Articles:LCS Spring Promotion Qualifiers - Semifinals Preview
|Season 4 Spring Promotion Qualifiers - Semifinals - Preview|
Thanksgiving may be over in the United States, but there are still healthy portions of Challenger series action to go around. The 2014 Spring Promotion Qualifier looks to round out two months worth of competitive play with its semifinal match this Saturday, November 30.
In case you missed it, the SPQ kicked off this past October, where teams had their first chance to qualify. Now, again in November, the top 32 ladder teams from North America and Europe rumbled on the rift, whittling themselves down to four per region over the course of three weeks. This Saturday, these eight teams will clash, looking to secure their region's entry spot into the Season 4 Promotion Tournament, where they will have the chance to go pro with a spot in the LCS.
More attention has been on the Challenger scene lately, thanks in part to the mid-season lull, and Riot's recently announced Coke Challenger League. From the NACL, to the ALCS, and of course the SPQ, there have been plenty of opportunities for new fans to become interested in the scene. However, with so many tournaments and so much chatter, the casual observer would be justified in wondering -- "why should I care?"
Nowadays, it would be hard to imagine a competitive scene without WildTurtle, Hai, Lautemortis, Meteos, or MegaZero. These players came from amateur roots. The Challenger scene acts as a foundation for professional players, and a haven for some well-known streamers and personalities. Additionally, professional teams have the opportunity to keep an eye on up-and-coming talent or perhaps recruit a capable substitute player. While the LCS is the big league, a lot of familiar names and faces wouldn't be so familiar without the Challenger league.
Saturday's semifinal matches will be Bo3. EU start time is 9:00 EST. NA start time is 18:00 EST.
vVv Gaming has played in previous qualifiers under the name Team VEX. To them, the semifinals are familiar ground. vVv fought their way through the October qualifier, but unfortunately did not advance, falling 1-2 to COGnitive Gaming in their semifinal match. When asked about any changes made between the previous qualifier and the current one, vVv Gaming manager Chaz “ggCharles” Burch had this to say:
“We were dealing with more than a few cohesion issues as a team, something that is all too common in the challenger scene, unfortunately. Thankfully, those problems are now resolved, and with the addition of our new support player, Godshu, we now have our full roster in the [gaming] house and are feeling stronger than ever. We are spending more time than you would believe researching The Walking Zed, and we are taking this fight much more seriously than anything in the past. This time there are no second chances, no more time to regroup. Now is the time to show everyone what we can do.”
On the other side of the Rift are The Walking Zed, formerly known as Gold Gaming LA. Since its inception, the Gold Gaming Los Angeles roster has caused quite a stir. With notable players like otter, NydusHerMain, Bischu, and Quas, the team was set to become a Challenger powerhouse. Internal differences caused ggLA to release the roster, and the result is the Walking Zed. With a new identity, a new AD carry and a new top laner, the Walking Zed are hoping to make it big, but will their individual skill stand up to the teamwork of a revitalized vVv Gaming?
Although met with defeat in previous qualifiers, Quantic Gaming came in like a wrecking ball last weekend, taking group stage in an impressive 3-0. The team may owe their newfound zeal to new mid-laner, former Samsung Galaxy Blue player Sun-ho “SuNo” An. This all-Korean roster, led by Yoonsup “Locodoco” Choi, is looking strong for their semifinal match against Team LoLPro.
Team LoLPro is one of Curse’s three ambitious rosters formed during the off-season. While their sister team Curse Academy were eliminated in group stage, Team LoLPro battled their way through and now face the possibility of LCS promotion. The team has faced roster changes as recent as November. Hopefully, their performance in group stage is in an indication of team cohesion as they enter into the semifinal round.
After nearly two years without a European LoL squad, in May 2013, Team Dignitas UK acquired the roster of British Tea Time. Since that day, both the starting AD carry and mid laner have moved on to greener pastures, allowing the addition of Sam “Samwise12” Mitten, and Divi “DxAlchemist” Bui, formerly of Animate eSports.
Supa Hot Crew XD played in October’s qualifier, but unfortunately did not advance out of group stage. This time, they have earned their place in the semifinal round even as their group stage edged into tiebreakers. Keep your eyes glued to the bot lane for these matches. AD carry Haydal and support Migxa synergize well together, executing great early plays and sometimes escaping by the skin of their teeth.
Karont3 are a well-established Spanish organization with strong ties to StarCraft. Their foray into League of Legends is a relatively recent one, but their roster has strong promise and has made an impressive showing in the November qualifier thanks to aggressive play and solid teamwork. When asked about what drives him to play League of Legends competitively, K3 mid-laner neptuNo had this to say:
“I love e-Sports and competition. I used to play Counter-Strike as a professional too, and when I realized how fast League of Legends was growing, I did not even think about it. I just decided to be a professional or semi-professional League of Legends player. So here I am, after working hard for 2 years, trying to reach my dream. I am a very competitive person. Outplaying with your mind or your mechanical skills is what I mostly like about it. Riot has made something amazing, they have taken care of their fans, players, supporters etc... It’s just awesome. I love everything around this game.”
K3’s opponent, The Fox Sound, has its roots deep in the heart of competitive play. Comprised of multiple former rosters, this budding amateur team is also known for their dynamic team fight synergy. With both teams stressing the importance of teamplay and early aggression, this will surely be a great match to watch.
The Spring Promotion Qualifier is brought to you by Riot, produced by WellPlayed Productions, and sponsored by Logitech G.