[one_half]Contributors to this article include:
Daniel “League” Lemmond, Charlie “Charlie” Lipsie, Rick “MANGO” Reilly, Daniel “Heliosan” Song,
and Ling “2×2” Gu for graphics
As the annual countdown to the Season 3 World Championship begins, we here at Cloth5 will be getting you up to speed on who’s playing, how they’re playing and what they’re playing. Keep up with our 4-part preview series as we profile the fourteen participating teams and give our predictions on who’s taking home the Season 3 World Championship Title and engraving their names on the Summoner’s Cup.
[one_half_last]Click on a team to navigate to their preview!
Samsung Galaxy Ozone, formerly known as MVP Ozone and MVP White, took 3rd place during the HOT6IX OGN Champions Summer season and were the winners of the Spring season. Since they accumulated enough Circuit Points between the 3 seasons of OGN Champions, Ozone managed to secure a spot in Worlds without having to play in the Korean Qualifiers. Ozone ended the season with 570 circuit points right behind Najin Black Sword taking the 2nd ranked position and avoiding the brutal 3rd-6th place gauntlet regional qualifiers for the last seat for Worlds.
Meet the Team
[one_half]Toplane – Homme[/one_half]
At the age of 29, Homme is one of the oldest players in the professional League of Legends scene. He is also the backbone of the Ozone with consistency in the top lane. Homme typically plays tanky, heavy initiation champions to start a team fight and protect Imp from the enemy team. He isn’t the one to carry but you can always count on Homme to get his job done.
[one_half]Jungle – DanDy[/one_half]
DanDy is one of the best junglers in Korea due to his early game pressure and brilliant decisions. He does not gank often but he will always counter gank the enemy jungler giving the illusion that he is always there. It’s rumored that before their games Mata(Ozone’s Support) would imitate the enemy jungler and DanDy would study their jungle/gank paths and always to there for the counter.
[one_half]Mid Lane – Dade[/one_half]
Dade is a versatile mid laner that plays anywhere from AD assassins like Zed to late game carries such as Ryze and Karthus. In the OGN Spring Finals Dade’s Zed crushed Cj Entus Blaze and sweeping the series 3-0. He has an aggressive style laning phase to match with DanDy’s aggressive early game. He is typically a lane bully and always manages to get solo kills in lane. Dade is seens as one of the bigger threats from Ozone.
Imp & Mata[/one_half]
Considered as one of the Korea’s best bot lane duos due to their consistency and win rate. imp is nicknamed Doubleimp for his amazing mechanics while Mata is considered on the same tier of support as Madlife. When it comes down to it, Ozone can always count on their duo lane to carry the game.
Ozone was formed on May 7th, 2012 as MVP White along with MVP Blue and MVP Red. The 5 original members were Homme, Mima, Ingoo(DanDy’s old name), 4seasons(Imp’s old name) and SmallBrain. Ozone at the time placed first in the NLB Summer and received their ticket into OGN Winter season. Winter proved to not be the season for Ozone, they placed 5-8th in the OGN Winter Champions and again in the NLB Winter. In february 2013, MVP Blue changed their name to MVP Ozone. Ozone made some roster changes and brought in Dade for mid and Mata for support to compete in the OGN Spring Champions.
The Spring group stage games were not kind to Ozone, but they made it into the OGN Spring playoffs with the skin of their teeth. Homme was even talking about retiring after the spring season due to his poor performance in the group stage games. As the Spring playoffs came around, despite everyone’s low expectations for them, Ozone manages to make the biggest upset of the year. They defeated KT Rolster B in the quarterfinals (3-1), then SK Telecom T1 #2 (Faker’s team) in the semifinals (3-1), and finally in the OGN Spring Grand Finals, Ozone takes the Spring Champion title from CJ Entus Blaze with a dominating 3-0.
In OGN summer, Ozone placed first out of group stage topping Jin Air Falcons and both Xenics squads. In the Summer quarterfinals, they dominate the amateur team from Chunnam Techno University with a 3-0. When the semifinals rolled around, they lost to SK Telecom T1 (1-3). However, Ozone beat CJ Entus Frost in the 3rd-4th place match securing their spot for the Season 3 World Championships with a crucial baron steal by DanDy in the Game 5 Blind Pick game against CJ Frost. On September 7th, MVP Ozone changed their name to Samsung Galaxy Ozone when Samsung bought out the team.
Towards end of the summer season Ozone has dropped their defensive level 1 positioning and picked up more aggressive invade routes. Regardless of which side Ozone is starting Mata will always ward the brush behind their own red while the rest of team make their way the to curved brush at mid. They wait for Mata to join them and head into the enemy’s red side jungle while leaving a ward in the brush behind them. If they see the enemy team through the ward in their jungle, they will split and in scouting positions while mata continues to ward the brush by wraith and near the lizard buff.
