[one_half]Contributors to this article include:
Charlie “Charlie” Lipsie, Daniel “Heliosan” Song, Adrian “oberyn” Montenegro
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!
[one_half] Gamania Bears[/one_half]
They are smarter than your average bears. Coming from taking the first place at Taiwan Regional Finals, Gamania Bears had big shoes to fill this year due to the success of TPA. Gamania Bears managed to knock out both TPA and TPS earning their spot a worlds. Against all odds this young team is taking their shot at the global stage!
Meet the TeamFrom left to right: Steak, Winds, NL, Galala, Maple, and SwordArt
[one_half]Top Lane – Steak[/one_half]
Like his name, Chou Lu-Hsi is a beefy guy who plays beefy top laners. Typically he plays lane bully champions like Renekton, Kennen and Rumble. Steak is easily the backbone of Gamania Bears with his consistency in the top lane. Generally Steak will always take down the top tower first winning his lane with a CS lead and continue to bully the enemy laner. It seems that Steak’s lane is the only lane that applies global pressure early game.
[one_half]Jungle – Winds[/one_half]
Winds is the mother bear calling shots from her natural habitat. Winds isn’t a gank heavy jungler in the early game even when he is on aggressive champions. In the early game he focuses on farming the jungle and counter jungling until he has a chance to capitalize on enemy mistakes. In a way he is similar to CloudTemplar from CJ Entus Frost; he doesn’t make many flashy plays but he always makes good decisions.
[one_half]Mid Lane – Maple[/one_half]
Maple is one of the most passive mid laners in the scene. He does not seem to roam or play aggressive in lane regardless of the matchup. He focuses on nothing but farming in the early game and risks making plays to try get an advantage or snowball his lane. At times he even ends the game with a 0/0/0 KDA which is unheard of for a mid laner.
NL & SwordArt[/one_half]
SwordArt’s champions: [/one_half_last]
A passive duo lane with limited champion pool. Throughout the Taiwan Regional Finals this duo has been sticking to what they know the best and only those four champions. They aren’t a duo that often gets solo kills early but NL always seems to get ahead in CS and rarely makes positioning errors in teamfights.
Gamania Bears was created on April 15th, 2013 consisting of NL, Galala, Steak, yaumo, IcefenG, SwordArt and Winds. Two months later, Maple joined the line-up for the mid lane position with the departure of yaumo and IcefenG to form the current roster of Gamania Bears. With the team only being 5 months old they have accomplished what many older teams couldn’t: earning a world berth. They placed first in the Season 3 Taiwan Regional Finals and earned their seat at the World Championships. This was not an easy accomplished, they fought and defeated every top team in the region including Wayi Spider, Ahq Taiwan, TPA, and TPS in the finals.
1st Place Hong Kong Esports Tournament
1st Place Season 3 Taiwan Regionals
2nd Place World GameMaster Tournament 2013
Gamania Bears’ level 1 is very similar to NA’s Cloud9. Both SwordArt and Lemonnation almost never start with pink wards. Both teams will always invade red regardless which side they start on. The few differences are that Lemonation wards a side brush at mid while SwordArt wards the wraith entrance into their jungle. While the support is warding, the rest of Gamania Bear hide at a curved brush with their mid laner scouting mid. When SwordArt catches up with the team, then they head into the enemy jungle together. Both Cloud9 and Gamania Bears wards the exact same spots in the enemy red jungle: one by wraith and one at the brush at red.
General Compositions and Strategy
Gamania Bears uses a common AoE teamfight composition consisting of Renekton, Orianna, Jarvan,Varus and Sona. This composition receives a large power spike at level 6 and the Bears abuse this spike to force engagements for dragon control. Having Renekton and Jarvan as dive buddies gives Orianna multiple options to set up her ball. Initating with NL’s Chains of Corruption gives the dive buddies a chance to get to the back line of the enemy team with Cataclysm and Slice-and-Dice. Then Orianna and Sona can follow up with a Crescendo-Shockwave wombo combo while Varus skirts around the outside pumping out consistent damage without worry of retaliation.
