Watch: the people's jungler
With the recent Chinese migration of some of Korea's top junglers it is time for several long time players to step up and replace these junglers. One of these people is Watch, Watch has been involved in Korean League Of Legends for almost three years and has always been a good jungler but has never been able to break into that number one spot. With the 2015 season and the combining of Najin Black Sword and Najin White Shield watch finally has his chance to mould himself within this team and develop his jungling to become the best. This article will look at Watch's history within Korean LOL and will outline why he has what it takes to become the best jungler in Korea.
A rise to glory
Watch started his League career in early 2012 when he was picked up as a part of Maknoon's new team Najin Sword. In this team he was joined by other Korean Legends Cain, Pray and Ssong. With this roster Watch would go on to compete in his very first OGN, the Azubu Champions Summer 2012. Sword would get placed in the same group as Azubu Frost, Dignitas and RoMg, Watch and Sword proceeded to easily get out of this group only dropping a game to top Korean team Azubu Frost. With this success in the group stage Sword went onto the bracket stage where they would play team Startale lead by another Korean legend Locodoco. This series saw Watch playing a very dominating Nocturne which had near-perfect synergy with Maknoon's play-style of constantly diving his lane opponent and diving the enemy backline. With this swift victory over Startale Najin Sword went onto the semifinals where they would be up against EU powerhouse CLG.EU lead by their star mid laner Froggen. The first game of this series gad Watch playing Maokai, a more utility centric jungler. Despite Watch's best efforts CLG EU took game one to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Coming into the second game Watch decided to change up his pick and went with a more farm heavy carry style jungler, Shyvana. After a close game CLG EU managed to pull out the win and take the series to a 2-0 lead. With being down so far Najin Sword needed to step it up in game three if they wanted to have any chance at bringing this series back. Game three had Watch picking Shyvana again and this time the pick worked incredibly well with Maknoon's Shen pick and Najin Sword managed to take game three. The third game of the series had Watch and Maknoon falling back onto a tried and tested combo of Nocturne and Jax. Sadly Froggen's ability to use Morgana to effectively peel for his carries was too much for Watch and Maknoon and CLG EU took the series 3-1. this loss to CLG EU meant Sword would be dropped into the third place game against Azubu Blaze. The first game of this series against Blaze had Watch playing his Skarner, a champion he would soon become known for. This combination of Watch's Skarner and Ssong's Orianna proved too much for Blaze to handle as Sword quickly took game one. Game two had Watch and Maknoon again picking champions with an incredible ability to dive the enemy backline. These two champions were Shyvana and Malphite and with these champions they quickly got Sword victory and secured a 2-0 win over Blaze. With this third place finish in his very first OGN Watch had proved that he had what it took to be a top jungler in Korea with his immense champion pool and the synergy he had with his top laner Maknoon.
With this third place OGN finish Sword had amassed enough circuit points for them to qualify into the Korean World Championship Regionals. In this tournament Sword would have to run the gauntlet in three best of fives against Incredible Miracle, Xenics Storm and Azubu Blaze. The first set against Incredible Miracle saw Watch showing his ability to play utility junglers with him picking Skarner in game one and Maokai in games 2,3 and 4. Najin convincingly took victory in this series with a solid 3-1 performance. Najin then moved on to facing Xenics Storm. Again this series saw Watch showing his wide champion pool with him playing Skarner, Shyvana and Nocturne across the three games. With this swift 3-0 victory Sword would then go on to rematch Blaze for their chance at competing in the World Championship. The first game of this series had Watch picking Maokai against Helios's Skarner. Again as he has before Watch showed how good he was on this utility jungler and was a driving force in Sword's victory in the first game. The second game of this series had Watch picking Shyvana up against Helios's Lee Sin. Sadly despite having the Shyvana/Shen combo that Sword loved so much they ended up losing game two with the series being tied up 1-1. This loss in the second game seemed to upset Watch as he left the game early giving Sword a penalty of one less ban in the third game. Game three of this series had Sword once again defaulting onto two very dive heavy champions Nocturne and Malphite but again this combo that had worked so many times before failed to work and Blaze took the third game to get a 2-1 lead over Sword. Coming into game four Sword knew they had to pull out something amazing if they wanted to keep their chance at qualifying for Worlds so with this knowledge Watch decided to once again play his legendary Skarner. This Skarner pick proved very successful for Watch as they quickly won game four tying up the series and taking it to a fifth blind pick game. With this blind pick game Watch could pick anything he wanted and although most people expected him to play his amazing Skarner he instead decided to play a more utility based champion Maokai. Watch quickly showed that he was not wrong to pick this as he had an incredible performance and managed to bring Sword to a 3-2 victory. With this win over Blaze Sword had qualified for their very first World Championship and were ready to show the world what they were made of.
