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OGN Champions Winter Preview: KT Rolster Bullets vs CJ Entus Blaze


OGN-Group-Stage-KTB-CJ-Blaze

The OGN Champions Winter 2013-2014 Quarterfinals will continue with the rematch between KT Rolster Bullets and CJ Entus Blaze. The stakes are high for both teams to make it to the semifinals with neither team wanting to go down to NLB. Even though historically the KT Bullets proved to be CJ Blaze’s kryptonite with a 13-3 advantage in head-to-head record, the newly revamped CJ Blaze roster will be looking for sweet revenge against KT B for losing the past two series to them.

KT Rolster Bullets

The KT organization is one of the oldest KeSpa teams that has been around for over a decade. The KeSpa organizations usually have a lot of funds for eSports and have known to create the infrastructure that Korea has to produce world class players (We can save the KeSpa explanation for another day). That being said, KT stands for Korean Telecom and their biggest competitor is SKT, Sun Kyong  Telecom. It is like AT&T vs Verizon. If KT Rolster Bullets beats CJ Entus Blaze we will see the battle of the telephone companies once again.

Team-Photo-KT-Rolster-B

From left to right: Score (Marksman), Ryu (Mid), KaKAO (Jungler), Leopard (Sub), Mafa (Support), and InSec (Top).

Meet the Team

InSec (Choi In-seok 최인석)  

He was arguably the best jungler in the world and now he has made a name for himself as KT Rolster B’s top laner. InSec is most comfortable playing tanky initiators in the top lane and has brought out some of his staple jungle picks into the top lane. What InSec brings to champions select is another layer of strategy. Whenever KT B picks either Zed or Lee Sin, the enemy team always has to consider that it could be InSec playing them because those are the champions that he is known for. Even though InSec might not be considered one of the best top laners in Korea, his performance so far in Champions has definitely earned respect from his opponents. During InSec’s debut as a top laner, he was known for his Zac top as well as showing incredible synergy with KT B’s new jungler, KaKAO. In the last BO5 series against CJ Blaze, InSec was able to get first blood repeatedly throughout the series against Flame.

Player History

InSec made his impression on the scene when he would carry the old CJ Entus team on his back with his jungle Zed. In his jungler career, InSec has won games with some of the most uncommon junglers in the competitive scene. At the 2013 All-Stars finals in Shanghai, InSec was able to pull out a win on his jungle Gragas, also known as “the Grungle”. During the Asian Indoor-Martial Arts games against China’s World Elite, InSec secured a win with his triple Doran’s Blade into Youmuu’s Ghostblade Shaco. This marks the first time a jungle Shaco had won in the competitive scene televised by OGN.

KaKAO (Lee Byung-kwon 이병권)

KaKAO is known for his style of sacrificing early farm for ganking heavily in the early game thus making him one of the more aggressive early game junglers in Korea. He used to play a lot of Xin Zhao and loved getting into the middle of team fights. His favorite champions of late are Elise and Lee Sin. KaKAO loves snowballing his solo lanes in the early game which allows Ryu and inSec to make big plays for the team throughout the game. For example, KaKAO was able to help InSec secure first blood nearly every game during their last series against Blaze in the summer season. KaKAO is also known for his happy-go-lucky personality always looking cheerful and having a signature laugh as well as his fabulous leopard print glasses.

Player History

KaKAO was originally the first jungler for the KT Rolster Bullets, but after the old CJ Entus team broke up, KT picked up InSec as the jungler for KT B and KaKAO was moved to the sister team, KT Rolster Arrows. However, KT A failed to make it out of the group stage in Champions Spring and they have yet to back it back into OGN. This led to KT moving KaKAO back over to the Bullets as a sub jungler initially and then InSec moved up to the top lane making KaKAO the full time jungler for the Bullets.

kakaosmile

Ryu (Ryu Sang-ook 류상욱)

