Hello everyone, and welcome to the first article previewing the teams who will be representing Korea in the 2014 League of Legends Worlds Championship. I am Zalfier, and I will be letting you know what’s going on with this year’s Korean Hype-Train!
The first team previewed is the First Seed from Korea – And the current favorite to take home the Summoner’s Cup: Samsung Blue.
Season 4 has been a truly impressive rise to the top for Samsung Blue. Coming into Season 4, they were known as the “Kings of the Off-Season” and as the talented team who could never quite get it together when it really counted. With that in mind, the Winter Season became a proving grounds for Blue to show that they have what it takes to compete with the best.
For the first time, they were able to make it out of the group stage of Champions. Despite being knocked out in the Quarterfinals by an unstoppable SKT K, they were able to prove to themselves and everyone else, that there was a spark behind this team after all.
The real change for the Samsung organization was the swap of mid laners, Dade and Pawn, between the two teams. Dade clicked instantly with his new team, and Blue quickly established themselves as a threat for the spring season.
They dropped only a single game in a tough group. Exhibiting mastery of the lane-swap meta that dominated the Spring Season, Blue continued their dominance by first taking down CJ Frost, followed by an upset victory over Samsung Ozone (White).
Facing down another group of rising stars in NaJin White Shield, Blue was able to secure their place at the top with a solid 3-1 win.
As Summer Season moved into full swing, Samsung Blue once again set out to prove themselves a top team in Korea. Although the loss of the lane-swap meta caused them some shakiness during the mid season, they were able to push through and once again found themselves in the Grand Finals, this time facing a frightening KT Arrows squad.
In a hard-fought series, Blue was finally taken down in the final blind pick match, losing the series 2-3. Despite this loss, they were able to secure their first place seed to the World Championship and now seek to prove themselves on a global stage.
Top Lane – Acorn
Acorn is a very consistent force, securing a Top 2 KDA among top laners, as well as a top 10 overall KDA in both the Spring and Summer OGN seasons. Like the rest of Blue, he is a strong team player and can be counted on to be a threat in both standard and lane-swap situations.
Acorn has a wide champion pool, scoring wins on 6 out of 7 champions played during the Summer finals. He is at his best on champions like Dr. Mundo, Maokai and Lulu, who can provide a lot of teamfight support for his carries. However, he is also a player you can count on bringing new things to the table; expect him to be an early adapter if any new champions rear their head at Worlds.
Jungler – Spirit
One of the strongest junglers in Korea right now, Spirit is a dangerous early-game threat and is almost always at the right place at the right time. His pressure is an important factor in getting Blue through the early game, their only real weakness as a team, and if he cannot be stopped early, it will become incredibly difficult to stop Blue from snowballing.
Recently, he has found the most success on Elise, but is dangerous on any champion who can apply early pressure. His champion choice usually much comes down to what his team needs him to play and what is strongest at the time.
Mid Lane – Dade
The King of Spring, Dade returns for his second year at Worlds, but this time playing for Samsung Blue in the mid lane. More than any other player, he will be heading to Worlds with a vengeance, looking to redeem himself for his lackluster performance in 2013. Over the past few months, he has succeeded in vastly expanding his champion pool and becoming a far more consistent player.
As the primary carry for Blue, he is someone that teams must deal with if they hope to have any shot against the favorites. Dade’s greatest strength lies in his Yasuo and Zed play, as he is able to consistently perform on both of those champions, and will thus likely draw bans throughout the tournament. On top of his two big threats, he has a wide range of champions and will be very hard to push out of his comfort zone.
AD Carry – Deft
The second major carry on Blue, Deft is a very strong player and arguably the best ADC player in Korea right now. While his laning ability is strong, he tends to be very passive early on; his true strength lies in his teamfighting ability. He has phenomenal positioning and is often able to survive through impossible situations, consistently maximizing his damage output and carrying Blue through fights.
Deft’s biggest threat is probably his Kog’Maw, a champion he has consistently found great success with and that fits extremely well into his preferred playstyle. On top of that, his Corki is very strong and provides a more aggressive variation on the ADC role. Deft will often be left to his own devices during the early game and must be stopped during this time or he will quietly farm himself into a monster for the mid-to-late game.
Support – Heart
As the team captain and shotcaller, Heart is the backbone of Samsung Blue’s prowess. On top of his strong support play, his leadership plays a vital part in the near flawless execution of teamfights and map control that Blue has built their dominance on.
Heart’s two biggest threats are Thresh and Nami, but he has found success on a number of other champions as well. What makes him the most dangerous as a support are his vision control and roaming pressure. He is often seen roaming around with Spirit early on and quickly poking holes in the enemy team.
The top seed coming out of Korea, Blue is also the top threat that all other teams should be worried about. It is hard to imagine them falling before the semifinals, and even then, only to another Korean team.
They have truly become a model of consistency with all but Dade having finished in the top 5 KDA rankings by position for both Spring and Summer seasons. Not only are they talented as individuals, their true strength lies in their team-based play. Frequently, they have shown the ability to turn games around through perfect rotations and fight coordination, reacting as a perfect unit to every situation.
The final strength of Blue is really the strength of the Samsung organization as a whole, innovation. Frequently during the Season, the Samsung teams have been the pioneers of champions and strategies that become standard for the rest of Korea and this trend is a driving factor behind the dominance of the entire organization.
Don’t be surprised to see new things being brought to the table as Samsung takes the 2014 World Championship by storm