep pushing, objectives, baron fishing etc.). It is peculiar to see however, that the team who was best known for being so strong and aggressive in the lane has lost their luster. It is also troubling that when Sword faced teams who were considered below their level, they were able to recover from falling behind early but when they faced a team like iG who were equal or better than them in skill level, they were snowballed against and lost their games quite lopsidedly. If Sword wants to compete with teams like KT B, Blaze and Frost they will need to go back to their Champions Winter ways when they dominated during the laning phase because their team fighting or late game management is still not on par with a team like Blaze or Frost. It is also a big loss for a team to have one of their biggest strengths being turned into one of their weaknesses.  We will be able to see if Najin Sword’s change in playing style is a temporary ordeal or not in the coming days.

 

Key player: Ssong (Mid)

Even though this team is still considered MakNooN’s team, the shift has now definitely changed from MakNooN to players like Ssong and PraY. Ssong will need to recapture his dominant and consistent self from the Winter season playoffs for Sword to have a chance at the first ever repeat in the OGN Champions tournament history. On his good days, Ssong may be the best mid player in Korea even ahead of the likes of Ambition and Easyhoon and he’ll have a chance to prove that when he faces against them in his group. With MakNooN’s performance being worrisome, the burden will fall on Ssong’s shoulders to give his team a hope for a win in each game they play.

 Why Ssong needs to be in top shape


Team Expectations

Being last year’s champions, it is no secret that they have a target on their backs. While their recent form is worrisome, I have no doubt that they will make it out of their group but should they not place 1st or 2nd, they may be forced to play against a team like Frost, KT B or SKT T1 which may give their team some trouble on their way to the finals.

 

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CJ Entus Frost – Can they continue their dominance in the scene?

Shy (Top)

CloudTemplar (Jungle)

RapidStar (Mid)

Hermes (Space) (ADC)

MadLife (kkinsh) (Supp)

-          2nd OGN Champions Spring 2012 (L 0:3 Blaze)

-          1st OGN Champions Summer (W 3:2 CLG.EU)

-          2nd Season 2 Championship (L 1:3 TPA)

-          3 ~ 4th IEM Katowice (L 0:2 GG)

-          2nd OGN Champions Winter (L 0:3 NJ SWD)

-          2nd IEM VII World Championships (L 1:3 Blaze)

Team review

One of the oldest and most decorated team in Korea, CJ Entus Frost are no strangers when it comes to competing in tournaments and being successful in them. Having made to every single finals on a LAN tournament with the exception of IEM Katowice is impressive considering the fact that the LoL scene changes at a rapid rate and despite the fact Frost has found a way to win each and every time. Being so successful, it is no wonder that this team is the most renowned team in Korea with a huge following both positive and negative. All the popularity aside, Frost has seemingly lost a step after the season 3 changes were implemented but even in their weakened state, they were able to grind out wins until GG showed the text book example of how Frost can be beaten. NJ WSD then deployed the exact same tactics as GG did in order to dominate Frost in the finals. Since the finals loss, Frost has only competed in the IEM World Championships where they were able to beat GG this time around en route to losing an all CJ Entus final. With more than enough time to adapt to the new season 3 changes, we will be able to see if Frost can regain their dominance and remain as the most consistent progaming team in the history of LoL.

 

Team Strengths

Every member on the team is a carry

Frost is a unique team in many ways but one of the things which stand out the most for this team is that no particular emphasis is placed on a single member of the team to carry a game. In the top lane, Shy usually draws out a minimal of one or even 2 targeted bans against him and even with these bans, his champion pool is large enough that he can carry using the unbanned champion that is available. Shy what contributes to his team on a nightly basis is his excellent csing ability and carry potential as the game transition from mid to late game. RapidStar in the mid lane is one of the most aggressive mid laners in the LoL scene. While he may fall behind the enemy mid lane in terms of cs, RapidStar makes up for this through aggressive roaming and gaining kills. Thus if the game is going awry for Frost in the early going, look for RapidStar to make plays along with CloudTemplar to turn the game around. CloudTemplar, the jungler has carried countless games with his famous Shen and his greatest strength is being able to make good decisions on the fly especially during counter ganking situations and late game situations where his game management can often give his team the advantage. The support player MadLife is often called a god for his high mechanical ability and playmaking abilities (Blitz, Ali). Despite the fact that MadLife has shown signs that he may be human in his recent form, he will still be counted on as a reliable force in the bottom lane. Finally the new member Hermes has demonstrated on MVP Blue that he has the high level of mechanics to be a late-game carry threat. Adding to this fact that Hermes has a wider variety of champions in his arsenal compared to Woong, it will be interesting to see what Hermes can offer for the team as a new carry. With all of their members given specific duties along with the potential to carry while performing their specific role, it won`t be a surprising sight to see a different member winning the MVP each game.

The incredible and mysterious team fighting ability

When you watch Frost’s matches, some moments during the match can sometimes perplex you. At first sight, it may seem that Frost is not doing anything spectacular and making flashy plays in team fights but somehow, they manage to come out the victors in team fights. One such moment was during the season 2 championship finals in game 1 where CloudTemplar seemingly engaged into the whole TPA team by himself when Frost was behind. Somehow Frost was able to win the team fight and win the game. In terms of pure team fighting ability, Frost is definitely one of the best teams in the world if not the best in the world along with teams like GG. One of the reasons for their strong team fighting is that every member on Frost knows their role very well during a team fight situation and they are often very confident going into every team fight if they’re even or even slightly behind.  In addition to this, Frost is a very communicative team constantly talking amongst each other to check cool downs and their positions to see when they can engage and when they should disengage. A lot of the credit for this goes to MadLife especially because while CloudTemplar makes a lot of calls and discusses what Frost should be doing, MadLife usually the one to give the final say on what the team should or shouldn’t be doing. Knowing that Frost can pull out miraculous team fights can also limit the strategies that the opposing team can prepare against Frost. Unless the opposing team feels that they can go into 5 vs 5 team fights and continually come out ahead, they must find a way to obtain a large advantage during the laning phase or through skirmishes which may or may not work for them. Overall, Frost’s incredible team fighting is definitely a wonder to behold and a scary phenomenon for the opposition to go up against.

Cold Blooded

The final strength and perhaps the aspect of the game that Frost excels more than anyone in the world may be their high mental strength in game. Mentality is a rarely spoken aspect of the game but just like a normal sport, it has an immense effect on a player’s performance. As such, it is not a coincidence that Frost has the best win rate in blind pick matches and it is also not a coincidence that they can win games even if they fall behind in the early game. Each member of Frost is rarely seen to be nervous and it shows in their playing. One well documented game in which the members of Frost did say they were mentally shaken was their game against TPA due to the crowd being largely biased against them for the infamous Woong cheater debauchery. CloudTemplar stated in an interview that the crowd’s reactions were definitely affecting the members and it translated into a bad performance for them. Aside from that particular game however, members of Frost usually exercise good judgement which allows them to play the game with minimal mistakes. Team Frost’s never-say-die attitude combined with their wealth of experience in high leverage situations is what makes them deadly in tournaments especially during the knock out stages.

