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  1. 2013.03.27 Najin Shield

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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