Recently, Mata has been going into the enemy’s jungle and warding the near the double golems right outside of tower vision. Imp and Mata waits around mid for as long as they can to catch a glimpse of which laner is going to which lane from the vision granted by the ward. Then Ozone can adapt and play out their lanes accordingly. During the group stages Ozone often used between 2-3 wards at level 1 but now they are improving their vision control in the early game by using 4-5 wards.
General Composition and Strategy
Homme always plays the tank utility based champion that can create enough pressure to allow carries free movement during teamfights.His goal is to survive laning phase, get tanky and help Imp to survive as long as possible. DanDy loves to play junglers that he can use to put as much early game pressure as possible and champions that are great for skirmishes. Dade loves to play aggressive in lane and has carried Ozone on champions like Zed and Twisted Fate. He is also a well known Ryze and Karthus player with the results to prove it. Imp is arguably the best Vayne player in the world and he has known for his amazing mechanics on both Vayne and Caitlyn. Mafa is known for his Madlife-esqe Thresh play along with his Zyra and Fiddlesticks play which have earned him MVP awards in the past.
Ozone used to often play late game compositions consisting Vayne on Imp and Karthus or Ryze on Dade. Homme would be on a tanky champ like Zac or Shen and sometimes even Yorick to accentuate their composition’s late game domination. To balance the overall late game focus on the team composition, DanDy would play aggressive early game champions like Lee Sin to apply pressure all over the map in the early stages of the game and keep his fragile hyper carry laners who tend to get bullied in lane safe enough to get to the late game power. Imp and Mata popularized the Vayne/Thresh lane which make them one of the scariest duo lane in Korea.
As of late, Ozone has been favoring double AD compositions with Dade playing Ezreal mid and Imp on Caitlyn. Homme will often choose to play top lane Nasus, Mata will play Thresh, and DanDy will play Jarvan IV. With this composition, Ozone is able to heavily siege towers and take down objectives at an alarming rate. With Jarvan IV, Ozone still has the early game pressure from DanDy and team fight capabilities with Cataclysm and The Box from Thresh while Nasus runs wild into the enemy teams, withers a crucial target, and chases down the enemy carry out of teamfights.
Teams who are facing Ozone must mitigate DanDy’s heavy early game pressure and global map presence by investing more gold than usual on wards in the early game. Knowing where DanDy is moving around the map allows for opportunities to make plays happen and get crucial lane kills on Ozone.
Dade is a huge threat from Ozone and shutting him will significantly hurt Ozone in the game. A perfect example of this would be when Faker and Bengi from SK Telecom T1 ran Ahri + Vi against Ozone which focused on shutting down Dade’s Twisted Fate and nullifying his global ultimate to allow SK Telecom T1 to move more freely without fear of a teleporting Twisted Fate.
When the chips are down, Ozone always counts on their duo lane to carry the game, even when the whole team is behind you can can never count out Imp’s mechanics. Selecting strong skirmish champions that can single out Imp in a fight is crucial to nullify one of Ozone’s biggest damage sources.
There are many champions that would be good bans against Ozone or best taken away from them. Imp should not be allowed to play Vayne or Caitlyn. Take one and ban the other to force Imp onto a less comfortable pick. DanDy has shown his capabilities of snowballing the entire game out of control on Lee Sin and Elise. Dade is known for his Zed and Twisted Fate play and he is very capable of winning his lane and roaming to help Ozone in other areas of the map. Keeping Dade and DanDy behind is crucial for beating Ozone.
Overall, vision control is a key factor to shutting down DanDy in the early game and keeping Mata from being able to take control of the map with wards and his usual early oracle purchase.
The Bottom Line
Samsung Galaxy Ozone is known as one of the strongest teams in Korea and they definitely have the results to back up that statement. Their consistent performance since OGN Champions Spring playoffs has earned the respect from teams all around the world. Ozone is not just another team; they are a family. They trusted each other through the worst of times and made it to the end as champions. Now they are ready to take on the rest of the world in the Season 3 World Championships.
Hailing from the Phillipines, Mineski pulled a huge upset when they defeated the heavy favorite Singapore Sentinels to qualify for worlds. A passport issue on behalf of Philippines Qualifier winners Exile gave Mineski their berth into the Southeast Asian Regional Finals, which led to a true cinderella story of them winning the Southeast Asian Regional Finals. Despite relatively new squad, the Mineski organization itself has a strong history in competitive DOTA and will surely be able to provide the resources and comfort needed to have their League of Legends team make a legitimate run in the Season 3 world championships, coming off one of the most unlikely and probably hardest paths into the Worlds.
Meet the Team
[one_half]Top lane – Snoy[/one_half]
Snoy, along with teammates Kaigu who he was on a team with previously before Mineski, have a great synergy in playing bruisers together. Snoy’s champion picks revolve around the goal of being the solid frontline for Mineski in order often absorbing the brunt of the damage following Yume’s intiations.