 

Team weaknesses

Weak early game

Out of all the world class teams in the world, Frost may boast the weakest laning phases and early game play. There are several reasons for this weakness. One of them as mentioned is that Frost likes to take the game into the mid-late game if the skill level between the teams is relatively even since they have the confidence that they can beat any team in the late game situation. Another reason related to this is that the team composition of Frost used to be almost always a late game team comp where the team would synergize best when they were all together. The problem with this of course is that with the dawn of season 3, the emphasis on a strong lane phase has grown considerably which led to the exponential increase in the exposure of Frost’s weak laning. In season 3, it wasn’t simply enough to survive the lanes and that transition still remains to be an issue for Frost. The level of success that Frost can achieve in the upcoming season against teams like KT B and NJ SWD will definitely depend on the solution to their laning problems. If not, a repeat of last year’s finals is sure to ensue.

Inconsistent plays of RapidStar and CloudTemplar

During the Winter season, the two players who failed to impress the most were CloudTemplar and RapidStar. After the season 3 change which saw a host of nerfs to RapidStar’s main champion pool, he did not adapt well to the change and thus digressed in his performance. RapidStar’s failure to play a champion such as Kayle led to Frost using a ban on Kayle even if they were Blue side instead of being able to pick it up in addition to this he has become quite predictable in his champion choices in recent times making it easier for the opposing teams to prepare against him. While RapidStar’s level of play has still remained at a high level, he will need to show that he can still improve as a player and truly become a world class mid player. CloudTemplar is the other player who did not adapt very well to season 3 changes. Templar’s style of passive jungling in season 2 was definitely a success but as season 3 changes came about (along with that Skarner nerf), it was no longer acceptable to be passive as a jungler. This change in how the game was played definitely affected Templar as a player because even in season 3, he was playing champions who were good in season 2. After the devastating loss against NJ SWD and GG where Templar was sought out as the weak point of Frost, Templar has tried greatly to show a change in his play style in order to match the current meta. However, Templar showed in his matches that he still hasn’t adapted well to the new playing style and showed there’s still work to be done. One of the reasons that Frost previously had a weak laning phase was due to the jungling style of Templar. Templar would not be the one to make his presence felt all around the map rather his style of play would depend heavily on counter ganking and making sure that he can grow as much as he can to become a threat in the long run. It will be interesting to see how Templar can integrate his old playing style with the current aggressive meta in order to be successful in his own way. If Templar is unsuccessful however, look for Frost to struggle in many of their matches against opposition of equal level.

The loss of Woong

I know not many people will agree with me when I say this but at the end of his tenure with Frost Woong was actually a GOOD ADC for the team. After the CJ Entus matches in the round of 8 Woong was definitely a different player on Frost and he would often carry his team. This is not to say that he was one of the best ADCs in the world but he was one of the best ADCs for a team like Frost where the ADC is role is not given that much emphasis compared to other teams (as Loco mentioned during a broadcast). By switching from Woong to Hermes, it will be interesting to see if Frost will have to spend more resources in trying to feed Hermes and in turn how that will affect the whole team’s play as a unit. In addition to game play, Woong was also the founder of the original Frost line-up and he would be one of the most knowledgeable players on the team. It will be interesting to see if Frost’s pick and ban strategies deteriorate as a result of Woong’s departure or remains the same with the majority of the players and coaching staff still remaining on the team. This season will be interesting to see exactly what Woong provided for the team other than absorbing all the hate from the fans.

 

Key Player CloudTemplar (Jungle)

As I mentioned before, Frost is not a team who relies on one single person to carry their games but in order for their game plan to work out, it also means that they need everyone to perform their given duties in every game. This is why ClouidTemplar needs to perform at a level we’re used to seeing from him during the new season of OGN Champions if Frost doesn’t wish to risk missing the finals of the Champions stage for the first time in their team history. In addition to performing well in-game, Templar is also their leader and if he doesn’t perform well it could start off an adverse chain reaction for the team mentally which would signal doom for a team that had recently lost one of their other leaders in the off-season.

 

Season expectations

Even with all the doubts you can’t look beyond Frost’s experience and skill level. With a relatively weak group Frost should have no trouble reaching the RO8 and depending on match-ups even RO4 but should they meet NJ SWD, Blaze or KT B in the semis, it may signal the end of Frost’s consecutive appearances in the finals of the OGN Champions tournament

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SKT T1 Team 1 – Do they have the offline magic?

Reapered (Top)

Beelzehan (Jungle)

SuNo (Mid)

Raven (AD)

StarLast (Supp)

-          1st IEM Cologne (W 2:1 Fnatic)

-          3rd ~4th IEM VII World Championships (L 0:2 CJ Entus Blaze)

-          7th ~ 12th SWL Season 2 (1W 4L)

Team Review

When Reapered left Blaze, there were many speculations that he would be forming a new team which was sponsored by a kespa organization. This team was the first SKT team  which composed of Reapered, H0ro, the former Xenics jungler, and three new comers StarLast, UandMe and MighTiLy. As their first tournament, this team attended IEM Cologne and they were able to make a grand entrance into the competitive LoL scene by winning the tournament led by their leader Reapered. Since that win, everything has been downhill for SKT1. The team seemingly could not win any match after their big victory in cologne. SKT1 almost every match in the SWL and they would lose online qualifiers for Katowice as well. The troubling thing was that in the SWL, they weren’t just losing but they were losing lopsidedly. By the time IEM world Championships came around, SKT1 changed their troubled mid laner MighTiLy for the former PSW Ares member SuNo and the team was able to finish in the top 4 for the tournament beating CJ Entus Frost in the process. While SKT1 have shown flashes of brilliance in their matches, they will need to show up with a completely different performance level to remain relevant for this year’s OGN Champions the Spring.

The main focus of SKT1 is of course its captain and famous shot caller Reapered. With his new team, Reapered still loves to utilize the tactics he used to employ on his former team Blaze. SKT1’s basic strategy involves around lane swapping for favourable lane match ups and aggressive tower pushing in all lanes. Unlike his old team however, SKT1 revolves around small skirmishes rather than full strength team fights with varying degrees of success. In the Spring Season, look for SKT 1 to put pressure all around the map at all times if they want to be successful.

 

Team Strengths

The double edged sword of the bottom lane

The most unique feature of this SKT1 team definitely comes from the bot lane duo. The ADC Rave excels in playing champions without an inherent escape mechanism such as Twitch and MF but even while playing these champs without an escape skill, he is unbelievably aggressive in his play. Raven is often not just content with farming in the lane, if given the chance he’ll even commit into a tower dive to secure a kill. This level of aggression can be troublesome for the opposition when StarLast is added into the equation. StarLast is a support player who mainly plays ranged supports and when given the opportunity, he can make top tier plays for his team (3 v 1 kill against SK was amazing) with his high level of mechanics. While the overly aggressive playstyle of Raven and StarLast can dominate a lane if they get ahead, they will also lose a lane miserably if they start to fall behind. It will be interesting how Reapered thinks of a way to best utilize this aggressive duo who can potentially carry their games on a given day or fall into the opponent’s trap and become the weak spot on a different day.

