This is the second post in a series previewing the upcoming IWCI qualifier for the Mid-Season Inivitational (MSI). Having detailed Be?ikta? e-Sports Club, Hard Random, and Saigon Fantastic Five I now focus on The Chiefs e-Sports Club, DetonatioN FocusMe, and Kaos Latin Gamers. Part one can be found here.
Team Name: The Chiefs e-Sports Club
Qualified By: 1st place OPL Autumn Playoffs
- Top: Swip3r (Australia)
- Jungle: Spookz (Australia)
- Mid: Swiffer (Australia)
- ADC: Raydere (Australia)
- Support: Rosey (Australia)
Originally founded back in season 3 as Team Immunity, The Chiefs e-Sports Club (The Chiefs) have been a mainstay of the Oceanic scene since its inception. In fact, they participated in the first ever wildcard event, the qualifier for S3 Worlds, and ended up losing in the semi-finals to eventual winners GamingGear.EU. They also participated in the 2013 WCG tournament as Australia’s representative, where they triumphed over KaBum (who had a very different roster from the squad that ended up stunning Alliance at the S4 Worlds) and Rampage (Japan’s representative who eventually became Ozone Rampage) but losing to EnergyPacemaker.HK and CJ Blaze. Perhaps most amazingly, the same roster they had then is still in place today, a very rare feat in a scene that changes often and without warning.
While The Chiefs have long been considered the standard bearers for Oceanic League of Legends teams, on several occasions recently they have fallen just short of winning the right to compete on the world stage. For the S4 edition of the wildcard tournament they were beaten out by Avant Garde Ascension, whose roster then left the organization and became Legacy e-Sports. Many believed that The Chiefs had thrown the series by being arrogant and assuming they had already won when they went up 2-0, but whatever the cause they missed that opportunity to try their hands at international competition again. They were again thwarted by Legacy e-Sports in the 2014 Oceanic Regional Championships, resulting in a 3rd/4th place finish.
Where other teams would perhaps have made changes, or even disbanded given the nature of developing League of Legends competitions, The Chiefs didn’t panic. Redoubling their efforts, they bounced back in the best possible way, leading the OPL from start to finish en route to a 13-1 record and the number 1 seed in the playoffs. This time their dominance extended into the playoffs, where they swept Immunity’s new roster and Dire Wolves, leaving no doubt that they deserve to be Oceania’s representative at the IWCI.
Much of The Chiefs success has been built off of constant aggressive play. Theirs are some of the most talented players Oceania has to offer, and they leverage that very well by putting opponents under pressure from the word go. No one in the OPL was able to resist them for long, eventually crumbling under the weight of The Chiefs relentless assault. It remains to be seen whether this style will work as well against international competition, but if their opponents are not prepared they could be in for a rude awakening.
Raydere is perhaps the most famous Oceanic League of Legends player of all time, and one need only look at his dominant solo-queue performances to get an idea as to why. He topped the S4 Oceania Server solo-queue ladder virtually from start to finish, ending the season with one of the highest LPs ever recorded. Despite playing significantly fewer games this season he is still ranked second on the ladder, showing that his mechanics haven’t dulled at all. Nor is he a solo-queue only talent, Raydere has been carrying The Chiefs since before they even had that name, producing dominant performances as far back as the Season 3 Wildcard Qualifier. Given The Chiefs extended absence from international competition the IWCI is a fantastic opportunity for Raydere’s coming out party. Opposing bot lanes beware!
The Chiefs were almost never challenged in the OPL, they had by far the shortest game length of all participating teams, and were able to assert their preferred style of play regardless of opponent. Will international opponents be as susceptible, or will the increased quality of opposing teams prevent The Chiefs from playing their game? Indeed this is a common problem for teams at the IWCI as many of them dominated their local regions and will now have to adjust to tougher competition; The Chiefs will be no exception.
