Jun 22 2015 - 6:48 pm
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Preview of GPL Summer 2015: SEA Has An Ocean Of Undiscovered Talent!

Once regarded as one of the five major regions in LoL eSports, South East Asia's Garena Premier League wasrelegated to wildcard status after its teams continually disappointed in international competition.
Dot Esports
preview

Once regarded as one of the five major regions in LoL eSports, South East Asia's Garena Premier League was relegated to wildcard status after its teams continually disappointed in international competition. Now free from the domineering presence of Taiwanese teams, the GPL is starting to come into its own as a strong league with worthy Wildcard contenders. Set to begin officially on 24th June, the likes of Full Louis, Impunity Legends, Bangkok Titans and everyone's favourite underdogs from Season 3 Mineski will do battle for a shot at the International Wildcard Qualifiers, to be held in Turkey.

If you ever wanted to watch the league but had no idea who the teams were, look no further, as I give my verbose, biased opinions on each of the teams competing in GPL Summer 2015.

Before that, here's a breakdown of the regions' representatives:

Region 

Slot 

 Vietnam 

 Singapore/Malaysia 

 Philippines 

 Thailand 

 Indonesia 


 

The format:

  • Group Stage #1
    • 16 teams divided into 4 groups of 4 (8 Seeded, 8 Unseeded)
    • Single Round Robin, Each match is Best of Two.
      • 2:0 Winning team receives 3 points.
      • 1:1 Both teams receive 1 point.
    • Top 2 teams from each group advance to Group Stage 2.
      • All Ties Broken by Head-to-Head Record before the tie-breaker.
  • Group Stage #2
    • One group with 8 teams.
    • Single Round Robin, Each match is Best of One.
    • Top 4 teams advance to the Bracket stage.
      • All ties broken by Head-to-Head Record before the tie-breaker.
  • Bracket Stage
    • Single-elimination bracket of 4 teams, Group Stage #2 Winners vs. 2nd place of opposite group.
    • Each match is Best of Five.

I'll be covering each of the four groups and predicting the teams' rankings, to give you an idea of which teams you should be watching and which others will be, to use a crude word, snooze-fests. 

Saigon Jokers (GPL Spring: 5th-8th) 

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Auzeze 

Lê Hoàng Nguyên 

Top 

 

NIXWATER 

Mai Nh?t Tân 

Top/Mid 

 

Safety 

Hu?nh V?n Tân 

Jungle 

 

Jinkey 

Tr?n Công Cam 

Jungle 

 

Carrot 

?oàn V?n Ng?c S?n 

Mid 

 

Minas 

Ph?m Minh Ph??c 

AD 

 

Tsu 

LêAnh Duy 

Support 

 

Prince 

MaiNguy?nMinhTh?ng 

Sub/AD 

Veteran team only in name, the Jokers had yet another reshuffling after GPL Spring. NIXWATER (moving from Top to Mid...again), Safety (jungler) and TSU (support) remained on the side while Auzeze and MINAS joined from Saigon Fantastic Five.  

But the org has done this for a long time with their two sister teams, so this is not particularly surprising. Currently, the new iteration sits in joint 5th place in their domestic league, the Vietnam Championship Series.  

They've managed to take wins off teams less experienced than themselves through superior rotations and macro play, but have faltered against mechanically stronger teams such as Boba Marines and Gigabyte Full Louis. 

Their most recognisable player NIXWATER is still playing quirky mids like Malzahar and Anivia (with varying success), and Safety, once considered a strong jungler in SEA, is looking a shade of his former self. The rest appear to be role players, although TSU will be one to watch. Possibly the most mechanically-skilled player in SAJ, TSU makes plays on a consistent basis as he attempts to drag his team out of their usually-poor early game phase. Minas is like Space, and yes, I'm comparing TSU to Madlife because he's pretty damn good. Minas is alright, but having someone like TSU in the laning phase helps him immensely.  

SAJ should not have too much difficulty getting out of their group given their experience. Their biggest enemies will still be their Vietnamese counterparts, and much will depend on the ability of NIXWATER to lead, as well as TSU to make dem plays. I just wish they'll use Jinkey instead of Safety though, because Safety is looking pretty poor at present. 

