Welcome to our Southeast Asian Worlds Previews – This one belongs to the ahq e-Sports Club, 2014 Season Garena Regional Finals winners and the 2nd Seed from this region.
ahq e-Sports Club, alongside TPA, is the biggest name in the Garena Premier League right now. Many consider these two organizations to be ultimate rivals since for the last two Seasons.
ahq e-Sports Club were created around the Season 2 Championship Series and were originally supposed to counter-balance the other big Taiwanese team – Taipei Assassins. With four players from Corsair and GreenTea from SteelSeries WIE, the team was formed — Soon after the new acquisitions had arrived, one of the most notable – GarnetDevil, took the Jungler spot.
After Garena decided to expand the number of teams in their regular season to eight, it was only natural that ahq was the one to receive the invite. In 2013 GPL Spring, they had shown impressive form, but were still a step behind the Taipei Assassins and the Singapore Sentinels. Nevertheless, finishing 3rd with a 20-8 score in their debut was quite remarkable.
ahq e-Sports Club, after broadening their roster further, started to move players between positions. Adding westdoor and Lantyr and putting GarnetDevil into a substitute spot seemed like an odd move at the time, however, the results were improving.
After winning the 2013 GPL Summer with an exceptional score of 24-4 and having a positive record against each an every team in the league, ahq were at their peak. Destroying the Taipei Assassoms in the 2013 GPL Championship – a battle between Spring and Summer winners – was just the topping on the cake.
Sights Set High
The Season 3 Taiwan Regional Finals arrived, and ahq looked well prepared. Winning their group without a single lost game gave their fans a boost of hope to see them compete internationally, especially considering the success of the last SEA squad at the World Championship.
This time, however, the faith was not enough. They had been pushed to the losers bracket by the Taipei Snipers, who had an amazing season as well, to then be defeated by the Gamania Bears led by Winds, a formation that no one even considered a serious threat.
Having their dreams of the international exposure crushed, ahq decided to follow their rival’s steps and formed a sister team led by their jungler Lantyr, calling it ahq Fighter. They have also acquired their current jungler Naz from Wayi Spiders.
After a while, MrAlbis followed his ex-teammate Lantyr and transfered to aha F, and the current quintet began their journey. It’s also the time when the TPA started to become their kryptonite. Finishing just behind their rival in all three splits of this Season must have had an effect on their players.
In the end, both TPA and ahq have developed to the point of leaving all the competition behind and have returned to their one-on-one rivalry uninterrupted. With enough circuit point accumulated throughout three splits, ahq e-Sports Club landed directly in the final of 2014 Season Garena Regional Finals where they swept their opponents – Saigon Fantastic Five – without dropping a game, qualifying for Worlds.
Top Lane – Chen “Prydz” Kuang-Feng (陳廣峰)
One of the two “founding fathers” of ahq e-Sports Club, Prydz has always been the team player type, picking exactly what’s needed without personal preference. He also prefers a team-fight based champions to well-scaling carries or split-pushers.
Currently, it is highly likely to see him on Lulu, Gragas or Kayle, but occasionally, we might spot a Cho’Gath in the top lane, a relict of the past for the vast majority of players.
He’s a strong laner that does not require a lot of attention from the jungler and the “selflessness” might come from the fact that he’s the oldest person in his team. With many pocket-picks in his arsenal, you should never underestimate his value.
Jungle – Chen “Naz” Tien-Chih (陳添志)
The newest addition to the team, Naz has shown to be an exceptionally aggressive jungler that excels at early game skirmishes. Recently, he’s picked up Rengar and performed well enough on him to even draw a few bans.
Generally, his champion-pool consists of Lee Sin, Evelynn, Jarvan IV, and Nocturne. The early game snowballs are his main priority, allowing either westdoor or GarnetDevil to start overpowering their opponent worked on numerous occasions.
Naz can have a rough time when facing a strong dueling jungler who stubbornly invades his territory.
Mid Lane – Liu “westdoor” Shu-Wei (劉書瑋)
This player is considered to be the main star of ahq e-Sports Club. Playing almost exclusively carry-type champions like Fizz or Zed, he’s made the name for himself for being one of the best players in Southeast Asia.
In the past, westdoor was critiqued for a shallow champion pool, mostly built on Fizz and Twisted Fate, and a reluctancy to adapt to the meta. Luckily, just as the fashion comes back, the meta that suited him like a glove has returned, and now with Zed and Kassadin in his pocket as well, he poses a very serious threat for any team he faces.
With how many bans he’s been a target of, it’s hard to discredit his value.
AD Carry – Lai “GarnetDevil” Yi-Meng (賴翊銘)
GarnetDevil is probably the strongest laning ADC in the Garena Premier League. His hyper-aggressive style and the potential to provide the win for his team on his own makes him the obvious target for his enemies.
Despite this style, he averages 1.5 deaths per game and almost three times as many kills. Jinx is his comfort-pick, however, he has also presented Kog’Maw, Lucian and Twitch in the past.
With a strong early laning phase, he can accumulate incredible leads and snowball his team to victory, flawlessly. Without much international exposure, it’s hard to evaluate his level in comparison to other star ADCs — But I wouldn’t be surprised seeing him doing very well.
Support – Sa “GreenTea” Shang-Ching (蔡尚精)
GreenTea is the second original member of ahq and arguably the most spectacular player in the line-up. Known for his unconventional picks like Malphite, GreenTea has been a force to be reckoned with.
He’s the playmaker, often creating a favourable situation for a pick-off or a good team-fight and the role he fills in his team can easily be compared to Xpecial from his TSM time.
He definitely feels most comfortable on Thresh and Braum, with a bit of Nami every now and then. Alongside GarnetDevil, they should be not be underestimated, but rather approached with caution, otherwise, a snowball might start.
Who knows if he prepared something new for the World Championship or maybe we will see something from the past?
ahq e-Sports Club did not have luck in the Groups Draw. Ending up with both Samsung White and Edward Gaming makes their progress extremely hard to imagine.
Nevertheless, being underestimated may be their biggest asset. Creating a strong early lead may results in an upset, especially if both westdoor and GarnetDevil play on top of their game.
ahq’s biggest problem has been closing the game without being miles ahead — TPA, on numerous occasions, showed that if stalled long enough, the Taiwanese squad loses their momentum and starts committing mistakes.
These two scenarios are sadly exactly what they are signed for in Group A. Samsung White is not likely to lose their lanes, while EDward Gaming, even when behind, will stall the game for as long as they need to ensure their win.
Despite my honest sympathy towards ahq e-Sports Club, I can’t see them progressing past the Group Stage held in Taiwan, most likely finishing 3rd.
ahq e-Sports Club have been dealt a bad hand this Season. With two heavy favorites for the entire tournament to overcome straight away, a miracle is what they need