Our preview of the League of Legends World Championships – starting with a group by group breakdown. Today we preview Group A, featuring the KOO Tigers, CLG, Flash Wolves and Pain Gaming.
Team 1 – CLG 1st Seed – NA LCS
Top: Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya – Even his teacher calls him ZionSpartan. Such a simple statement, but has become a lasting meme in the community. For the beginning of his career it was mostly a joke after Zion’s teams had struggled to get going. There were still bursts of success to be had and plays to be made, with Zion at the forefront of said playmaking. But since joining CLG Zion has found his home, even though he started out slow, and now he is living up to that name. If there was ever a time for him to shine it is on the World stage and with the meta heavily favoring carry oriented Top laners look out for him to make a splash.
Jungle: Jake “Xmithie” Puchero – Xmithie is a very hard player to analyze, his stats aren’t always great, his plays aren’t always flashy, but he gets the job done period. Whatever his team needs he does whether that’s ganking, dragon control, helping with lane swaps and most importantly vision control. Xmithie bought the most wards by a large margin in the summer split and because of that he usually sacrifices his own gold income to help his teammates play with more map awareness. His play is most comparable to a defensive specialist in basketball or an offensive lineman in football.
Mid: Eugene “Pobelter” Park – Ah the Enigma of team CLG from “Throwbelter” to the Notorious P.O.B. pobelter has been decimating solo q since season 1. However since coming of age to participate in the LCS he has yet to show that kind of consistency and dominance in league play. This split he has vindicated himself and shown his true skill, and if that wasn’t enough he also has an incredibly high IQ.
AD Carry: Peter “Doublelift” Peng – Everyone else is trash, doublelift’s trophy case being empty, facechecking at dreamhack in Season 1, Penta Peng, what hasn’t doublelift done? Oh right, WIN WORLDS. For the most storied and celebrated AD player this side of Korea lift lift has constantly fallen short. This season has been different though, this new CLG is no longer the doublelift show, a true 3 threat team. This new CLG has shown that even if doublelift doesn’t smash bot lane they can still win and this relief of pressure has allowed him to play at an all time high level. This is his time to shine and he may never get another shot as good as this one to cement his name in league history.
Support: Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black – Support is so easy and now I’m out, these 2 videos sum up aphro and why he is such a likeable person. Starting out as an AD player aphro eventually swapped over to support, although there was some learning aphro proved to be a quick study. Quickly vaulting up to contend for best support in NA, aphro is the main playmaker and shot caller for CLG. He is the heartbeat of the team, when aphro is doing well his team follows suit he sets up their big plays and complements their high risk high reward early game perfectly.
CLG player to watch – Doublelift
Team 2 – Flash Wolves – 2nd Seed LMS
Top: Chou “Steak” Lu-Hsi – Primarily playing tanks and champions with high amounts of crowd control Steak is your prototypical top laner. While this style of top laners worked on previous patches this current patch is not as forgiving. He is also fiercely passionate about gaining Taiwan the esports prestige that’s deserved.
Jungle: Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan – Karsa is very similar to Xmithie in playstyle, he prioritizes vision over ganks. Vision control and team fight expertise are what Karsa excels at, along with excellent mechanical play Karsa could make a name for himself as a jungler to watch out for.
Mid: Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang – A very well known Ahri player in the LMS scene Maple is the embodiment of a “safe” mid laner, not looking to make his own plays 1v1 he waits for jungle and/or support help to pick up easy kills. Come teamfight time though he puts out the DPS, even if he’s not your prototypical playmaking mid laner Maple can still hold his own.
AD Carry: Hsiung “NL” Wen-An – NL is an interesting AD player, he doesn’t fit the mold of DPS first but instead focuses more on playing a crowd controlling AD like Ashe or Varus. Having more initiation and teamfight focus instead of raw DPS it isn’t flashy but it can get the job done.