The carry potential of SuNo

SuNo has demonstrated in his short time with SKT1 that he is as much a carry potential as his friend and team 2 counter part Faker. Ever since joining SKT1, SuNo has only had 3 games where he was under deaths and he only had one game when he had 0 kills. Considering that SKT1’s win rate even with SuNo is about 50%, those stats show that SuNo could potentially be counted on to carry his team in every match. SuNo is a player who has the micro skills and the type of positioning in team fights in order to deal a high amount of damage without dying. These attributes will allow him to gain kills when given then opportunity and thus will provide the opportunity for SuNo to carry a game even if he’s set behind due to an unfavourable matchup

The game calling of Reapered

In an AMA, Toyz had stated before that Blaze with Reapered was the scariest tam to face. That’s not only a testament to Blaze’s overall team strength, but the fact that Toyz pecifically mentions with Reapered is testament to Reapered’s game calling abilities. Reapered’s game calling was on full display in their first tournament at cologne when the audio for the team chat was being streamed. Since Cologne, SKT1 did have mixed results as mentioned but when you look at games they won, especially SKT1’s game against Najin Shield and CJ Entus Frost, you can see that Reapered’s game calling is still a weapon to be feared. The hall mark for a Reapered game call is that when a game is close to even and there’s a moment where the other team surrenders their slight advantage, his team is able to seize that opportunity and snowball the game through. What you notice in these games is that Reapered calls for team fights and team fight situations as soon as he realizes that his team has an advantage in some way (position, items, summoners, ults) and during team fights he calls for the priority targets in order for the fight to be successful. Teams facing SKT1 will have to be mindful of this fact and realize that they need to prevent situations where they can potentially throw a game

 

Team weaknesses

Laning of Reapered // The stubbornness of Reapered

Reapered is a player who himself has admitted that he’s not a top tier laner. This sometimes becomes an immense issue for the team because when he does extremely poorly, his overall judgment tends to falter and his calls become poorer in quality. The one that suffers the most from this is Beelzehan. When you watch SKT1 games, you can often see that Beelzehan would trying to be giving an advantage to Reapered even when there could be better situations elsewhere. Even when Reapered falls behind by a lot, you can often observe that Beelzehan is moved to Reapered’s position in order to provide presence for him however, when facing higher tier teams, this led to the other team going straight for dragon or other objectives available on the map. In the Spring season, we can assume that Reapoered will definitely utilize the lane swap in almost every game but if he gets into 1 v 1 situations, it will be important for him to hold his own against the likes of ssumday and Shy else his whole team will suffer.

The second potential weakness stemming from Reapered is that he can be very stubborn in his playing. In terms of lane matches, if he has it set in his mind that a particular lane match is essential for the team to have, then he will make his team swap each time the other team swaps their lanes regardless of the current situation in the lane. In terms of his lane playing, if he has the idea that his lane should be a winnable lane but he’s not winning that lane due to a gank, outplay etc. he will try to force plays to try to get ahead but these attempts usually tend to end badly for Reapered. For his team to succeed, Reapered will have to let go of the idea that he has to be the star of his team (either strategically or carry wise) and act accordingly to the best interests of his team.

The weak points of SuNo

Even though SuNo has shown that he has the potential to carry his team, he has his share of issues to work out. In his competitive matches with SKT1, SuNo has shown that he will mainly play Karthus, Lux and TF (Jayce to a degree). We don’t know if this is a tactical decision or not but until he shows that he can play more champions at a high level, his shallow champion pool will be a disadvantage for his team. In addition, SuNo tends to have a selfish playstyle, what this means is that he will save his skills in order to last hit enemies. While this nets him kills and could be an important factor in him carrying a game, there were situations where if he did more damage  during the team fight by throwing out Lux ults at the beginning of a fight, it could have worked out much better for the team as a whole (Game 1 vs LG-IM 2 for example). If SuNo learns to trust his teammates a bit more and trust them to deal more damage, SKT1 will grow as whole to become a better team.

 

Key Player: Beelzehan (Jungle)

Without a doubt, this is Reapered’s team and how he performs as a laner and the team captain will determine the fate of SKT1 in this upcoming Season. That is why it will be important for Beelzehan to take special care for Reapered in the top lane to mask some of Reapered`s weak laning tendencies. If Beelzehan can successfully get Reapered going, then SKT1 will play better as a whole. In addition, Beelzehan will be asked to sacrifice the most for his team and it will be important for him to remain relavant in the game especially compared to the other team’s jungler by gaining all the exp and gold that he can get. How well Beelzehan can execute his role will definitely have a direct effect on the outcome the SKT1’s games.

 

Team expectations

Being in a weak group, I don’t see a scenario where SKT1 doesn’t finish in the top 4 of their group. However, it’s also hard to imagine SKT1 being in the top 2 of the group with their inconsistent performances and should they finish 3rd or 4th, they will most likely only be able to advance to the BO8

 

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KT Rolster A – Can they be as good as their sister team?

Vitamin (Top)

KakaO (Jungle)

Zero (Mid)

Hiro (ADC)

Me5 (Supp)


-         5th ~ 8th OGN Champions Winter (L 1:3 KTB)

-         5th ~ 8th NLB Winter (L 1:2 MVP Blue)

 

Team review

As LoL’s popularity grew larger, many of the kespa organizations were always looking at the right moment to jump into the LoL scene. KT Rolster, saw its opportunity to jump into the scene when the StarTale LoL team was disbanded and they picked up its former members to form KT Rolster’s own LoL team. The first team which was formed, now known as KT A, was led by the former Najin Shield ADC Hiro and former StartTale player Vitamin. The rest of the team was assembled with then new comers Reset (Murloc), Knight of Zero and Wall. After an underwhelming performance in the Winter season where KT A was overshadowed by their sister team KT B, the team underwent an overhaul again when Reset left due to personal reasons and Wall also left. They were replaced by Me5, the former MVP Blue support player and KakaO the jungler from KT B. With these additions along with the existing group of players, this year’s KT A team is ready to show that they are as good as their sister team KT B.

 The current rendition of the KT A team will likely look to cause mini team fights all throughout the game led by KakO and Zero who will likely play a champion with teleport or a global. Even when they get to the team fighting stage, it is likely that they will look for specific engagements where they can catch the opposition off guard instead of trying to fight a full 5 vs 5 team fight. As a result, look for KT A games to be action packed with high amount of kills and look for the games to be back and forth with plenty of throws.

 

Team Strengths

Ganking force of KakaO

One of the main reasons that KT A has adapted this new approach of having many mini team fights is the play style of KakaO as a jungler. KakaO is a player who excels at ganking, especially lane ganking. When KakaO first joined tem KT B, he was usually playing a background role to Score, Ryu and Ragan but as he gathered more competitive experience, KakaO developed into a reliable playmaker for KT B. Especially in the matches against Blaze, KakaO showed that he can carry games and during the off-season he has shown that he has developed further as a player after finally realizing what he excels in.  With his high mechanical skills, large champion pool and innovative ganking routes, look for KakaO to be making plays for his new team at any time facet of the game.

