|Posted by Jub Jub on September 17, 2014 at 6:50 PM|
As the League of Legends World Championship draws closer, it's time to take a look at Group B.
Group B features Team SoloMid, the number one team from the NALCS; StarHorn Royal Club, the number two team from the LPL; the Azubu Taipei Assassins, the number one team from the GPL; and SK Gaming, the number three team from the EULCS.
Group B stands out from all the other groups, because there are no Korean teams in it. Due to the Korean dominance in the League of Legends community, this group is considered weaker by some, but each team in the group is strong and dangerous in their own way. This is the only group where all four teams have been to a previous Worlds before - TSM (Team SoloMid) has been to all four Championships, while the other three teams are all marking their second world appearance.
Team SoloMid is by far the most popular team in North America, and one of the most succesful. Under the hands of founder, former player, and coach Reginald, they've established themselves as a dynasty in the League of Legends community. However, this is a very different roster going to Worlds then they've had before - long-time starters TheOddOne, Reginald, and XSpecial are all gone. Instead, German jungler Amazing, Danish midlaner Bjergsen, and Korean support Lustboy have moved in instead, making TSM the most diverse team in North America. These changes have made them a completely new team, and for the better. TSM is desperate for a win at Worlds, because of their long-running status as the only four-time team going in. This year, they have a strong shot due to toplaner Dyrus being a consistent rock, the super talented AD Carry Wildturtle, and Bjergsen, their team leader and arguably the most dominant mid in the West. TSM has tough matches against Royal Club and TPA, but if they wanted to make a run, this is there year.
StarHorn Royal Club is a completely remade team, after losing to Korea's SK Telecom 1 in the finals of the 2013 Worlds. With all but one member of their Season 3 team gone, Royal Club is an interesting contender once again. Uzi, the only original member left standing is one of the best in the world at the AD Carry position. The biggest addition came in All-Star Korean jungler InSec, who is famed for his insane mechanics, trailblazing play in the game, and success with Azubu Blaze (now CJ Entus Blaze). Zero, a solid support who played in Korea for two years is good pick-up, for he can help Uzi make up for not having former team captain Tabe anymore. Royal Club is predicted to finish first in the group, but recent infighting between Uzi and InSec won't help their performance at Worlds at all. This team has the potential to make it to the finals, but could fall short due to team in-fighting.
The Taipei Assassins shocked the League of Legends world when they won the Season 2 World Championships overly the heavily-favored Azubu Frost due to amazing play from Toyz, their midlaner and bebe, their AD Carry. The Assassins missed the Season 3 World Championships, and took a few steps back, but now they're once again a strong looking team. Only bebe remains from their Season 2 team, but toplaner Achie, midlaner Morning, and support Jay have been with the new line-up for more than a year. The only change from their Season 3 roster is the very talented jungler Winds, formerly of the Gamania Bears. This is a team with lots of synergy, a chip on their shoulder, and a lot of fire in them. Most analysts predict TPA making it out second, but don't be surprised if they take that first slot.
SK Gaming was a heavily-favored dark horse going into this group initally, due to strong players and a long history behind the team. Back in Season 2, SK, led by midlaner ocelote, could not make any magic happen but they're back after 2 years, with a new set of players. SK has experienced more line-up changes then any other team in the group, with a whopping 28 different players having started for them. Now, no players from their original Season 2 line-up are with the team, but it isn't a bad thing. CandyPanda, their AD Carry, is one of the best in Europe with a veteran support in nRated by his side. Svenskeren, their jungler, is also very good at his position. SK isn't a team that relies on flashy plays or big names: they rely on their synergy, and are very good together. However, Svenskeren recently got in trouble while playing on the Taiwanese servers for making racially insensitive comments and getting into fights with different players and was suspended three games, so this is very bad news for the team. Losing a starter, especially one as good as Sven, means analysts are saying it's even harder for this team to move forward. They're going to have to get a replacement in, and do their best to have this turn out well.
My predictions are:
Taipei Assassins come in 1st
StarHorn Royal Club comes in 2nd
Team SoloMid comes in 3rd
SK Gaming comes in 4th