Spookz and Swiffer were very successful against OPL opponents, but both have traits that may make them vulnerable at the IWCI. Spookz has looked ineffective on tanks, often preferring aggressive early junglers like Jarvan IV and even Elise despite the Spider-Queen falling thoroughly out of favor recently. He did look solid on Gragas, but if the Rabblerouser is picked or banned away from him will he be able to play the power picks in this tank meta or will The Chiefs have to sacrifice pick/ban flexibility to accommodate his champion pool? Similarly, Swiffer looked best on farm focused mages like Anivia, Twisted Fate, and Orianna, and didn’t need to show a particularly varied champion pool during The Chiefs run through the OPL. Given the high quality of mid-laners in this tournament, Swiffer will have to be at his best to avoid being punished early if he chooses to go with champions like Anivia again.
Now that their years long exile from international competition is finally over, The Chiefs will look to demonstrate just how far the Oceanic scene has come since its inception. While they almost certainly won’t be able to brush aside the competition as easily as they did in the OPL, the talent and skill of their players shouldn’t be underestimated. Raydere is one of the most talented and impactful players in the entire tournament and his presence alone gives The Chiefs a chance against anyone they’ll face at the IWCI. They probably won’t win the tournament, but making the playoff round is a realistic expectation.
Team Name: DetonatioN FocusMe
Qualified By: 1st place Japan League Season 1
- Top: BonziN (Japan)
- Jungle: Astarore (Japan)
- Mid: Ceros (Japan)
- ADC: Yutapon (Japan)
- Support: KazuXD (Japan)
Being one of the first teams to form in the fledgling Japanese League scene back in Season 3, DetonatioN FocusMe (Det FM) are amongst the pioneers for the scene alongside Ozone Rampage and Rascal Jester. Japan’s scene was quite scattered upon inception, featuring mostly online tournaments with small prizes (if any) and teams that formed and disbanded so often it was hard to keep track of many of them. Still, Det FM managed to find some success amidst that chaos, winning the 2nd and 3rd JCG Championships in Season 3 by triumphing over PeachServer All-Stars (who later became Rascal Jester) and Ozone Rampage respectively.
They also qualified for the amateur portion of IEM-VIII Singapore, where in their first ever LAN event (and indeed the first time many of their players had ever seen each other in person) they managed to take a game off of eventual champions CGA Legends of Hong Kong despite playing with a substitute ADC. Only mid-laner Ceros and ADC Yutapon (who couldn’t travel to Singapore) remain from that roster, and they have formed the core of Det FM’s strength for virtually the team’s entire existence.
With Season 4 came additional structure for Japan’s League scene in the form of the LoL Japan League (LJL), featuring Japan’s top four teams in best of two round-robin competition. Det FM initially struggled mightily, finishing fourth with a dismal record of 1-3-8 (w/d/l, 5-19 in individual games) in the LJL Winter Season and needed to win a playoff against their recently formed sister team DetonatioN RabbitFive (Det RF) just to stay in the LJL. The team made several roster changes following their debacle of a season, with BonziN, Astarore, and RioSilva replacing Gorira, Anelace, and Maa as the starting top, jungler, and support respectively.
It turns out that the changes were just what Det FM needed, with the team making the jump from worst to first over the course of the LJL Spring Season, finishing with a much improved 7-2-3 record (16-8 in individual games) and then consolidating their position as the top team in Japan by repeating as winners in the LJL Summer Season with an even stronger 9-2-1 record (20-4 in individual games). Det FM concluded the season with a 3-2 victory over Rascal Jester in the LJL Grand Final, making it a near clean sweep of competitions on the year.
Another roster change, Arden replacing RioSilva as the starting support, did not slow Det FM’s march in Season 5. Finishing first in the now six team LJL with an 8-2 record, Det FM were seeded directly into the playoff final where they faced sister team Det RF with a spot at the IWCI on the line. Even with analyst KazuXD subbing in as the starting support Det FM were the clear favorites, which bore itself out as the series progressed. While game 1 was a tight affair that could have gone either way, once Det FM emerged victorious from it Det RF seemed to crumble and Det FM completed the sweep to seal their spot in Turkey.