Prediction: 1st 

ZOTAC United (GPL Spring: did not qualify) 

alt

 

Young 

Tr?nTu?nAnh 

Top 

 

Exo 

Tr?n Quang H?u 

Jungle 

 

Henry 

Nguy?n Thành Phúc 

Mid 

 

SAD 

Nguy?nMinh Trung 

AD 

 

3RB 

Phan T?n Trung 

Support 

 

TieuQuy 

Nguy?n Vi?t Ti?p 

Support 

ZOTAC blitzed through VCS Spring with a 22-8 record to qualify for GPL Summer as the 4th seed from Vietnam, but I'm not really sure how it happened. This season they're languishing domestically with a 6-7 score, drastically reducing their chances of requalifying for GPL next year.  

Their Group A partner SAJ also defeated ZOTAC earlier in the season, but SAJ was using Curot mid and NIXWATER top then. Neither team has a particularly strong top laner, so the battles will likely be fought in the mid and bottom lanes.  

Henry is an avid Leblanc and assassin player in general; he's probably the best hope for ZOTAC if they want to do well in the GPL. Meanwhile, their support BaRoiBeo's claim to fame is that he was one of the first professional players in the Vietnamese scene, but hasn't done anything significant that I know of. Exo appears to be pretty competent, and has a pocket pick in Pantheon.  

Despite their middling status domestically, I wouldn't underestimate Vietnamese teams. There's a reason they have 6 seeds in GPL; it's because competition is the highest among the SEA regions and although they have a terrible Best of 1 format for VCS, there are still 16 teams, of which maybe 5 would dominate in any other domestic league.  

Unfortunately I don't think they can go up against TCH man-for-man, so I'll give the edge to TCH. This may end up biting me in the arse, of course.  

Prediction: 3rd 

Thirsty Chinchillas (GPL Spring: did not qualify) 

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Charmander 

Zhuo Jia 

Top 

 

Zeidan 

Jonas Kang 

Jungle 

 

Ease 

Royce Tang 

Mid 

 

windowlicka 

Wong Wenkai Ryan 

Sub 

 

Lustreless 

Jolene Poh 

Sub 

 

AMELIA 

Liaw Zhi Yong 

Sub 

One of three teams from Singapore and the 2nd seed, Thirsty Chinchillas would perhaps have been a contender for reaching the semi-finals prior to their bot lane abruptly leaving to join Impunity Legends. Unfortunately, now they're unlikely to go that far because TCH's ADC PessChap was undoubtedly the best player on the team.  

Because the qualification system for GPL Summer is horrible, the winner of TLC Spring, Nyan Zone, did not qualify. Qualifications were based on an event held from January to March, the Legends Cyber Arena, and NyZ wasn't in it. However, Shinsekai, the MVP top laner from NyZ, has made it onto TCH and looks to continue his carrying ways in GPL. 

Word is that FatBoi and Kra, both from Nyan Zone, will be taking over the bot lane, making it three players from Nyan Zone in TCH. While the new bor lane is not as known as PessChap and Skarm, they do have a solid core of players remaining in Charmander (who might not start) and Ease. Charmander is proficient with Gnar and Rumble, although his Maokai and Hecarim leaves much to be desired, while Ease's claim to fame is his Azir, which was banned out often in TLC due to his reputation on the Emperor. He falls back on Cassiopeia and Kassadin whenever he cannot have his Azir. In an environment where regional teams may not know of his Shurima fetish, Ease can single-handedly take the Chinchillas out of the group stage. 

The addition of three Nyan Zone members makes things a little more interesting too. I'm tempted to put them above ZOTAC, but you never know with Vietnamese teams -- any of their top 10 can easily go up against any top 3 team from the region. Last season, all 6 VN teams made it into the second group stage. This time, maybe ZOTAC will be left behind.  

