In his team’s first game at the 2015 League of Legends World Championship, Hsiung “NL” Wen-An rode the bench.
The yoe Flash Wolves kept their usual AD carry out in favor of Korean marksman Ha “KKramer” Jong-hun and his superior mechanical skill, worried that the Counter Logic Gaming bottom lane of Peter “Doublelift” Peng and Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black might abuse NL.
The Flash Wolves lost.
Flash Wolves returned NL to the lineup the next day and played better, putting up a 1-1 record with him to close out the first week of the tournament.
Today, Flash Wolves entered a rematch with Counter Logic Gaming. It was an incredibly important match: A loss would eliminated the Wolves, but a victory would place them in position to advance from the group.
And NL, who was benched during the teams’ last meeting, made sure he won’t ever ride the pine again. He used Jinx to abuse his foes, picking up a pentakill that closed the door on Counter Logic Gaming.
NL finished with a 10/3/10 KDA line, and he posted a similar one in the Flash Wolves’ next match.
Against KOO Tigers, the top spot in the group was on the line. A Wolves loss could send them into a tie breaker situation and potentially lead to elimination. While mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tan played the primary carry, NL was again superb against another tough bottom lane duo, even providing some big plays with Jinx rockets backing up Maple’s plays on LeBlanc.
NL put up an 11/2/8 KDA with Jinx while helping his team to the victory and clinching the top spot in the group, eliminating Counter Logic Gaming.
The Flash Wolves are now 4-1 with NL in the lineup, the lone loss an upset against Brazilian team paiN Gaming.
In many ways NL is simply a role player on Flash Wolves. Jungler Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan, support player Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-Jie, and mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang, who carried the match against KOO Tigers with a 12/1/8 LeBlanc, are the stars on the group winners. NL is there to dish out damage, push down towers, and clean up fights. He’s not driving the team to victory by making key picks like Karsa and SwordArt, or exerting his will across the map like Maple as LeBlanc. NL is there to perform a role, and he performed it admirably.
Many thought he’d fail against the world-class bottom lanes he’d face in the group. His own team even doubted him, benching him in their first match. But NL proved a key reason why Flash Wolves is now the surprise of the tournament, not only advancing from Group A but advancing on top of it. His nickname stands for “never lose,” and it applies better now than ever before.