Versatility of Zero

Zero is a player who is not talked about a lot as a top mid laner in the Korean scene but he is definitely one of the most unique mid laners that Korea has to offer. In his matches Zero has played at least 10 different champions and some champions on this list include Olaf, Nunu, Nasus and Fizz. With the competency to play these many champions in a competitive setting, Zero offers an immense amount of strategic value to his team. Aside from his champion choices, Zero is also not too shabby when it comes to other aspects of the game. Even during his amateur days, Zero was known as a good mid laner, especially in 1 v 1 situations. The jungle upgrade that he received during the off-season can only help him grow into a more dominant force in the scene. Zero has already shown during the short time that he played with KakaO, they have a good synergy between them and this can only translate into better performances moving forward. During this season of champions it will be interesting if Zero can establish himself as one of the best mid laners in the tournament and it will also be interesting to see what new champions he can bring out from his bag of tricks.

Surprisingly solid bottom lane

So far in their matches, KT A has shown that their new bottom duo of Hiro and Me5 were stronger than what people were led to believe. Hiro is a player that has been in the LoL scen for a long time and while he doesn’t have the high mechanical ability compared to some of the younger players in the scene, he is rarely found to be doing something he shouldn’t be doing. Hiro also fits the current meta by playing a style similar to Score in that he always tries in every team fight to prioritize surviving as the most important goal instead of forward flashing, forward netting etc. to grab an extra kill. Me5 is a player that loves to play Lulu and he has shown that given the opportunity he can change the course of a team fight with a great Ult used either to save someone or used offensively as a knock up. More importantly, he and Hiro seemed to be on the same page when they were laning together. Since Hiro is a player who isn’t overly aggressive in the lane, Me5 was seen to play accordingly in the lane and allowing Hiro to just cs in the lane. While this duo of Hiro and Me5 may not make the flashiest plays in the game, their solid consistent play will be a valuable asset for the team going forward.


Team weaknesses

Vulnerability of Vitamin

Vitamin is a player who’s also been in the LoL scene for a long time but he is definitely a player who has not been able to make his mark in the LoL scene. Part of Vitamin’s problem is that he has no champions that he really dominates with and while he can have one or two games where he can dominate, the other times he’s largely kept under control and his influence on the game is very minimal. As such, Vitamin may be sought after as the weakest link on the team and teams facing KT A could potentially look to exploit this weakness. The weakness of Vitamin also limits the team fighting potential of KT A and therefore, the strength of KT A goes down exponentially in long drawn out games where the global gold remains generally even. During this season of Champions winter, Vitamin needs to show that he can go toe to toe with the likes of Flame, MakNooN and Impact while showing that he can stay ahead of the likes of Cheonju and Homme. Should he not be up to task for this, it may the last season of OGN Champions that we see Vitamin in competitive play.

 Suspect long game management

The mark of a good team is not only that they have solid members at every position on the team or that they can team fight very well. A good team must know how to manage a long drawn out game and grind out a win in these situations. So far KT A has not shown that given an even game, they can win by managing the game and going into 5 v 5 team fight situations. Having more time to practice will remedy this flaw somewhat but fundamentally, they need their tank line to be able to perform really well in late game situations. This means with KakaO usually playing the role of the anti-carry, Vitamin will need to learn to become a better initiator and a peeler for his carries. Having a team like KT B to scrim against will definitely help a lot with this situation as unlike KT A, the KT B team performs well in team fight situations led by solid plays from ssumday and inSec. If KT A can learn from their sister team KT B, the KT Rolster teams will be as feared as the CJ Entus teams.

 

Key player: KakaO (Jungle)

Given the team’s flaws, it will be important for KakaO to create advantageous situations especially for his solo laners so that his team can get an advantage which they can snowball and win during the mid- game phase. Being such a great ganker, he can create unexpected situations at any given moment and the amount of presence he can exert in any given game will directly correlate to the amount of success this season’s KT A team will have.

 

Team expectations

KT A can definitely finish 3rd in their group but if they do, they will have a high chance of meeting CJ Frost or a repeat of last year’s quarterfinals match-up which could signal a quick exit for KT A. 



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MVP Blue - can they finally perform in the OGN stage?

Cheonju (Top)

Sense (Jungle)

Easyhoon (Mid)

Deft (ADC)

FLahm(Supp)

 

-          9th ~ 16th OGN Champions Summer (0W 3L  in group)

-          9th ~ 12th OGN Champions Winter (0W 2T 4L last in group)

-          4th NLB Winter (L 2:3 Najin Shield)

Team Review

Unlike their sister team MVP Ozone, team MVP Blue has never had success in the OGN Champions tournament. They finished last in the group stage the two times they have competed in the tournament and they have always been looked at as one of the weakest team in the competition. After performing a complete overhaul of the roster during the offseason which saw Sunchip leave off to the army, Kangqui going into broadcasting and the rest of the members being picked up by KT, CJ and Najin the MVP Blue team picked up a trio of players from the former GSG roster. Along with Cheonju, Easyhoon and Sense, the MVP team also picked up the young and talented AD Deft and a former RoMG member F.Lahm to complete the roster. With a strong showing in the OGN Club masters tournament and in the Battle Royale, team MVP Blue is definitely ready to show the world that they can compete with the best teams in Korea.

Team Strengthes

Alex Ichhoon

When people talk about the best mid laners in Korea, you can never leave off Easyhoon on that list. If you brought his name up 6 months ago, people would have questioned your sanity but since then he has become the hottest mid player in the Korean LoL scene. Arguably the player who has improved the most since the start of last season, Easyhoon has shown us that on any given night, he can carry his team to victory. With his plethora of champion choices he can always keep the opponent guessing as to which champion he would use in that game and due to his potent ability on his signature heroes Karthus, Ryze and TF he may force the opponent to use their ban or pick champions like Ryze to prevent Easyhoon access to these champions. Aside from his solid fundamentals, what Easyhoon really excels in is his roaming timing. Whether it would be roaming as TF, using Teleport or just walking, you can always count on Easyhoon to be at the right place at the right time as either a backup to dives or if they themselves are executing a dive. It is no coincidence that Easyhoon was involved in almost 70% of his team’s kills since the start of OGN winter.

Most creative minds in the scene

Everyone remembers the last game of NLB winter championships when the former GSG team went for the famous 4 mid heimerdinger strategy to win however the one thing that most people don’t realize is the ingenious pick ban strategy which allowed GSG to be able to pull off this composition. GSG was blue side and during the pick ban stage they did not ban Shen, TF and Khazix while banning Nunu. With their first pick they took TF while CJ Entus picked up Shen and Khazix. With the next picks GSG took Caitlyn (surprise pick given Nunu ban) and Olaf while CJ picked up Ez and Sona. With their final picks GSG picked up Blitz and Heimer completing their strategy while CJ picked up Cho and the rest is history. The amazing preparation on GSG’s part was that they led CJ Entus to pick “OP” champions who were very bad at clearing minions in the early game (Shen pre sunfire cape, Kha pre W evolution, Ez) while picking up Olaf (one of the best lane pushers) early as the solo laner. With a terrible composition to stop the amazing push ability provided by the Cait Heimer combo along with picks from the yordle trap blitz pull combo, GSG was able to push mid all the way and end the game by the 19th minute mark. This game was a testament to the former GSG members’ ability to analyze their opponents and execute a strategy flawlessly and one has to believe that this ability will be useful for the new MVP Blue team to survive in their group. Even if MVP Blue don’t do all that well in the group, I have no doubts that they can be a hellish team to prepare against due to the sheer brilliance of their strategies.