Coming into the Season Two World Championship Watch and Sword would be seeded into the same group as Team Dignitas, Saigon Jokers and CLG EU. Despite CLG EU and Dignitas both looking incredibly strong within their domestic regions they both paled in comparison to Najin Sword. With Sword convincingly 3-0ing their group they looked primed and ready to make this World Championship theirs. Coming into the quarter-finals Najin Sword would be up against little known team Taipei Assassins. With their huge success in Korea Sword were expected to beat this unknown Taiwanese ream with great ease but this was not the case. Game one of this series had Watch playing Skarner with Maknoon playing another back line diver Irelia. Despite Sword's experience playing this immense dive comp TPA Mistake and Toyz ability to peel for their team was too strong and TPA quickly took the first game of the series. Coming into the second game Sword picked another combo they had displayed many times before by playing Jax and Maokai. Sadly for Sword this was not strong enough as TPA convincingly took game two and advanced to the Semifinals. Despite not beating TPA getting a top eight finish at World was still an incredible achievement for Watch and he just kept his head high and looked on to the future.
Following Worlds Najin Sword would proceed to get invited to MLG Dallas 2012. joining them at this tournament would be fellow Koreans Azubu Blaze and top western teams CLG EU, CLG NA and TSM. The first round of this tournament would have Sword up against North American legend Counter Logic Gaming. This first best of three was what could only be called a stomp. With Watch playing Nocturne in both games he quickly dismantled CLG jungler Chauster and gave Sword what they needed to bring a swift 2-0 victory against CLG. With them defeating CLG Sword would then go on to face North American fan favourite Team Solo Mid. The first game of their series against TSM had watch playing a champion he was rather unfamiliar with, Lee Sin. Despite having not played very much in competitive play Watch delivered a convincing performance on Lee Sin as he completely out jungled NA's best jungler TheOddone. With this 1-0 lead Sword went into game two looking unstoppable as they picked their legendary Malphite/Nocturne combo. Up against Theoddone's Rengar Watch convincingly out jungled him and showed why Korea had the best junglers in the world. With this 2-0 victory over TSM Sword would then go into the fourth round of the tournament where they would face long time rivals Azubu Blaze. The first game of this series would have Watch again displaying his amazing champion pool as he pulled out Rengar against Helios's Mundo. Watch and Sword once again got a quick victory against Blaze and took the series to a 1-0 lead. The second game of this series had Watch and Maknoon again defaulting back onto their Nocturne/Shen combo that had worked so many times before. Like these previous times this combination of champions proved strong as they quickly took the series 2-0. With this victory Sword would advance into the grand finals where they would again face Blaze after they had climbed their way back through the losers bracket. Coming into this final Sword had the advantage as they would only have to win one best of three where Blaze would have to win two. Despite having this huge advantage something seemed to shake Sword as they came into these series and quickly lost the first 2-1 and then lost the second series 2-0. In this tournament Sword seemed unbeatable during their first three rounds but with this loss to Blaze in the finals Sword went home with a disappointing second place finish.
