Sep 24 2016 - 9:13 pm

A Closer Look: Worlds Group C Preview

Worlds is approaching quickly, so get a little more in-depth look at the teams attending. Next on the list, Group C.
League of Legends esports analyst

The 2016 League of Legends Season World Championship is upon us. Groups have been drawn, and a flurry of predictions have come from many top analysts and not-so top analysts. To help the average fans, we’re taking a closer look at the teams in each group. If you missed the previews over the first two groups, you can check out Group A here and Group B here. Next up, Group C.

This group is basically the group of life, but with EDward Gaming sitting on top. All three of the other teams are rated pretty low by most analysts going into this tournament and any of them could snag that No. 2 spot and sneak into the quarterfinals. Let’s get a closer look at the teams.

EDward Gaming

  • Top - Chen “Mouse” Yu-Hao
  • Jungle - Ming “Clearlove” Kai
  • Mid - Lee “Scout” Ye-chan
  • ADC - Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu
  • Support - Tian “Meiko” Ye

 

EDward Gaming is here to redeem the entire Chinese region for last year’s subpar performance at Worlds, and this team is ready to fight for the title.

Going into Worlds last year, the LPL was widely considered the second best region in the world behind the LCK in Korea. Some even thought that last year, a Korean team would not lift the Summoner’s Cup. Unfortunately for the region, EDG was the only team to even make it out of the group stage. After all of the hype, Invictus Gaming crashed out as the No. 4 seed of its group, LGD Gaming exited the tournament in third of its group, and EDG edged into the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seed from its group. The team went no further, being swept 3-0 by Fnatic of the EU LCS. After a promising build-up, no Chinese team even made it to the semifinals of the event.

This year has a bit of a different feel to it, as not much is expected of the LPL aside from EDG. Most of the criticism from average fans is based strictly off of last year’s poor performance, however, and this region could be much stronger than people think.

Going into the 2016 Spring Split, EDG was ready to win the LPL, return to the Mid-Season Invitational and win it all again. Things didn't exactly go according to plan. Placed into Group B with Royal Never Give Up, EDG faltered. Tong “Koro1” Yang took over for Shek “AmazingJ” Wai Ho in the top lane, and the team was always a step behind RNG. In the regular season, EDG went a respectable 12-4 to finish as Group B’s No. 2 seed going into the playoffs. From there, the squad beat Snake eSports 3-0, walked into the next round as the Qiao Gu Reapers forfeited their series, and lost in the finals 3-1 to RNG. To say the least, the squad was devastated. Not winning the LPL meant not going to MSI and defending their title. The fire was lit. EDG would be ready for the Summer Split.

EDG and RNG were no longer stuck in the same half of the LPL for the Summer Split, as the groups changed and EDG moved to Group A. Another change was made in the top lane, as Mouse took over the position from Koro1. In the mid lane, world-renowned Heo “PawN” Won-seok was forced to step down due to existing medical issues. In his place came Scout, who most people would commonly refer to as the prodigy who backed up Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok and Lee "Easyhoon" Ji-hoon during SK Telecom T1’s championship run in 2015. Scout was untested as a starter, but the young player was ready to make a name for himself. EDG was ready to be the best.

In possibly the most impressive split in professional League of Legends history, EDG went 16-0 during the regular season of the Summer Split. The team did not stop there. The playoffs presented a challenge, as the semifinal match against Team WE went all the way to a fifth game, but EDG came out on top. Going up against RNG in the finals, this was supposed to be one of the best finals in history across all leagues; two of the best teams in the world, duking it out for their region’s No. 1 seed at Worlds. There was a lot of pride on the line. Everyone was ready for a fight to the death, but EDG had other plans.

The series was over in three games, and EDG walked away victorious. It was one of the most clear-cut finals victories in recent memory.

Looking at EDG’s roster, all eyes focus on Clearlove and Deft. These two could easily be two of the top-five players in the world right now and they are certainly known as the best in their respective positions.

This team is not here to mess around. Obviously, no one is messing around at the World Championship, but EDG is coming off of what is likely the most impressive split in professional play that we will ever see. The momentum is in this team’s favor. The skill is in this team’s favor. Everything points toward EDG being a top-two team in the world. Now, the players just have to prove it.

If you want to root for a really good Eastern Hemisphere team that is not from the powerhouse region of Korea, EDG is the team for you.

