The time has come for the Grand Finals of OGN Champions Winter 2013-2014 season! The Grand Finals will be a battle between the currently undefeated defending Summer season champions SK Telecom T1 K and the Spring season champions Samsung Galaxy Ozone.
Will Ozone be able to exceed all expectations once again like they did in the Spring season by defeating the seemingly unstoppable SK Telecom T1 K in the Grand Finals and become the first team in OGN Champions history to win two championship titles? Or will SK Telecom T1 K continue their domination of the Korean scene and finish off their perfect season thus far to become the first team to ever win back-to-back OGN championship titles? It is do or die for both teams and it all comes down to this.
The Grand Finals airs on January 25, 2014 at 12:00 AM PST, 3:00 AM EST, 9:00 AM CET, and 5:00 PM KST.
Stream Links: http://www.twitch.tv/ongamenet
Until further notice, the Grand Finals will be played on Patch 3.15 with Rengar and Yasuo enabled.
Top Lane (Impact vs Looper):
Ever since his debut, Impact has continued to provide valuable utility for his team by providing tanky initiation in teamfights as well as pressuring side lanes. With a large pool of favorite meta-favored tanks to play such as Shyvana, Dr. Mundo, and Renekton, Impact will utilize every opportunity he can get at making the plays happen for his team from his position. With Rengar coming back into play in the Grand Finals, we will have to wait and see whether Impact will go back to the Pridestalker for this series.
In the opposition, Looper currently has the highest KDA among top laners this past Winter season. Like his lane opponent, Looper is very comfortable on the current flavor of the month top laners in Shyvana, Dr. Mundo, and Renekton. However, he is one of the few top laners in Korea that sometimes chooses to run Teleport on his top laners and he is very smart in finding the right moment to teleport in for an ambush onto the enemy team to turn crucial team fights into Ozone’s favor.
The current top lane meta revolves around a constant war of attrition often with resourceless tanks constantly in a tit for tat exchange. Depending on how picks and bans turn out, this very even match-up between Impact and Looper will most likely end up being the usual Shyvana vs Dr. Mundo match-up unless one or both teams decide to ban out the Big Three top laners.
Jungle (Bengi vs DanDy):
Although Bengi does not always get the same kind of recognition as some of his teammates, he is not to be underestimated because he sets the pace in the early game for his team and is often the catalyst for SKT1 K to snowball. He invests a lot of early gold into placing wards in key locations around the map to start establishing vision control for his team as well as allow him to smell out the enemy jungler’s position and make counter plays accordingly.
Representing Ozone, DanDy is one of the biggest play-makers for Ozone in that he acts as the “anti-jungler” by preventing his jungling opponent from making an impact in the early game via counter-ganking and placing early wards to establish vision control for Ozone. DanDy also heavily prioritizes investing early gold into movement speed to get into position as quickly as possible to make plays for Ozone. Nicknamed the “King of Thieves” for his reputation of stealing Dragon and Baron in crucial moments of Ozone’s games, DanDy will be a force to be reckoned with in this Grand Finals series.
With these two world-class junglers clashing in this Winter Finals, this series will be a very high level mind game between these two tacticians because both of them will be looking for every opportunity to snowball their team in the early game and counteracting each other’s decisions. It will be interesting to see whether one or both of these teams will opt to ban out some of the favored jungle picks and how these two junglers will react and end up selecting in the aftermath of the bans. Regardless, this very even match-up is the one to watch to determine who will win the early game and most likely the entire game.
Mid (Faker vs. Dade):
Faker, the MVP of the Summer season, has continued to live up to the hype surrounding him with his incredible game play in the mid lane this Winter season. He is currently the leader in the MVP points standings going into the Grand Finals and could very well be the first player to ever win the title of season MVP in back-to-back seasons. With one of the most versatile champion pools at the professional level, it is absolutely impossible to force Faker onto an uncomfortable champion and it opens up so many strategic options for SKT1 K in picks and bans. Faker loves to roam around the map to make plays for SKT1 K to help secure objectives as well as snowball the game out of his opponents’ control.
Dade, the MVP of the Spring season, has been on a mission for redemption this Winter season after his disastrous performance at the Season 3 World Championships. Aside from one questionable game this season when he picked Lucian mid, Dade has for the most part redeemed himself with one final obstacle to overcome in this Grand Finals match when he faces off against Faker. Dade has expanded his champion pool and has become a shining star for his team by carrying Ozone in their recent games this season.
This match-up between these two former MVPs of past OGN seasons in the mid lane will not only be exciting, but will also play a huge role in deciding which team will take home the championship. With Yasuo being available (tentatively), it will be interesting to see what champion match-ups end up happening in the aftermath of champion select. Although Dade has been playing much better and regained a lot of his former glory and strength from when he dominated CJ Blaze in OGN Spring, Faker is definitely considered the favorite to win this match-up and that could tip the scales in favor of SKT1 K to win the series.
