An Unfamiliar Opposition – A 2015 LPL Summer Preview

The Mid-Season Invitational saw Chinese powerhouse EDward Gaming topple the fan-favorites in the reigning OGN Spring Split Champions SK Telecom T1 by a score of three games to two, and while many made a scapegoat of former SK Telecom T...

     The Mid-Season Invitational saw Chinese powerhouse EDward Gaming topple the fan-favorites in the reigning OGN Spring Split Champions SK Telecom T1 by a score of three games to two, and while many made a scapegoat of former SK Telecom T1 S support Lee “Wolf” Jae-Wan, it cannot go without mentioning the exceptional map control and teamplay by the team that went 17-4-1 in the LOL Pro League. EDward Gaming, with their victory, has brought about increased curiosity in Chinese League of Legends, and with the LPL commencing tomorrow, May 22nd, at 00:00 Eastern time, that curiosity will soon be fulfilled.

     Timezones serve as the many opposition between Western viewers and the Chinese League as often times matches are live during the dead of the night. What this ultimately means is that the Western scene has little to no insight on the exciting league that is the LPL, and with more Korean imports qualifying from the Challenger League in the form of former Samsung Blue support Heart and former CJ Entus Frost jungler Swift, it is very likely that not many will witness the Chinese scene in all its glory.

     Overviews for each team are listed below with impact players acknowledged, and it is safe to say that this split will without a doubt be more competitive than ever before.


EDward Gaming

Top: Tong “Koro1” Yang

Jungle: Ming “ClearLove” Kai

Mid: Heo “PawN” Won-seok

ADC: Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu

Support: Tian “Meiko” Ye

Impact Player(s): ClearLove


     The overlords of China look to extend their red-hot form into the 2015 Summer Split, and having lost their only best of two series in the Chinese LPL to Snake on January 23rd, it seems as though nobody will stop them. While Korean superstars Heo “PawN” Won-seok and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu serve as the face of EDward Gaming’s immaculate team-fight-centric playstyle, it is Clearlove who shines in the jungle. Like a turtle out of its shell, ClearLove has moved away from his more passive role and has in many cases put EDG in his backpack and carried them to victory. In fact, ClearLove boasts a Kill/Death/Assist ratio of over 8 for 7 out of the 12 champions he has played last split, the most notable being his jaw-dropping 17.6 on Lee Sin. The map pressure EDward Gaming exerts on their opponents with the tag team of Meiko and ClearLove setting up wards for Koro to make teleport plays is textbook.

     On a side note, EDward Gaming recently acquired former Energy Pacemaker top laner AmazingJ, who was dubbed as one of the worst in his role, so it will be interesting to see how they groom him on their path to LPL gold.


LGD Gaming

Top: Choi “Acorn” Cheon-ju/ Lee “Flame” Ho-Jong

Jungle: Zhu “TBQ” Yong-Quan

Mid: Wei “GODV” Lian

ADC: Gu “imp” Seung-bin

Support: fan

Impact Player(s): GODV, imp


     Known previously as a middle-of-the-pack team, LGD surprised the Chinese scene by reaching the 2015 Spring Grand Finals following shocking 3-0 victories versus OMG and Snake. Having reached the finals, LGD again showcased their prowess by forcing the series to a game 5, where they would ultimately fall to EDward Gaming. Their adaptation to the Cinderhulk patch was near flawless, and while they do have a reputation to troll a la Chinese Oscar Night, they are a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We1less reached his final form when he changed summoner names to “GODV”, and he played as such; his Orianna play is something to be revered. His champion pool plays perfectly into the buff-the-carry style that LGD loves to play, and what better carry to have than Season 4 World Champion Samsung White’s carry imp. Known for his exceptional Jinx and Twitch, imp plays to his strengths, which is often times full fledged aggression. It isn’t uncommon to see imp die trying to solo out the other carry or the entire enemy team on his own, and because LGD understands his needs, they have found success. 


Invictus Gaming

Top: Liu “Zz1tai” Zhihao

Jungle: Lee “KaKAO” Byung-kwon

Mid: Song “RooKie” Eui-jin

ADC: Ge “Kid” Yan

Support: Liu “Kitties” Hong-Jun

Impact Player(s): KaKAO, Kid


     Following a disappointing semi-final exit to the future champions of the league EDward Gaming, Invictus Gaming looks to improve on their teamplay and champion pools and rise to the top. With already existing KT Rolster Arrows synergy in the jungle and the middle lane from the likes of KaKAO and RooKie, the team should first be looking to improve the performance of their bottom lane. The Invictus Gaming bot lane is susceptible to lackluster performances due to their inability to play anything other than passive laners such as Sivir and Ezreal , which in turn translates into a one-damage threat team that never really seems to click, and while KaKAO has shown great performances on his trademark Nidalee, he has struggled to adapt to the Cinderhulk patch where the only champion he can play to any sort of success is Gragas. Invictus Gaming has shown time and time again that they can compete with the best, and if they are able to address the problems they had last split, it is very possible for them to finish in the top 3.