Video credits to ESL Asia

Team weaknesses

Cheonju

Cheonju is probably best known as being the best rumble in Korea. While his rumble in undeniably top tier, when that champion is taken away from him his performance level drops noticeably. One of the reasons for this is that Cheonju has a limited Champion pool which makes it easy for the opposition to prepare a counter against him. Adding to the fact that Cheonju mainly played ADC in the NLB doesn’t help with the fact that Cheonju could be singled out as the weakness of MVP Blue. The encouraging sign is that recently, Cheonju has shown that his champion pool has expanded and that he can play champions other than rumble at a high level as well but it still remains to be seen if he can keep up this level of performance when the stakes are higher than before.

The Ups and Downs of Sense

Sense aka Solo aka ChuNyang was probably considered the best player on the former RoMG team when they beat Azubu Frost during the Summer season. There were quite a bit of rumours that several pro organizations were looking into employing his services for their team. Ultimately, he finally became pro with the current MVP team. There may be reasons why some teams decided to stay away from Sense including his well-documented stage fright (when he first competed in a lan tournament) but if I had to pick the main reasons why I would have stayed away from Sense compared to other junglers, it’s his consistency and decision making. On a good day, Sense can play very solid and be a play making force with his arsenal of favourite champions like Vi and Elise but on a bad day he simply becomes a feeder on this team and his team proceeds to get dominated by the opposition. The root cause for this consistency issues is that he generally lacks top tier decision making skills especially when he decides to initiate in a fight. Often you would see Sense engaging in a fight only to have the other team and he dies. Other times you could see Sense engaging in teamfights which ends disadvantageously for his team. These issues arise from several reasons but the oddity in his pathing and his positioning before entering team fights is usually the cause of his downfall. Now that he’s in a team house and is on a professional training regimen, it will be interesting to see how many of these problems he can fix through studying his own match replays and figuring out his playing habits.

The inexperienced bot lane

When you look at the bottom lane for MVP Blue, they are the only team to feature a bot lane duo without a competitive LoL career. While this may not seem like a big issue considering they showed some great plays during the off-season, they showed some flaws in their playing as well. In their matches Deft demonstrated that he possessed mechanical skills which may be able to rival his teammate imp’s but more often than not he showed overly excessive plays which sometimes led to great kills but sometime also led him to his death. If the other teams pick up on his bloodlust tendencies, then there could be situations where he gets purposely baited by the opposing team. FLahm the support, showed that he is a good Lulu player and one day he may be able to challenge Lustboy as the best Lulu in the world but in his current state, he showed one fatal flaw which prevents him from being in that discussion. FLahm would often utilize skills at the wrong timings in a team fight situation. For a support player, this could mean the difference between saving someone or letting them die. The other problem that both of these players exhibited was that when they were forced to anything other than Lulu or Ezreal, their effectiveness decreased slightly. However considering that they are new to the professional LoL scene (especially Deft who is really young), this duo definitely has the room to improve.

 

Key Player: Sense (Jungler)

With Cheonju not being quite at the top tier level, MVP Blue will need Sense to perform at his highest level every night. MVP Blue is a team that desperately needs a solid tank line so that their carries can deal the most amount of damage possible in team fight situations. If a strong tank line can be established then it should tremendously improve MVP Blue subpar team fighting ability.

 

Team expectations

While it’s hard to overlook MVP Blue’s impressive performances in the off-season, it was basically all on online tournaments and as Najin Shield has shown us in the past online achievements do not equate to lan success. With question marks across the board, this team could easily end up being a Easyhoon one man team. If MVP Blue were on the other group I could have seen them advancing but in this group they will have trouble escaping last place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SKT T1 Team 2 – The KTB of this tournament?

 

Impact (Top)

 

Bengi (Jungle)

 

Faker (Mid)

 

Piglet (ADC)

 

PoohManDu (Supp)

 

Team Review 

The famous e-sports organization SK Telecom T1 gained their fame through their strong showings in the StarCraft scene. Led by the legendary Boxer, SKT T1 has always been known for their strong Terran players and they made their mark in the e-sports scene by winning many tournaments. With the announcement that SC1 would hold its last proleague, the SKT organization looked at the possibility of jumping into the ever-expanding LoL scene. They started off by acquiring Reapered who mutually terminated his contract with Blaze just before the Winter season and also acquiring the former StarTale jungler kkoma as their coach. If SKT T1’s first team was built by Reapered, the second team was built by the two coaches kkoma and L.i.e.S. Through many hours and days spent on recruiting, SKT T1’s second team was able to assemble one of the most talented rosters in the scene.

The SKT2 line-up is headlined by the former number one ranker in Korea, Faker. Faker was definitely a commodity in the off-season and there were many rumours of Faker being picked up by teams who were looking for a mid laner. Fortunately for SKT, kkoma was quick to act and contact Faker who was trying to get a sponsor with his amateur team. The other highly talent individual on this roster who has never seen competitive play is Piglet. Piglet is a player who was cited by many pro players (such as imp) to be a good ADC player and he was a consistent top 50 ranked player ever since season 2. The 3 remaining members of the roster have had some competitive exposure. Impact the top laner is the most well-known player on the team being a former member of Xenics Storm. PoohManDu is the other well-known player on this team and he used to be the support player for GSG and he also used to be a famous player in the Chaos scene with the former RoMG team (WC3 DOTA variant). Finally bengi was a member of BBT (the former MVP Red) before he joined SKT2.

 

Team Strengths

 Talent of the new generation players

People normally refer to players who were high ranked players on the NA server as the first generation pro players. Now with the Korean server being in service for just over a year, the popularity of LoL in Korea has skyrocketed and this has led to many talented young individuals being discovered by the pro teams. If a team like CJ Frost is an assembly of talent first gen players, this new SKT2 team is a showcase of the talented second gen players who gained fame inside the KR server.

There are 3 members of the team who can be described in this fashion and it is Faker, Piglet and bengi. Not surprisingly all 3 of these players have very noticeable features in their playing. All of these players were cited by many as the top 3 amateurs in their respective positions who’ve reached the pro playing level. All 3 of these individuals also show top tier level mechanics and amazing game sense which allows them to make flashy plays. Finally, all these individuals have shown to have a large champion pool in their arsenal.

While the ADC role is quite limited in their choice of champions, you can see that in ranked Piglet actually only plays AD 60% of the time (with Lee being his third(!) most played) showing his flexibility for other roles. When he gets to play the ADC roles, what strikes me most about Piglet is that his laning phase is quite balanced meaning that he knows when to harass and when to farm.

Bengi the jungler is probably best known for his Shen, but aside from Shen he definitely loves the high mobility, high skill cap champions who can carry the game out of the jungle (lee, zed, shaco). The most impressive thing to note about bengi’s playing style is that he is very fearless in his plays and as a jungler this could be a good asset since a moment of indecision could be a huge difference between a successful dive or a failed attempt.