Gamania Bears’ slow methodical playstyle typically ends up suffocating their enemy to defeat via gold and item differences. The mid lane, jungle, and duo lane from Gamania Bears all play an extremely passive early game. It’s uncommon for them to get solo kills and Winds does not even attempt to gank before his laners hit level 6. They do not take any unnecessary risks in lane and focus primarily on farming and scaling into the late game. However, on the other end of the spectrum lies their top laner, Steak. With his bully champion pool, typically wins his lane and draws enough jungle pressure to himself so that the rest of his team can safely farm. After winning his lane he continues to split pushing top and typically build his champions with items such as with Ravenous Hydra on Renekton to keep applying pressure. When the mid game comes around, they steamroll teamfights and take every little advantage they can get. Eventually they gain enough of a gold lead through farm and objective control that their opponents can’t bear to face them in combat unless they fight with a massive advantage on their side.
Gamania Bears are one of few teams that still likes to run Rumble consistently. Steak is able to achieve the same goal on Rumble as he does with Renekton with more AOE damage from The Equalizer. Maple also strongly favors Ahri, but he plays her with an passive style throughout the laning phase. Even on Ahri Maple doesn’t attempt risky all in during the laning phase, he waits for his power spike from Deathfire’s Grasp and only take gaurenteed kills. When running Ahri Winds often pairs it up with Elise and Nocturne. While Nocturne takes aways vision from the enemy giving Ahri a chance to land easy charms, Elise provides crow control and immediate burst.
As Steak acts as the backbone of Gamania Bears, forcing him to be in a 1v2 lane drastically changes the game for them. If Steak gets set behind, no one would be able to apply heavy pressure in lanes and enemy junglers will be free to terrorize the other passive laners of the Bears. Besides their dependence on Steak, Gamania Bears as a team have an extremely shallow champion pool, most players maxing out at 3 champions played total. This makes the pick and bans phase an extremely predictable and vulnerable stage for the Bears and teams can easily abuse this to their advantage to force uneasiness with unfamiliar champions.
The Bottom Line
At the end the day Gamania Bears seem to be a modern reincarnation of CLG.eu during Season 2 with their very methodical and patient playstyle. Even though they are a young team with little experience, they’ve proven thus far that they are capable of defeating war-torn veterans of the scene and even the past season’s champions as well. With their berth in the quarterfinals secured, the Bears eagerly await the teams that climb through the group stages of the tournament and hope to ride their momentum to the finals stage of the World Championships.
[one_half] Cloud 9 HyperX[/one_half]
Cloud 9 HyperX comes on to the world stage as North America’s shining light and hope for taking home the title for the region. After a dominating performance in the regular Summer split of the NA LCS, Cloud 9 proved that their achievements weren’t just restricted just to season play and won the NA Regionals champion title at 2013 PAX Prime.
Meet the Team
[one_half]Top lane – Balls[/one_half]
Balls is hands-down Cloud 9’s deadliest and most consistent laner on the roster. More than capable of dueling opponents in a solo lane, Balls also has the capability to catch up in farm even placed in 2v1 lanes. Unlike many other NA top laners, he also has one of the most effective champion pools ranging from hard carries such as Rumble to tankier initiators such as Shen. Coupled along with Balls’ ability to carry from the top lane, he showcases great decision making in map rotations and in teamfights, knowing exactly where to place Equalizer ultimates for maximum effectiveness.
[one_half]Jungle – Meteos[/one_half]
After Cloud 9’s performance in the Summer split and regional finals, Meteos has absolutely claimed the title, Rookie of the Year. After never having a disappointing performance thus far in the year, Meteos remains as the backbone of Cloud 9 whose presence is persistently felt around the map. Instead of actively ganking lanes, Meteos is more likely to countergank at precisely the right time and aid in turret pushes to claim objectives. While in the jungle, he’s never idle and moves with purpose to ensure that he’s always being productive in some way for his team. Concerning his champion pool, Meteos has the capability of playing all the current meta popular picks save for Lee Sin which might pose a problem in the bracket stages of the tournament.
[one_half]Mid lane – Hai[/one_half]
Cloud 9’s fearless captain Hai acts as the team’s shotcaller and provides their sense of direction during the early to mid game. In lane however, Hai is the one person on Cloud 9 most susceptible to first bloods but that’s partly due to him not calling Meteos to camp his lane as often as other mid laners call their junglers to do. Lately his picks have revolved around assassins but he’s also more than capable of playing traditional AP mages.
