Welcome to the 2014 OGN Champions Spring Grand Final. This season features two up and coming teams, Samsung Blue and NaJin White Shield, each making their first appearance in an OGN Grand Finals. On paper these teams have been looking incredibly even, which shapes up to be an exciting set of games for the fans. On the one hand we have Samsung Blue, the former kings of the off-season. Although they have been a team for some time now, they have never quite been able to live up to their potential when it comes to the big stage. Everything changed at the beginning of this season, starting with the swap of mid-laners dade and Pawn with their sister team, Samsung Ozone. With new life breathed into both squads, the Samsung teams have been tearing up the competition this season, with Blue just pulling out a win over Ozone in the semi-finals. Dade, the king of spring, led Ozone last year to an upset victory over CJ Blaze, and claimed himself the season MVP. Now he is back and looking to repeat that performance with Blue. On the other hand we have NaJin White Shield, one of the oldest League of Legends teams in Korea, have never been able to become a top tier team and we have been forced to sit on the sidelines and watch every year as they fall short. Befitting a team praised for their patience, and they have not waited idly, with a truly spectacular finals run they have now firmly established themselves as one of the strongest teams in the region. Now they look to complete that run to the top against their toughest opponent yet.
[one_half] Blue 1. Shyvana 2. Jax 3. Evelynn[/one_half] [one_half_last] White Shield 1. Yasuo 2. Soraka 3. Kha’Zix[/one_half_last]
[one_half] Blue 1. Kassadin – Mid 2. Thresh – Support 3. Lulu – Top 4. Lucian – ADC 5. Nocturne – Jungle[/one_half] [one_half_last] White Shield 1. Twtich – ADC 2. Lee Sin – Jungle 3. Nidalee – Mid 4. Nami – Support 5. Ryze – Top [/one_half_last] So the first thing to note with picks and bans is the Kassadin. It is a pick that has been gaining prominence across the globe and has really proved to be nearly the same terror that it was pre-rework. Combined with Nocturne and Lulu, Blue has a very high mobility pick-comp that will be looking to run down the NaJin team. The game starts off quite well for Blue. A nice early ward will let them outmaneuver the early jungle path of Shield, securing a very valuable 3-buff start for Nocturne. At the same time Save will get caught trying to leech experience in top lane, and is forced to burn flash by Lucian and Thresh. This is a major problem for Shield, as Ryze will have a much harder time gaining his crucial items and levels. NaJin tries to turn things around with a gank on dade, but thanks to some help from Thresh he is able to survive long enough to allow Lucian to hit level 6 and finish off an under leveled Ryze with The Culling. From there it becomes a very back and forth game. Both teams are able to find picks and secure map pressure with neither team able to get a strong edge over the other. NaJin is able to nicely maneuver Ryze around and find him the farm he needs to start clawing his way back, but at the same time dade is able to find a couple of kills and get a very strong start to his Kassadin build, always a very dangerous prospect. The real turning point begins around the 27-minute mark with Blue over-extending in the mid lane and having the fight turned on them, giving Shield an easy Baron. However, as Shield moves to take a dragon shortly after, Blue will catch them completely off-guard with a very aggressive attack, securing 4 kills for 0 and quickly swinging the momentum right back in their favor. Again the game will stay close, but finally Samsung is able to find the pick they need catching out Zefa’s Twitch and snowballing the ensuing fight into a Quadra-kill for dade. After that Blue will make short work of the Shield base, winning game 1, 14-9 in kills.
Blue leads 1 – 0
[one_half] White Shield 1. Yasuo 2. Kha’Zix 3. Soraka[/one_half] [one_half_last] Blue 1. Shyvana 2. Jax 3. Kassadin[/one_half_last]
[one_half] White Shield 1. Lee Sin – Jungle 2. Thresh – Support 3. Ryze – Top 4. Lucian – ADC 5. LeBlanc – Mid[/one_half] [one_half_last] Blue 1. Lulu – Top 2. Twitch – ADC 3. Twisted Fate – Mid 4. Nocturne – Jungle 5. Annie – Support [/one_half_last] Once again in champ select we see Blue going for a very powerful pick-comp. The combination of global pressure and stealth means Blue can figuratively appear out of nowhere and take out anyone who is even the least bit out of position. Shield on the other hand looks to be falling back to their tried and true siege strategy that has been so strong for them all season. Game 2 starts off in explosive fashion. A bold call to give red buff to Twitch sets up a very early gank on Ggoong’s LeBlanc at level 1, but it pays off with a quick first blood for Deft. Shield however will respond in kind, setting up an easy dive on Lulu and Annie to net them two quick kills. Shield will continue to own the top-side of the map, pressuring Nocturne out of the jungle and continuously diving Lulu to keep her down and out of the game, while Ggoong is able to put enough pressure of dade to prevent him from helping his team. From there the game is all about NaJin White Shield. They are able to find a good fight to solidify their lead, and they follow it up with very strong ward control within Blue’s jungle. After they are able to full control the map and put pressure on every lane. Even when Blue is able to find a favorable fight, they can’t use it to bring them back, and Shield will continue to take advantages at every turn. In classic Shield fashion, they will eventually grind down Blue and take game 2, finishing 19-6 in kills.