Oh My God

Top: Hu “Xiyang” Bin

Jungle: Yan “MLZZ” Hong

Mid: Yu “Cool” Jia-Jun

ADC: Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao

Support: Luo “Luo” Ci-Rui

Impact Player(s): Uzi


     Their team name is completely fitting for their performance down the stretch. Oh My God. Nothing seemed to go right for OMG as they drew multiple matches against teams far lower on the ladder than they. The benching of Gogoing, Lovelin, and Cloud seemed surprising at first, seeing as how two of the three were considered the face of the OMG organization, but those who watched the LPL would know that these were the players that were holding the team back with their small champion pool. With the substitute mid laner moving to the top lane and their substitute support playing on the starting roster, hopes of this team succeeding has dwindled. The acquisition of Uzi seems to have not paid off in the long run, but this does not take away from the potential he can bring. If Uzi can carry this ragtag team to playoffs through sheer mechanical skill, it would definitely be a successful Summer campaign.


Snake Esports

Top: Li “Flandre” Xuan-jun

Jungle: Kim “Beast” Joo-hyun

Mid: Ceng “U” Long

ADC: Yang “kRYST4L” Fan

Support: Kwok “Ella” Hoon-kwak

Impact Player(s): U, kRYST4L


     Snake Esports is one of the most peculiar teams in the LPL because of how their season shaped out. Early in the season, their previous mid laner Baka received huge praise because of his Xerath play, and their high ranking was a result of teams taking far too long to realize his skillshot proficiency. When teams finally made the adaptation, Baka fell out of the limelight due to the lack of depth in his champion pool, and Snake essentially became kRYST4L and friends. 

     kRYST4L proved himself to be one of, if not the premier hyper-carry in the Chinese scene, most notably for his Kog’Maw and Kalista play. When protect-the-carry comps fell off with the rise of the Cinderhulk enchantment, he too fell out of the limelight due to poor team fight positioning. One could call him the lesser version of Deft. With the acquisition of former EDward Gaming substitute mid laner U, Snake adds an additional carry threat to their loaded arsenal. Top laner Flandre has proven to be an enormous on champions like Hecarim and Maokai, and with more pressure in the mid lane, Snake has the potential to spread their opponents thin and reassure the Chinese scene that they are no fluke.


Vici Gaming

Top: Wang “Carry” Zu-Jing

Jungle: Choi “Dandy” In-kyu

Mid: Wang “Hetong” Bin

ADC: Li “Vasilii” Wei-Jun

Support: Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong

Impact Player(s): Vasilii


     After being knocked out of the quarterfinals by Invictus Gaming in a series that should have lasted one more game, Vici Gaming looks for revenge, and they have all the means to do so. With former Samsung White players Mata and Dandy combined with solo laners more than capable of fending for themselves, they are able to funnel their resources effectively into Vici’s godsend: Vasilii. The former LMQ ADC showed Sneaky-esque performances throughout the split as he boasted incredible KDAs even in times of defeat. Known for his fight-fight-fight playstyle, Vasilii will be the key factor to Vici Gaming’s success, and if he is able to hard carry his team, you will most definitely see Vici Gaming in the playoffs to speak vengeance.


Qiao Gu

Top: Bao “V” Bo

Jungle: Baek “Swift” Da-Hoon

Mid: Doinb

ADC: Yu “TnT” Rui

Support: Zhang “TcT” Hong-Wei

Impact Player(s): Swift, Doinb


     The LPL dark horse, Qiao Gu has the potential to shake up the Chinese scene and place in the top half of the standings after qualifying into the LPL through a first place finish in the LSPL. With notable members in former CJ Entus Frost jungler Swift and former LMQ support Mor playing under the moniker TcT, Qiao Gu managed to defeat Team WE and OMG in the Demacia Cup, a feat not to be glazed over. The only impediment that Qiao Gu may face in the future is their inability to close games out quickly as their games lean towards the lengthy side.