Sneaky & Lemonnation[/one_half]
Lemonnation’s champions: [/one_half_last]
This duo lane can be summed up in one word: control. When in lane, the pairing seek to push their lane constantly and are allowed to do that since Lemon has the best vision control of any support in North America. Besides warding coverage, the two champions in this lane typically have many CC abilities in their kits which make it one of the best lanes to tower dive with Meteos simply due to how long they can lockup opponents. Their signature Ashe-Zyra lane was introduced in the middle of the Summer split and has granted them successful results since then. If teams don’t ban out one of the champions or have a specific strategy in mind to counter it, then it probably means a winning lane for Cloud 9.
Initially, the team that Cloud 9 today was formed back in January earlier this year. The team consisting of Nientonsoh, Hai, Yazuki, WildTurtle, and Lemonnation sought to qualify for the Season 3 NA LCS Spring Split but they were knocked out of the Offline Qualifer after losing to Team MRN and Azure Gaming. After the qualifers, both Yazuki and Nientonsoh left the team and even WildTurtle was picked up by TSM after Chaox left their team.
On April 1st, the roster solidified by the additions of Meteos, Balls, and Sneaky and the team was picked up by Quantic Gaming. However, the team became branded as Cloud 9 again as ex-TSM Manager Jack Etienne picked up the team. The team again participated in the Offline Qualifier and entered the NA LCS Spring Split, replacing compLexity.
Throughout the season, Cloud 9 stayed ahead of the pack by placing 1st at the end of the season along with acquiring a 13 game win streak. At the NA Regional Playoffs, Cloud 9 swept all of their participating series and eventually bested the Spring Split champions, TSM. For their efforts, they won $50,000 and received a first round bye at the World Championships and finished with season and playoff cumulative record of 30-3.
Cloud 9’s level 1s aren’t particularly aggressive in that they’ll look to fight and obtain first bloods but they will brute force their way into enemy jungles in order to obtain key vision on buffs to track the movements of enemy junglers.
On the blue side, Cloud 9 will typically invade for the purpose of securing vision at the enemy red buff. While the team invades from the middle left brush, Lemonnation will place an Explorer Ward on the middle right brush to spot any incoming invades on their own jungle. As he meets up with the rest of the team, they’ll come around the left side of red, ward that bush at the camp, and then ward wraiths and fall back. Some variations to this invade include the team retreating back to mid and then mirroring this invade on the blue jungle camp as well.
On red side, Cloud 9 more or less duplicate their movements from blue side. However, instead of placing a ward on the middle right bush, the team rushes to the bush above the red jungle camp. From there, they go around the top side and ward the bush to the left of the wraith camp. Then, they backtrack through mid and cross the other side of the lane to blue side. They ward the banana bush but approach the blue jungle camp through the top side and ward the bush there. Following this, they then retreat back to their jungle via the top tribush.
General Compositions and Strategy
Cloud 9’s early game focus lies on fast turret pushing and strong level 6 teamfight compositions for dragon control. They prefer having 2v1 lanes for the purpose of taking down turrets immediately and will often choose to target the bottom lane for easier transition into dragons. More often than not, after a jungle clear Meteos will aid the duo lane in pushing the turret and if he picks Nasus, expect this to continuously happen during the laning phase. Once a turret has been taken or their champions have acquired ultimates, Cloud 9 would prefer to force dragon engagements and usually come out on top. From there on, they usually play reactively to lane positions and will rotate to objectives if they spot any weak points on the map to snowball their lead further.
With Cloud 9’s team compositions, they prefer to have the ability to initiate teamfights with any of their roles including their marskman. If an Ashe arrow lands from Sneaky, you can expect the rest of the team to pile in and commit 100% to the ensuing fight. Typically, Sneaky doesn’t feel the need to call for much peeling since Cloud 9’s frontline of Balls and Meteos are usually so fed and farmed that they’re the real threats on the team. Additionally, Sneaky never makes lapses in judgement concerning positioning and steers towards the safer side of engagements and can usually escape sticky situations since he plays champions that have self-peel tools.
Since the creation of the LCS, there has been a severe lack of international interaction between teams and Cloud 9 as a team have never played on a world stage before. Although the Summer Split and the NA Regionals have granted them some offline experience, the team have never seriously faced a situation where they’re the underdogs or have the need to play from behind. From their 2 losses, they weren’t able to recuperate from level 1 mistakes and they’ll need to learn quickly how to against teams who know how to snowball a game just as well as they do.
Although performing admirably in NA, there’s a certain shroud of mystery surrounding Cloud 9 in how well they’ll adapt to strategies that aren’t common place in their region of the world. They’ve never had to face a team that specifically targets the immortal Meteos in the jungle or against super aggressive invades like those from OMG.