Prediction: 2nd 

Jakarta Juggernauts (GPL Spring: 13th-16th) 

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Luffy 

Vandy Nugraha 

Top 

 

TwoJ 

Henry Louis 

Jungle 

 

Cruzher 

Bayu Putra 

Mid 

 

Rofens 

Kyle William 

AD 

 

Pokka 

Hartanto 

Support 

Ahhh, poor poor Juggernauts. Indonesia is the newest added region to the GPL, and it showed heavily during GPL Spring, where they ended the group stage without a single win to their name. In other words, Indonesia is the biggest wildcard in a region of wildcards. 

However, JKJ are still the best team in Indonesia, going undefeated in the LoL Garuda Series. 

The level of competition will likely still be too high for JKJ this Summer, but they can take these 6 group stage games as another round of experience for future seasons when Indonesia has embraced LoL a little more. Currently, Dota 2 is still the prevalent MOBA there, which makes things hard for JKJ given a lack of good teams to play against.  

Prediction: 4th 

Group B 

Saigon Fantastic Five (GPL Spring: 1st) 

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Row 

HoàngDuyPh??ng 

Top 

 

Sena 

Tr??ng Tu?n Tú 

Jungle 

 

Lovida 

MaiVi?tLong 

Mid 

 

Tartarus 

Nguy?n H?ng Th?nh 

AD 

 

Sunny 

Nguy?nThanh Phong 

Support 

 

Genz 

Nguy?n Chí Anh Cao 

Sub 

 

ProE 

Tr?n QuangHi?p 

Sub 

 

Puf 

?àm ?ìnhThu?n 

Sub 

They were the King of Spring, qualifying them for the International Wildcard tournament in Turkey, but visa issues forced them to decline the slot. We were unable to see the region's strongest at the time compete internationally as a result.  

This time, the roster has been overhauled, as several players wanted to leave. The majority have moved over to Saigon Jokers to ensure that both teams reach at least the regional playoffs, which leaves SF5 as a question mark regionally. Will 1st place be possible again this season? 

SF5 currently holds a 7-6 record in the VCS, but a dip in performance is to be expected given how the entire roster from last season disappeared -- notably Optimus, their star ADC, who left to join Boba Marines.  

Row really likes to play Riven, no matter the matchup, but this may only hurt them in the long run. The burden of carrying will undoubtedly fall on Lovida and Tartarus, although Row can go off at any given moment if he gets the chance. I wouldn't put him on a Fantasy team though, given his erratic play.  

There's no real reason to bet against them not getting out of the group stage unless IPT or Wargods step it up massively, so it's between Fate Team and them for 1st and 2nd place -- my bet is on Fate given their head-to-head record in VCS, where SF5 attempted to gimp Slay's Ryze with an Annie top/Kha'zix jungle combo.  

Great early game top ganking, mediocre mid and late game. And Slay still snowballed anyway because Sena gave up too many deaths.  

Prediction: 2nd 

Fate Team (GPL Spring: 5th-8th) 

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Slay 

Nguy?n Ng?c Hùng 

Top 

 

MeoU 

Nguy?nMinhHoàng 

Jungle 

 

Jinky 

Ph?mTr??ngGiang 

Mid 

 

LySna 

?inh Thái Anh 

AD 

 

Akiho 

Tr?n ??c S?n 

Support 

 

LoliTa 

V? Hoàng Vi?t 

Top 

 

Jully 

Lê ?ình D?ng 

Sub/Jungle 

 

Yamaa 

Tr?n Thanh Toàn 

Sub/Support 

Another team from Vietnam -- one who's actually gone up against SF5 and Wargods in GPL Spring, AND hasn't made any roster changes in between seasons, making analysis a little easier.  

They're actually in a HIGHER spot than SF5 in VCS with a 10-3 record, so SF5's dominance on the group is not guaranteed. As mentioned earlier, Fate survived some hardcore camping from SF5 to win their VCS matchup. As for Wargods, Fate went 4-0 against them in GPL Spring, so the difference in quality is pretty apparent.  

