Archive:Leaguepedia Articles/Road To S3 Worlds - Korea
|League of Legends Season 3 World Championship Preview: Korea|
Korea is generally viewed as one of the most competitive League of Legends regions in the world. Boasting a league of sixteen top notch teams, Korea offers the best play week-in and week-out. There are teams who didn’t even qualify for HOT6iX Champions Summer 2013 that would certainly compete with NA & EU LCS teams. During the Season 2 World Championship two teams represented Korea: Azubu Frost and Najin Sword. Both teams made short work of their respective groups, each finishing 3-0. Both teams eventually fell to the eventually champions, Taipei Assassins, with Frost making it all the way to make it to the Finals.
Expectations run high this year, anything short of first would be disappointing. By winning All-Star Shanghai 2013, Korea was granted a third spot at this year’s Season 3 World Championship. With an extra team this year, there is a distinct chance of an all-Korean Finals. Given that teams as talented as CJ Entus Frost, CJ Entus Blaze and KT Rolster Bullets didn’t even make Worlds, the three teams who are representing Korea may have an easier time at Worlds than they did back home.
Korean #1 Seed: NaJin Black Sword
Black Sword is the only Korean team returning from last year’s world championships. Led by top laner MaKNooN, they steamrolled through their group stages 3-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. There they met eventual season 2 champions Taipei Assassins and fell 0-2, thwarting their hopes of a championship. Black Sword returns as Korea’s #1 seed, but without MaKNooN who left after OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013 to be replaced by Expession. Black Sword may have the #1 seed for Korea, but probably isn’t the best team from a dominant Korean region. They obtained the #1 seed via circuit points, 400/600 of which they gained during the winter and spring with MaKNoon on the roster.
Recently, Black Sword went 0-3-0 (1-1 in each matchup) in group stages and failed to qualify for the Champions Summer playoffs. While the competition in Korea is fierce overall, it is certainly not a good sign that Black Sword failed to make it out of one of weakest Champions groups. Group B placed Black Sword against CJ Entus Blaze, Chunnam Techno University, and Jin Air Greenwings Stealths. Based off summer season play, Black Sword may be the weakest of the three Korean teams in the tournament. They dodged a huge bullet by earning a bye to the Quarterfinals, as the Group Stages are sure to be hotly contested.
Despite their less than stellar performances as of late, Black Sword still have the tools to go deep into the tournament. They have 80% of their once dominant team and I even consider Expession to be an upgrade from a MaKNooN that struggled throughout most of Champions Spring. After being knocked out of Champions Summer, Black Sword went on to win the GIGABYTE NLB Summer 2013 Diamond League tournament, beating Blaze, sister team NaJin White Shield, and finally Incredible Miracle 2.
Expect to see top laner Expession playing dive heavy champions like Kennen or Zac, and duelists like Jax. Watch prefers to prowl the jungle as a spider on Elise, but has occasionally brought out Lee Sin, as is seemly mandatory in Korea. Mid laner SSONG can play both AD or AP assassins, opting for champions like Zed or Ahri. Korean All-Star ADC PraY has a very large champion pool but most recently has been playing Vayne, Twitch and Ezreal. Black Sword’s support Cain also boasts a wide champion pool but expect to see him on Sona, Nami or Thresh. Black Sword is surely thankful to be given a bye to the Quarterfinals and will make sure to do everything in their power to advance.
Korean #2 Seed: Samsung Galaxy Ozone
In the weeks leading up to worlds, Samsung announced they would acquire the team of MVP Ozone. The newly sponsored team enters Worlds as the #2 seed from Korea via finishing second in the circuit point total. Ozone played phenomenally throughout the majority of season 3, starting when they won Champions Spring. Finishing third out of six teams in their group, most thought KT Rolster Bullets would destroy them in the Quarterfinals, however, Ozone went on to crush their way through the playoffs, including in a 3-1 Semifinals victory over SK Telecom T2 and claim to being the best team in Korea.