Det FM have strong fundamentals, featuring strong laners and a good aptitude for team-fighting. They very rarely fall behind from laning alone and even when they do they’ve shown a penchant for winning team-fights around objectives despite being marginally behind on gold. They play around item powerspikes very well and seem to have a solid grasp on building a cohesive team composition and then implementing their win-conditions accordingly. Additionally, the players all fill their roles very well. Ceros and Yutapon are the carries, BonziN is the frontliner, and Astarore and Arden provide either peel or initiation as necessary. These clearly defined roles help ensure that each player has the right mindset going into a game with regards to what they need to do in order for the team to succeed, something that has served them very well thus far.
While Ceros tends to make more flashy plays and gained some notoriety for his statement that he wanted to become the “Faker of Japan”, Yutapon is perhaps even more crucial to Det FM’s success. Known for his excellent mechanics, as befitting a former FPS competitor, and occasionally eccentric item builds, when Yutapon gets going Det FM seldom lose. With success across a wide variety of champions he’s proven to be adaptable to seemingly any metagame and should have a good showing in Turkey.
Somewhat unsurprisingly given the youth of the Japanese LoL scene, Det FM do not have great tactical maturity. They’ve shown an understanding of the basics of lane-swaps, rotations, and late-game objective control, but are prone to tunneling on team-fights or baron/dragon centric strategies. While they were rarely, if ever, punished for this in Japan it’s unlikely that their opponents at the IWCI will be as forgiving. Det FM all have a propensity for making seemingly random sloppy mistakes which, while it didn’t hurt them too much in the LJL, could easily be taken advantage of by savier teams.
Ceros is one of the most talented Japanese players, quite possibly the region’s best, but this tournament may prove to be a bit of a trial by fire for him. His playstyle is extremely aggressive and kill-centric, almost always choosing assassins like Ahri and Zed that give him room to outplay his opponent and create opportunities for solo-kills and roams so as to snowball his team to victory. He was able to do this against opposing mids in the LJL but will he able to do the same against much stronger competition at the IWCI? If not, Ceros will have to adjust his playstyle or risk snowballing for the wrong team.
I would like nothing more than to predict success for my countrymen, but unfortunately I just don’t think Det FM are ready to compete at this level quite yet. If they can keep things simple and force some good teamfights they will have a chance to surprise teams, but the gulf in class between the LJL and much of the competition they will face in Turkey is nothing to scoff at. High level LAN experience can only help Det FM grow as a team, but for now I think the results will lag behind the effort and making the playoffs will prove to be a bridge too far.
Team Name: Kaos Latin Gamers
Region: Latin America
Qualified By: 1st place LAC
- Top: Helior (Chile)
- Jungle: Juliostito (Chile)
- Mid: Regi (Argentina)
- ADC: zCro (Chile)
- Support: BearJew (Chile)
Founded early in Season 4 by three former members of Royal Paladin eSports Eclipse, Kaos Latin Gamers (KLG) have been hovering around the upper echelon of the Latin America South (LAS) scene continuously without managing to finish first outside of events in their home country. Their first major tournament was the Liga Samsung, which featured the top teams from Chile in a best of three playoff bracket culminating with a best of five live finals. KLG ended up winning the entire event and immediately establishing themselves as a strong team in the evolving LAS scene.
Following their debut in the Liga Samsung KLG finished second in their next two major events, first in the LAS Circuit of Legends against, where they fell to Furious Gaming, and then in the Riot Latin America Cup 2014 – Chile, where instead they were stopped by Lyon Gaming (then known as Seven Wars Lyon). Though they qualified for the next Riot Latin America Cup 3/5s of their roster left the organization and formed their own team, with only Helior and zCro remaining of the original roster. A string of roster moves ensued for the rest of Season 4, with Helior changes positions twice and zCro leaving the team for the second half of the year. Failing to qualify for the final Riot Latin America Cup 2014, ironically the spot ended up going to the team formed by their former members, left KLG out in the cold as the season’s focus shifted towards regional championships and worlds.