With a third place finish at OGN Summer, a top eight placing at Worlds and second place at a major international tournament Watch and Najin Sword looked strong coming into 2013 and they quickly set out to prove this in the 2013 OGN Winter tournament. This tournament had Sword seeded into the same group as their long time rivals Azubu Blaze and the new up-and-coming team KT Rolster B. During this group stage Sword were not the strongest team in the group as they dropped two games to Blaze and KTB and went 1-1 with MVP Blue. Despite these losses Sword managed to clinch themselves a spot in the play-off round of the tournament. In their first game of the Quarter-finals Sword would be up against MVP White a team featuring Korean legends such as Imp and Dandy. The first game of this series would have Watch on Amumu against Dandy on Cho'Gath. With his incredible synergy with the bot lane combo of Sona Miss Fortune Watch was a key part in Sword's victory in game one as they took the lead in the series 1-0. The second game of this series had Watch once again playing Amumu with the ADC MF up against Dandy's legendary Lee Sin. Sword once again used this amazing Amumu/MF combo bring themselves another victory to bring the series to a 2-0 lead. The final game of this series had Watch playing Xin Zhao against Dandy's Amumu. Despite a poor early game Sword managed to come back with Watch's Xin and Maknoon's Khazix managing to dive White's immobile ADC Ashe bringing them a convincing 3-0 victory and taking them to the semifinals. The semifinals of this tournament had Sword up against that team that had given them so much trouble in the group stage, KT Rolster B. This was Sword's first real challenge in the 2013 OGN Winter as they set out to prove that their old school play-style and experience would shine over KTB's new school play-style. The first game of this series had Watch playing Cho'Gath against Kakao's Nocturne. With Watch and Sword's impressive team fighting they managed to bring themselves victory over KTB and brought them to a 1-0 lead against KTB. The second game of the series had Watch once again playing Cho'Gath and Kakao once again playing Nocturne. After learning from their mistakes in game one KTB managed to win game two bringing the series to a 1-1 tie. The third game of this series had Watch and Pray once again picking Amumu and Miss Fortune. With their incredibly strong team fighting Sword took the victory convincingly and made the series 2-1. The final game of this series again had Sword utilising this MF/Amumu composition to out team-fight KTB. With KTB not learning from their mistakes they quickly lost the series 3-1. In the second best of five between these two teams KTB looked distraught from their loss in the first series and lost in abrupt fashion to a solid 3-0 from Najin Sword.
Sword had now qualified for their very first OGN Grand Final. In this final Sword would be up against the legendary Korean team Azubu Frost. As this was their first chance at the final Sword were seen as the underdogs coming into this match as Frost had already appeared in two OGN finals and had won one of them. Game on of this series had Watch playing Xin Zhao up against Cloud Templar's legendary Amumu. With a large amount of experience behind playing this carry style jungler Watch quickly dismantled CT and brought Sword victory in game one. Game two of this series had Watch once again picking Xin Zhao and CT playing Shen. Just like the previous game Watch quickly proved that his carry style of jungling was a lot stronger than CT's utility style jungling where he was practically a second support. The final game of this series had Watch seemingly going for a hat trick as he played Xin Zhao a third time against CT's now infamous Trundle. Watch once again proved how strong his Xin was as he was a key piece in Sword's victory as they stomped Frost in a solid 3-0 victory. With this OGN title to his name Watch looked unstoppable as he entered season three. With the jungle changes that came in season 3 Watches style of damage oriented jungle picks became far stronger than the previous utility based champions. With this change Watch was ready to take the world by storm.