Marksman (Piglet vs. Imp):
Piglet has continued to be a huge threat on SKT1 K with the highest KDA among the Korean marksmen going into the Grand Finals as well as having consistently impressive performances in a tanky meta that is arguably unfavorable to marksmen. With great mechanics, bloodthirsty instincts, and a wide pool of marksmen to choose from, Piglet opens up so many potential strategies that SKT1 K can choose to run in their games. As of late, SKT1 K has favored the fast lane pushing strategy and would often have Piglet play his old favorite Caitlyn for maximum tower siege potential.
Imp is always a force to be reckoned with for every team that faces Samsung Ozone and he is currently the runner-up in the MVP points standings slightly behind Faker. Despite saying in interviews multiple times that he dislikes the current meta and feels somewhat useless as the game drags on, Imp has made essential contributions to Ozone’s past victories with his aggressive game play, great positioning, and target selection in team fights. Going into the Grand Finals, Imp has said that he is really looking forward to face Piglet once again.
Despite the current meta to be seemingly unfavorable towards marksmen with the rise of unstoppable tanks in the top lane, both Piglet and Imp adapted accordingly and continue to be huge threats. Interestingly, not too many teams have been opting to ban marksmen in champion select. Even so, this is yet another very even match-up that will come down to which marksman will have the better positioning and dish out the most damage in the team fights in the later stages of the game.
Support (PoohManDu vs Mata):
PoohManDu, the team captain of SKT1 K, completes SK Telecom T1 K’s unified team of play-makers with amazing support play this past Winter season. His shotcalls and initiations with his high CC support sets up countless well-executed picks that lead to crucial objectives for his team. PoohManDu is also a master of vision control by always keeping key locations warded as well as denying vision from the enemy team.
Mata has consistently been a huge play maker for Ozone ever since he joined the team back when they were part of the MVP organization. Maintaining multiple accounts in the Korean Challenger ladder, Mata’s overall understanding and mechanics of the game allow him to play everything from the flavor of the month supports to unconventional picks such as Lee Sin support. Mata is also very meticulous about maintaining vision control by denying the enemy team vision while keeping Ozone’s wards placed in key points of the jungle.
Many OGN teams have opted to ban out supports recently in champion select. With two world-class supports going up against each other in this Grand Finals, we might see some interesting support picks if both teams opt to ban out the main supports of choice. Both supports also complete the aggressive duo lane that exists in both teams which could mean a lot of early duels and all-ins if there is a 2v2 lane match-up.
Listed in no particular order are champions that either one or both teams have been prioritizing in recent match history and are either banned or picked upon rotation during champion select:
- Shyvana – undeniably strong with her versatility as a lane bully. She can split push effectively, initiate teamfights, peel for carries, and be nigh-unkillable in late game.
- Dr. Mundo – with the rise of defensive masteries in S4, the Madman of Zaun has become a monstrous top laner with similar capabilities as Shyvana and even greater chase potential with the infected cleaver, as well as ridiculous sustain with his ultimate. Looper always runs Teleport when he is playing this champion.
- Renekton – the crocodile still remains to be a fallback pick for top laners, especially when Mundo or Shyvana are not available. He fills the same role as the other two. acting as an unstoppable tank initiator and a competent split pusher.
- Lee Sin – a very threatening champion that Bengi, DanDy, and even Mata can all use to make crucial plays happen for their team, especially in the early and mid game.
- Elise – another threatening jungler available to Bengi and DanDy that can fit with just about every conceivable team composition that a team might run.
- Olaf – another new terror in the jungle with almost unmatched dueling capability and pick potential with multiple Undertows. It can be nearly impossible to peel him off of carries. With these talents, he will definitely be up there in the list of priority champions for both teams especially if Lee Sin and Elise are banned.
- Gragas – another versatile mid laner that Faker and Dade can play that has great all-in potential in lane, strong poke, wave clear, and siege capability with barrels.
- Kassadin – a terrifying mid laner in the hands of Faker. He played one Kassadin game in this past season where he just decimated Samsung Blue which led to Kassadin being banned multiple times in subsequent games. Give Faker a champion that allows him to roam, burst, escape, and scales well into late game would probably be fairly unwise.
- Kha’zix - one of Dade’s recent terrifying picks. With Kha’zix’s high burst, roaming, snowballing, and assassination potential, we could possibly see the Voidreaver come back again in this match.
- Nidalee – another favored mid lane pick for her great siege capability with spears and traps as well as all-in potential in cougar form. Although a little more one-dimensional compared to other mid laners, she is still very good at what she does best and can be extremely effective coupled with Caitlyn or other long range marksmen.
- Riven – Faker, the original pioneer of Riven mid, is a particularly scary threat on this champion. DanDy has brought out Riven jungle in the past and could deny Riven from Faker.
- Orianna – the Lady of Clockwork has been one of Faker’s most picked champions in this past Champions Winter season with her lane presence, wave clear, and teamfight damage, utility, and CC.
- Ziggs – an incredibly potent mid lane champion that is deadly in the hands of Dade utilizing Zigg’s insane wave clear, poke potential, and AOE damage. Faker has yet to play Ziggs this season.