Ryu is a well respected mid laner known for many champions such as Orianna, Twisted Fate, Fizz, and Ahri. He is known for his aggressive laning as well as coordinating ganks and tower dives with KaKAO. Ryu looks to snowball early and carry KT B through the early/mid game while Score carries the late game with his incredible positioning. Ryu’s massive champion pool allows KT B to field a large variety of strategies with a very versatile mid lane. Ryu is capable of playing teamfighting mid lane champions like Orianna and as well as split pushing assassins like Zed. We have all seen the clip of the duel between Ryu and Faker’s Zed. In contrast to his jolly teammate KaKAO, Ryu hardly cracks a smile and he is known to be a player that can go on tilt more easily than most players. Even so, his coach always promises him some good steak after every win (Korean beef is super expensive due the lack of farmers that exist in Korea).

Player History

Up until the series against CJ Blaze in Champions Summer, Ryu had an undefeated competitive record on Twisted Fate. In Champions Summer, the KT Bullets purposely allowed their opponents to pick Twisted Fate (back when TF was 100% pick/ban) and countered TF’s split pushing with a Deathfire Grasp rush on Ahri for maximum assassination potential. Ryu’s Ahri performance set the trend in Korea’s mid lane meta for months.

Score (Ko Dong-bin 고동빈)

He is known for his Ezreal and “Scorki” play throughout the history of his career in the competitive scene. Score likes to play an extremely passive laning phase and is known for avoid trades in lane and always focusing on his farm. Najin Sword’s marksman PraY has even commented on how boring it was to play against Score in the laning phase because all he wants to do is farm. However, what makes Score a great marksman is his positioning. Score has nearly perfect positioning in teamfights which allow him to dish out the most damage for KT B while surviving every fight. While other marksmen in Korea focused their attention on Lucian and SIvir, Score has been strictly sticking to his Ezreal throughout this winter season. It can be expected that Score will continue to pick up Ezreal every chance he gets in the upcoming games against Blaze.

Play History

Score used to play as a top laner on Team Startale under the name Joker, but then moved over to the marksman position under the name “Score”. During KT B’s debut in Champions Winter 2012-2013, he was known as “The Immortal Score” because he would go on long streaks of not dying in KT B’s games. At one point, Score had a KDA of over 15 and even though KT B placed 3rd in Champions Winter, Score still secured the highest KDA spot for Marksman with 9.81.

Player-Champion-Banners-Score_Insec

Mafa (Won Sang-yeon 원상연)

Mafa is a really versatile support but is often overshadowed by the talents of his teammates. So far in Champions Winter, he has played 5 different supports in 6 games (Taric, Leona, Annie, Thresh, and Alistar). Although he is not one of the most well known supports in Korea, Mafa is one of the best defensive supports which allows Score to play a very passive farming laning phase as well as provide utility and peel for KT B in the later stages of the game. Mafa is the player who can and will always do what he is supposed to do and every once in a while he will make flashy plays for the team. With such a wide support champion pool and being able to pick different supports nearly every game, it goes to show how prepared Mafa always is to play a certain champion for every potential strategy.

Player History

Mafa played on Team StarTale alongside Ryu, Score (known as “Joker” back then), Locodoco, as well as the current SK Telecom T1 coach, kk0ma. Mafa, Score, and Ryu have been playing together competitively for over a year and they like to think the Bullets as their own team as they have been there the longest.

KT Rolster Bullet’s Sub “Leopard” has not yet seen any play in Champions Winter.  

Overview

KT Rolster Bullets is easily the most innovative team in Korea. The only other team that might come close would be the Jin Air Falcons because of Reapered, but their results were not nearly as convincing as KT B’s. The Bullets are one of the few teams that utilize multiple sweeping trinkets in the mid/late game to establish vision control which compliments their reputation for sneaking early objectives like Baron. Back in Season 3, they have sneaked a pre 20 minute Baron with Spirit items on 3 members of the team. KT B is also known for copying the team composition they lost to and then using it on other teams in future games. KT B often plays a PvE game by favoring objective control over enemy champion kills through their next level fast pushing strategies. However, the KT Rolster Bullets is historically a heartbreaking team with very strong performances that make them look like the team to take the championship to only fall short with the team defeating them to go on to win the championship instead.