A fall from grace
The OGN Winter powerhouse would proceed to compete in OGN Spring 2013 looking to add another title to their name. Sword would be seeded into group A alongside CJ Blaze, MVP Ozone( previously MVP White) and OGN newcomers SK Telecom T1 2. Najin's group stage performance looked shaky as they only took a 2-0 victory over the KT Arrows and had two draws against SKT and MVP Ozone. Despite this groups performance Sword managed to make their way into the bracket stage of the tournament where they would be up against another legendary Korean team, CJ Frost. The first game of this series had Watch playing Nasus up against CloudTemplar's Nautilus. Watch showed a disappointing performance on Nasus along with the rest of Sword and they quickly dropped game one to Frost. The second game once again had Watch on Nasus and CT on Nautilus but this time Sword had swapped up its team comp and managed to bring themselves victory lead by the huge tanks that were Watch on Nasus and Maknoon on Zac. The third game of the series had Frost banning out Watch's Nasus forcing him onto Cho'Gath, with this Cho'Gath pick he was up against CT on Elise. Once again the one time champions showed a lack of co-ordination throughout the game and Frost quickly took the 2-1 lead in the series. The final game of this series was much the same as Sword showed a disappointing performance dropping the series 3-1 and finishing with only a top eight finish in OGN spring 2013.
With this disappointing performance in the spring season Sword went through some drastic roster changes. Swapping out their once amazing top laner Maknoon for the top laner on their sister team Najin Shield. With this roster change came a change in name, Sword renamed to Najin Black Sword and looked ready to improve their under par performance in the previous OGN. Black Sword would then go on to compete in OGN Summer 2013. Even with their roster change Watch and Sword had a very disappointing showing in the tournament dropping out in the group stage to CJ Blaze and Chunnam Techno University. Looking to improve Sword would then go on to compete in OGN winter 2013-14. Once again Sword would proceed to drop out in the group staged to the KT Bullets and Samsung Galaxy Blue. With these two disappointing showings in OGN Watch looked like he had finally fallen from grace. From being what looked like the best jungler in Korea to being a less than average jungler was a real fall and it was questioned whether or not Watch was ever going to return to his former glory.
Watch gets his groove back
Watch's final chance to prove his worth came when Sword were seeded into the season three world after managing to amass enough circuit points through their NLB performances and their one OGN win. With them being the first seed from Korea Sword would luckily not have to play through the group stage part of the tournament. Their first game of the tournament was up against EU legend Gambit Gaming. Here Watch would be able to prove himself as he came up against long time legend Diamondprox. The first game of this series had Watch on Nunu up against Diamond's Elise. Following a disappointing performance from Watch Gambit managed to take this first game. Here it seemed like Watch's career could potentially be over, having disappointing performances in his domestic region and now in this first game against Gambit he once again failed to perform. In game two Watch really had to step up his game if he wanted to still be seen as a top competitor. Game two saw Watch doing just this, with an astounding 15.0 KDA on Elise Watch struck back Hard as he brought Sword victory in game two bringing the series to a 1-1 tie. Having performed better than he had in months Watch looked unstoppable coming into the final game of the series and unstoppable he was. Playing Nunu against Diamond's legendary Evelynn Watch once again took the game into his hand with an impressive 12.0 KDA Watch really showed the world that he was ready to be back on top. With this victory over Gambit NJBS moved on to the Semifinals where they would be up against top Korean team SKT T1. With this huge challenge ahead of him Watch would have to pull out something amazing if he wanted to be a key factor in Sword getting victory over SKT. The first game of their series once again had Watch having an amazing performance on Elise as he styled on Bengi with an impressive 10.0 KDA. Despite Watch's best efforts in the second game of the series Sword's bot and mid lane couldn't compare to that of SKT T1's as Piglet and Faker effectively carried the game. Watch wasn't done yet though as he came into game three with something to prove and prove something he did, with an amazing 5-3-11 score on Lee Sin Watch showed what he was made of as he carried Sword to a convincing 2-1 lead over the Korean powerhouse. Game four and five of this series went much the same way as the second, with SKT's bot and mid lane just being too much for Sword to handle and Watch not being able to recuperate the losses that these lanes has brought.