Fate generally plays the patient game, not going for a gank unless there's a 100% chance of a kill, although they will not hesitate to dive you under your turret if the composition calls for it (Alistar is key to this). In one game, their jungler MeoU got a Quadra Kill on Gragas while having about 20% health throughout. Later in the game he took a 2-man Baron with Jinky (their star player).  Given enough time, they'll eventually naturally accrue enough of a CS lead to have an advantage in teamfights. It's not often you see a Kassadin farm more than a Syndra in lane, but that is the sort of thing that Jinky, their mid laner does. 

These guys aren't flashy, but they sure know how to play League of Legends -- or at least the Farming Simulator version. Sorta like a less refined Boba Marines.  

They even stuck to their guns against Full Louis, a team notorious for their insanely aggressive playstyle. Unfortunately, this meant giving up every dragon for "muh precious farm", and the Dragon buffs arguably gave GFL an edge in teamfights. 

Given that they're a far more consistent team than SF5, I believe they'll end up in 1st place getting out of the group. Like SF5, their best players are in the mid and ADC positions, but Jinky appears better than Lovida (by a slight margin) and Lysna has a better support. 

Prediction: 1st 

Imperium Pro Team (GPL Spring: did not qualify) 

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Hero 

Jordan Pamintuan 

Top 

 

Haith 

Josef Adrian Cabero 

Jungle 

 

Light 

Roybie Segovia 

Mid 

 

ZNS 

Jyro Pascual 

AD 

 

Poysanity 

Jesse Florence Hieras 

Support 

 

Snoy 

Elijah Joshua Guerrero 

Sub/Top

After a one-season break missing out on GPL Spring, IPT makes their glorious return in Summer...but their chances of getting out are slim, to say the least. The last time they appeared in GPL, they had Snoy and Kaigu in top and jungle respectively and went 1-9 in a group stage crowded with teams like TPA and ahq Fighter, even losing out to Bangkok Titans, who back then was considered the whipping boys of GPL. 

But that was a year ago, so has things changed since then? 

The only point of reference I have is from their performances in PGS (Pro Gaming Series), where they shared the same record with Wargods in the regular season of Spring, but lost out 2-1 in the playoffs.  

They met Wargods again in PGS Summer, and Haith was playing ADC. He seemed far better than his Wargods counterpart, while the rest of IPT matched up relatively equal. However, that's not saying much about the quality of the games, featuring a lot of solo queue-esque scrappy play. Teamfights were disorganised, players were getting caught and missing skillshots left and right, and...oh, right, the result. Wargods won 2-0.  

Given these results, and IPT's lack of individual ability, I don't see them getting out of 4th place, let alone out of the group.  

Prediction: 4th 

Wargods (GPL Spring: 9th-12th) 

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JLC 

Jaiby Paglingayen 

Top 

 

Skill 

Ken Garcia 

Jungle 

 

Otchie 

Robert Conrad Pascual 

Mid 

 

VYY 

Neil San Juan 

AD 

 

Stronger 

Ronel Tan 

Support 

Let it be known that Wargods only managed anything more than 13th place in GPL Spring because they had a worse Filipino team in their group -- Diamond Team. The scenario hasn't changed. Wargods are probably better than IPT and even Mineski, but like the case of Jakarta Juggernauts, that doesn't say much about their ability to compete regionally.  

They did manage to take a game off BKT during Spring off the back of cocky play from the Thais, but they were stomped in their three other games, leaving me no choice but to predict their 3rd placing based off their past results. SF5 and Fate Team are just stronger, although one cannot predict the ability of SF5 to throw given their inconsistency.  

It's like, MAYBE Wargods can somehow get their preferred champions and outdraft SF5 AND play well enough to win, but I wouldn't let that form the basis of my prediction.  

So, 3rd place, because they'll probably beat IPT. Moving on.  