Notable Achievements

  • First Place – Asian Indoor-Martial Arts Games 2013

  • First Place – 2013 MLG Winter Championship International Exhibition

  • Second Place – HOT6iX Champions Summer 2013

  • Second Place – Season 3 Korea Regional Finals

  • Third Place – OLYMPUS Champions Winter 2012-2013

CJ Entus Blaze

Like KT, CJ Entus is also an old KeSpa organization with over a decade of infrastructure in eSports. CJ Entus is actually an entertainment organization that published many of the popular K-pop artists in Korea and produces the awesome music for the OnGameNet broadcast such as the champion select music. Blaze With the roster changes to Blaze they are more commonly called Neo Blaze by fans.

Team-Photo-CJ-Blaze

From left to right: Lustboy (Support), BaeMe (Sub), Ambition (Mid), Emperor (Marksman), Flame (Top), Daydream (Jungle), and Captain Jack (Sub).

Meet the Team

Flame (Lee Ho-Jong 이호종)

“I remember when Flame was a sparring partner. However, now he is a pilot.” –  Ambition (OGN Champions Summer). Flame joined CJ Entus Blaze after the departure of Reapered who was considered one of the best top laners in Korea at the time. Flame is known for his ability to consistently get a 100 minion kill advantage on his opposing laner and Flame is completely content with staying in a side lane and split pushing for Blaze until he is at full build. Flame is a signature part of Blaze’s strategy by forcing multiple enemy champions to deal with his split pushing which allows his team to take objectives with a number advantage. Flame also has a deep champion pool from playing the standard tank top laners such as Shyvana and Dr. Mundo and historically is known for his Nidalee, Vladimir, and Akali.

Player History

Flame has come a long way from buying 2 phages at MLG to becoming the Pilot of one of the most well respected teams in Korea. Flame was brought straight from solo queue to Blaze and he was formerly known as Goldtec. He was famous in solo queue for his Irelia play and it was often banned against him in the early stages of his career. Flame is also one of the best looking Korean pro players in the eyes of many fan, especially among the ladies.

Daydream

Daydream was a missing piece of the puzzle that Blaze needed in the jungle. While their former jungler Helios is a great jungler with lots of experience, Daydream’s early aggressive style simply fits Blaze better by allowing Blaze to go even or even ahead in the laning phase to get his team to the late game stage where they excel. Daydream loves to play hyper aggressive junglers like Aatrox and Xin Zhao. Even though these are not typical junglers in the Korean meta, Daydream has also shown his ability to play Lee Sin, Olaf, etc. Ultimately, Daydream’s early aggressive plays allow Blaze to have a much easier transition to get into the mid and late game where Blaze usually dominates their opponent.

Player History

Before getting picked up by Blaze, Daydream was the jungler for Xenics Storm. Daydream is also one of MonteCristo’s favorite junglers in Korea. Blaze’s other sub BaeMe is Daydream’s brother.

Ambition (Kang Chan-yong 강찬용)

Ambition was the only member of Blaze that was picked to represent Korea at All-Stars Shanghai 2013 which was where Korea won the overall tournament over all the other regions earning an extra spot at Worlds. Ambition has developed a reputation for giving up first blood and most of the time it’s a solo kill. However, he is also known for coming back in the later stages of the laning phase and killing his lane opponent twice over and then establishing lane dominance. In the group stage of Champions Winter, Ambition has mostly played Orianna, Nidalee, Gragas but has also surprisingly picked Leblanc. If Ambition and Flame are not shut down in the early game, then Blaze has a very high chance of winning the game. Ambition is also known for his devil-like smile amongst the Korean fans.