[one_half]Jungle – Kaigu[/one_half]
Kaigu, the jungler, brings supreme map pressure through his overt aggression on the lanes. Known as one of the best Pinoy players, Kaigu made a statement in the second series against SGS by outplaying perrennial top jungler Harleyular and securing map control for his team which ultimately lead to Mineski’s surprise victory over SGS.
[one_half]Mid lane – Yume[/one_half]
Mid laner and captain of Mineski, Yume usually prefers to play AP mids that have low cooldown spells to pump consistent damage into teamfights as opposed to playing the pick game with his AP mids. Strong brawler type AP mids with minimal positioning requirements help Yume to lead his team by being first or second into a teamfight and calling the intiations with abilities such as Twisted Fate ultimate and Lissandra’s Ice Path, closing the gap and locking up key targets.
Exo and Tgee[/one_half]
The duolane combo of ADC Exo and Support Tgee are a pairing who have one thing on their mind: aggression. With a comfort pick of the combo Ezreal/Sona and the ability to branch out into kill lane combos such as J4/Leona, this duo lane looks to farm the enemy laners instead of the enemy creeps. If they can play their game, expect fireworks coming from Mineski’s bottom lane duo. However, if they are forced out of their aggression, Exo and Tgee seem to be uncomfortable in more passive farm lanes and will often force unfavorable enagements to quell their impatience.
Team Mineski, formerly known as Team Nirvana.DK, was formally acquired on November 17th, 2012 by Mineski, which is a well established organization that has been fielding high caliber DOTA teams since 2004. Yume, Exo and Tgee were original members, but were joined by Kaigu and Snoy in early March 2013 who since both of them coming from the same team brought synergy into their top lane/jungle combo. After the current roster was formed, they proceeded to go on a rampage through the Phillpine tournaments that were available to them, becoming known as one of the strongest teams in their region. Despite their dominance in the Phillipines, the surprise run they made through the SEA regional finals caught many off guard.
For the level 1 analysis, we took a look at the two games from the Grand Finals of the SEA regionals against SGS, which show both a passive and an aggressive side of Mineski.
Game 1 was a hard, aggressive invade by the entire 5 man unit of Mineski. After Sona dropped safety wards at Mineski’s red and the jungle entrance near the top half of the river, they moved as 5 into the SGS tribrush near bot, which was already warded by SGS. After dropping their own ward, they proceeded to the SGS red buff and planted a pink ward to clear any prior vision that SGS may have had. They stole the red buff and then Lee Sin aggressively ganked bottom from the brush by double golems, leading to two popped flashes by SGS’ botlane. Game 1 seems more typical of the Mineski style of raw aggression, and they would prefer to be the aggressors in the level 1 jungle fights more often than not.
On the other side of that coin, during Game 2 they did aggressively invade for a buff steal but rather they showed restraint and played defensively. They dropped 2 wards on the enemy blue side of the jungle for maximum vision of the south side of the jungle early. After dropping these wards, they retreated back to defensive positions on their side of the jungle and since they had the early drop on SGS’s jungler and bot lane, they were able to choose laning opponents.
General Compositions and Strategy
Mineski prefer diving at every opportunity, similar to how Najin Sword played during the Season 2 World Championships. As such, they favor diving champs such as Lee Sin, Jarvan 4, Zac, Diana and even Karthus. They run strong, lategame team fight comps not too different from older standout teams such as CLG. EU or TSM with a heavy reliance on making a solid frontline for mobile marksmen like Ezreal and Tristana from Exo to chase and clean up fights after solid initiations from the Mineski tank line. Look for Mineski to make teams focused around solid 3 man brawlers along with a highly mobile ADC and a support with heavy lockdown CC such as Sona or Thresh.
Mineski’s aggression is a double-edged sword. If teams force Mineski go overly aggressive in non-advantageous situations, they’ll pickup easy advantages, especially with champions who have self-revive passives such as Aatrox or Zac and those with high mobility such as Kassadin or Ahri. There were multiple instances of Mineski’s aggression making situations #notworth, as they would dive through inhibitor and inner towers for a kills in 1v4 situations, but leaving themselves vulnerable to death timers and not being able to capitalize on objectives after securing a kill. Additionally, which their tendency to pick high farm requirement mid laners such as Karthus or Ryze, early game pressure might be overwhelming for Mineski’s very Season 2 style of gameplay. Banning out champions such as Zac, Shen and Lee Sin will severely hamper their ability to dictate the game at their pace.