Support: Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Jie – Your quintessential roaming playmaking support, SwordArt looks to make plays with his jungler and often roams early to set up plays in mid. Lane swapping allows SwordArt to make very aggressive roams throughout most of the early game with low risk, look for him to prioritize Alistar and Thresh.
Flash Wolves player to watch – Karsa
Team 3 – KOO Tigers – 2nd Seed LCK
Top: Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho – Talk about your carry top laner, regarded as one of the best top laners in Korea Smeb does it all. He has shown proficiency on pure tanks such as Maokai or Dr. Mundo, he’s transitioned into bruisers like Hecarim or Gnar and then he just busts out his Riven whenever he feels like it. This patch was made for him to shine with his immense champion pool and I can’t wait to see what he does with the new top lane toy box he has access to.
Jungle: Lee “Hojin” Ho-jin – Hojin split time with Wisdom for most of the season, however during the playoffs Hojin took the job for himself and cemented himself as the starting jungler. The problem is that on such a good team someone has to be the weak link, Hojin isn’t bad per say but he has a weak early game that he offsets with strong vision and mid/late game team fighting.
Mid: Lee “KurO” Seo-haeng – KurO is a bit of a weird mid laner, he isn’t the flashy playmaker type but he also doesn’t just sit around and farm. He is very flexible in his play, functioning on either low income or getting funneled gold to be the main carry.
AD Carry: Kim “PraY” Jong-in – Pray is the epitome of consistent play, he gets the job done and does what needs to be done every game. Whether that’s farm it out and be his team’s main carry, or rotate quickly to push down towers early. Pray has been a steadfast in the bottom lane of Korea and with his prior world’s experience he will be an important leader for his team.
Support: Kang “GorillA” Beom-hyeon – GorillA is a stud of a support, you want him to play it? He will and at a super high level. Known for his Janna play he and PraY are the rock for KOO, recently moving to a more engage and roam oriented style his Annie and Alistar are no laughing matter.
KOO player to watch – GorillA
Team 4 – Pain Gaming – International Wild Card
Top: Matheus “Mylon” Borges – A relatively unknown player Mylon, formerly of Keyd stars, has been playing since the Brazilian server went up. He is a very solid player, nothing spectacular, someone who does their job and then joins up with his team. Depending on the direction he’s been practicing he could be your typical tank/cc bot top laner or if they let him play some of the carry tops he might have a larger impact.
Jungle: Thulio “SirT” Carlos – Known in the BR scene as the best jungler and he’s proven it, time and time again, by winning. A supportive jungler who focuses on vision control and counter ganking rather than trying to proactively make his own plays. He is one of the original members and a key shot caller and leader among the team.
Mid: Gabriel “Kami” Santos – Kami is the #1 ranked player in BR solo q, holding multiple accounts in high challenger. However like Pobelter Kami hasn’t translated that kind of solo q success into competitive wins. He has a wide champion pool and is no slouch, but on the World stage the lights shine the brightest, so the time is now for him to show us what he can do.
AD Carry: Felipe “brTT” Goncalves – “Haters make me a king,” brTT has that tattooed on his hand and in part it’s the truth. In Brazil brTT is the king of esports, a former Counter Strike pro, he garners a humongous fan base. He is a true carry player at heart and has the mindset that he needs to carry every game. This mindset used to be a detriment to him as he would clash with team mates, this year he looks to have mellowed a bit and is taking a more controlled approach in doing whatever the team needs to win.
Support: Hugo “Dioud” Padioleau – Dioud is a European support player playing for a Brazilian team which is funny because Brazil first tried to use Koreans to bolster their teams but in the end a Frenchmen is what it took to take them to worlds. Dioud and brTT aren’t bad but on the world stage they are going to be hard pressed to match the likes of seasoned bot lanes.
Pain Gaming player to watch – Kami
Final Group Prediction1) KOO Tigers
3) Flash Wolves
4) Pain Gaming