The Bottom Line
Cloud 9 has proven themselves to be the undisputed champion of North America but can they make a name for themselves on the international level? If they can manage maintain the some semblance of control that they had during their games in the LCS and react appropriately to strategies unfamiliar to the NA region, then they have a solid chance of taking home the Summoner’s Cup and bringing home the respect that North America deserves.
[one_half]Najin Black Sword[/one_half]
Representing South Korea, Najin Black Sword returns to the World Championship stage taking the 1st seed from Korea to get out of the group stage for Worlds with their 1st place finishes in OGN Champions Winter, NLB Spring, and NLB Summer to secure a commanding lead in the Korean circuit point standings to get the group stage bye at the Season 3 World Championships.
[one_half]Top Laner – Expession[/one_half]
Expession is a very consistent and talented player in that he will always go even or win lane against his opponents with little to no jungle help from Watch. He is a very strong farmer and will take the initiative to carry Sword and make his presence known in the top lane. Though Expession has this kind of reputation, he is often known as one of the most unlucky players in Korea, moving from team to team and wherever he goes, woes and despair follow. As routine goes, whatever team he plays for no matter how good they were before inevitably starts declining even if Expession is doing well as an individual player.
[one_half]Jungler – Watch[/one_half]
Watch is known for being a carnivore jungler who focuses most of his time and resources on ganking his lanes over and over again to get kills for his lanes. His early plays are what sets Sword up for either success or failure in the game. Regarded one of Korea’s most handsome League of Legends professional gamers rivaling CJ Blaze’s Flame, Watch will seek to make the plays happen for Sword from the jungle…with style.
[one_half]Mid Lane – SSONG[/one_half]
SSONG favors AOE-heavy, farm-centric mages in the mid lane in order to provide the necessary damage and utility for Najin Black Sword in engagements. He can be a rather inconsistent player in that sometimes he will be an absolute terror to the enemy team but other times he will be a liability for Sword due to a poor performance in lane.
[one_half]Sub Mid Lane – Nagne[/one_half]
Nagne favors playing assassins and his strengths come from his roaming ability to assist Sword’s other lanes and terrorize his opponents. Little is known about Nagne due to the fact the only time he ever played with Najin Black Sword in a competitive setting was during the NLB Summer 2013 Finals.
PraY & Cain[/one_half]
Cain’s champions: [/one_half_last]
Heralded as one of the best duo lanes in Korea with their terrifying aggressive playstyle focused on taking towers, denying farm to their lane opponents whether it would be an enemy solo laner or the enemy duo lane, and being a huge threat in team fights. Due to this, PraY and Cain together would commonly draw at least one ban from their opponents. PraY, the All Star ADC for Korea, is heralded as one of the most talented players even by other Korean AD carries like Piglet and Imp. He has shown strong performances on a wide variety of AD carries (except his “PraYven”). Cain’s equally aggressive playstyle is the other half of Sword’s formidable duo lane with his adept ability to catch his opponents out of position at every opportunity he is given.
Najin Sword formed in May 2012 when MakNooN left Najin e-mFire and formed a new team under the name Najin Sword while the old organization was renamed to Najin Shield. In Season 2, Najin Sword was able to get into the Azubu The Champions Summer 2012 tournament and took 3rd place overall and thus securing enough circuit points to go to the Season 2 Korean Qualifier tournament where they were able to dominate their competition winning the qualifier to go to the Season 2 World Championships.
At the Season 2 World Championships, Najin Sword was favored to progress through their group and didn’t disappoint with their extremely dominating performance taking 1st place in their group over CLG.EU, Dignitas, and Saigon Jokers. Many expected Sword to go to the semifinals, but the dark horse Taipei Assassins took them out in the quarterfinals with a surprising 2-0. In the off-season, Najin Sword was invited to go to MLG Dallas 2012 to compete and they continued their strong performances there by defeating CLG.NA, Team SoloMid, and Azubu Blaze to advance to the finals. However, in the finals they fell to Azubu Blaze and took 2nd place in the event.