The Bottom Line
Currently, Mineski is in Group B in the World Championship along with Samsung Galaxy Ozone, Gambit BenQ, Fnatic and Vulcun Techbargains. Although not as rough as the Group A participants, Mineski will have to trudge through the European tried and true veterans and the rising stars of North America and Korea. If Mineski can harness their aggression into strategic tunnels like Najin Sword did in OGN Champions Winter, then they’ll have a decent shot of making it past the group stage and into the brackets.
After their well-documented struggle and turn around in the Spring split of the North American LCS, Vulcun proved that they were not a fluke in the Summer season, netting themselves the second best record of the LCS and being a team that looked a step above the old “big 4” of CLG, TSM, Dignitas and Curse. With one of the most diverse champion pools from their mid laner and most likely the strongest pair of solo laners in all of NA, Vulcun looks to continue to fly under the radar of many people and be the true “dark horse” in this world championships.
Meet the Team
[one_half]Top Lane – Sycho Sid[/one_half]
The solid foundation on which most of Vulcun’s team compositions rely on for a frontline threat. Sycho Sid plays almost a very HotShotGG style of top lane where he just becomes an immovable object for his team and split pushes most of the game to create global map pressure. Together with mancloud, they form what I think is the strongest pair of solo laners coming from a North American team in the World Championships. Look for Sycho Sid to assist Mancloud in ganking around the map as a duo, especially if they get their hands on their signature Twisted Fate & Shen combo.
[one_half]Jungle – Xmithie[/one_half]
In terms of playstyle, Xmithie is very unique compared to the other junglers in NA. Outside of Jarvan 4 who can safely transition to the late game and is considered a “safe” jungle pick, his other signature champions, Lee Sin and Evelynn, are more dependent on his early game prowess, which he shows often with crushing results that snowball games early. Together with longtime teammate Mancloud, when Xmithie is on his game, no laner is safe from his X-factor style of jungling.
[one_half]Mid Lane – mandatorycloud[/one_half]
With their mid laner mancloud, I think it’s safe to say that Vulcun plays to the tune of the European meta: high farm and high carry potential roaming from the mid lane. mancloud, has the potential to be the best mid in North America and has both the skills and champion pool to prove it. Whether he’s playing on his terror ganking Twisted Fate, fast-pushing Ezreal, or his well-documented and feared Karthus, Mancloud is always a driving factor in Vulcun’s games. Good chemistry with solo laner Sycho Sid and longtime teammate Xmithie make mancloud’s ability to roam the map and secure objectives or kills makes him a world class mid laner who looks to finally earn the respect he deserves at the Season 3 World Championships.
Zuna and Bloodwater[/one_half]
The big man Zuna and team captain/shotcaller Bloodwater make up Vulcun’s duo lane. Zuna might be the biggest weakness of Vulcun in the world championships with his incredibly aggressive positioning in teamfights possibly costing him some deaths that a safer, more traditional AD carry might bring. On the flip side, his overaggressive playstyle may catch people off guard, providing a powderkeg for Vulcun to bounceo off from. Shotcaller Bloodwater is a solid, world class support player with the ability to tilt a teamfight in one spell. If Zuna can stay safe, Vulcun is a scary team to play against in the World Championships.
After rising from fragments of CLG Black and mTw NA, Vulcun Techbargains got off to a rough start in the spring split of the LCS. After being nearly dead last, they reached out and traded for Bloodwater in at support, bringing them to their current roster today. After a large turn around that was the talk of the town, at the end of the spring split they finished at 3rd place. Vulcun showed they were no flash in the pan with a dominating performance in the Summer split of the LCS, finishing with a 20-8 record and second place.
Vulcun is a team with a highly aggressive jungler in Xmithie, and they will often mirror that aggression in their level 1 play. On blue side, a great example of this was their 1st game against Team Dignitas in the 3rd seed placement match.
Despite being seen invading their red buff, Vulcun remained calm and analyzed the situation. Since Patoy had been with Dignitas when Vulcun spotted him, they knew that their side of the jungle was unwarded. Therefore, Vulcun brute-forced their way into their jungle 5 man strong, and then delayed 3 man invaded red buff. Vulcun secured an early and easy red buff away from Dignitas.
On the purple side, in their second game against Team Dignitas for 3rd place, Vulcun again showed their aggression with a deep ward onto the enemy Evelynn’s blue, looking to deny her most important buff in the entire game and delaying any jungle pressure from Crumbzz.
Despite Evelynn not actually going for the blue buff first, you can see in both games Xmithie and the duo lane working together to put a large amount of pressure on the enemy jungle, sometimes winning an advantage just due to sheer body count.
General Compositions and Strategy
Vulcun has two signature strategies they run: The Zuna Split push and Mancloud/Sycho Sid global defense force. The Zuna split, which Vulcun has used to great effect multiple times, involves him playing Tristana and rushing a Blade of the Ruined King. After reaching around level 9 or 10, he simply goes to a side lane and goes to town on the creeps while the rest of his team groups elsewhere. With Trist’s high spell base damage and the power of the Ruined King active, it is difficult for alot of champions to 1v1 her, creating possible mismatches when you have to send a solo laner to fight against an AD carry before 25-30 minutes in the 4v4 situation.