Despite this loss to SKT Worlds was definitely a success for Watch as he seemingly got his performance back into shape. With this improvement in his play Watch was moved from the Najin Black Sword roster onto the Najin White Shield roster. This roster change came as Najin wanted to make Shield their main team rather than Sword. With his newly found team that seemed to cater to his needs far more than NJBS did, Watch looked incredibly strong coming into 2014. Watch's first OGN with Shield would be OGN Spring 2014. Shield would be placed in the same group as CJ Blaze, Incredible Miracle 2 and Xenics Storm. Shield convincingly came first out of this group and advanced into the group stage where they would be up against top Korean team KT Bullets. The first game of this series had Watch on Wukong up against Insec's legendary Pantheon. This Wukong pick didn't prove successful as Shield quickly dropped game one. Coming into the second game Watch decided to switch it up and play Evelynn against Insec's jungle Jax. Once again Watch delivered a disappointing performance and Shield dropped the second game giving KTB a 2-0 lead. Coming into game three Watch managed to get one of his favourite champions Lee Sin, a champion that he had consistently performed on. Up against Insec's Pantheon once again Watch delivered a great Lee Sin performance being a deciding factor in Shield coming back to make the series 2-1. The fourth game of the series once again saw Watch playing Evelynn except this time something seemed to click inside him as he delivered an impressive 7-4-9 performance to bring Shield victory and tie the series up 2-2. The final game of the series would be Watch's real test where his Lee Sin was put up against the legendary Insec's. Despite Insec's stellar reputation on this champion Watch impressively outshone him I this game bringing Shield the 3-2 victory over KTB. With this victory over KTB Shield would go on to face CJ Blaze in the semifinals of the tournament. The first two games of this series saw Watch performing out of his mind with a combined KDA of 4-0-23 Watch looked unbeatable. Coming into games three and four of this series Watch would not have such amazing performances much like the rest of Shield, with them dropping two games in a row Blaze managed to tie the series up 2-2. Coming into the blind pick game Watch once again played Lee Sin and once again had an amazing performance with a final score of 8-3-13 Watch was a key factor in Shield's victory over Blaze. With this victory over Blaze Watch advanced to his second OGN final, this time up against rising star Samsung Galaxy Blue. Despite Watch having a great performance in all of the games against Blue Shield sadly dropped the series 3-1 getting them second place at OGN Spring 2014.
Following this impressive performance in OGN Spring Watch seemed to have restored to his former glory as one of the best junglers in Korea. With this resurrection of his skill Watch looked ready to take the next step and bring Shield victory in OGN Summer 2014. During OGN Summer Shield ended up seeded into the same group as Najin Black Sword, KT Rolster Bullets and Jin Air Green Wings. Shield would proceed to go 1-1 against all three of these teams securing themselves a spot in the bracket stage of the tournament. Unluckily for Shield their first match in the quarter-finals was up against the KT Arrow ( the eventual winners of the tournament) and despite their best efforts Shield dropped the series 3-2 to KTA. Despite Watch getting another disappointing top eight finish at OGN he would not let this hurt him as he and Shield were still qualified into the Korean World Regionals and still had a chance at winning Worlds. Watch ready to prove himself once again as he proceeded to have what is called by most people “the tournament of his life” as he kept an amazing 9.0 KDA throughout the entire regionals and was the driving force behind Shield qualifying for worlds.
Coming into the 2014 world championship Shield looked stronger than ever after this dominating performance from Watch during the Korean Regionals. Shield got placed into group D alongside North American number 2 seed Cloud9, European number 1 seed Alliance and Brazilian wild-card Kabum!. Following dominating performances against C9, KBM and ALL Shield managed to get out of the group and were placed into the quarter-finals up against Chinese team OMG. Following a disappointing performance from all members of Shield OMG quickly took the series with a 3-0 victory knocking Shield out of the tournament in the round of eight. Coming off this defeat in the 2015 series with the knew OGN ruling Najin Shield and Najin Sword were forced to combine in to one team Najin e-mFire. This team retained the legendary combo of Watch and Ggoong from shield and picked up the new faces Duke and Ohq from Najin Sword along with Watch's old teammate Cain.
When looking back on Watch's career it is clear to see that he has been one of the best players to ever come out of Korea. From his countless top 8 OGN finishes or his 3 World Championship performances. Watch has done almost every thing in professional League Of Legends and has proven time after time that he is more than just good looks.