King of the Jungle:
An In-depth look at KaKao
Team: Invictus Gaming
KaKao is a player that has been in the scene for a long time and is one of the most decorated junglers in League of Legends history, however this will be his first time going to the world stage. If you are just now getting into League of Legends, or not familiar with the Korean scene, then you need to keep this context in mind while reading this look at the player, KaKao is one of the greatest junglers the game has ever scene, and it is my opinion that he is bar none, the best jungler going to worlds.
A Brief History
Understanding what you can expect from him on the world stage, let me give you a brief description of his team history and accomplishments. KaKao up until last year when he moved to China, played his entire Korean career with the KT organization, the first incarnation being KT Rolster B. In his first season, Champions Winter 2012-2013, KT B came first in their group stage and eventually coming in third place during the play offs, beating Azubu Blaze in a 3-0 sweep. Where KaKao as a player truly made a name for himself was in the second version of KT B named KT Rolster Bullets, the famous lineup of InSec, Ryu, Score, Mafa, and KaKao. This team would go on take second place in both Champions Summer 2013 and the Season 3 Regional Qualifiers. If you want to understand the quintessential KaKao style and seeing this team at their best, watch the finals between SKT and KT, which many people regard as the best, best of 5 ever played. However coming in second place both times and because of how the Season 3 Worlds teams were selected by who took first place in the Seasons, it meant KT B were denied a world’s position.
We fast forward to the next season and KaKao moves over to KT B’s sister team the KT Arrows. On this team KaKao took his first OGN championship however because of the circuit point system and their loss to NaJin White Shield in the Korean Regional qualifiers, KaKao would go for another year, being on one of the best teams and not representing at Worlds. He even scored the Champions Summer season MVP, having a 7.0 KDA on both Kha’Zix and Lee Sin. But as we know, after the season 4 world championship, we had the exodus of the mega Korean stars going over to China, and KaKao and his KT Arrow Mid laner Rookie would go over and join Invictus Gaming.
In China KaKao would continue to have similar success on his new team, and in his first major tournament he would take second place in the Demacia Cup Spring Season, and 3rd place with a 3-1 victory over Snake gaming in the LpL Spring Playoffs. With this most recent season he would finish 4th place in the Demacia Cup Summer season, and later finishing 3rd place by taking a 3-1 set against EDG. Finally they would qualify for worlds by taking the third and final seed in the lower bracket with a convincing 3-0 sweep of Qiao Gu in the LpL Regional Finals.
The King of the Jungle
I made a mention of it above, but what KaKao famous and put his name on the map, was his ability to always find ganks and having one of the highest amount of kill participation of any jungler. Although it seems like I’m praising him for just doing his job, being a jungler meaning you are one that helps control vision and gank early, it’s how good he is at setting up his team for success, both in the early game with his ganks and especially his ability to initiate teamfights in the mid to late game. Below is a highlight clip of his MVP performance during the Champions Summer playoff run.
As I stated above, I think right now KaKao is the strongest Jungler at worlds, and I think the level he is better, only a small handful of junglers are even playing in the same ballpark as him right now. The reason I hold him in such high regards is because I think in all the qualities and skills necessary of a jungler. On some level that speaks to the quality of junglers in this tournament, but also I think there are very few junglers in the world right now that match KaKao and have as much impact as he does for their respective teams. When IG win KaKao always has an insane kill participation, showing that he is an integral part of their wins.
I don’t want to paint a picture of KaKao being the solo carry of his team, because he is not, but now I want to touch on one of the most underrated aspects of what makes him an amazing player, and that’s the synergy he develops with his team. The short hand explanation to IG’s victory conditions are KaKao ganking mid lane and snowballing Rookie out of control, but ever since the KT B days KaKao has always been able to build an amazing trust and synergy, which allows him and his lanes to play a super aggressive style, and allows him to pull off those insane early tower dives he is known for.
It’s been a long time coming for KaKao to make his presence on a world stage. For viewers and fans who are just coming into the scene, I hope they can understand how much of a decorated players coming to the world stage.