Their other main strategy involves the insane map pressure granted by mancloud’s Twisted Fate and Sid’s Shen, allowing Xmithie’s aggressive semi-carry jungling to take shape all over the map and causing mismatches in early-mid game skirmishes after their enemies over-commit to the situation that is presented to them. A scary composition in their hands, this strategy allows big man Zuna to safely farm up on his signature Tristana, Caitlyn, or Kog’Maw hypercarries, which Vulcun then relies on to win them the game after 30 minutes or so.
The major Achilles heel of Vulcun is Zuna’s positioning: he tends to get a little over-excited with his positioning as a marksman in teamfights, perhaps hearkening back to his days as CLG Black’s top laner. Another potential weakness on Vulcun is Xmithie. Not because he is lacking as a player, but his jungle picks outside of Jarvan IV are incredibly unsafe and have high snowball requirements. If he doesn’t strike early and strike hard, he runs the risk of falling out of relevancy compared to the other jungler picks that continue to scale throughout the lategame.
The Bottom Line
Vulcun continues to be the unsung dark horse of the NA scene. With hype train Cloud9 and fan favorite TSM being the other NA representatives at Worlds, once again Vulcun flies in under the radar. Perhaps they relish being an underdog or sleeper pick by now, but if Vulcun play to their potential, they can finally become a big name that will finally earn the respect they have deserved for some time now. Be sure to check out their first group stage match against Fnatic on Sunday, 9/15 at 10pm PST!
After failing to qualify for the Season 2 World Championships, Fnatic has returned to world stage looking to be the first team that has ever won 2 World Championship titles in competitive League of Legends history. Sweeping both the Spring and Summer splits respectively, Fnatic is looking to make Europe proud in the Season 3 World Championships after Europe finished last in the All Stars tournament.
Meet the Team
[one_half]Top Lane – sOAZ[/one_half]
sOAZ, the EU All-Star top lane, is known to be one of the most innovating EU top laners due to his ability to see the potential of newly released champions such as Jayce, Kha’zix, or Lissandra in the top lane before everyone else does. sOAZ’s deep champion pool and consistency as a player allows him to fit into whatever strategy Fnatic wants to run whether it would be 5v5 team fighting comps, heavy skirmish comps, or split pushing comps.
[one_half]Jungle – Cyanide[/one_half]
One of the original Fnatic Season 1 members, Cyanide favors strong early duelists like Jarvan IV, Lee Sin, and Aatrox seeking to snowball his lanes early to gain map control, bully the enemy jungler, and be part of Fnatic’s main frontline in the mid/late game. Known for his smiting abilities to steal Dragon and Baron, Cyanide will always be a looming threat for any team attempting to take those big objectives.
[one_half]Mid lane – xPeke[/one_half]
xPeke, the star MVP mid laner and original Season 1 Fnatic member, is the crucial player for Fnatic both in terms of strategy as well as a damage source. xPeke’s strengths come from his strong farming and laning, roaming to the other lanes to establish global map control from Fnatic, and his ability to split push effectively. Whenever Fnatic is ahead, even, or behind their opponents, xPeke will always the one who does everything in his power to make the crucial plays happen for Fnatic to secure victories.
Puszu and YellOwStaR[/one_half]
In his limited time with Fnatic, Puszu has grown with the team and developed a reputation for being a mechanically sound and dependable AD carry for the team. He has brought out a variety of AD carries to suit Fnatic’s varied strategies and will always be a threat to his opponents both in the laning phase as well as teamfights. Part of Fnatic’s strategy revolves around which AD carry he selects whether it would be a tower pushing comp (Caitlyn), a pick/skirmish comp (Ashe or Vayne), or a 5v5 comp (Varus).
YellOwStaR’s transition from being a long time AD carry player since Season 1 to playing Support could not have gone better having the most assists in the EU LCS as well as the highest kill participation in the EU LCS. YellOwStaR has demonstrated his capability of playing various styles of supports whether it would be supports that can create picks, disengage and peel for his carries, or lock down his opponents in crucial fights.
Originally picked up from the roster of myRevenge featuring WetdreaM, xPeke, Cyanide, LamiaZealot, Shushei, Mellisan, and MagicFingers, the team quickly lost WetdreaM when he left to create AbsoluteLegends. Fnatic exploded onto the scene in a spectacular fashion, beating CLG, Epik Gamer, and against All authority twice in a row to cement themselves as the Season One World Champions. After the Season One World Championships, Fnatic would place third at IEM Cologne during Season Six and they would take home the gold for IEM NY.