When Champions Summer came around, Ozone had their eyes set on another title. Dropping only one game in group stages, Ozone finished first in Group A. The Quarterfinals matchup against Chunnam Techno University seemed a breeze as Ozone took the series 3-0. Then Ozone ran into SKT in the Semifinals for the second straight split. This time around, it was SKT who emerged victorious 3-1 and sent Ozone to the 3rd place match. Ozone licked their wounds and came out ahead of CJ Entus Frost in a grueling series that ended in a winner-take-all blind pick game 5.
Ozone enters the tournament in Group B, alongside Mineski, Gambit Gaming, Fnatic, and Team Vulcun. While Ozone is favored to make it out of group stages, there will be no easy games. They’ll need to come prepared and not play over-confidently, as they were in their Semifinals matches against SKT earlier this summer. If they come to play, the rest of Group B better watch out because when Ozone is on fire they can’t be stopped, especially when AD Carry imp gets going. Similar to SKT, Ozone prefers to feed their mid lane and ADC while using their top laner or jungler as tanky initiators.
Expect to see top laner Homme on initiating or tanky champions like Zac, Shen or Kennen. DanDy plays a very aggressive style of jungler and usually picks champions with good pick potential like Jarvan IV, Lee Sin, and Elise. Dade has played a multitude of champions over the season, ranging from assassins like Zed, to farm heavy champions like Karthus. imp prefers to play hypercarry champions like Vayne and Twitch but also plays a very good Ezreal. Support player Mata is certainly one of the best Thresh players in the world, but can also bring out Nami or Zyra as well. Ozone took a step back in the summer but they’ll have to brush their shoulders off and play at their best in order to continue playing into October.
Korean #3 Seed: SK Telecom T1
SKT enters the Season 3 World Championships as the #3 seed from Korea, but don’t be fooled by their seed, they are arguably the best team in the world right now. Led by their mid laner Faker, SKT looks poised to trounce through group stages. Placed in Group A, they will do battle with GamingGear.eu, OMG, Team SoloMid and Lemondogs. On TSM’s reality show ‘Gamecribs’, Reginald mentioned he had “been hoping to play against Faker because he’s really good”, before adding with a sheepish smile, “and I hope I do well”. Reginald will have his work cut out for him as Faker has dismantled mid laner after mid laner in Korea.
SKT prefers to funnel gold to Faker and their ADC Piglet in order to beef them up for the late game. Excelling at snowballing off of only a few kills, SKT can take a 1k gold lead at the 15 minute mark and run away with the game. By applying heavy pressure on lanes via ganks and implementing roam-heavy strategies, SKT takes objectives both quickly and efficiently. SKT have shown they have what it takes to win against the fiercest competition in the world.
During their inaugural season of OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013, SKT was a heavy favorite entering the playoffs but fell 3-1 to Ozone. Using the loss as a reason to train even harder, SKT entered the Champions Summer split extremely confident. This confidence should not be confused with arrogance, as they absolutely dominated their group stage without dropping a single game. They went on to cruise through their first two match-ups in the Champions Summer playoffs, including a 3-1 win over MVP Ozone. In the finals SKT met up with KT Rolster Bullets, who had already beaten both CJ Entus Blaze and Frost in their earlier matches. SKT dropped the first two games in the best of five series but then took three straight in dominating fashion to take home the title.
With the 3rd highest circuit points total, SKT awaited their opponent in the Korean Regional Finals for the last spot in worlds. Once again they met up with KTB, this time dropping the first game before once again winning three straight.
When tuning in for the group stages and beyond, look for top laner Impact to play tanky champions like Shen or Zac, though he may occasionally pull out a Singed. SKT jungler Bengi prefers dive combo champions like Jarvan IV, Vi and Lee Sin. Expect Faker to combo his champion with Bengi’s and either opt for assassin champions like Ahri or Zed, or possibly bring Orianna or Karthus into play. Piglet has absolutely dominated on Caitlyn as of late, but also plays hypercarry champions like Vayne and Twitch. PoohManDu has played some of the best Nami games in history but can also go toe-to-toe with the best Thresh players in the world. Having already proven themselves a formidable force in Korea, SKT will now try to lay claim to being the best team in the world.