Finally, Faker the midlaner is known for playing anything and everything in the mid lane. He can bring out a traditional AP such as Ryze or a rarely used AP such as Syndra. He can also play the traditional AD mages like Kha or play an unconventional character like AP Ezreal and carry the game. When you watch Faker play, what you can notice is the high accuracy on his skill shots. The other thing to note about Faker is that even if he’s doing bad in the lane, you can always count on him to rack up the kill count, especially in a team fight situation.  

 Perhaps the final reason that people do have so much anticipation for this trio is that other members of this so called “new generation”, such as ssumday, Kakao and Loray have all shown that their high individual skill level can translate into success at the highest level.

 

The Unknown

Being a completely new team has down sides to it but it also has various good sides. One good thing about being an unknown team is that the team’s playing style remains unknown.  It’s probably fair to say that SKT2 has had the least amount of exposure competitively out of the twelve teams and with this advantage they may just gain enough leverage to gain draws in their tough group.

 The other advantage that this team has as I mentioned is the inherent versatility in the team in terms of picks and bans. Due to the fact that all of their players can play a variety of champions at a high level, you can never know what kind of a team comp this SKT2 team will throw your way. Especially in the current format if the SKT2 team prepares a surprise tactic for one of their two matches then the opposing team can easily be caught out for the first game which would put them under a huge strategic and mental disadvantage. The other notable thing to mention is that during an interview, the SKT coach mentioned that in a blind pick setting the  5 mid strategy of GSG may seem *normal* compared to what the SKT2 team could potentially showcase.

 

Team Weaknesses

How will this the cast of players play as a team?

 From what we’ve seen so far, the SKT2 team did not exhibit many fatal flaws in their line-up but their matches were against amateur opponents thus it was unclear how the team would fare as a whole against a strong opponent. It could happen to be that the team wins out the laning phase due to their individual abilities but without the proper game managing skills, these advantages could be all for naught.  In addition, due to the fact that their team consists of two main damage dealers who are competing in the highest level for the first time, it remains to be seen if they can shy away from their soloq habits in such a short time span to make the appropriate sacrifices for the team and follow the team calls instead of going to farm. The other suspect of their game is their team fight ability when the teams are even in ability. It's unclear if the tanks (especially bengi) will be able to decide exactly when to peel and when to go in for the opposite carries instead of always just charging in for the opposite carries. Another interesting thing to note is the bot lane synergy. ManDu has been known to play unconventional supports like Leblanc but other than that he rarely plays normal supports like Sona or Taric. We’ll have to see if Piglet can synergize well with the unconventional ManDu.

Are the kids really alright?

We know that the young players on this team have great individual skills and confidence in their abilities but could that potentially backfire on them? Countless times, you could see players making impossible looking plays which end up being disadvantageous but they do it anyways simply because it’s “worth”.  The SKT2 team better hope that their young players don’t feel like they’re superheroes and can pull off plays that they imagine in their heads. The other important aspect of the being a professional LoL player is the mental aspect of the game. Everything will be all good and well when they`re winning but what will happen when they lose and worse if they get completely outplayed by the opposition. Will the young players have what it takes to recuperate in a high pressure environment to perform well after devastating losses or will they crumble under the lime light and never live up to expectations? All these question marks remain to with this team.

What about the older members of the team

 It’s true that Impact along with Daydream was the best player on a weak Xenics Storm team but it’s unclear if that will translate into Impact being relevant in higher level play. Impact has always been a professional player ever since his support days and he was always a consistent performer. Last season in the NLB, he showed that he could be a consistent force in the top lane as well. What is worrisome is that Impact is probably the player who will be asked to sacrifice (in terms of choosing champs, farming, etc.) most for the team since he along with the support have the least carry potential on this team. This could potentially be a dangerous proposition for Impact. If he is sacrificed for the greater good of the team, he could be walking the fine line between staying relevant or irrelevant in every game.

The other elder member of the team ManDu is probably the biggest question mark on the team. Aside from the well documented fact that he does not play conventional supports, his supporting ability is average from what he’s shown us. In the old GSG team, he demonstrated that on a good day he can play a decent Blitz and make plays for the team (which should bode well for him considering Thresh is OP) and generally speaking he prefers to play the aggressive kill lane type of champs. Other than the kill lane champs however, it still remains to be seen how he fares on normal support champs.

 

Key Player Faker (Mid)

If Faker wanted to test his skills against the best mids in Korea, he got his wish when the groups were drawn. In his group he will have to go against Ssong, Ambiton, Zero, Easyhoon and dade. All of those players are experienced, highly skilled and they all possess the ability to carry their team to victory at any given opportunity. If Faker can prove that he can be in their league every game then SKT2 will have a good chance of surviving their group ahead of the MVP teams and KTA but should he look like if he’s out of their league, this year’s SKT2 team will not avoid being in the cellars of group A. SKT2’s season depends on the shoulders of their super rookie.

 

Season expectations

While they look tremendously talented and ready to cause an uproar in the scene, their group is extremely difficult to compete in. Should they get into the playoffs however, they can potentially win against the opponents from the weaker group B and become this year’s KTB.

 

 

 

 

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Najin Shield -  can they recapture the glory?

 

Expession (Top) 

NoFe (Jungle) 

Save (Mid) 

Locodoco (AD) 

a wolf (Support)

 

-          5th – 8th place OGN Champions Spring (L 2:3 MiG Frost)

-          9th ~ 16th place OGN Champions Summer (1W 2L in group)

-          9th ~ 12th place OGN Champions Winter (5th in group)

-          3rd place NLB winter (W 3:2 MVP Blue)

 

Team Review

 Najin shield was one of the oldest existing team in the Korean league of legends scene. When the former clan known as Extreme Dive Gaming was picked up by the Najin corporation (who mainly focused on Tekken pro gaming league) they became one of the pioneers in the Korean LoL scene. Of course, none of the members from the original Shield line-up is now on the roster with the fan favourite MOKUZA (personal favourite as well, gotta love that red hair) retiring due to illness and HooN being released from the team (vinylcat is technically still on the team but not really). With all these changes, Shield gathered a group of players who would bring them back to their glory days. We will now see in the Spring Season if Shield is indeed an un-upgradeable Doran’s Shield or a more effective and upgradeable Aegis of the Legion when the time comes.

 The Shield line-up is anchored by Expession, arguably the best player in the world with the least amount of recognition. Wolf, is the other player remaining from last season’s Shield line-up and while Wolf may not be able to consistently pull off amazing plays every game, he is a reliable player and a dependable support with room to improve. Out of the trio that was recently acquired by Shield, the player with the most amount of pedigree definitely has to be Locodoco. Locodoco is a celebrity in the LoL scene playing AD for MiG Frost, StarTale and also playing support for a stint with CLG.NA (~~rumours are that his R key was broken during this time~~). What Loco brings to the team is his vast experience, knowledge, game-calling ability and his ~~craziness~~. NoFe was the former jungler for MVP Blue and perceived by the Korean community as being “forever suffering” on a bad team. This season will show if the so called expe nofe combo will shine. Last but not least, Save, the player formerly known as yellowout is probably the player that not many people know about. With limited exposure in the competitive scene, it would be accurate to say that his current showings were below average at best.