At the start of Season 2, Mellisan would leave the roster due to his educational commitments. Following his departure, Fnatic would attend the IEM World Championship where they would place fifth, being eliminated from the group stages. Following a second place finish at SK Trophy March, Fnatic would be invited to play with the Koreans at Azubu’s Champions Spring 2012, where they would be knocked out of the tournament after losing to Team OP in the semifinals.
After Champions Spring, Fnatic would return to Europe to compete in RaidCall’s first Play Cup where they would power through the tournament and finish second, losing only to CLG.EU in the finals. After the first RaidCall, Fnatic would again undergo a roster swap, taking on Pheilox as a replacement for Mellisan so he could complete his studies. Fnatic would then compete in the second RaidCall Play Cup, where they would again finish second, losing only to Team Acer.PL in the grand finals. After the second RaidCall Play Cup, Fnatic would tell Shushei to hit the road after his lackluster performances and his inability to perform up to Fnatic’s standards. The day after Shushei’s departure, Fnatic announced the acquisition of former aAa player sOAZ in the top lane. Mellisan would also officially leave the team at this time to pursue his educational duties.
Fnatic soon headed out to compete at the MLG Spring Pro Circuit, where they would place 5th – 6th after dropping games to TSM EVO, TSM, and Team Dynamic. After the MLG tournament, Fnatic would head to Dreamhack Summer 2012, where they would take 4th place after losing to their rival CLG.EU and Curse EU in the losers bracket. Following Dreamhack, Fnatic acquired their new support player in nRated after Pheilox left the team, and the next big event was the Season Two European Regionals, where Fnatic would lose their chance at the Season Two World Championships after losing to CLG.EU and Froggen. After being eliminated the team went back to practicing.
Prior to Season Three, Fnatic would acquire a new AD Carry in Rekkles after their domination of the ASUS Republic of Gamers with their modified roster and the Fight for Pride tournament. With the addition of Rekkles, Fnatic would start to control the European region with very strong play, and this was quickly put on display at Dreamhack. Fnatic attended Dreamhack Winter 2012 with the roster of sOAZ in the Top Lane, Cyanide in the Jungle, xPeke in the Mid, Rekkles on AD Carry, and nRated on Support. Their domination of the tournament left no doubt that Fnatic had one of the strongest line-ups in Europe. Fnatic went 13-1 during Dreamhack, dropping only one game to their rivals CLG.EU before winning two straight to take the finals and finish with the gold.
After Dreamhack, Fnatic headed out the IPL5 to compete against Team WE, Taipei Assassins, and CLG Prime. Losing only a single game to Team WE, Fnatic defeated both Azubu Blaze and Team Dynamic in the group stages. Continuing on, Fnatic would defeat the Taipei Assassins 2-0, followed by their victory over CLG Prime with a 2-1 score after starting 0-1. Losing to Team WE in the next series, they were again placed against the Taipei Assassins, again emerging victorious with a 2-0 victory over TPA. Advancing to the Grand Finals, Fnatic would lose to Team WE 1-3, taking home a very respectable second place.
With the announcement of Riot’s new policy regarding underage players, Fnatic would be forced to replace their AD Carry Rekkles. Due to the new age limit, Fnatic would acquire a new AD Carry in YellOwStaR and Rekkles would start Fnatic Academy. With their newly (newly) acquired roster, Fnatic would go on to place 3rd – 4th at IEM Katowice before Season 3 started. Season 3 started with the Offline Qualifiers, where Fnatic would beat Anexis, lose to GIANTS! Gaming, and then defeat Alternate to secure a spot for Season 3. The Spring split went swimmingly for Fnatic, with them ending the split with a record of 22-6 and taking home first place. When the Summer split rolled around, Fnatic again finished first, defeating Lemondogs 3-1 in the Grand Finals and finally granting them their return to the world stage.
Fnatic plays a fairly tame level one with invades thrown in during only a few of their LCS games. Their level one usually comprises of a ward or two in river for vision, and then, if given the opportunity, one or two deep wards into the enemy jungle.
The average blue side start for Fnatic usually begins with Peke, Cyanide, and sOAZ heading up towards the top lane, dropping one ward in the top lane tribush and another in the river towards the Red of the enemy team. If spotted, Fnatic usually retreats and drops a few defensive wards in their own jungle before heading to red. This level one usually allows them very solid early vision while also protecting them from early invades and unwanted level engages.
When on Red side, Fnatic nearly mirrors their blue side start with nRated or YellOwStaR placing two wards in the river, one usually across from their blue buff and one towards dragon, while the rest of the team heads towards the bush behind their Red, protecting against early wards while also spotting any invades. If given the opportunity, Fnatic will also invade as a group of 5 to get one or two deep wards down in order to secure deep vision.