Prediction: 3rd

Group C 

Impunity Legends (GPL Spring: 4th place as Insidious Gaming Legends) 

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LY4 

Lim Yang 

Top 

 

DDan 

Daniel Lua Pin Ren 

Jungle 

 

HaRleLuYaR 

Jason Koh Wei Hao 

Jungle 

 

BBTY 

Chua Kim Han Wayne 

Jungle 

 

Dream 

Richard Chew 

Mid 

 

Cralix 

Wayne Aw 

Mid 

 

Rune 

Jordan Lum 

Mid 

 

PessChap 

Darren Toh 

AD 

 

Skarm 

Chua Jia Jun 

Support 

 

Zappy 

Lim Zhi Ping 

Support 

The death of the Singapore Sentinels resulted in a relative monopoly of the SG scene - Insidious Gaming Legends grabbed the best known players and were expected to dominate with ease.  

While they did do pretty well during GPL Spring, recent results saw them drop 2-3 to Nyan Zone in the TLC Spring finals after going 2-0 up. 

Following IGL's defeat, Impunity bought over the team and picked up PessChap and Skarm from Thirsty Chinchillas, as well as Cralix from Nyan Zone. As they like to say, if you can't beat them, buy them.  

In bolstering their push for regional and international dominance through these play acquisitions, Impunity still represents Singapore as their brightest hope in international representation, but they will have to break the Vietnamese monopoly first if they are to reach Turkey and beyond. 

IGL with Valkyrie and Vera had a tendency to play too slowly and hesitantly past the early game, which does not take advantage of their skill level. They rely on getting picks off to snowball leads, but against safe teams this just will not do. A poor drafting phase also appeared to plague IGL especially against Nyan Zone, giving away Ryze in Game 4 and allowing NyZ to play the game out until Karthus and Ryze hit their power spikes.  

Time will tell if Impunity's playstyle will change with the addition of PessChap and Skarm, because Valkyrie's M.O. has always been to farm, farm and farm. PessChap is much more aggressive.  

IGL will definitely have their work cut out against Full Louis, due to the latter's batshit crazy playstyle, but should face little difficulty against their SG/MY counterparts in KLH and Proioxis. More importantly, their biggest enemy will be themselves, having underestimated enemies several times in the past. If they treat every game professionally like they should, they can easily achieve first place.  

Personal bias for Full Louis forces me to place them in 2nd place though. Sorry, my Singaporean brethren; maybe you'll finally surprise me and win GPL, because that's been overdue since 2012. Let me have my SG pride for once.

Prediction: 2nd 

Full Louis (GPL Spring: 5th-8th) 

alt

 

Violet 

Ngô M?nh Quy?n 

Top 

 

SofM 

Lê Quang Duy 

Jungle 

 

KoW 

Nguy?n ??c Hi?p 

Mid 

 

Shyn 

Nguy?n Khánh S?n 

AD 

 

Scary 

Nguy?n H?i Hà 

Support 

 

Fury 

Ph?m Xuân Ti?n 

Sub/Jungle 

 

Starfall 

Nguy?n H?u Long 

Sub/Support 

If there is one team you absolutely have to watch in GPL, I'd say Full Louis is easily worth your time. They won me over with their aggressive playstyle in VCS, which has so far gone unchallenged except by the Boba Marines. They now share the same score at 12-1 apiece, but could not have been more different in playstyles. 

Much of their playstyle can be attributed to their star jungler SofM, a kid so far ahead in the jungler pack in Vietnam that his Lee Sin is nearly constantly banned, and when it isn't, he goes off like no other on the opposition. To complement his Rush-like playmaking tendencies, his contemporaries Violet and KoW frequently pick Lissandra and other assassins with CC to assist him. Yes, in Full Louis, the team plays around the jungler. That should be enough to tell you how scary SofM is.  

Although they failed to make the bracket stage in GPL Spring, GFL's role swaps appear to have paid off, at least domestically. The previous iteration of KoW top/Shyn mid/Violet ADC never looked as good as the current one does now. 

Of course, with such a HAM playstyle, casualties are to be expected. Their playstyle is also somewhat predictable and was exploited by BKT in GPL Spring, causing them to not reach the semi-finals. Despite their domestic dominance, they can and have been figured out by regional opposition before, so their passage isn't as safely guaranteed as you think.  