Player History

Ambition is one of the original members of Blaze along with Lustboy (Captain Jack is too but he is a sub now). He was always considered as one of the top mid laners in Korea but did fall into a slump during Champions Summer. However, Ambition has exhibited solid play for Neo-Blaze so far in Champions Winter.

Player-Champion-Banners-Ambition_Flame

Emperor (Kim Jin-hyun (김진현)

Along with Daydream, Emperor was the other piece that Blaze was missing. Before, Blaze’s weakness was always their duo lane because Captain Jack and Lustboy were unable to trade efficiently and often died in lane. When Captain Jack and Ambition would both die early in the game, it allowed the opposing team to snowball off of it. In contrast to Captain Jack, Emperor loves to play aggressively and often gets kills in lane along with Lustboy. With the addition of Emperor, Blaze’s duo lane is not a liability anymore which allows DayDream to focus more on snowballing Flame and Ambition.

Player History

Emperor does not have any competitive history in LoL prior to joining CJ Entus Blaze but is a highly ranked Solo queue player in Korea.

Lustboy (Ham Jang-sik 함장식)

Lustboy has been paired up with Captain Jack in the duo lane every since Blaze was born, but they were unfortunately known for losing the lane because of their differing play styles. Lustboy likes to play aggressively in lane while Captain Jack prefers farming over aggressive trades and sometimes it often led to problems in lane which often led to them giving up kills. However, Emperor has been working well with Lustboy and keeping up with the aggression. Lustboy was always known for his Lulu play and even when she was not a popular pick in Korea, Blaze was able to use Lulu to the full potential with Diana back in Season 3 or more recently, Shyvana. Locodoco has also mentioned that Lustboy was his best friend.

Player History

It was rumored in an interview with Helios that Lustboy and Captain Jack shared a bed together (but no touching). I think this is the most important part of this player history.

Captain Jack (Kang Hyung-woo 강형우)

Captain Jack is by no means a bad marksman; he just has distinct weaknesses that can be taken advantage of easily. Captain Jack has an extremely weak laning phase but even when he does give up kills in lane, he always manages to keep up in the minion count. Caitlyn has been his go-to champion for the past few seasons and is often banned against him. When late games comes around, a switch turns on in Captain Jack’s head and he manages to carry Blaze to victory. In a match against Frost, Blaze was able to make a comeback after losing 3 inhibitors with a 6 item Caitlyn and Bloodboil. As always, Captain Jack has made a reputation of having incredible Cleanse reflexes.

Player History

In Captain Jack’s early career, he was known for his Graves and Sivir play. When Blaze completed at MLG, Captain Jack had a 100% win rate on Vayne.

BaeMe has not yet played a single game in Champions WInter

Overview

As a whole, Neo Blaze is looking really promising, but they are up against the KT Rolster Bullets. Blaze has always been known to be a one trick warhorse and they will be playing against the most innovative teams in Korea. Currently Blaze a record of 3W-13L against KT which makes KT B the favorite to win on paper. However, the one time Neo Blaze played against KT was in the WCG Korea Qualifiers and Blaze was able to take the win in a long game on patch 3.13. If Blaze does not go back to their old one trick warhorse ways, they have a good chance of taking KT down. Flame will have to beware of KaKAO ganking top lane early because in the last BO5 they were in, Flame gave up first blood nearly every game.

Notable Achievements

  • First Place – Azubu The Champions Spring 2012

  • First Place – 2013 WCG Korea Qualifiers

  • First Place – 2013 World Cyber Games

  • First Place – IEM Season VII – World Championships

  • Second Place – OLYMPUS Champions Spring 2013

Predictions

My head says KT but my heart says Blaze. So I will say 3-2 Blaze or KT. This match up can really go either way but by the history between the two teams KT definitely has an advantage. However this will be one of the most exciting series of OGN Champions Winter.

Thanks to:

Heliosan for editing

David Widrick for the awesome art!

 As always, here’s some Kpop!


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Charlie

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