Lets talk about Qiao Gu
Lets talk about is my new series where I'm just planning on spit balling my thoughts on something that I personally want to talk about. Because of that, much of what I say is my opinion, I do not claim to be an expert, and again, this is just my rambling thoughts on a subject.
First off, and it's hard to phonically put Chinese, but you would pronounce it "Chao Goo". For those who haven't been following China very closely, or so much beyond EDG, you might not know who this team in the finals are. Most people I've talked to have at least an idea of who LGD is, the team with Imp, Flame, and Acorn, but I want to talk about the other team.
When you talk about QG, you want to talk about aggression. This is a team that loves to team fight, loves to push hard, and loves to pick snowball carries. However I don't want people to think this is "just another aggressive Chinese teams" or "they only have mechanics" but they are a team that has veterans in Swift and in TcT, which allows them to take the rookies they have, players who do have great mechanics, and be able to learn strategies, micro and macro play which allowed them to graduate themselves from being "just another LSPL team that makes it into the LPL, but then flop".
If I wanted to put a player as the main catalyst for this team, it would probably be their jungler Swift. He started his career on Xenics Storm, but made a name for himself when he played for CJ Frost. Swift as a player loves to roam around the map, dive and gank early, which allows his team to play aggressive, and snowball in every lane. Not only that, but Swift has developed a style and reputation of ganking and fighting the enemy jungler. If you want to see this in action, the most recent series QG played against IG you see Swift constantly trying to find KaKao in his jungle. Especially in the second game you see IG as a team babysit KaKao a little bit, just so he can clear his buffs and jungle safely, because of the pressure Swift has put down on him.
To quickly talk about the other players on the team, and what they bring to the team. In the solo lanes you have V in the top lane, and Doinb in the mid lane. It's very telling that V's most played champions are Hecarim, Maokai and Gnar, all champions who love to dive the team and get into the back line. Doinb in the mid lane has made a name for himself on Kassadin and Viktor, being the big lane carry for his team. For the most part I would consider them both to be rookie players, and having a jungler like Swift, I've seen them over the course of the season grow into dominant players, and great assets for their team.
Going down to the bot lane, we have TnT on adc, and TcT as support, western players would now TcT as Mor from LMQ. The reason I branch this bot lane out separately, is because with Swift, I think this is one of the best 3 man bot lanes in China, and we've seen them take advantage from snowballing the bot lane, and turn that power into other lanes. When QG really stepped into the spotlight in China and became a big powerhouse team, it was in the bot lane where they had their biggest success. But again, as the season went on, and into the playoffs, the other players on the team have really stepped up, and right now QG feels like a more rounded team.
Right now it does feel like LGD are the strongest team in China right now, especially now that we're seeing EDG fall down right at the finish line. That being said LGD has been turning into a more and more team fight based team, and that could fall right into QG's hands. It's hard to tell right now, but I do think LGD will wind up winning the Summer Playoffs, but I do believe QG will make it to worlds. Looking even further ahead to the world stage I think QG will do well against Korean teams, and other top teams from other regions.
My final thoughts on the team right now is that I'm excited about seeing this team develop even more with seasons to come. This season especially we've seen a lot of changing of the old guard, with new teams and new players coming up into their own. QG right now looks to be a team that will cement themselves into the LpL as a staple team. Most people have been comparing them to Snake from last split, but I think that isn't 100% fair to this team. Snake right now is also coming into their own as players, but QG has started building their own path. We'll see if they can make it to worlds, and I am curious to see how they preform against teams like SKT, AHQ, Fnatic, and other international teams.