Articles:OGN Winter 2013 Group Stage Preview
|OGN Winter 2013 Group Stage Preview|
Group A: King of The Hill
SK Telecom T1 K - The Top Dogs
SKT T1 K have returned to their roots at OGN after their victory in the Season 3 World Championship. However, only a week after claiming the Summoner’s Cup, the reigning world champions were defeated in a match versus Samsung Galaxy Blue during the World Cyber Games qualifiers. This left many fans confused and unsure of SKT K’s fate entering OGN Winter. SKT will have the chance to remind everyone of their global dominance in their first match versus Team NB as well as live up to their undefeated Group Stage in Champions Summer.
CJ Entus Blaze - Revamped and Ready to Rumble
Despite a lackluster performance in Champions Summer, Blaze looks to be on an upswing. With their revamped roster, Blaze secured first place in the Korean World Cyber Games qualifiers; beating out the likes of KT Bullets, Najin Black Sword and Samsung Galaxy Blue. With the acquisition of Daydream, BaeMe and Emperor, the team has received a breath of fresh air. Of course, Blaze wouldn’t be Blaze without their top laner, Flame. He has been one of the most dominant players in the world for as long as anyone can remember.
It’s apparent that the team is moving away from the late game split push style that failed to work in Champions Summer, in order to fit the meta of early game aggression. In addition to Captain Jack moving to the substitute role, Blaze may be able to overcome their achilles heel - the laning phase. If all goes according to plan, Blaze’s potential may finally come to fruition.
Team NB - The New Kids on The Block
Team NB’s roster is generally unknown, with a few players that have played in Champions before. Unfortunately, their top lane, LongPanda, is known for constantly losing his lane in the worst way. In fact, Team NB’s laning phase as a whole is very weak when stacked up against the high caliber teams in their group. It would be a pretty substantial upset if Team NB managed to take a game off of any other team in their group.
SK Telecom T1 S - Hype City
It’s pretty clear that SKT T1 S is one of the best teams that qualified for OGN this season. The roster is ripe with potential, featuring top Korean Solo Queue player MaRin. Some have even gone as far to call MaRin “the Faker of top lane”. SKT is looking to do the same thing that they did with Faker; taking the then Solo Queue superstar and transforming him into one of the best players in the world.
In the OGN qualifiers, T1 played an extremely aggressive early game by allowing their raw talent to shine through by forcing 1 on 1’s whenever they had vision of the enemy Jungler. This execution of play style by SKT is easily the best of any other competitive team. The pathway to the level of their SKT T1 K isn’t as far away as you might think.
Group B: Toss-Up
This group could easily slide in any teams favor. With the power of all teams relatively unknown, nobody really knows who will be able to rise the top of this group.
KT Rolster Bullets - The Strategic Masterminds
Some could argue that KT Rolster B was among the top 3 teams in the world at the end of Season 3, despite failing to qualify for Worlds. Their strategic prowess was a delight to watch in Champions Summer, and could bode well when adapting to the Season 4 changes.
inSec will be a key contributor to KTB’s success or failure. In Champions Summer, his champion pool consisted mainly of tank-initiators like
NaJin Black Sword - On the Comeback
The formation of NJBS’s new roster prior to Champions Summer looked like they were poised to dominate Korea by utilizing their high caliber players. That being said, it didn’t exactly pan out as they had hoped. NJBS wasn’t even able to make it past group stages in Champion Summer. Although their Champions Summer wasn’t Najin’s best showing, their previous performances allowed them to rack up enough circuit points to represent Korea in the World Championships.
NJBS sword put up a strong performance at the World Championships, making it to the quarterfinals. If the team can refine their shot calling and avoid making the same mistakes they made in Champions Summer, rising to the top of group B could be withinreach.
Incredible Miracle 2 - The Stealth Underdogs?
With a weak finish in OGN Summer, IM 2 still qualified for the finals of NLB (The Korean league below OGN) and just lost out to Nakin Black Sword. It seems like IM2 has been slowly improving and may be a hidden threat in Group B.
SG Blue - The next best?
SGB have taken over as the conductors of the Korean Hype Train after their defeat over SKT T1 #2 in the World Cyber Games qualifiers. They didn’t just edge out a victory either, SGB decisively 2-0 swept the World Champions. In particular, PawN played extremely well against the coveted Faker and was able to shut him down in the laning phase.
In the OGN Qualifier, Samsung Galaxy Blue pulled out some interesting picks. For example, Lucian was paired with
Group C: Of Redemption and Hope
Group C contains two pairs of teams that heavily contrast with each other, as the new and feisty Alienware Andromeda and Team Dark look to upset the experienced NaJin White Shield and Samsung Galaxy Ozone. The newcomers have to defy the odds, as the elder statesmen are unwilling to concede games to them.