When Season 3 began with the OGN Winter 2012-2013 season, Najin Sword had huge potential to make an impact in the scene. Despite facing fierce competition, Najin Sword found themselves in the playoffs and were able to win the Grand Finals against Azubu Frost in a dominating 3-0 under the leadership of MakNooN. However, soon after winning their championship title, Najin Sword struggled in the OGN Spring 2013 season and barely qualified for the playoffs. They made an early exit losing to CJ Entus Frost in the quarterfinals forcing them to compete in the lower NLB Spring 2013 circuit. MakNooN’s contract with Najin Sword expired soon after Sword was eliminated from OGN and he was not re-signed onto the team and decided to leave to the KT Rolster organization. Expession was moved up to Najin Sword from Najin Shield and then Sword goes on to win NLB finals granting them the essential circuit points they needed.
Before OGN Summer rolled around, Najin Sword and Najin Shield were renamed to Najin Black Sword and Najin White Shield. In OGN Summer 2013, Najin Sword struggled in the group stage once again, however this time they do not even qualify for the Summer playoffs and made a quick exit to the lower NLB circuit. Najin Black Sword however ends up defeating CJ Entus Blaze, Najin White Shield, and Incredible Miracle #2 to take 1st place in NLB once again giving themselves the much needed circuit points to put themselves 1st in the Korean circuit point standings thus securing a group stage bye at the Season 3 World Championships.
Najin Black Sword will typically run the same level 1 strategy by moving together as a 4 or 5 man team with Cain warding important choke points leading into Sword’s jungle and in the enemy red side jungle.
On Blue side, Cain will ward the red side jungle entrance near the red buff while the rest of Sword will move into the enemy red side jungle to establish will often move together as a team into the enemy jungle to make the way for Cain to come and ward crucial choke points in the enemy red side jungle to keep tabs on where the enemy jungler is starting. He will also put a ward that can give vision of the lane so Sword can know where each of the enemy laners are going in the beginning of the game and react accordingly if they want to lane swap.
On Purple side, Sword will essentially do the mirrored level 1 strategy moving as one unit in the enemy jungle with Cain placing wards down in mirrored spots in the enemy red side jungle.
General Compositions and Strategy
Najin Black Sword has ran various different strategies in their existence as a team, but recently based on the picks/bans they did in NLB Summer 2013, part of their strategies seem to revolve around which mid lane player they want to field in the game. SSONG’s known champion pool consists of farm-centric AOE mages like Orianna and Karthus which is a sign that Sword wants to run a more 5v5 team fight focused team comp. In contrast to that, Nagne’s known champion pool consists of assassins like Ahri and Zed which shows that Sword will want to run a more skirmish/pick comp with Nagne being a source of damage to follow up crowd control set up by his teammates.
Expession will often pick Jax when Sword wants to run skirmish/pick compositions in order to set up or follow up picks with Jax’s strong dueling capability and Counter Strike stun. When Sword wants to run a more 5v5 team fight oriented comp, Expession will often pick Kennen as a source of AOE damage and CC for Sword. Watch has mainly been playing Lee Sin or Elise recently and always focuses on making early plays happen for Sword to snowball the lanes and be a frontline tank in team fights.
PraY and Cain’s picks are also signs of what strategy Sword wants to run. PraY and Cain have ran Caitlyn + Nami focusing on fast pushing a lane (usually 2v1) and bullying the opposing laner with Caitlyn’s long range poke and Nami’s crowd control. They have also ran Vayne + Thresh to great effect focusing on winning lane as soon as Vayne hits level 6 and for getting picks on the enemy team with Thresh’s cc followed up with Vayne’s damage.
Najin Black Sword’s main weakness is that they seem to lack a team leader now that MakNooN is no longer on the team. Before, MakNooN would be the man that Sword would look up to for orders and they will follow him to the end. However, he showed signs of declining as a player but Sword still did decently well despite of it. Now that he is no longer on the team, Sword’s struggles as a team only worsened despite winning NLB Summer 2013.
Another weakness Sword has is that while they do have two different mid laners who can build each other up, so far neither mid laner demonstrated that they have the versatility of champions like Faker, Dade, Alex Ich, xPeke, mandatorycloud, and other mid laners at worlds. Nagne so far has only shown assassins like Ahri or Zed whereas SSONG has only shown AOE, farm-centric mages like Orianna and Karthus after being unable to play Evelynn after her changes. Unless Sword has other picks up their sleeves, any team facing them will have somewhat of an idea of what strategy Sword wants to run just by looking at whether they have Nagne or SSONG playing in the mid lane.
