A Second Chance: TiP's Apollo
With the recent influx of Korean imports into both the North American and European League of Legends scenes seeing the arrival of native talent is a welcoming sight. In North America TiP's ADC Apollo has been making strides in the North American LCS, helping the team to an overall record of 10-6 TiP, and Apollo are in the position to overtake both Cloud 9 and CLG for a second place finish.
At the season 4 world championship North America's 3rd seed, Team LMQ, were knocked out of groups with a record of 2-4. Taking games off of top teams such as OMG, and Fnatic, their performance was commendable considering the team had been placed in the group which the community referred to as "The Group of Death." Despite the performance the full Chinese team broke up after Worlds. Vasilli the teams ADC went to the newly qualified LPL team, Vici Gaming, Ackerman the team's top laner rejoined his former team Star Horn Royal Club as a substitute, and Noname their jungler retired. The only player remaining from LMQ being XiaoWeiXiao, former LMQ management was given the daunting task of finding a team to replace the Chinese power-house. For the team's new ADC they picked former LCS ADC WizFujiin (Who later name changed to Apollo.) Apollo had played for the relegated Team Coast earlier that same year in the LCS Spring Split. Being one of the weaker members of a relegated team Apollo wasn't considered a top prospect at the time, and the move was met with considerable backlash from the community.
Apollo began his LCS career on Team Coast. Coast had finished seventh in the 2013 summer split, and with no chance at playoffs or worlds the team began competing in the NA challenger scene. Shortly afterwards the team benched their current ADC DontMashMe and began tryouts for the role. The two candidates were former TSM ADC, Chaox, and the high ranked solo-queue player, Wizfujiin. Apollo won out and joined his first LCS team. Coast went on to demolished the challenger scene placing first in the NACL playoffs, and various other challenger scene tournaments. After their outstanding performance in the Challenger scene Team Coast received a massive amount of hype from the community. Players and Fan's alike predicted them to be a top 4 team next split, competing with the likes of C9, TSM, and CLG. Apollo specifically was praised by the community, with even Pro's such as Doublelift stating that he had the potential to be a top 3 AD in North America. When the relegation match finally came Team Coast barely scraped their way back into the LCS, winning 3-2 over The Walking Zed. Apollo played a huge part in their success in this series, with a stat line of 20/6/38. And by hard carrying the team in games 1, and 5 he showed that he in fact, was capable of being a top tier ADC. Unfortunately Apollo's streak of success ends there, the team did not live up to the hype finishing 6th in the regular season, and 6th again in the spring playoffs. They were relegated by team Complexity 3-1 in the summer promotion tournament, and at the time it appeared as if Apollo's competitive career had come to end. But during his time away from the LCS Apollo was able to climb the ladder once more reaching top 10 on multiple accounts. He was so successful that he eventually even attracted the attention of Team Curse. He was recruited by Curse to join their new challenger team made specifically for the expansion tournament, Team LoL Pro. Again Apollo was met with failure, dropping out of the tournament 0-2 against his former team, Coast. With the team's primary goal failed LoL Pro disbanded, and Apollo was once again a free agent. Luckily for Apollo however, former team LMQ was in search of a North American ADC, and he was signed by the team for the 2015 Spring Split.
Apollo joined the TiP roster of Impact, Rush, Xiaoweixiao, and Adrian. On paper the team looked like one of the most mechanically gifted teams in North America. With The North American Summer split MVP, a World Champion, and a Korean Solo-queue star on the team, Apollo, and his support Adrian were seen by many to be the teams weakest links. But as the split has progressed they have shown not only to be able to hold their own against some of North America's best, but also have proven to be one of the team's strongest assets.
Recognizing that they are not the most mechanically skilled bot lane has allowed for Adrian, and Apollo to shine in their own right. By playing passive during the laning-phase and aiming to go even they rely on their mid to late game prowess on champions like Leona, and Graves to carry them. This has allowed for Apollo to shine on his new team, with a KDA of 6.2, the highest on his team Apollo is quickly making a name for himself. Many fans in the league community seem to be against a passive style of play, but in some cases it is necessary to a team's success. Apollo plays to the strengths of his dominant solo-laners by going even and maximizing his damage output in mid to late game team-fights. By doing so Apollo has allowed his team to emerge from the middle of the pack, and into the top Echelon of North American teams.