Welcome to our Southeast Asian Worlds Previews – Taipei Assassins Edition: Season 2 World Champions and First Seed from the Southeast Asian region.
TPA is definitely the most well known brand from Southeast Asia. Consistently dominating everyone in the Garena Premier League — They have won all three tournaments this Season with an impressive combined score of 54/12 (82%)! Nevertheless, their international showings, both at IEM Season VIII – World Championship and the All-Star Paris 2014, have been lackluster, to say the least.
This time around, with the recent addition of Winds, a jungling prodigy previously playing for their sister team – Taipei Snipers – and a new coach who worked with the NaJin organization in the past, they have the tools necessary to show that Southeast Asia should not be underestimated.
Taipei Assassins was originally created in March of 2012 after acquiring a team called “For The Win” with MiSTakE, Stanley, and Lilballz. Soon after, Toyz and bebe joined the organization and finalized the roster that would later on win the Season 2 World Championship in October of 2012.
Not being considered favourites did not stop them from defeating NaJin Sword, Moscow Five, and Azubu Frost in a Rocky-type underdog story — ultimately, becoming the global champions. Sadly, this was their peak that they’ve never been able to reach again.
Later that year, they also participated in another tournament stacked with global powerhouses – IPL5. Finishing third, as a result of two losses against Fnatic, proved that this team can be a serious contender, and their title was not a fluke.
A New Beginning
At the start of 2013, the team underwent heavy changes, including the formation of their sister team – Taipei Snipers. Due to supposed internal conflicts, MiSTakE left to lead TPS, and a few months later, Toyz announced his retirement due to health problems.
This is when the ‘modern’ Taipei Assassins” were created, signing Jay and Achie, as well as bebe becoming the new team captain.
Finishing 3rd in the 2014 GPL Summer, after losing to both ahq e-Sports Club and Singapore Sentinels, and not being able to requalify for the next World Championship forced the team to, yet again, force some roster changes to stay competitive in their region.
Prior to the start of the 2014 Season, Morning, previously playing for Wayi Spiders, was acquired, and the streak of wins had begun. Winning both the Winter and Spring splits resonated around the community as the comeback of the glorious days for the TPA brand.
Taipei Snipers not qualifying for the 2013 GPL Summer also opened a new option for the Assassins that was too good to ignore. Winds, one of the best Taiwanese junglers, was transferred to TPA. They also signed Chawy, the star of Singapore Sentinels, to try out for the mid-lane position.
With a 7-man roster, Taipei Assassins dropped only 2 games out of 20. They became the Summer champions and automatically received a spot in the 2014 Season World Championship.
Top Lane – Chen “Achie” Chen-Chi (陳振齊)
Achie prefers strong laners with split-push potential and doesn’t necessarily group as much as other players in this position. He relies on pushing towers and constantly creating pressure on his own instead. This often results in huge gold advantages, making him even harder to deal with the longer the game lasts.
While seeing him on a tank-type champion was a regular sight in the past, nowadays, he has picked up some more offensive champions like Kayle, Jayce, or even Kassadin. Sharing a few champions with Morning’s pool makes it difficult to even counter him in lane due to the possibility of the swap.
Jungle – Chen “Winds” Peng-Nien (陳鵬年)
Winds replaced the previous TPA jungler DinTer right before the start of 2014 GPL Summer. Being widely recognized as the best jungler in the entire region, it was a huge boost for the team. A carry-type player that is useful in every stage of the game might be exactly what the Assassins needed to reach the top international level.
Lee Sin, Kha’Zix, and Elise are his comfort-champions; he can start a snowball for his teammates with any of those.
Mid Lane – Chen “Morning” Kuan-Ting (陳冠廷)
In the past, Morning was definitely a supportive-oriented player, both with his picks and his gameplay. Lately, probably due to the new coach, we have been able to watch him on champions with a higher damage output, like Yasuo or Syndra. He is a solid player who can utilize an early lead with an amazing efficiency.
The addition of Winds to the roster helped him develop a new set of skills, and now he became one of the main threats on Taipei Assassins. Along with Achie, he makes the “flex-pick” option incredibly potent. You can never be certain who’s going to play what.
AD Carry – Cheng “bebe” Bo-Wei (張博為)
The last remaining member of the Season 2 World Championship winning roster — bebe is one of the best kiting ADCs in the entire world. He leads GPL in both kills (159) and KDA (10.96) and barely ever dies.
While Lucian in his hands is a scary champion, he does even better on hyper-carries like Twitch or Tristana. bebe’s ability to read teamfights and always find the safe positions is why TPA might have an edge over other teams.
Support – Li “Jay” Chieh (李杰)
Instead of peeling for bebe, Jay often prefers to initiate. He is one of the few who still play Leona. Completely trusting in his lane partner’s kiting skills, it is likely to see him in the middle of the enemy team instead of peeling for the carries.
His ability to hit skillshots is not what’s scary, though. Despite his “dives,” Jay knows his exact limits and can often survive with a sliver of health.
Southeast Asia is looked down upon by both fans and pros alike, but because they carry the stigma of the worst region, the Taipei Assassins have more to prove than other teams.
Group B, especially in the light of the recent organizational problems in SH Royal Club, may be extremely close. TPA can surely surprise everyone and maybe even finish first, however, realistically speaking, the second spot is what they should aim for.
The advantage of their bot lane should be of great help against TSM and SK, but if TPA’s solo laners fall too far behind, even bebe won’t be able to assure the victory. Still, with how Winds has been playing lately, snowballing from the jungle is a strong possibility too, increasing their overall chances of reaching the Playoffs.
Taipei Assassins finishing second in the Group would be my personal guess. Top 8 is as far as this team can go though, especially considering who they may be matched up against later on.
They did surprise us once. Should we hope for a repeat?
Taipei Assassins are the dark horse of the World Championship, and with an experienced coach, they can turn their luck around on the international stage