Both of these approaches allow Fnatic early game ward presence, superior vision, and the possibility of engaging if they decide to do so. While not common, Fnatic sometimes responds to engages such as their game against SK during Week One. After SK invaded, Fnatic engaged them in a minor fight right outside of their blue.
General Compositions and Strategy
Fnatic is an incredibly versatile team that has ran just about every conceivable strategy in the book, but more recently they have favored running heavy skirmish comps focusing on catching their opponents out of position and winning small engagements throughout the map in order to establish map control to allow them to get necessary objectives and snowball the game into their favor.
When Fnatic runs their favored pick comp strategies, sOAZ and Cyanide will often pick champions such as Elise, Malphite, Zac, Jarvan IV, or Aatrox that can catch out their opponents from afar to allow for their teammates to follow up and secure the kills as well as be the frontline for Fnatic in fights and disrupt the backline. xPeke will often opt for assassins like Ahri or Kassadin to follow up CC from his teammates to evaporate caught enemy members at will. YellOwStaR is another crucial part of Fnatic’s pick comp strategies with his phenomenal play on Thresh as well as Leona, Nami, Zyra, and Sona. His ability to land crucial skill shots to catch his opponents out allows for Fnatic to get the upper hand in skirmishes. Puszu can also provide pick potential as well as follow-up damage with his Ashe, Vayne or Varus.
Even though Fnatic has mainly been running pick and skirmish comps recently, they can always bring out 5v5 team fight comps or split push comps if they wish to do so.
Even though Fnatic is one of the most well-rounded teams going to worlds this year with very deep champion pools across the board and versatility, they rely on establishing map control in the early/mid game and on the play making to happen in order to do what they do best. Investing heavily into vision control in all stages of the game not only helps dealing with Cyanide’s early presence and allows for counter plays to happen accordingly, but also reduces Fnatic’s ability to make the picks happen and as a result can deny crucial plays that Fnatic needs to snowball the game to their favor.
The Bottom Line
As a team looking to make history happen, Fnatic will be a very threatening team in the group stage and will stop at nothing to get out of group stage in order to make a run for winning the entire Season 3 World Championships over the likes of other regions and make Europe proud.
Gambit BenQ, formerly Moscow 5, secured their spot at the Season 3 World Championships with their victory over Evil Geniuses to take the 3rd European spot at the World Championships. Ever since their initial entrance into the European scene in Season 2, Gambit has always been heralded as one of the top European teams and they are one of the most innovative teams in the world bringing out new champions and builds that change the meta regularly.
Meet the Team
[one_half]Top Laner – Darien[/one_half]
Darien orients his play around constantly putting pressure on Gambit’s opponent by relentlessly pushing top lane into the enemy’s towers no matter what. This is a double edged sword for Gambit because sometimes Darien does not have the gold that he needs to force his opponents to deal with him or duel with the opposing top laner which can lead to multiple deaths on the scoreboard for him. Darien is the main frontline for Gambit in teamfights and is an important source of utility for Gambit in the later stages of the game.
[one_half]Jungle – Diamondprox[/one_half]
Diamondprox, the EU All-Star jungler, is often heralded as Europe’s top jungler and is known for bringing out unconventional picks and builds that end up changing the entire League of Legends meta sometimes overnight. In this season alone, he popularized Volibear and Nasus worldwide, Doran Blade start on Tiger Udyr, jungle Karma, and rushing Spirit of the Elder Lizard on jungle Evelynn. Diamondprox seeks to apply heavy early pressure to the lanes for Gambit, dueling the enemy jungler, and stealing enemy buffs and camps.
[one_half]Mid lane – Alex Ich[/one_half]
Alex Ich, the EU All-star mid laner, is known for his deep champion pool and preference of high damage assassins to compliment Gambit’s overall aggressive play style. In the LCS Summer Split alone, Alex Ich has brought out 15 different champions in the mid lane. Alex Ich’s strengths come from his strong farming and laning abilities as well as roaming to the other lanes at just the right time to make plays happen for Gambit.
Genja and Voidle[/one_half]
Known as one of the most passive AD carries in the EU scene, Genja’s strength lies in his positioning, strategic prowess, and innovative builds. Leading the creation of team compositions and strategies for Gambit, what Genja lacks in lane presence is made up for in game presence. Genja has brought out unconventional builds such as buying Tear of the Goddess on mana-heavy AD carries as well as first buying 3 Doran Blades with varying results. Genja will rarely buy attack speed and favors caster AD carries. Voidle favors supports with high pick potential and disengage to keep his AD carry alive in lane and in teamfights.
Gambit BenQ formed at the beginning of Season 3 after their former organization, Moscow 5, was forced to let them go after the arrest of their CEO. Grabbing the exact same roster, Gambit’s first appearance was at IEM Katowice, where they showed the world that they were in same form. Losing 1-2 in the group stage, they made it to the semifinals through a tie breaker where they went on to defeat both CJ Frost and CJ Blaze 2-0 in back to back victories against the Korean teams.
