Following a strong showing at the Mid Season Invitational the Taiwanese region re-gathers on the 20th of May for the commencement of the 2015 League of Legends Master Series summer split. This split is shaping up to be one of the most exciting around the world with two new teams and multiple roster changes featuring both new and old faces. Keep reading for a rundown of all eight teams including roster changes and what you can expect in the upcoming season.
AHQ come into the summer split as clear favourites after their strong spring split and showing at the Mid Season Invitational with wins over western teams Fnatic and Team SoloMid. Their roster changes towards the end of the spring split has proved one of the most successful roster swaps in League of Legends history, propelling a team from 4th in Taiwan to top 5 in the world. The player to watch on AHQ is undoubtedly jungler Mountain. His early game pressure through ganks and strong jungle control consistently snowballs carries Westdoor and AN into the late game.
The Flash Wolves approach the summer split with the longest standing roster of the entire league, and with good reason. With just a single roster change since the Season 3 World Championship, the Yoe Flash Wolves have synergy that most top tier teams would kill for. Top laner Steak is incredibly consistent at a high level of play and has just about mastered the use Teleport throughout the early game. However the largest impact player for the Flash Wolves has got to be Maple. His huge champion pool combined with incredible mechanics make him the scariest mid laner in the LMS.
A single roster change over the off-season will see the Taipei Assassins come into the split as generally unknown. Star player Winds has stepped down from the starting lineup but will remain on the team mostly as a streamer and a part of the support staff. Taiwanese rookie Pony steps in to fill the vacant jungle position but has yet to prove himself at an elite level of play. This change is expected to put more pressure on the carries of TPA; Chawy and Lupin, who will have to step up after the departure of their star jungler.
Hong Kong Esports have also made a single roster change over the off-season, acquiring Korean AD carry Raison. Yet to be proven at a professional level of play, Raison has spent time in amateur Korean leagues before he was picked up by the Hong Kong organisation. Previous AD carry GodJJ will remain on the team as a substitute, and will be given play time if the situation sees fit, filling a six man roster. Still a young team, Hong Kong Esports will remain a competitive team going into the summer split, but the pressure will be heavily on world champions Toyz and Stanley to use their experience to help foster the young team and push them through to a World Championship berth.
The Snipers appeared destined to be a mid-tier team since their initial formation, even dating back to the previous teams making up the now Logitech Snipers; Logitech G Fighter and Taipei Snipers. Roster changes have plagued the team in the past and has again this offseason. New mid laner Breaker had a strong breakout performance in the promotion tournament, albeit against lowly challenger teams along with experienced support Ysera, who’s looking just as strong as the Hearthstone card. The Logitech Snipers aren’t expected to perform highly in this tournament, but that could play into their favour with no pressure on them.
On paper, Midnight Sun Esports appear the weakest team in the LMS this split; solo queue players, lacking experience and a poor finish last split. However, Midnight Sun were always expected to struggle in their debut LMS season, and another split under experienced coach Lilballz is expected to make large differences. Midnight Sun have picked up new mid laner M1ssion, who had a strong showing in the promotion tournament while Jungler Empt2 embraced the cinderhulk jungle in the promotion tournament and will be crucial in the opening weeks to ensure MSE can get off to a good start.
Perhaps in the biggest surprise of the off season; Bebe announced he’s coming out of a short lived retirement and joining up with ex-Taipei Snipers and Assassins players Achie, Zonda and Wei (Awei) as well as challenger jungler MiHanna to form Assassin Sniper. They dominated their promotion match against Never Give Up and further strengthen the LMS this split. Bebe has shown he’s having no problem returning to professional play and Achie is relishing in his mid lane role.
Machi have been around the Taiwanese League of Legends scene since January of 2013 but have always been a significant distance away from the top teams. After small stints in the GPL summer and a brief period in the previous LMS split the Machi organization returns with a much more exciting roster, featuring the addition of Korean jungler and mid laner, Fiesta and Republic. With the new roster, Machi E-Sports finally look capable of challenging for the top spots.
An unfortunate way to end the article: It’s still unconfirmed whether or not there will be an English LMS stream; you just never know with Garena. Regardless, it will still make for exciting viewing which you can catch on http://twitch.tv/garenatw and http://youtube.com/GarenaTaiwan on the 20th at 2:30 AM PST, 11:30 AM CET and 7:30 PM AEST. Don’t Miss It.