Match tied 1 – 1
[one_half] Blue 1. Shyvana 2. Thresh 3. LeBlanc[/one_half] [one_half_last] White Shield 1. Yasuo 2. Soraka 3. Kassadin[/one_half_last]
[one_half] Blue 1. Twisted Fate – Mid 2. Kha’Zix – Jungle 3. Lulu – Top 4. Kog’Maw – ADC 5. Nami – Support [/one_half] [one_half_last] White Shield 1. Twitch – ADC 2. Lee Sin – Jungle 3. Nidalee – Mid 4. Ryze – Top 5. Leona – Support [/one_half_last] Game 3 will continue the trend of starting off with a bang. The lanes will shake out to standard positions, and GorillA will go all-in very quickly with Zenith Blade. They will be able to secure the first blood, but quick reactions by Blue will be able to turn it around with a kill on Leona and enough damage to push Twitch out of lane, giving them a slight advantage. Everything will calm down after the quick first blood, with all the lanes settling pretty even and nobody able to get an advantage. Blue will be able to secure a nice kill on top lane with the TF ult, but when they try it again a few minutes later NaJin is ready and waiting, and are able to secure a couple of kills for themselves. The first crucial fight will occur with a gank onto bot lane by Shield. They try and start it off but some phenomenal Nami play by Heart is able to drag out the gank longer than expected, and even though Kog’Maw will go down Shield pays with all three of their lives and a tower to boot. At this point Blue will begin to grow their ward control and map pressure and try and take hold of the game. As the mid game roles around an inherent weakness in the Shield composition will begin to show itself. Due to Twitch’s immobility they have a very difficult time setting up sieges, and they lack a strong enough engage to get past Nami. This leaves them with few options beyond making a lucking pick, and Blue is not a team to give them one easily. After a lot of rotating around the map, Blue is finally able to find the fight they want, catching out members of Shield around their blue-buff, netting them 3 quick kills and breaking the game wide open. After that it is Blue’s game to lose. Shield is able to find a small amount of pressure but the weakness of their comp is really exposed at this point, and Blue is able to keep finding the fights they want and slowly pick apart the NaJin defenses. As Blue sieges up the base Shield will make one last desperate attempt, but a Nami Tidal Wave across the whole team will stop them in their tracks and let Blue mop them up, securing a clean ace to finish off the game, winning 18-5 in kills.
Blue leads 2 – 1
[one_half] White Shield 1. Yasuo 2. Soraka 3. Twisted Fate[/one_half] [one_half_last] Blue 1. Shyvana 2. Kassadin 3. Ryze [/one_half_last]
[one_half] White Shield 1. Lulu – Top 2. Evelynn – Jungle 3. Lucian – ADC 4. LeBlanc – Mid 5. Nami – Support [/one_half] [one_half_last] Blue 1. Thresh – Support 2. Lee Sin – Jungle 3. Irelia – Top 4. Kog’Maw – ADC 5. Ryze – Mid [/one_half_last] Looking at picks and bans we see some interesting changes. Ryze vs Lulu will not be the top lane of choice, with Acorn choosing to take Irelia into the top lane while Ryze will be played be dade in mid. Blue’s comp looks to have a very good power curve, but with a very weak engage they run the same risk that Shield did in the last game, never being able to engage onto Nami. Game 4 starts off even faster than ever, as a blind Thresh hook catches Ggoong less than a minute into the game, forcing him to blow his flash. This will give a nice early window for dade by taking away some of LeBlanc’s early power. The teams will once again start with standard lanes, a bold decision given the early game power of Shield’s lanes. However, repeated ganks on the top lane net them 2 early kills on Lulu; these will be crucial in preventing Lulu from bullying the lane, allowing Irelia to hit her early power-spike. Zefa will be able to use Lucian’s early power to gain an edge over Deft, but at this point he will still be able to comfortably scale into the late game. Shield will be able to return the aggression, finding kills in mid and bot, but will overextend in the process, letting Blue trade kills evenly and preventing Shield from gaining any map advantage. Shield will continue to find picks and fights, and while Blue is able to keep trading evenly in kills, the early game power of Shield begins to secure them an advantage. Especially problematic is the lack of engage from Blue, which really prevents them from making any aggressive plays of their own. The real turning point will start right around the 26-minute mark. Dade and Heart are able to find Zefa farming alone in bot lane and run him down, quickly turning on Save as he teleports into his death. A couple of minutes later, dade is again able to make a clutch play in a fight, locking down and killing LeBlanc as she tries to finish off Acorn and Spirit. And with that Blue is right back in the mix of things and Shield suddenly find themselves facing a terrifying Ryze. Suddenly the fights start going heavily in Blue’s favor. They do a great job of flanking Shield, preventing Nami from maximizing her use of Tidal Wave, and are able to cleanly take fights and transition them into objectives. Blue is able to get a solid gold lead that quickly becomes insurmountable thanks to the late game powerhouses of Ryze and Kog’Maw. Shield will do everything they can, and to their credit they will stall the game out for quite some time, but eventually Blue is able to force their way into Shield’s base and take down the nexus, securing the game and match, finishing 28-14 in kills.
Blue wins 3 – 1
And thus Champions Spring 2014 will come to a close. It was truly a breakout season for both teams in the finals, and a very well fought match between the two. Samsung Blue proved to be the stronger of the two teams, and dade was able to live up to his nickname as the “King of Spring”, for the second year in a row leading a Samsung team to victory and securing himself the season MVP. Both teams will now have their sights firmly ahead, looking towards Champions Summer and Worlds; both Shield and Blue are sitting right near the top of the circuit point leaderboard. They will have their work cut out for them this summer, squaring off against powerhouses such as SKT K and Samsung Ozone for a bid at one of the top two spots and a guaranteed trip to the World Championship. They don’t have long to wait; qualifiers will begin in about a week’s time and Champions Summer will begin shortly after that.