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 team previewed here will be the Second Seed from Korea and the second Samsung team contending at Worlds: Samsung White.
Having always been their organization’s premier team, this year was somewhat bittersweet for the members of Samsung White. Coming off of a disappointing showing in the Season 3 Worlds, White (formerly Ozone) came out swinging during the Winter Season. They looked like a force to be reckoned with, dropping only a couple of games to NaJin White Shield.
That’s how they fared all the way up until the Finals, where they suffered an embarrassing 0-3 defeat at the hands of a god-like SKT K squad.
Just like Blue, the mid-laner swap just before the Spring Season did wonders for White. Pawn clicked immediately with the rest of White and provided a more consistent force to help jungler DanDy control the map.
With SKT looking worse and White looking better, they seemed to be the favorite to win the tournament, right up until taking an upset loss against their sibling team and eventual winners, Samsung Blue, finishing third overall.
White continued their strong showing from the spring with yet another strong group stage performance in the Summer Season. They followed it up with a Quarterfinal victory over former world champs, SKT K. Just like in the Spring, this led them to a Semifinals match against Blue — And once again they were defeated, finishing in Third.
This led them to an eventual tiebreaker match with SKT K, where they swept their old rivals aside and secured themselves the second slot in the 2014 World Championship. Overall, they have had a very impressive year, finishing Top 3 every Season, but at the same time, they probably could have done better.
Top Lane – Looper
Looper debuted in the top lane on White during the disappointing Worlds run last year. Despite this, he proved himself to be one of the shining lights through his phenomenal use of Teleport to create opportunities and turn fights around for his team. Since then, he has continued to grow into one of the best top laners in the region, and still remains one of the best users of Teleport in the world.
His biggest threat right now is probably his Ryze, though his strength with Teleport makes him a huge threat on just about any meta top laner. As with every Samsung player, there is a distinct possibility for him to bring something completely new to the table for Worlds.
Jungler – DanDy
One of the best junglers in the region, DanDy is known for his ability to completely get into his opponent’s head. With the right preparation, he can predict where his opponent is going to be at all times, and move accordingly. This allows him to counter every gank or quickly trade any objective his opponent tries to take.
His strongest jungler right now would have to be his Rengar, a champion that he has repeatedly brought out to great success in recent matches. In addition, he is also very dangerous on early-game threats such as Lee Sin or Kha’Zix, using them to quickly gain and snowball advantages for his team.
Mid Lane – Pawn
The newest member of White, Pawn has provided a lot of consistency that Dade lacked in the mid lane. The resulting synergy has catapulted White right into contention with Blue for the title of “Best Team in the World.” As the only member of the team not to appear in the previous Worlds, he will surely be fired up to help his new team redeem themselves this time around.
Pawn’s most dangerous champion is his Orianna, providing much needed utility to support the often reckless abandon of Imp.
While not quite at Dade’s level, his Yasuo is nearly as dangerous, and he can easily hard-carry the game if his gets his hands on this champion. Despite not being the primary threat on White, he is quite capable of dismantling his opponents if given the chance.
AD Carry – Imp
Perhaps the best-known player on White, Imp has for some time been in contention for the best ADC player in the world. He is certainly one of the most aggressive — Crushing anyone he gets ahead of, and often able to turn a losing lane around through sheer gutsiness.
His major champions right now are Twitch, Kog’Maw, and Tristana, and without heavy ban focus, it is unlikely he will stray away from these three. Imp loves to make plays, and will often be the one leading the charge. It is imperative that his opponents take advantage of his aggression if they have any hope of beating White.
Support – Mata
With his aggressive playstyle, Mata complements Imp perfectly to form possibly the most dangerous duo lane in the world to go toe-to-toe against. Probably the strongest mechanical support player in the world, his vision control is equally good, and he plays a major part in getting his carries, especially Imp, rolling.
Mata’s big threat is his Thresh — He truly becomes a massive playmaker when he gets his hands on this champion and making it easily worthy of a ban. However, being as good as he is, he can easily fall back on Braum, another aggressive support that allows Mata to provide similar levels of playmaking for his team.
Alongside Blue, White is a top threat, and the Samsung teams are arguably the two best teams in Korea right now. White is also known for their innovation and adaptive play, so don’t be surprised to see them quickly pick up on new champions from other regions, and perhaps bring out a few of their own.
Just like Blue, they have been consistently performing at an elite level, always keeping their players near the top of the KDA rankings. In fact Looper, DanDy, and Mata have been Top 5 in their position throughout all Champions Seasons this year. White’s true strength lies in their individual prowess and playmaking ability, backed up by solid team-based play.
Although their showing last year was disappointing, to say the least, it is safe to assume they have learned from that blunder and will come into the 2014 Championship well prepared, and ready to go.
Since they cannot face another Korean team before the Semifinals, I think they will be a shoo-in to make it at least that far. In fact, if they are finally able to appear on opposite sides of the bracket, seeing White vs Blue in the Finals is not out of the question.