The Bottom Line
Even though they declined from their original form back in OGN Winter, Najin Black Sword is not a team to be underestimated at Worlds. There is a lot of mystery in terms of what they might have been practicing for worlds and very little is known about them other than NLB Summer VODs after they did not qualify for OGN Summer playoffs which gives them an advantage. Not having to play in group stage will also give Sword an edge in that they can keep everything they are doing in secret and then bring it out in the quarterfinals to whoever has to play them. All in all, Najin Black Sword will look to make Korea proud at the Season 3 World Championships this year.
[one_half]Royal Club Huang Zu[/one_half]
Representing China, Royal Club makes their first appearance on the global stage at Season World Championships taking first place after beating LPL powerhouse team OMG. Royal placed second place in the LPL Summer Season qualifying for China Regional Finals. From there Royal defeated Positive Energy and lost to OMG in the winner’s finals. In the loser’s finals Royal 2-1s Invictus Gaming securing a spot for worlds. In a best of five grand finals, Royal managed to 3-1 OMG taking the first place title and the quarterfinalist seed.
[one_half]Top lane – GoDlike[/one_half]
Like many other top laners, GoDlike plays tanky champions with heavy initiation tools like Shen and Renekton who can initiate and dive into the enemy team or protect the marksman. As of lately GoDlike has become one of the few top lane Shyvana players in the competitive scene along with his flash/teleport Nasus and top lane Jarvan.
[one_half]Jungle – Lucky[/one_half]
Lucky is an extremely aggressive jungler who loves to set up level 2-3 tower dives on Jarvan. Along with the mid laner Wh1t3zZ, together they relentlessly tower dives the enemy mid laner for early kills. Most of the time the enemy jungle would double Lucky’s CS count in the early game due the fact that he puts so much pressure all around the map. Lucky is also one of the few chinese junglers to bring out jungle Aatrox. In their game against OMG GoDlike flash taunts into a 3 man knock up from Dark Flight securing 2 kills at level 1.
[one_half]Mid Lane – Wh1t3zZ[/one_half]
Royal’s mid laner Wh1t3zZ excels at playing assassin champions that can snowball and roam easily. During the early stages of LPL, Kassadin was a respect ban against Wh1t3zZ in the majority of their games. During the IEM Shanghai 2013 Wh1t3zZ was able to play Kassadin and dominated IG in game 2. Currently Wh1t3zZ has been drawing out Fizz bans from time to time and immediate picking him up if left open.
Uzi & Tabe[/one_half]
Tabe’s champions: [/one_half_last]
While only being only 16 years of age Uzi is considered a LoL prodigy in China. Chinese commentators have said Uzi to have the fastest reaction speed among all of professional League players in the region. Uzi is famous for his relentless aggression style of play on champions like Vayne. No matter how the games is progressing Uzi always seems to find a way to get kills and fed through the game. Uzi’s incredible mechanics and ability to carry his team making him the player to watch. Tabe is an aggressive support with an unique champion pool which makes him a perfect fit for Royal’s duo lane. With Tabe, Royal’s duo lane has been a non stop aggressive force and often results in Uzi acquiring kills in lane. Tabe’s champion’s pool is unlike another. He consistently draws out Annie bans from every team in the region and first picks her when its left open. Besides support Annie, Tabe has been experimenting with support Cassiopeia in the summer split of LPL. As the team captain, Tabe designs all of their aggressive level 1 routes and often times they result in securing first blood and snowballing the game.
On March 5th, 2013 Royal acquires their current roster consisting of GoDlike, Lucky, Wh1t3zZ, Uzi and Tabe. Soon after the roster was completed Tabe decides to retire from being a professional player and pursue a career of professional commentator. During Tabe’s departure Royal struggled to find a suitable support for Uzi, but on April 26th Atu was picked up as support.Royal showed poor results during the LPL spring split with Atu but on May 28th Tabe decides to come back from retirement and returns to the duo lane with Uzi for the rest of the Spring season finishing in 5th place.
1st Place Season 3 China Regional Finals
2nd Place 2013 LPL Summer Regular Season
3-4th IEM Season VIII Shanghai
3-4th StarsWar 8
2nd NVIDIA Game Festival 2013
Even at level 1 Royal demonstrates how aggressive they truly are with unique routes composed by Tabe. Some teams are consistently passive at level 1 forming defensive formations, some teams are consistently invading to gain early vision control but no other team is unique in their level 1 approach like Royal.