H2k-Gaming

  • Top - Andrei “Odoamne” Pascu
  • Jungle - Marcin “Jankos “Jankowski
  • Mid - Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook
  • ADC - Konstantinos “FORG1VEN” Tzortziou
  • Support - Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan

 

H2k-Gaming is here to try and perform a little bit better than it did at last year’s Worlds.

Last year, H2k placed third in a group with EDG, SKT and the Bangkok Titans and ended the tournament just barely in the top-11. Going into the 2016 Spring Split, H2k underwent a roster overhaul.

Odoamne and Ryu were the only players to stay on the team after Worlds, as Jankos and VandeR came together from Team ROCCAT and FORG1VEN joined from Gambit Gaming. The team’s first split together was a major success in the regular season, ending with a 14-4 record and only one game off of the No. 1 seed. The squad hit a snag in the playoffs, losing 3-2 to a resurgent Origen in the semifinals and dropping 3-2 to another resurgent team in Fnatic in the third-place match. By all points of view, it was a disappointing end to an otherwise impressive split. In the background, the team had issues.

FORG1VEN was ousted from the squad, as the organization and players did not think his style of play matched well with the rest of the team. Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek came in from Renegades, a North American side, and the split began. The new ADC and the squad struggled together, and things seemed off. Freeze announced that he had been struggling with tendonitis for some time, and this was obviously weakening his play. Meanwhile, FORG1VEN found a home for a short period of time on Origen. That did not last long, as the team struggled heavily and personalities clashed. In the final week of the regular season, H2k announced that Freeze would be put on rest to recover from his injury and that FORG1VEN would return to the starting lineup.

The team’s play immediately began revolving around the ADC, and H2k won both series that week to end the split tied with Fnatic for the No. 4 seed. H2k also won the tiebreaker, and the late surge in the close field allowed the squad to secure the No. 4 seed going into the playoffs. This time coming in as underdogs, H2k was ready to play.

Up first was Fnatic, and just as easily as they did it in the tiebreaker, H2k swept the squad 3-0 to move on to the semifinals against Splyce. At the time, Splyce was the upstart team of Europe and one of the hottest teams in the league. In a nailbiter series, H2k was defeated 3-2 and they were knocked down to the third-place match against the Unicorns of Love. Relatively easily, H2k took down UoL 3-1 and secured the No. 2 EU LCS seed going into Worlds after Splyce failed to win the split.

There is nothing that sticks out and makes this team bad, but there isn’t anything that makes them particularly good either. This squad is well-rounded, but always keep an eye on FORG1VEN and VandeR in the bottom lane, as this is a typical focal point for the team.

The way I see it, H2k is in a fight for the No. 2 seed in this group with ahq e-Sports Club and INTZ e-Sports. H2k and ahq are more likely, but INTZ still has a shot.

If you want to watch a team with likely a 40 percent chance of escaping the group stage, H2k is the team for you.

ahq e-Sports Club

  • Top - Chen “Ziv” Yi
  • Jungle - Xue “Mountain” Zhao-Hong
  • Mid - Liu “Westdoor” Shu-Wei
  • ADC - Chou “AN” Chun-An
  • Support - Kang “Albis” Chia-Wei

 

In last year’s “Group of Life,” ahq e-Sports Club was the squad that made it out as the No. 2 seed. This year, they will want to do it again.

Honestly, it was a bit of a shock. Last year, ahq was grouped with Europe’s Fnatic, North America’s Cloud9 and China’s Invictus Gaming. Fnatic was seen as the clear-cut favorite going in, but the next spot was up for grabs. It seemed completely in favor of C9 after the squad went 3-0 in the first round of the round robin, but after finishing the group 0-3, it was anyone’s game. C9 and ahq were tied for the No. 2 spot, but the tiebreaker game went in ahq’s favor and the team’s more consistent play won out over C9’s strong start in the tournament. From there, ahq was defeated 3-0 by SKT and exited the tournament in the quarterfinals. It sounds bad, but this is actually a pretty respectable result, especially considering SKT went on to win the tournament.

Going into the Spring Split in the LMS, ahq decided not to change its starting lineup. It wasn’t broken, so there was no need to fix it. An almost perfect 11-3-0 performance in the regular season saw ahq secure the top seed going into the playoffs. Everything was in place for the team to win the LMS and head to MSI, but then the Flash Wolves happened. The Flash Wolves were on a strong run of form after defeating Machi E-Sports 3-0 in the semifinals, and the squad did not slow down at all in the finals against ahq. Another 3-0 sweep saw FW qualify for MSI and ahq’s accomplishments in the regular season fade into the background.