 Without the fluidity in their play compared to the other teams who have had the luxury of keeping their roster mostly intact, Shield will need a good overall performance from their entire roster to regain their reputation as one of the most feared teams in Korea.

 

Team Strengths

*One of the best top laners in the world

 Expession has quietly garnered a reputation as being one of the best in the world but unfortunately, he did not have the chance to show off his skills in the big stage as of yet. The reason that Expession is rated so highly by not only his colleagues but his fans as well comes from his completeness as a player. Whether it would be csing, making trades, champion pool or team fighting Expession has the ability to excel in all areas. Furthermore, unlike his counterpart MakNooN, you can often see that Expession usually plays very calmly and generally has good decision making. If I had to compare him to a different player, I would say that Expession reminds me most of Ambition in that he is one of the most consistent performers at the highest level. With the changes in Season 3 increasing the influence of the top lane, look for Expession to carry his team night in and night out. 

The brain of Locodoco 

Being a member of MENSA, it is no surprise that Locodoco used to be the strategy maker and shot-caller for MiG Frost. This is what he brings as a player to Najin Shield as well. Not only is he a good ADC (as seen in the SWL), the other merits that he provides for his team are immense. Often you see games which are decided by picks and bans which is why theory crafting and strategizing is as important as practicing to improve mechanics. In Season 3 especially where picks and bans are not as stagnant as it was in Season 2, I definitely expect a new and innovative strategy to come out from the mind of Locodoco (Thresh Fid Noc was definitely very neat to watch but the co-ordination was lacking). The other factor that he provides for Shield is that Loco is an experienced veteran on a team composed of members that has never been to the playoffs in the OGN Champions tournament. Should he once again act as the shot-caller of his team, he will be able to show us his trademark inhumane speech speed during shot-calling and provide quality calls for Shield.

 The other interesting thing to note about Loco is that every support he has ever laned with/practiced with have become a top tier support. First it was Madlife, then it was Mafa, and after it was Mata for a short while and now it will be interesting to see if Wolf also develops into a top tier support player.

 

Team weaknesses 

NoFe in No Gain 

It’s weird to list someone who’s been on the roster for a short amount of time to be the team’s weakness but NoFe has demonstrated that potential in the SWL matches (in the 2nd game against WE for example). In his previous team MVP Blue, it is true that NoFe and the bottom lane was the only lanes to fare decently but it wasn’t as if NoFe could carry a game single-handedly like inSec. The problem with NoFe that I notice is that he plays at his best when playing a support jungler (with his best champ probably being Chogath) but the current state of the game isn’t really suited for these support type junglers. In addition, his mechanics also don’t seem to be at the top level (partially due to his age) which limits the champion pool even further since he wouldn’t be as effective on a micro-intensive champion. NoFe is in no means a bad jungler but he’s quite ordinary. To live up to his former title “forever suffering” he will have to prove that he and Expession can be the solid tankers that Shield imagined when they first acquired him.

 Save = Mightily?

 After disappointing showings against SKT1, some people were joking around that Mightily just changed his name and joined Shield. To be fair, Save is probably better than Mightily in terms of mechanics but from what he’s shown Save lacks in csing ability. Each game that he’s played in the SWL, Save would constantly be behind on farm compared to the other mid laner and in competitive play, this is a huge disadvantage. In addition to his lack luster csing ability, he seemed to be lacking the required decision making skills to make the right plays. In his matches Save would often be taking weird pathing and sometimes deciding to stay in fights for too long when he could have got out all of which probably stem from soloq habits. The good news is that, Save’s only had 3 competitive matches and he probably can improve quite a bit but he better improve a lot and improve really fast because the competition isn’t going to wait for him to improve before singling him out as Shield’s weak spot.

 

Key Player: Save (Mid) 

When you think about all the great teams in the world, they have one thing in common their mid player is world class. That’s just a testament to how much influence a mid laner can have in the outcome of a game (It’s a feature of all MOBA’s due to the strategic vantage point served by the mid lane). Unfortunately, at his current state, Save is probably ranked near the last for all mid laners in the tournament (along with HooN ironically) but if he can improve upon his flaws, which he himself is probably well aware of, he can be an asset to the team. With how the team is set up right now, Save doesn’t have to force himself to carry night in and night out since he has Loco and Expession but he will have to not fall behind the enemy mid laner. In this way he could play a role which he showed during his match against WE when he didn’t fall behind terribly bad against Misaya’s Vlad as Zed and was given the duty of split pushing. As he’s shown that he can play champs such as Zed and TF, having Loco and Expession carry while Save goes to split push could very well become one of Shield’s most used strategies during the tournament.

 

Team Expectations 

Shield’s recent streak of disappointing showings could very well continue if their match against SKT1 is any sign of things to come but I believe that they have some great potential on their roster. Their season could really depend on their first few matches. If they win, they could potentially be at the top of their group just like MVP White of last year. However, with the flaws in their team I really can’t see them going past the round of 8 should they reach there

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iG vs NJ SWD

League of Legends 2013.03.27 06:31

Warning Spoilers






Today's matchup of iG and NJ SWD was rather a lop sided match-up. I felt that it was a clash between a team already in-season form vs a team that was still tuning to get ready for their season (in addition to being mired in a mini-slump). It also showed us that iG as a team has grown considerably and that beating WE in the LPL was no fluke at all. 


Game 1 picks and bans 

iG bans: Twisteed Fate, Sona, Evelyn

SWD bans: Jarvan, Miss Fortune, Elise 

iG picks: Lulu, Voli, Malp, Varus, Diana 

SWD picks: Rumble, Thresh, Kayle, Kogmaw, Xin Zhao


In Game 1 of the set, iG got an early lead when they got fb on Kayle and never looked back. Zz1tai on Diana and Illusion on Volibear was causing mayhem and havoc throughout and Sword simply did not have an answer for either of these two. And when PDD recovered from being set behind by laning in a 2 v 1, the flood gates really opened and sword simply had no chance of winning beyond that point. PraY did admirably considering that his solo laners were performing subpar but against iG's extreme dive comp, PraY could do not but watch as his team cast a surrender vote in Game 1. 


Things to note from Game 1: Ssong's questionable first item Hexdrinker on Kayle, impeccable dragon timing from iG, the ineffectiveness of Watch. 


Game 1 picks and bans 

iG bans: Twisteed Fate, Sona, Evelyn

SWD bans: Jarvan, Miss Fortune, Rumble 

iG picks: Elise, Lulu, Varus, Karthus, Hecarim 

SWD picks: Shen, Voli, Kayle, Thresh, Twitch


In Game 2 of the set, NJ SWD was the one to have a head start as they were able to get fb on illusion but in the lane, Kayle was constantly being out played by Karthus losing trade after trade before lv 6. Even though SWD was winning in the top lane and even in the bottom lane, iG was able to pull off successful dragons since Zz1tai's Karthus was too much for SWD to handle. During mid game the gold was even and it looked like the game could go either way and Zz1tai's Karthus did get caught out a couple of times leading to the gold being even for quite a while. However as soon as Zz1tai bought his Seraph's embrace, the game was effectively over as Karthus was not insta killable and iG would do a great job of diving towards Twitch and killing him each time a team fight broke out. In the end the game was a rout (Zz1tai troll requiem and celebratory Zhonya's from PDD) as iG took the 2nd Game on a surrender as well. 