Banning out SofM is practically impossible, since he can also play meta champs like Sejuani and Rek'sai. Teams are better off making GFL uncomfortable in champ select than allowing them to run rampant with snowbally champions in game. Shutting down SofM is a priority as he is the literal heart of the team, without whom the team falls apart. 

Unfortunately I don't see any team capable of doing this in Group C (not even ISL), so into the 2nd group stage they go. 

Prediction: 1st

Kuala Lumpur Hunters (GPL Spring: 9th-12th) 

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13Ghost 

Jasper Tan Kah Guan 

Top 

 

MooN 

Ow Yang Jian Hao 

Jungle 

 

OzoraVeki 

Poon Kok Sing 

Mid/AD 

 

JaeYoong 

Jason Yoong 

AD/Jungle 

 

QaspieL 

Sia Sze Pin 

Support/Mid 

 

Shu 

Atuf Aimullah 

Sub/Support 

Veterans since the very first season of GPL, the Malaysians (and one Singaporean) hasn't had much luck in GPL in, well, ever. However, they were lucky enough to qualify for GPL once again, in a climate increasingly difficult for Malaysian teams due to having to share qualifying spots with Singapore.  

After several role swaps, KLH has settled on a steady lineup of JaeYoong in the jungle, QaspieL in ADC and MooN on support. This has translated into a 12-2 streak in TLC MY Summer and a bye into the bracket stage, but dominance domestically has never been anything new. With any luck, this lineup will also seek unprecedented results in the GPL.  

The recurring trend is of MooN picking Leona every...single...game, while for a former ADC JaeYoong is surprisingly capable of playing in the jungle, particularly on Jarvan. 

13Ghost heavily prefers Hecarim and Irelia. From these picks, you can kinda tell that KLH wants to teamfight a lot. 

That plan may be good enough to beat solo queue stars (aka Proioxis), but perhaps not quite at the level to challenge regionally. Will Summer be their year? They're going to have to get past Impunity as well as Full Louis to do so.  

Luckily for them, defeating Impunity is not out of the question, as they split a series 1-1 during Spring. However, iGL's return 2-0 banished KLH to 3rd place in the group. Defeating Vietnamese teams also isn't out of the question; a similar 1-1 series was had against 269 Gaming who reached the semi-finals last season but failed to qualify again by virtue of not finishing in the top 6. 

That kinda tells you a lot about the Vietnamese scene, when a top 10 team domestically reaches a regional semi-final. There's a lot of catching up to do, and KLH may find the going too tough against Singapore and Vietnam...again. 

Prediction: 3rd  

Team Proioxis (GPL Spring: did not qualify)

alt

 

Wrath 

Top 

 

Kuremento 

Jungle 

 

BaneMystic 

Mid 

 

Brooom 

AD 

 

Faaa 

Support 

Because this team has three changed members, any prediction will be solely based off their performances at the Legends Cyber Arena, the convoluted event held 6 months before GPL Summer began. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to hold qualifiers so far ahead in advance has got another think coming, because although Proioxis qualified for GPL Summer by mere inches (winning a Best of 1 tie-break), they failed to qualify for TLC Spring, meaning there was a full 3 months of not seeing them play in a competitive match.  

That's not the organiser's fault, of course, but you have to understand that regional and international competition should be among the best teams currently in the region. Proioxis may not even be top 4 in Singapore, let alone in SEA. They do have a lot to prove, all of them being first-time GPL players, and will thus be lacking in terms of competitive experience and macro play as a result.  

It so happens that KLH did face off against Proioxis during LCA, and KLH won 3-1, racing ahead to a 2-0 lead. The same may just happen again in a Best of 2 scenario, depending on who Proioxis sends out.  

Given their complete lack of experience, I wouldn't bet on them getting out of the group. I'll still commend their valiant effort to get in, however. They had no business being in GPL as a semi-pro team, but they made it in regardless.  