Once again, ahq did not make any roster changes going into the Summer Split. The regular season was a little bit harder this time. The Taipei Assassins organization was bought out by JY Entertainment and the team was renamed to J Team. With the new organization, the J Team players played better than ever and secured the No. 1 seed in the regular season, as FW took No. 2 and ahq fell down to No. 3 with a 9-3-2 record.

Things did not get much better in the playoffs, as ahq could only defeat Hong Kong Esports 3-0 in the quarterfinals before falling to FW 3-2 in the semifinals and taking No. 3 for the split. Because of this loss, ahq was forced to play through the Regional Finals to claim the LMS’ second and final spot at Worlds behind FW. The Regional Finals turned out to be an easy matter, as ahq once again dispatched HKES 3-0 before sweeping a Machi E-Sports squad that upset J Team in the first round. After these two sweeps, ahq was back in Worlds as the LMS No. 2 seed.

This team’s roster has not changed in a year, which is practically unheard of in professional League of Legends, but that means nothing if the players cannot perform at Worlds. Last year, the team snuck out of the Group of Life and they will look to do the same this time around.

Just like H2k, this is a relatively safe pick to watch if you aren’t looking for anything too crazy or a really strong performance. This team could easily make the quarterfinals, or crash out of the group stages.

Also like H2k, if you want to watch a team with likely a 40 percent chance of escaping the group stage, ahq is the team for you.

INTZ e-Sports

  • Top - Felipe “Yang” Zhao
  • Jungle - Gabriel “Revolta” Henud
  • Mid - Gabriel “tockers” Claumann
  • ADC - Micael “micaO” Rodrigues
  • Support - Luan “Jockster” Cardoso

 

In its first time on the international stage, INTZ e-Sports is looking to be the first International Wildcard representative to make it out of the group stage in League of Legends history.

Last year, this squad was in shambles. Revolta left the squad after some success to join a rival organization, and in the end, neither squad even qualified for the International Wildcard Qualifier. Instead, paiN Gaming won the title in Brazil, advanced to Worlds and put on a stellar performance. Before the 2016 Summer Season, Revolta returned to INTZ and the squad was ready to make its mark.

In the team’s first split back together, things were a little shaky. Still, a 3-4-0 record propelled the squad into the No. 2 seed going into the playoffs behind Revolta’s last team, Keyd Stars. In the semifinals, INTZ easily knocked out Operation Kino 3-1 to set the stage for a final against Keyd Stars. In the end, it was no contest. INTZ swept the series and qualified for the International Wildcard Invitational. If they could win there, they would make it to MSI and be able to play on the true international stage.

The field was tight, as three teams were tied for the No. 1 seed after the round robin concluded. INTZ lost the tiebreakers and ended up with the No. 3 seed, being easily swept by Hard Random of Turkey in the semifinals. The international dream was put on hold, and focus switched back to the domestic league.

INTZ ended the regular season of the winter the same way it ended the summer. With a 3-4-0 record and the No. 2 seed, the squad entered the playoffs with a mission. The only difference? Keyd Stars was not in first. Instead, it was CNB e-Sport Club with the top seed. It didn’t really matter in the end, as INTZ edged out paiN Gaming 3-2 in the semifinals and took down CNB 3-1 in the finals. They were the Brazilian champions again, but their sights were set higher.

At the International Wildcard Qualifier, INTZ meant business. A few slipups saw the squad go 5-2 in the round robin and take the No. 2 seed into the Worlds qualifying matches. In a thrilling series against Dark Passage of Turkey, INTZ won 3-2 and finally did it. The international opportunity they had been working towards was finally in front of them, waiting.

Captained by micaO, this INTZ squad is mostly known for one reason: Revolta. The jungler is one of the best players the world has ever seen from a non-major region, and all eyes will be on the star as he makes his Worlds debut.

If you want to watch an underdog team with likely a 20 percent chance of making it out of the group stage and making history in the process, INTZ is the team for you.


What do you think of Group C? Who are you rooting for?

Let us know you thoughts by commenting below or tweeting us @GAMURScom.

Spencer Hester is an editor for GAMURS and can be contacted by email at Spencer@GAMURS.com or on Twitter - @SpenceGAMURS.

Shares
Next Article