Royal consistently waits in brushes nearly every game to look for a pick and they often gets their wish. Their typical blue side consists of tabe warding the entrance to their wraith and and near the bottom lane tribrush while the rest of the Royal hides in the river brush at top. In the game against Positive Energy, Jax face checks the top side river brush only to find 4 members of Royal, Jax manages to escape and reach his tower with 10% of his health. Royal was not finished, they used multiple summoner spells to 4 man tower dive Jax at level 1 giving the first blood to Uzi.
When Royal is starting on the red side they attempt the create the same route. Tabe heads top side warding the entrance to their wraith, tri brush, and lastly the top side river brush while the rest of Royal makes their way to the bottom side river brush. During their game against Invictus Gaming they manages to catch XiaoXiao warding the river and quickly secures first blood for Uzi.
General Compositions and Strategy
Royal Club have developed a particularly unique composition towards the end of the LPL Summer Season. When Annie and Fizz are open they are immediately picked up by Royal without hesitation regardless the composition they are running. With GoDlike on Nasus, Lucky on Jarvan and Uzi on Twitch/Ezreal, Royal have created a deadly AoE composition. Royal runs an aggressive objective based early game with Teleport on Nasus. Uzi and Tabe builds up a large minion push in the bot lane and as soon as it hits the tower, Lucky on Jarvan shows up and GoDlike uses Teleport on Naus to create a four man push/dive on the enemy duo. Royal often takes the tower and then followed by an extremely early dragon giving them an early 2k gold lead.
The downside of their aggressive early game pushes is that Nasus always ends up behind in CS. In one of their games against Positive Energy, Nasus had 1 CS at the 6 minute mark. To make up for the difference Royal devotes most of their mid game lane farm to Nasus and GoDlike always ends up closing the CS difference. If the pushing goes extensive, Lucky and Wh1t3zZ will take turns rotating top lane to hold the tower for long as possible. If Royal is unable to get an immediate tower, Lucky will start camping for mid lane and tower diving the opposing mid laner at early levels. Most of the time, Royal manages to take towers fairly early and once Wh1t3zZ completes his Lichbane on Fizz he is unstoppable. He typically roams top lane and gets solo kills on tanky bruisers like Jax and Renekton with his incredible mechanics on Fizz. Throughout the game, Royal’s duo lane is incredibly deadly with Tabe on Annie, he often ends up with multiple kills with Uzi throughout the laning phase. Royal’s duo lane seems to always pick up solo kills without any help.
During the mid and late game Royal’s composition only gets more terrifying. Jarvan E-Q combos into the enemy team on sight and traps them in his Cataclysm. Annie will flash Tibbers and holds everyone in place for the AOE damage from Fury of the Sands and Spray and Pray. Wh1t3zZ will immediately dash in and instantly kill the enemy marksman and uses Chum the Waters on anyone trying to escape.
GoDlike has also been playing a split push style Shyvana in the top lane. He rushes Blade of the Ruined King to give him the ability to out dual anyone on the enemy team and then proceeds to build tankier items like Spirit Visage and Randuin’s Omen. Due to her high base damage and push potential, Shyvana has been played almost Singed like proxy farming behind towers.
Tabe always goes for an interesting support build by starting with a Philosopher’s Stone into a Kage’s Lucky Pick followed by Mobility Boots and finally a Sight Stone. The double Gold Per 5 gives Tabe an incredible amount of gold for a support late game. He doesn’t buy any more items except Oracles and stacks of Pink Wards to dominate the vision war in the late game.
Annie is a must ban against Tabe, he is simply too terrifying on her. With Annie banned he will result to Lulu or Sona depending on the composition. When he’s on these champions, their aggression in the duo lane is tamed and they won’t be as likely to snowball as hard as if they had their preferred picks. GoDlike in the top lane is susceptible to going on tilt if the enemy jungler camps him. He already suffers from farming issues and these complications would only set him further behind.
However, early game vision control is Royal’s biggest weakness. Due to the fact that Tabe never gets an early Sight Stone, the opposing team can take control of the map. Since he often opts for double GP10 items, vision seems to be lackluster in the early to mid game since there aren’t simply enough wards on the map. Pick compositions that revolve around such champions like Nocturne and Ahri can abuse this flaw and punish Tabe for his gold greed.
The Bottom Line
Royal Club is a hyper aggressive team throughout all stages of the game with unique play style and compositions. They took out the reigning champions of China, OMG, taking the first place seed to represent China. Royal might not be the most solid team attending the World Championships but they are definitely a treat watch. Fizz, Annie, and Uzi are waiting for their next victims in the Quarterfinals!