Things to note from Game 2: Ssong's stubborn choice going hexdrinker once again. MakNooN's best performance in a long time. Zz1tai and illusion's amazing carry. 


Wrap-up: SWD really needs to pick their game up if they want a shot at competing not only in the SWL but in OGN Champions. Every team has bad days and different times when they peak but the performance that SWD gave was very lack luster. 


On the other hand iG just showed us that the Chinese scene definitely needs more recognition with their trouncing of a very good team. If iG can keep this pace up for the rest of the Season, then they will be a very scary team to face come S3 world championships. 


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Homme (Top)

 

DanDy (Jungle)

 

dade (Mid)

 

imp (AD)

 

Mata (Support)

 

 

-          5 – 8th place Champions Winter (0:3 NJSW)

-          5 – 8th place NLB Winter (0:2 NJSHD)

-          7th – 12th place SWL (2W 1T 2L)

 

Team overview

 

The MVP progaming team was a household name even before their LoL team was formed due to their successes in the SC2 scene (DRG OP). However, when they announced that they would launch not one but 3 teams in the League of Legends scene many fans were excited to see what kind of a product they would produce.  However, due to unfortunate circumstances, MVP Red was disbanded even before they could compete in a single OGN Champions tournament and MVP blue ended up being the only team to compete during the Summer season (they lost all 3 games to finish last in their group).  In the meanwhile, MVP white competed in the Summer season of NLB and won giving them an automatic bid in the Winter season of OGN the Champions.  In the group stage, MVP White performed admirably exceeding all expectations and finishing second in their group. However, they were overmatched in their quarterfinal set against NJSW and also bowed out to NJSHD in the NLB ending their season. As soon as the season ended, MVP White along with MVP Blue underwent complete overhauls. First, the team was no longer called MVP White but they were now sponsored by Ozone to become MVP Ozone. Second they released their mid player Mima as well as their support Min9 and brought in the former CJ Entus mid laner dade as well as former MVP Red/BBT support player Mata. The result of a revamped roster was remarkable as MVP Ozone won 2:0 against TPA and while they did lose 0:2 to NJSW, both of the games were incredibly close. These results showed that mvp Ozone may become a new powerhouse in the Spring Season.

 

Team Strengths


Ultra aggressive bot lane

 

If I had to pick a player who has improved the most throughout the Winter season and before the Spring season I would no doubt choose imp along with his MVP teammate easyhoon. Imp has shown that he has phenomenal mechanics along with his super aggressive play in lane and in team fights. Imp is a player who’s not afraid to flash forward to secure the kill while this does get him into sticky situations from time to time, it works out most of the time. A bot lane however is not complete without the support. Mata and imp has shown a high level of synergy ever since Mata’s arrival and with Mata as a definite upgrade over their previous support small brain and min9, MVP Ozone’s bot lane should be able to compete with any duo in the tournament. 

 

DanDy

 

Being one of the original members of MVP White, DanDy has long been engrained into the memory of many fans being the best member of the team. However now that the level of his teammates had risen considerably, it was yet to be seen if he was just a mediocre player on a bad team or if he indeed was a good player being bogged by bad teammates. In the SWL, he definitely showed the world that he wasn’t just a mediocre player but he had the right to be in the discussion of one of the best junglers in Korea. Against TPA, DanDy single handedly won game 1 and even game 2 by out jungling one of the best junglers in the world Lilballz. The most impressive thing about DanDy’s playing was that he played as if he had a map hack on and he was able to perform successful counter ganks one after the other as well as successful counter jungling time after time. With aggressive jungling being the trend, it’ll be interesting to see how much counter ganking prowess DanDy can exercise during the Spring Season and if he and team MVP Ozone can finally achieve something in the OGN Champions tournament.

 

**Team Weaknesses**

 

Inconsistent performance of dade

 

dade was the number one ranked player on the Korean server for a long time before the original CJ Entus picked him up as their mid lane player. So far in his career, he has shown that on a good day he can play at the highest level but on a bad day, you wouldn’t even be able to notice if dade was in the game. Perhaps this inconsistency was why MVP Ozone first tried to test a controversial mid lane player known as Crumble Cookies (the IWD of Korea, received a 100 yr ban) instead of dade. What’s most frustrating about dade is that he has the mechanics, the champion pool and the competitive experience to be one of the best mid laners but even when he’s having a good game, he can make a really bad mistake that’s costs his team the game (Khazix game against Frost, Jayce game against NJSW in the SWL). Needless to say MVP Ozone will need the good dade if they have any hope of advancing further than the RO8 this time around. 

 

The ever ordinary top laner Homme

 

In most cases, ordinary is usually good enough but in the case of the Korean top lane, ordinary will usually make you look really bad. If such was the case for Lpanda last season, then this may become the case for Homme this season. Homme by no means is a bad player, he can farm, he has a decent champion pool and usually he doesn’t feed terribly. However, the problem is that he has never shown the potential to be a difference maker. In the game against NJSW, if Homme could have limited the damage done by PraY much the same way PDD and illusion were able to, there’s no doubt that MVP would have won 2:0 to NJSW instead of losing by that same score. Unfortunately for MVP Ozone, Homme would always get decimated before he even had a chance to go in on PraY every time because he would be very predictable in trying to go after PraY which led to successful disengagements one after the other, separating the initiating tanks from the rest of the team each time. Homme will need to improve his game or risk being the new star for Monte and doa’s Agony series. 

 

Bad late game management

 

The current MVP Ozone in many ways remind me of the old NJ SWD in its infancy. In their lane phase they can usually get ahead thanks to the aggressive plays coming out from the mid lane and the bot lane along with some well-timed ganks. The problem arises when it comes for time for team fighting to occur. They showed that even with a moderate lead, MVP Ozone would engage in team fights only to come out even or losing in their matches against TPA and NJ SWD. In the latter match, their continual disadvantage in team fights was what cost them the victory in both matches. This may be a result of having a new roster as the team is probably still taking time to figure out their respective roles in different types of situations. Regardless, if they truly want to be recognized as an elite team, then they must learn to snowball their advantages to victory


Key Player: dade (Mid)

 

Even with their influence being reduced in Season 3, mid players can still decide the outcome of a game more often than not. This is the reason why dade is cruicial for MVP Ozone’s success this season. With a less than stellar top liner, dade has to be the backbone of this team along with imp and DanDy to be a reliable force every match. Dade has already shown on his previous team which eerily resembles his current team (mediocre top, good jungle and good bot lane) that how well he performs is closely correlated to how well his team performs. As such it will be interesting if he can live up to expectations and show everyone why he was the former number 1 ranked player in Korea. 

 

Season expectations

 

MVP Ozone is a tough team to judge while I do believe they are one of the better teams around, it’s uncertain if they can compete with the top teams yet. If they can replicate what they did during the group stage last year, then I do believe they can go further than last year should they get a favourable match-up (team style wise). However, with a field as deep as this year’s Champion’s Spring Team MVP Ozone may be the tough luck miss-outs in the group stage. I expect 3 ~ 5th spot in the group stage for them. 

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