Not wanting to tread water heading into Season 5, KLG completely overhauled their roster, keeping Helior in the top lane but replacing every other starter. Juliostito became the jungler, Regi filled the mid lane role, zCro rejoined as the ADC once again, and BearJew joined him in the bot lane as the support. The new roster immediately gelled and KLG sailed through the qualifiers for Riot’s new LAS Latin America Cup. They performed strongly during the regular season, finishing second with a 7-3 record that trailed only Furious Gaming’s 9-1 mark. KLG swept Last Kings in the semi-final which put them in position to face Furious Gaming, who had brushed past Bencheados 3-1, in the final.
Furious Gaming had looked very strong throughout the season, they lost only two games until the final, and when they won game 1 despite a strong start from KLG it looked like they were en route to another comfortable win. Rather than give up after throwing away a solid lead in the previous game, KLG rallied and rattled off three straight wins to take the series 3-1.Their victory earned them the right to face Lyon Gaming, who had emerged victorious in the Latin America North Cup, for the Latin America Cup and a spot in the IWCI. Playing in front of a home crowd, KLG were not intimidated by their opponents much greater fame, showing no mercy in a stunning 3-0 sweep that should have them in very good spirits as they head to Turkey for their first taste of international competition.
Particularly for a newly formed roster, KLG have a strong grasp on how to gain edges through lane swaps. Against Furious Gaming in the final of the LAS Latin America Cup they repeatedly gained gold leads in the early game by putting both their top laner and jungler in better positions to farm than their opponents, which they then used to take early dragons and press their advantages even further. They then repeated the trick with similar effectiveness against Lyon Gaming in the Latin America Cup final, showing that it wasn’t just a one series wonder. If opposing teams aren’t careful they could find themselves down thousands of gold without giving away any kills as KLG run circles around them on the map.
Top laner Helior is the only member of the team who has been there continuously since it was founded, which is fitting considering he is the rock upon which KLG builds their late game fights. Equally at home on tanks and more offensive champions like Rumble and Hecarim, Helior’s playstyle in the early game is to prioritize farm until he reaches key item thresholds (he’s especially good at taking advantage of Rumble’s double magic-penetration item spike) at which point he looks to either force advantageous team-fights or take objectives. It will be interesting to see how teams handle his champion pool; given his strength on Rumble that would seem an obvious ban, but Helior’s Maokai was dominant against Lyon Gaming potentially reducing the impact of targeted bans against KLG’s top laner and making opposing pick/ban phases that much more complicated.
Overall execution has been a recurring issue for KLG throughout their run through the Latin American scene. They usually have the right idea about what to do on the map, but they occasionally go about it in a sloppy or unfocused way that results in their opponents gaining advantages they should never have had the chance to take. Throwing away a two to three thousand gold lead against Furious Gaming in game 1 was a perfect example of this, as a communication mix-up gifted their opponents 3 kills and a turret seemingly from nothing and ended up giving Furious Gaming the tools they needed to snowball the game. If KLG make similar mistakes at the IWCI it is unlikely they will find opponents who won’t punish them for it.
While not in any way a bad player, KLG’s mid laner Regi may find the going tough in Turkey. Known primarily for his LeBlanc and Zed play, the rise of the tank meta has greatly reduced the effectiveness of his preferred assassins and made his champion pool look a little shallow. In his defense, he did look solid on Vladimir against Lyon Gaming, but it remains to be seen how he will hold up facing the strong group of mids gathered at the IWCI.
Almost completely unknown to most casual observers given their lack of international exposure, KLG come into the IWCI with almost no expectations from fans and analysts. Latin America has historically had little success internationally outside of some strong runs by Lyon Gaming in the past, and given the level of competition they will be facing it seems unlikely that KLG will do much to change that trend. They could surprise a few teams with their map play, but I feel that even at their best they’re a step below the top teams in the tournament. Their underdog run will end up falling short of the playoffs, though not for a lack of trying.