Team WE

Top: Peng “Aluka” Zhen-Ming

Jungle: Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon

Mid: Su “Xiye” Han-Wei

ADC: Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun

Support: Ke “Conan” Yi

Impact Player(s): Spirit


     IEM Katowice saw Team WE rise to League of Legends stardom by reaching the Grand Finals after defeating the GE Tigers, who at the time were the best in Korea. While they did lose steam at the end of the season, the stripped down roster took the Chinese scene by storm by shooting up the standings and attaining a spot in the playoffs after being the last place team heading into IEM Katowice. Team WE jungler Spirit is to thank as his carry performances on champions such as Nidalee helped propel Team WE to success that one would never have thought they would see in their wildest dreams. While Team WE still has a lot to improve, specifically the fact that Xiye can more or less only play Ahri, they are shaping up to be one of the better middle of the table teams.


Masters 3

Top: Jang “Looper” Hyeong-seok

Jungle: Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie

Mid: Bae “dade” Eo-Jin

ADC: Han “SmLz” Jin

Support: Li “Lovecd” Jun-Fen

Impact Player(s): SmLz


     After a spring split that almost saw the team relegated, Masters 3 are looking to address their problems at hand before even beginning to think about playoffs. The solo laners have been very lackluster over the course of the season, and it wasn’t uncommon for both to fall behind early. Near the end of the season, SmLz subbed into the ADC position produced performances on Kalista and Graves that were more than deserving of his spot on the starting roster. Look out for SmLz to continue his hot streak and hopefully boost Masters 3 to a more respectable ranking.


Royal Never Give Up

Top: Fan “Skye” Qi-Fang / Yan “LetMe Jun-Ze” / Xiao “Godlike” Wang

Jungle: Liu “mlxg” Shi-yu

Mid: Li “xiaohu” Yuan-Hao

ADC: Wang “NoHeart” Cheng

Support: Le “Ley” Yi

Impact Player(s): mlxg


     Formerly known as Star Horn Royal Club, Royal Never Give Up is the perfect example of what not to do during the off season. Rather than fixing the problems at hand, the Royal Club organization let go of its entire roster and acquired a pseudo-Gamtee/King roster, which were known for barely average players. Mlxg is the only player on this team that has given standout performances, most notably on his trademark Rek’Sai. It’ll be very surprising if this team manages to beat relegation this split.


 Team King

Top: Jiang “Cola” Na

Jungle: Choi “inSec” In-seok

Mid: Lei “Corn” Wen

ADC: Zhu “NaMei” 

Support: Yoon “Zero” Kyung-sup

Impact Player(s): NaMei


     With the acquisition of the roster formerly known as Star Horn Royal Club, Team King looks to bounce back after their current roster barely scraped their way through relegations. While the importing of inSec made headline news, the results were rather poor. With a KDA of above 3 on only 3 out of the 13 unique champions he played in the LPL, inSec has become more of a liability than a reliance. His inability to adapt to the Cinderhulk patch really hurt Royal Club’s chances of avoiding relegation previously, and the fact that his one and only default is Jarvan doesn’t help either. Liability can also be noticed in the mid lane, where corn’s shallow champion pool allows teams to deem him negligible. Star ADC NaMei missed most of the season due to contract issues, but the games in which he played were less than stellar. However, it has been proven in the past that NaMei has the mechanical ability to be among the top AD carries in the world, and if Team King has any chance of breaking the top half of the standings, it will be when NaMei rediscovers his old talent.


Unlimited Potential

Top: Zhu “Loong” Xiao-Long

Jungle: Xie “Eimy” Dan

Mid: Xin “Jiaoyang” Chen

ADC: Byun “Skatch” Se-hoon

Support: Lee “Heart” Gwan-hyung

Impact Player(s): Loong, Eimy


     Formerly known as Vici Gaming Potential, Unlimited Potential is looking to make a name for themselves in the LPL, most notably after the acquisition of former Samsung Blue support Heart. While Heart is the biggest name on the roster, it is Eimy and Loong who the spotlight should be on, as both show carry potential. Loong is known for his carry-oriented champion pool, shying away from the more traditional tanks to play the likes of Irelia and Hecarim. Eimy, like most Chinese junglers, shows proficiency on Nidalee, and gave LGD Gaming a run for their money when they faced off in the Round of 16 in the Demacia Cup. While the team does indeed show Unlimited Potential, the competition in the LPL is very stiff and thus they are going to be held to low standards.


Standings Prediction

1. EDward Gaming

2. LGD Gaming

3. Invictus Gaming

4. Snake Esports

5. Oh My God

6. Vici Gaming

7. Qiao Gu

8. Team WE

9. Masters 3

10. Team King

11. Unlimited Potential

12. Royal Never Give Up