Welcome to the OGN Champions Summer 2014 season. By the end of the spring season, Korea has never looked stronger. The finals were a brutal gauntlet of powerful teams, with dade and Samsung Blue finally emerging victorious over NaJin White Shield. Now, after surviving a brutal offline qualifier, the final 16 teams look to battle it out for a spot on the OGN stage and a chance to compete with the best teams in Korea, and even the world.
IM#2, Xenics Storm, Mook Secret, MKZ
This group was one of the tougher groups to call. Although on paper IM#2 and Xenics look to be the two favorites, thanks to having an organization to back them, both have had roster swaps during the off-season and are very young teams. Mook Secret is probably the odd team out, being the true amateur team of the bunch. MKZ on the other hand, is a wildcard. The team is a pet project by former IM player BetKyo and is made up mostly of former IM players, sprinkled with a bit of soloQ talent. After winning a 51-minute epic against Xenics Storm to kick things off, IM#2 was able to secure the first spot in OGN with a win over their former players on MKZ. Meanwhile, Mook Secret fought hard but eventually fell to MKZ and Xenics Storm. That left the final match between MKZ and Xenics Storm. Like all the rest, this was a very close match, but MKZ was able to take an early lead and run with it, eventually securing the second spot in Champions.
Qualified Teams: IM#2, MKZ
JinAir Falcons, Prime Optimus, VTG, Bigfile Miracle
This group looked to be all JinAir Falcons, coming in looking like a clear favorite to secure a spot. Based on their strong showing during the spring, Prime Optimus looks to be another strong contender, while the amateur teams VTG and Bigfile Miracle look to have a tough road ahead of them. As expected, the Falcons were able to cruise to an easy 2-0 victory to secure their spot in Champions, but the big surprise came from Prime Optimus. They looked very shaky during their first match against the Falcons, giving them an insane team comp and then not even putting up much of a fight during the game. They looked a bit better against VTG, but they were really looking nowhere near their spring performance level. Bigfile Miracle however was playing well, and afte a hard fought series was finally able to secure themselves a spot alongside the Falcons.
Qualified Teams: JinAir Falcons, Bigfile Miracle
SKT T1 S, Prime Sentinel, NaJin Black Sword, Anarchy
Group C was a very dangerous looking group, but likely not that difficult to call. SKT and Sword were the clear favorites here; SKT had a great, albeit inconsistent, showing in the spring and during Masters, and while Sword recently had a major roster swap, they are looking very strong as well. Sentinel and Anarchy on the other hand, while good teams in their own right, just don’t look to be on the same level as the titans they have to play against. As expected the first round went heavily in favor of SKT and NaJin, with SKT even managing to secure a perfect game (no deaths and no objectives lost) over Prime Sentinel. In the winners match, a hard fought match between these teams was eventually won out by Sword, while Sentinel was able to take out Anarchy in the losers match. This meant a rematch of the round one slaughter, and once again SKT was able to easily dominate Sentinel, nearly securing their second perfect game of the night.
Qualified Teams: NaJin Black Sword, SKT T1 S
JinAir Stealths, Invengers, TmT, IM#1
Group D looked like another tough group for the amateur teams. The Stealths, although failing to qualify last season, had a very strong showing this spring during Masters, and are looking like the powerhouse of the group. IM#1, although they have had some roster changes, are still a powerful team. As expected, JinAir came out looking for blood, and was able to secure two dominating victories over Invengers and IM#1, and a berth into Champions. Both teams however put up a good showing against JinAir, and after knocking out TmT set themselves up for a tough final match. Both teams traded blow for blow, but in the end IM proved too strong and was able to pull out a win.
Qualified Teams: JinAir Stealths, IM#1
So after an exciting week of qualifiers, we now have our full 16 teams for OGN Champions Summer, and this looks to be an incredibly tough season. Every major organization: Incredible Miracle, JinAir, KT Rolster, NaJin, CJ Entus, Samsung, and SK Telecom, are all fully represented in this season of Champions, alongside a pair of strong looking amateur teams. No matter how the groups shake out, it is going to be an absolutely brutal summer. The action kicks off June 18, don’t miss it.