Prediction: 4th 

Group D

Bangkok Titans (GPL Spring: 2nd) 

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WarL0cK 

Pawat Ampaporn 

Top 

 

007x 

Chayut Suebka 

Jungle 

 

G4 

Nuttapong Menkasikan 

Mid 

 

Lloyd 

Juckkirsts Kongubon 

AD 

 

Moss 

Sorawat Boonphrom 

Support 

You can say that the Titans finally started living up to their name in 2015. Long seen as the whipping boys of GPL with absolutely horrid records, they started improving slowly but surely in 2014, although the presence of Taiwanese teams did not allow them to go as far as they could have.  

Then the Taiwanese separated from SEA, and BKT woke up from their years-old slumber. 

Suddenly, BKT found themselves the only team able to beat the Vietnam monopoly. Fate Team. ASUS Ultimate. 269 Gaming. Full Louis. It was literally a gauntlet of Vietnamese teams, one after another, and BKT dispatched of them as if they were cosplaying a Taiwanese team in the GPL pre-2015. 

The one time they faltered was in the final, against SF5, but they had destroyed IGL 3-0 along the way, so as far as they were concerned, 2nd place was already amazing.  

Despite having little to no competition in the Thai scene, BKT proved that some grit, hard work, stability and dedication could go a long way...all the way to Turkey that is. After the victors SF5 had to drop out due to visa issues, BKT stepped up to the plate to represent SEA at the International Wildcard Invitational, acquitting themselves by coming in 3/4th place and taking games off pretty much everyone along the way. Imagine that! Anyone who followed GPL since its inception would NEVER have seen this coming. They did what they did in Turkey with a sub support as well, Moss.  

Moss has since taken over the starting support role following his good performances, and indeed, BKT will be closely watched in GPL, having grabbed the world's attentions at an event where they were not fancied to go far. The sole Vietnamese kryptonite in Spring will be asked to dispatch of another behemoth in Boba Marines. 

BKT may not be the strongest or the most mechanically-gifted, but this band of Titans have stuck together for an obscene amount of time and can only get better. Their games against Boba Marines should be close, but I have to give the advantage to BKT because they are a far more decisive team than BM is.  

Prediction: 1st 

Boba Marines (GPL Spring: did not qualify)

alt 

 

Archie 

Tr?n Minh Nh?t 

Top 

 

Tik 

Bùi Hoàng 

Jungle 

 

QTV 

Nguy?n Tr?n T??ng V? 

Mid 

 

Optimus 

Tr?n V?n C??ng 

AD 

 

Junie 

Tr?n H?u Nh?t Minh 

Support 

 

?c 

Tr?n ??c Huy 

Sub/Support 

 

Kent 

L??ng Hoàng B?o Anh 

Support 

Next to Full Louis, Boba Marines has been taking the VCS by storm, and looking at their lineup it's not hard to see why -- the team boasts ex-Saigon Jokers veterans such as Archie and QTV, and they also picked up Optimus, a huge reason for SF5's success in GPL Spring. Given a stacked lineup like this, there's no reason to believe they won't be at the top of the standings come the end of summer.  

To understand Boba Marines completely, think of the description I gave for Fate Team -- and multiply that with huge international experience. Now that Saigon Jokers and Saigon Fantastic 5 aren't quite as good as before due to roster revamps, top 4 is not impossible for Definitely Not Saigon Jokers. 

Their playstyle can best be described as Fate Team, but better. While it's not uncommon for BM game to be 0-0 at 15 minutes, all they need is one well-timed teamfight to take the victory, ensuring you don't get too bored while watching them. Their jungler Tik prefers to farm in the jungle and pop out when there isn't anything left to farm, for pressure purposes rather than gank opportunities. Usually he'll get in position for a counter-gank to take advantage of his farm and higher level. Pretty much the opposite of SofM.   

BM have amazing teamfighting and disengaging abilities, contributing to the low kill counts early game. It's not because they're being passive -- they know that if their enemies don't successfully get ganks off while Tik is farming, they'll come out ahead in teamfights. They're usually right to think this. 

