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IEM Season VIII Cologne - Pro Tournament Preview

The Season 3 World Championship is off the books, and Season 3 ended a week ago on the official servers. However, six professional teams from around the world will collide in the last professional tournament featuring Patch 3.13. In one of the last competitions featuring that patch, participating teams seek the trans-Atlantic crown in IEM Cologne, until the Battle of the Atlantic starts.

The competition features two brackets, and each one has its own stories in the making. Let's have a look at each team's tale and at the burning questions they have to answer to advance further in the competition.

Side A: Back to the Cold War

Side A features a header between two Russian teams, The RED and Gambit Gaming. Both teams will battle for the right to face Cloud 9 in the IEM Pro semifinals. Each team has its own agenda: The RED may claim Russian LoL superiority, Gambit may sound the horns for the return of their Moscow 5 era of supremacy, and Cloud 9 may take revenge for their S3 World Championship elimination at the hands of Fnatic.

The RED:

The RED logo.png
ID Name Role

FIRees Ivan Selentiev 11Top Laner

DimaJke Dmitrii Gusha 12Jungler

Fomko Anton Fomkin 13Mid Laner

NikSar Valentin Zimakov 14Bot Laner

Dimonko Dmitrii Korovushkin 15Support

Formerly known as Instruments of Surrender, the Russian team is no stranger to competitive League of Legends. At the CIS Regional Championship in Moscow, the team lost to GamingGear.eu in the finals. They also earned the right to represent Russia in this year's World Cyber Games, a tournament notable for its lack of LCS teams.

RED's task is arduous: they have to beat Gambit Gaming to advance to the semifinals, where they would face Cloud 9. Will they claim the title of “Best Russian LoL Team” that Gambit currently holds, in virtue of their go-to AsheSquare.png Ashe/NamiSquare.png Nami combination?

Gambit Gaming:

Gambit Gaming Logo.png
ID Name Role

Darien Evgeny Mazaev 11Top Laner

Diamondprox Danil Reshetnikov 12Jungler

Alex Ich Aleksei Ichetovkin 13Mid Laner

Genja Evgeny Andryushin 14Bot Laner

Edward Edward Abgaryan 15Support

After a tumultuous Season 3 LCS Summer Split and a close Season 3 World Quarterfinals contest against NaJin Black Sword, Gambit parted ways with Voidle. In an effort to recapture the Moscow 5 magic, the team reunited with Edward and are ready to flex their muscles against fellow Russian team RED, and Cloud 9 eventually.

Gambit is a completely different team, as Edward may erase their botlane chemistry issues. This is the same bottom lane that has crushed every team not named Taipei Assassins or Counter Logic Gaming EU. Will they dominate the trans-Atlantic League of Legends scene as they once did?

Cloud 9:

Cloud9 Logo.jpg
ID Name Role

Balls An Le 11Top Laner

Meteos Will Hartman 12Jungler

Hai Hai Lam 13Mid Laner

Sneaky Zachary Scuderi 14Bot Laner

LemonNation Daerek Hart 15Support

Cloud 9 took the North American scene by storm, to the tune of an overall 30-3 record in the North American LCS, playoffs included. LemonNation and his teammates carried the region's hopes of making a splash in the Season 3 World Championship, but Fnatic's Level 1 strategy in their series' Game 3 proved fatal.

North America's fantastic five will take on a Russian team, that much is known. They have an opportunity to set the record straight on which team is truly the best in Season 3 as they may take on Gambit Five and, if they succeed, Fnatic. The two European teams are not the only ones that changed an element of their roster, as Dan Dinh joined the Cloud. Will Cloud 9 end NA's title drought at the international level?

Side B: A Dark Horse and Two Legacies

Side B features the ever-dominant Fnatic, and the two other teams of the bracket look to upset them on the way to the final rounds of IEM Cologne. Counter Logic Gaming have to dispose of the enigmatic dark horse, Turquality Blue, to have a chance at sounding the horns of CLG's return to prominence. On the other hand, Fnatic will play their hearts out, as they have a clear chance at establishing a trans-Atlantic reign.

Team Turquality:

Turquality.png
ID Name Role

Thaldrin Berke Demir 11Top Laner

Theokoles Muhammed Işık 12Jungler

Amet Ahmet Mungan 13Mid Laner

KillerEs Arda Subaşı 14Bot Laner

Tyresse Coşkun Eren 15Support

Team Turquality is the lone survivor of the IEM Cologne Qualifiers for its country, Turkey. In the wake of a massive battle royale riddled with Best-of-1s, Turquality prevailed against the likes of Season 3 Wildcard semifinalists Dark Passage and Turquality Red.

Their first set of games in Cologne are against a feisty Counter Logic Gaming squad. Turquality will have the opportunity to test its strength against CLG, and Fnatic if they prevail. Will their focus on wombo-combos and other hard-engage compositions net them victories that may shake the foundation of competitive League of Legends? Only time will tell, but Turquality seems fit for the task.

Counter Logic Gaming:

Counter Logic Gaminglogo square.png
ID Name Role

Nientonsoh Zach Malhas 11Top Laner

TrickZ Brian Ahn 12Jungler

LiNk Austin Shin 13Mid Laner

Doublelift Yiliang Peng 14Bot Laner

Aphromoo Zaqueri Black 15Support

CLG is one of the oldest and most storied teams in the League of Legends scene, but success at the highest level has been eluding them since MLG Raleigh (2011). In the wake of a very convincing victory against Team Curse in the NA LCS Playoff deciding match, the team experienced a gigantic shift. The CLG "old guard" is no more, as Chauster left the LoL competitive scene entirely, and Bigfatlp was moved into the substitute role.

Down with potential, in with results. Such is the message that Doublelift conveyed in recent interviews. The shift in focus will be needed, as the feisty CLG young blood (Aphromoo, TrickZ, Nien, Doublelift, and Link) may take on Fnatic, a team that provides an ideal match at every position. Will that contest mark the resurgence of CLG on the world stage?

Fnatic:

Fnaticlogo.png
ID Name Role

sOAZ Paul Boyer 11Top Laner

CyanideFI Lauri Happonen 12Jungler

xPeke Enrique Cedeño 13Mid Laner

Rekkles Martin Larsson 14Bot Laner

YellOwStaR Bora Kim 15Support

Ever since the LCS was created, Fnatic stood on top of the European continent with first place finishes in both Spring and Summer Splits. The European team also carried the hopes of a whole continent, and they fell short in the semifinals against Royal despite puszu's best efforts. In addition, a revolution is in the works: long-tenured manager Harry Wiggett stepped down from his position.

In comes Rekkles, a highly touted prospect who brought ruckus in last year's IPL5 and this year's Challenger circuit. His timely arrival coincides with IEM Pro, as he will likely face Doublelift in a bottom lane showdown. Fnatic has the opportunity to reign supreme over two continents, as Cloud 9 stands on the other side of the brackets. If both teams meet, will sOAZ and his teammates beat Cloud 9 again?


Written by Adel Chouadria - @hypealgerian
Edited by Jordan Spence - @SanctifiedLoL


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