Okay, so I chose to open the discussion of this here since I felt there needed to be more than 140 characters to discuss the topic.
PawN’s Background –
Something that is drastically overlooked within PawN’s career is where he came from. PawN used to be a Fizz one-trick-pony in solo queue. He originally played for MiG Blitz under the name “Wonseok“(his real name). He changed his name to PawN later that year when he joined the Samsung Organisation as Samsung Galaxy Blue’s new mid-laner. This is where PawN gained any form of respect, because at WCG 2013 Qualifiers, he solo-killed faker. Well, so? right? I mean, I 1 v 1 kill people in solo queue all the time and this was a meta filled with Nidalee, Kha’Zix, Kassadin, Zed, Ahri etc. So the mid-lane is a constant skirmish. PawN gained his entire notoriety and was recognized purely because he killed faker. I mean, it shouldn’t be a big deal but it’s faker.
Faker’s Background and Significance –
Faker was just like nearly every other League of Legends player: sitting in their bedroom playing ranked and slowly getting better while having fun doing it. The difference is, Faker was really fucking good. The fact some random 16 year old(Faker was 16 prior to the OGN Spring Season 2013) was running rampant all over solo queue, destroying and consistently winning against some of the most established names in the industry. Then SK Telecom Picked him up for their SK Telecom T1 #2 which Montecristo and Doa titled “Judgement day” compared to their sister team which was nicknamed “Terminator”. In Fakers debut game he solo-killed ambition and was just a monster. This same year he won OGN Summer 2013 in spectacular fashion with the famous Zed vs. Zed 1 v 1 against KT-Bullets Ryu. Followed by a world championship, followed by another OGN Title(Winter 2013-14).
Samsung White During the World Championships was Easily the best team in the world, so what makes this different to SK-Telecom’s run?
Well, I mean both teams did have great WC Runs, it’s simply that SK-Telecoms lasted much longer and had much more of impact in the meta and Faker. Samsung White had the 2nd best Jungler in history only falling to KTA’s KaKAO, the absolute best Duo-botlane ever of Imp-Mata. I mean Mata is the best support in history, no question, while imp is the 2nd best AD-Carry ever only falling to WeiXiao. SK-Telecom had impact, perhaps the 5th or 6th best toplaner in the world. Bengi, even during his peak he’d be lucky to scrape the surfaces of the likes of KaKAO, DanDy, Spirit etc. while the SKT Bot-lane of poohmandu and piglet. Poohmandu had some great shot-calling during SKT’s prime but quite simply this was only to compensate for his drastic lack of any form of mechanical ability while Piglet, although was top 3 during his prime still fell short to imp in nearly every category. Faker however at times was the only reason SK-Telecom won, he carried, he forced teams to play entirely around him, he drives 3-5 players mid just for that tiny hope of potentially getting a early kill on him in a desperate attempt to shut him down. PawN was merely a PawN in the Samsung war. A jungler couldn’t focus on dealing with PawN, because DanDy was too much of a threat, while at the same time Imp-Mata needed shut-down. Without PawN, Samsung White would have still been great, SK-Telecom without faker would have been nothing.
“But PawN solo killed faker…”
This is the only argument anybody has ever pulled to argue how good PawN is. 95% of the time people who use this argument don’t even watch Korean or Chinese League of Legends and they have absolutely no grasp on the individual level that both PawN and Faker play at. Faker is quite simply the best player to ever play this game and potentially the best to have ever played it. PawN was part of the best team in history, but he wasn’t the carry threat. PawN lost a mirror matchup(playing the same matchup twice but the champ roles are reversed. E.G. Game 1: Easyhoon Cassio vs. PawN Orianna, game 2: Easyhoon Orianna vs. PawN Cassiopeia) to SK-Telecom’s sub player Easyhoon, which simply exemplifies that PawN not only isn’t better than Faker, who later obliterated PawN individually in the same series(in terms of individual performance), but he isn’t better than Easyhoon.
So who is better than PawN and why?
This entire article explains this premise, need I say more.
Formerly known as We1less, LGD’s new star mid-laner is proving to be arguably the best in his region, the only player to contest this is the next player:
Formerly of KT-A fame, rookie has proven time and time again why he is better than PawN, by solo-killing him in unfavourable matchups and simply outperforming him more often than not. The Rookie-KaKAO combo is but a bot-lane upgrade away from being the best team in history.
Mechanically the most sound player in the world that isn’t called Faker. Just watching CoCo individually play around other midlaners and his knowledge of matchups is incredible. Easily the 2nd best mid in Champions right now and arguably even 2nd in the world. However his lack of attendance for the World Championships leaves us empty handed for some raw comparison.
PawN quite simply got outplayed by SK-Telecoms substitute. In an AMA Faker mentioned the 2 best mids he’s played against are Easyhoon and CoCo, so with the results showing form I would have to agree and include him on this list.
The controversial one for PawN apologists. Bjergsen is without a doubt the best midlaner in the Western world, there is no question about this. However in my opinion Bjergsen is stuck in elo-hell as they say. Bjergsen proved in winning IEM Katowice than when the team play around bjergsen he has the potential to go toe-to-toe with the gods in League. In a post game interview even Faker was impressed by how good Bjergsen was.
The concept people fail to grasp in this community, is that just because someone is on the best team in the world, it does not mean they are the best player, or even close to the best at their role. I mean look at how successful Moscow 5 were, when literally none of them except maybe diamondprox were considered legendary in their role. The 5 man unit is vastly more important, but that doesn’t mean that each part is the best when it works.