Samsung Galaxy Ozone - Operation Redemption
Samsung Galaxy Ozone has been through a tumultuous journey. Their strong showings leading to the Season 3 Championsip netted them the Samsung sponsorship. However, their failure to qualify to the Season 3 Quarterfinals drew the ire of the Korean netizens, and Dade’s limited champion pool was especially targeted by observers.
Homme and his teammates clearly need to recapture the magic of their pre-Worlds glory days, a process that is at the grasp of their hands. They have to conquer NaJin Shield, Team Dark and Alienware Andromeda in their attempt to win this tournament and re-assert dominance over the Korean scene.
NaJin White Shield - On the Verge of a Breakthrough?
NaJin White Shield is no stranger to The Champions, as they reached the Quarterfinal stage twice in Season 3. The team systematically converted those placements into NLB Semifinal appearances, the last of them being a third place finish in NLB Summer.
NJWS did not suffer from the departure of Locodoco (to Quantic Gaming) and Chop (to Team Dark). In fact, they showed strength in their Semifinal finish in the WCG Qualifiers. The team struggled to break through the higher echelon of Korean League of Legends competition, but they have an opportunity to calibrate themselves against SGO.
Team Dark - The Darkhorses
Team Dark booked their tickets to The Champions Winter, as they battled through the online and offline qualifiers. Chop’s competitive League of Legends experience came in handy, as his team edged OGN Summer quarter-finalists Chunnam Techno University 2-1 in Group D of the online qualifiers.
Prior to the offline qualifiers, the team lost their Mid Laner, Apdo, as the player’s Elo boosting entreprise earned him a two-year suspension from competitive play. Despite that, Chop and his teammates quickly disposed of team Must Study Hard, and they have an opportunity to shock South Korea as they take on Samsung Galaxy Ozone in Group C.
Alienware Arena - Keep Hop(e)s Alive
Alienware Arena is the first team sponsored by Alienware that made it through the OGN Qualifiers. What is astounding about this team is the youth of its inception, as Arena was created early October. Arena used their dive-heavy compositions (featuring
Group D: The Clash of Fates
Group D is the theater of fratricides, old rivalries and an unfulfilled destiny. The Jin Air teams will battle for in-house supremacy under the watchful eye of Xenics Storm, a team that vyes to overcome their major roadblock in the Stealths. In the mean time, CJ Entus Frost plots for yet another takeover attempt over mount OGN, but a Frost stumble in the group stages may mean qualification for whoever overcomes them.
CJ Entus Frost - The Old Wise Referee
CJ Entus Frost needs no real introduction. The notorious Korean powerhouse engraved itself in Korean League of Legends posterity throughout the years, under the names Maximum impact Gaming Frost and Azubu Frost. The team is now turning a new page in their history, as CloudTemplar retired from competitive LoL in September 2013.
CJ Frost quickly replaced CloudTemplar with Helios, and they have acquired MakNooN, the player who denied them a first-place finish in last season’s OGN The Champions Winter. The move may allow them to transcend their traditional (semi)finalist status, as they chase their first major tournament victory since Azubu The Champions Summer 2012.
JAG Falcons - Hyung in motion
The Jin Air Falcons are relatively new to the Korean scene, but their lineup dates back to late 2012, when the first Eat Sleep Game lineup was born. In the current ESG iteration, Reapered and StarLast surrounded themselves with Miso, Roar and Raven, and the team reached an honorable fourth place finish in NLB Summer 2013.
Due to Raven’s departure in September 2013, Reapered transitioned to the Mid lane role, and Jin Air Falcons enrolled ActScene as the new jungler. The new lineup faces major challenges in Group C, and one of them is no other than their sibling team, Jin Air Stealths.
JAG Stealths - The feisty dong-saeng
Hoon Good Day, formerly Ahq e-Sports Korea, are no strangers to big events. In fact, that roster came extremely close to qualifying to the bracket stages of OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013. In their subsequent NLB Spring showing, they netted a quarterfinals finish.
Since Jin Air’s acquisition of the roster, the team finished in the quarterfinals of both NLB Summer and WCG Korea. In addition, the Stealths tend to best rosters that play (or played) under the Xenics Storm banner, as demonstrated in their latest Champions qualifier against Team OP.
Xenics Storm - The Referee
Xenics Storm may be one of the oldest Korean eSports organizations, but they revamped their roster on October 14th. The team edged its sister team, Xenics Blast, on the way to PANDORA.TV Champions Winter 2013-2014.
So far, Xenics Storm has two constants. The first constant is YellOw’s coaching, which allowed them to participate in several NLB competitions. The other one is their apparent vulnerability to the Jin Air Greenwings Stealths, as the Stealths constitute a major roadblock to Storm. Will they overcome their storied foe with the new roster?