Following Katowice, Gambit prepared themselves for Season 3 and the beginning of the LCS. Finishing the Spring Split with a record of 21-7, Gambit would end up losing in the finals against Fnatic 2-3, securing second place for the summer split. Prior to the beginning of the Summer Split, Gambit would go to the IEM World Championship and place 3rd in the tournament, losing to CJ Frost 2-1. Invited to compete in the MLG Winter Championship exhibition matches, Gambit defeated Dignitas 2-0 before losing to KT Rolster B 1-2 in a best-of-three.
After MLG, Gambit went back to Europe to prepare for the EU LCS Summer Split. Prior to the start of the EU Summer Split, Gambit lost one of their most famous players, EDward. He had moved to the United States to pursue a career with Curse Gaming, and Gambit was forced to look for a replacement. Although they picked up Darker, he and Genja had synergy issues in the duo lane and didn’t last very long before being replaced by Voidle, Gambit’s current support. The EU Summer Split did not quite go as well as Gambit had hoped, with them finishing tied for second along with 3 other teams, a record of 15-13 on their scorecard. Gambit did end up qualifying for Worlds after a very difficult Summer Split Championship, losing to Evil Geniuses before beating Ninja’s in Pajamas, and then losing once again to Lemondogs, being forced to face Evil Geniuses again for the 3rd place match. Turning their losing streak against EG around, Gambit ended up placing third and securing their spot for Worlds.
Gambit’s level one was surprisingly passive during the EU LCS Summer split. Featuring early ward coverage, deep wards were usually littered throughout wraiths and river, and the team positioned themselves in the bush behind red. They made sure that wards were going to be next to impossible for the opposing teams to place, and they also made sure that they had early ward coverage for possible invades and easy vision.
Their blue side level one usually consisted of Darker or Voidle heading to the tribush in the bottom lane and usually placing an early ward while Diamond, Genja, and Alex sat in the bush behind Red. Darien usually roamed top and sat next to blue, preferring additional sight rather than safety against a five man gank.
Their red side fluctuated a little bit, but not much. Preferring not to go with an invade or an early tribush ward, Darker or Voidle usually warded the bush closest to blue in the mid lane while the rest of the team sat in the bush behind red. Once again, it’s a strong position that deters early level ones and also allows them the possibility of ambushes.
General Compositions and Strategy
Gambit often favors running aggressive skirmish and 5v5 compositions to suit their playstyle focusing on taking towers early and dueling the opponents in every stage of the game. Their main strategy often revolves around the champion that Alex Ich picks.
If Alex Ich opts for assassins like Zed or Kassadin, Gambit is looking for heavy skirmishing and winning smaller fights to gain objectives instead of full-on 5v5 engagements. Diamondprox will often pick Evelynn or other strong skirmish junglers to be another damage source for Gambit in skirmishes. Darien will try to grab Shen for this composition for pressuring top lane and for joining his team when he is needed. Genja and Voidle will often pick champions that can set up picks such as Ashe, Thresh, or Zyra that allow for Alex Ich or Diamondprox to follow up and evaporate their opponents one by one.
If Alex Ich picks AOE mages like Orianna, Lissandra, or Karthus, Gambit is looking to win big 5v5 team fights. Darien and Diamondprox will opt for heavy initiation champions like Jarvan IV or Zac for the main frontline and look to disrupt the enemy backline. Genja will often opt for Varus or Miss Fortune in order to deal as much damage as possible in the fight. Voidle will often opt for Sona, Zyra, or Thresh focused on peeling for his carries and locking down the enemy team.
Gambit is a very mid lane-centric team in that they need Alex Ich to be the main source of damage for the team. Shutting down Alex Ich is a crucial goal for any team facing Gambit.
Diamondprox will always be a threat in the game and nullifying his early presence will require additional gold invested in wards to gain knowledge of where he is and making plays in concordance with that.
Darien is very hit or miss when it comes to his play. Sometimes he is on fire and draws multiple enemy members to deal with him, but there are other times when he just goes on tilt when he does poorly in lane and sometimes becomes a liability for Gambit.
Genja is also often noted to be a weakness of Gambit due to his passive, farming-centric laning. Farming in it of itself is not the wrong thing to be focusing on as an AD carry, however there were multiple times when Gambit is fighting on one side of the map and Genja is just farming on the other side of the map thus rendering the numerous farm that he is acquiring absolutely useless.
The Bottom Line
Despite losing their long-time support and having multiple swaps during the season, Gambit is one of the few returning teams to the Season 3 World Championships along with Team SoloMid and Najin Black Sword. Gambit will be a force to be reckoned with as one of the veteran European teams in the group stage. Looking to make Europe proud, Gambit will stop at nothing to get out of group stage to represent Europe in the playoffs.