- Lucian – another highly favored marksman in Korea for his strong wave shoving power and tower sieging potential despite some nerfs.
- Ezreal – a very versatile marksman that is very potent in the hands of either Piglet or Imp. Ezreal is great for pushing lanes, sieging towers, clearing waves in side lanes with Trueshot Barrage, and is very hard to catch out of position because of Arcane Shift.
- Caitlyn – a long time favorite of both Piglet and Imp, the Sheriff of Piltover is favored by both teams if they are looking to run a fast push and tower siege strategy with her long range and zone potential with her Yordle Traps.
- Annie – Tabe’s little monster has been unleashed and led to Annie getting permabanned or instantly picked if available. One of the few champions with an AOE stun at level 1, the Dark Child has terrifying zone control in lane, as well as highly valuable AOE CC initiation/disengage with Tibbers.
- Thresh – with his hook and lantern in hand, the Chain Warden is another threatening support in the hands of PoohManDu or Mata. Thresh is truly a support that can do it all, from picking off enemy champions with hooks and flays to peeling and saving allies with clutch lantern grabs. Thresh has been top tier since his release, and this match is no exception.
- Leona – another crowd control-based support that is dangerous in the hands of PoohManDu or Mata. With Annie and Thresh most likely banned or taken away, Leona is another champion that either support may elect to play.
Potential Champion Picks:
Listed here in no particular order are champions that could potentially be picked by either team but haven’t in recent match history, as well as some champions that are not exactly favored in the current meta but are great situational picks.
- Vi – Bengi pioneered jungle Vi in Korea late Season 3 for her instant lock-down potential of an enemy champion as well as her long-range ganks. If both teams decide to ban the main go-to junglers, we might see Bengi go back to Vi.
- Kayle - a very potent mid laner that has been picked and banned a lot in NA and EU LCS that can dish out massive amounts of damage. GGoong has played Kayle before and it could be possible that one if not both teams pick Kayle.
- Trundle – with the Troll rising up in NA and EU LCS recently as a fairly effective counter to the Big Three top laners (Shyvana, Dr. Mundo, and Renekton), Impact and/or Looper could have picked up this champion over the course of the time they both had to practice.
- Leblanc - another pick rising up in the NA and EU LCS in the mid lane recently. Faker has brought out Leblanc in a couple of SKT1 K’s games and absolutely demolished the enemy team.
- Singed - both top laners have Singed in their back pockets. There is somewhat of an off-chance that we could see Singed in the Grand Finals if both teams really opt to heavily ban out top laners.
- Sivir – was permabanned in Korea and almost always instantly picked up if available due to her insane wave clear, ability to block incoming CC with spell shield, and her team-based ultimate that is capable of allowing her team to quickly engage onto their opponents or disengage her team away from initiating tanks. Due to nerfs in Patch 3.15, Sivir has somewhat moved from her previous permaban status to a more situational pick or might not even see touched at all in champion select.
NOTE: Yasuo was originally announced to be enabled for the Grand Finals, but due to some recent bugs found regarding his ultimate rooting people in place longer than intended, it is unclear whether he will actually be enabled or not for the Grand Finals. However, in the case that he is available…
- Yasuo – the newest champion in the League of Legends has been picked and banned quite a few times in the NA and EU LCS with relatively decent success considering he was still a very new champion. Some time ago, highlight clips have shown up on /r/leagueoflegends showcasing Faker’s Yasuo. Coupled with a champion like Vi, Lee Sin, Thresh, Lulu, and other champions that SKT1 K can play that have displacement spells…Faker could easily pick out a target at will and just go in for the assassination. However, I would not be surprised if Dade can play Yasuo as well given how well he plays AD assassins like Kha’zix and Zed. Couple that with the same champions that Ozone is just as capable of playing, Dade by all means could do the exact same thing to SKT1 K.
Both SKT1 K and Ozone are great teams completely stacked with play-makers in every role. Some predict a complete 3-0 stomp by SKT1 K to close out a perfect Winter season without dropping a game as well as becoming the first team to ever win two back-to-back championships in the OGN circuit. However, Ozone is not to be underestimated because they have been in the position of being the underdog team before and they shocked everyone when they completely smashed the seemingly unstoppable CJ Entus Blaze who was on a thirteen game winning streak going into the Spring Finals. Ozone is also the ONLY team to ever beat SK Telecom T1 K in a best of five series back in OGN Spring the last time these two teams met in competition.
In terms of role match-ups alone, it is very close across the board with an exception in mid lane where it will be on Dade to prove his critics wrong by derailing the SK Telecom T1 K Hype Train…if he can manage to beat Faker. The team that exercises better execution of their overall strategy and as well as show better adaptation of their strategies as the series evolves will be the team that wins out in the end.
As much as I love both teams, I predict that it will be a 3-1 victory in this series for SK Telecom T1 K who will become the first team to win back-to-back championships in OGN history…but I think Ozone will deny the record of “perfect season sweep” from SK Telecom T1 K by being the first team to beat SKT1 K in the Winter season at the Grand Finals.
David Widrick for designing the art @ Davidwidrick.com