Interestingly, their playstyle is very reminiscent of Cloud 9 back in 2013 and 2014. They don't prioritise objectives quite as much as C9 did (even giving up Barons and Dragons), but their teamfighting and overall strategy are eerily similar. There's only one problem; they take their time, sometimes for far longer than is necessary. This can make their games relatively hard to watch past the early game, but they've always somehow won out in the end, no matter how many Barons their opponents take. Scary, scary teamfighting. 

Prediction: 2nd (by the narrowest of margins) 

Go To Sleep (GPL Spring: did not qualify) (formerly known as Team Toxic)

alt

 

Renrin 

Top 

 

Einsteinium 

Jungle 

 

NletSz 

Mid 

 

Elesis 

AD 

 

LowGravity 

Support 

The team is new, but the players certainly aren't. Most of them have been in the pro scene since at least 2013, and they were the only team in Thailand to take a game off the Titans back in the Thailand Pro League (TPL), losing 3-1 in the Grand Final.

Unfortunately, they haven't had such good results in TPL Summer, getting knocked to the Lower Bracket by 3 Piglets, a team with an even stronger record than BKT (9-1 in the group stage) and possible contender next GPL Spring.

But now we have Go To Sleep competing, so we'll talk about them instead. Their mid laner NletSz has a wide and varied champion pool, including but not limited to Irelia (!!), Corki and Xerath. He's no Faker Jr, although I'm sure he takes some inspiration from God himself. Einsteinium, meanwhile, has a reputation of building damage even on Nunu (!!!) and has pulled out Master Yi in the past. He doesn't seem to be playing in recent Team Toxic matches though, sadly, having been replaced by a jungler who plays meta and hence booooooring. No wonder they lost to 3 Piglets.

Or maybe it's him. I'm not overly familiar with the Thai scene, so pardon me if I'm wrong.

If there's a weak link, it'll be in the bot lane -- Elesis gets outplayed by other Thai bot lanes, so I'm not holding out hope for him suddenly being able to match up to the likes of Optimus or even Exo (!!!!).

New team, high hopes, but low chances. MAYBE they'll take a game or two off Mineski, but no further. 

Prediction: 3rd/4th (does it matter?)

Mineski (GPL Spring: 9th-12th)

alt

 

Tgee 

Gerald Gianne Gelacio 

Top 

 

Kulit 

James Calumpag 

Jungle 

 

Yume 

Danyll Jann Balisi 

Mid 

 

Exo 

Eric Allen Gubatan 

AD 

 

Kaigu 

Jon Lance Hernandez 

Support 

 

CED 

Cedrick Daez 

Sub 

 

Noel 

Noel Cruz 

Sub

Ahh, good ol' Mineski who made it to Worlds in 2013 after Singapore Sentinels goofed in the Regional Playoffs. They hardly belonged among the region's elite, let alone the world's best teams, but gained support from the crowd anyway thanks to their underdog charm. Two years on, they somehow managed to draw 1-1 against SF5 in GPL Spring, giving false hope, but then ended their Golden Age in 3rd place in their group, failing to qualify out of the group stage. 

How a team can go 1-1 twice with the winners of the Spring split and then lose 0-2 to Ultimate (the eventual winners of their group) still beggars belief. 

They have been bested by Wargods domestically for the past two years. Although 2nd place is not such a bad thing, Wargods isn't exactly the strongest team, so you do have to wonder if Mineski will EVER play any better than they did in 2013. 

At least they have a good record against Thai teams, bringing up their chances of not actually finishing 4th. You'll notice I don't rate Wargods or IPT highly either, and that's because Filipino teams completely lack in macro play in general, and doesn't even have the mechanical skill to compensate, so going up against better regions and hoping to even win is being highly optimistic. Of course, they could prove me wrong (as they have in the past), but past domestic and regional play inspires very little hope and leaves me no choice but to dismiss Mineski's past accomplishments as freak occurrences which can't be replicated.

Prediction: 3rd/4th

So, there you have it! Congratulations if you've made it this far; you must really be interested in GPL, which takes a great deal of hipsterism. Now you can show off your increased knowledge of GPL and link your friends to this article so they can too learn about the Greatest Professional League in the world! 

With references to: eSportspedia, Garena

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