Who will represent China at Worlds? | LoL Esports
Who will represent China at Worlds?
This year China only gave out one automatic World Championship bid to the winner of the 2015 LPL Summer Finals: LGD Gaming. Now, the remaining top four teams must battle it out in the region's double elimination Qualifier for the final two spots. Let's take a look at the Chinese teams that could still make it to the 2015 World Championship.
Format: Double elimination tournament bracket. Round 1 of Winner's bracket is Best of 3, all other matches are Best of 5. Winners of the upper and lower brackets each get a Worlds spot.
Teams: Edward Gaming, Snake Esports, Invictus Gaming, Qiao Gu Reapers
With another banner year domestically -- a whopping 78% win rate across all of their games in China this year, including third party tournaments -- the best regular season record in 2015 LPL Summer, and the 2015 Spring LPL title, Edward Gaming were shoo-ins for another LPL Championship and China's first seed at Worlds. Their 0-3 defeat to LGD in the Semifinals was certainly not part of the plan, regardless of jungler Kai "Clearlove" Ming's words of caution.
Usually known for creating a strong backbone for the team, EDG's drafting was oddly suspect in the Semifinals. While coach Xing "Aaron" Ji outfoxed SKTelecom T1 coach Jung-gyun "kkOma" Kim on the international stage at the Mid-Season Invitational, coach Xing "Aaron" Ji and EDG looked unprepared for their series against LGD. Even when Edward Gaming were allowed all of their comfort picks, as shown in the game above, their team fighting was uncharacteristically out of sync.
In the Regional Qualifier, they take on Snake Esports, a team that they swept 4-0 in the Summer Split. While their stumble in the Playoffs raised a few eyebrows, Edward Gaming is indubitably the strongest and most favored team in the Qualifier. Provided that they come prepared in Champion Select, Edward Gaming should dispatch Snake fairly quickly, with their stronger early game and objective control.
This is not the Snake of Spring, who nearly lost to Team King in the first round of the 2015 LPL Spring Playoffs before being unceremoniously swept by LGD. That Snake had only one strategy: protect their AD carry Fan "kRYST4L" Yang at all costs -- which was easily exploited by opponents in the postseason. That Snake had to work around the limited champion pool of mid laner Fan "BAKA" Lu. That Snake was also heavily reliant on jungler Joo-hyun "Beast" Kim getting Nunu or Jarvan IV.
This Snake has mid laner Long "U" Ceng.
His skirmishing and team fighting positioning, in addition to his cooldown usage, is top-tier, providing the perfect partner in crime for top laner Xuan-jun "Flandre" Li. While Flandre was chained to the likes of Maokai in the Spring, his large champion pool -- and odd build choices -- have often been the talk of Snake's Summer Season. With U at his side, regularly saving him or following up on his aggressive decisions, Flandre has a much wider safety net. U also has a longer leash on Snake than he did on Edward Gaming, and has shown the breadth of his own champion pool with the most champions played at 15 -- tied with LGD's Shen "GODV" Wei -- in 2015 LPL Summer.
That being said, Snake faces an uphill battle against EDG, a team that they have yet to beat in Summer. While their new jungle substitute Yuan "ZZR" Liu has provided a bit more initial pressure, Snake still relies on their mid and late game team fighting where EDG excels in the early game. Summer Snake is a far stronger team than Spring Snake, but their 2015 World Championship ticket likely lies in winning the loser's bracket.
China's most beloved perennial unmotivated prodigy, Invictus Gaming, once again find themselves battling it out for a Worlds sport. This time they enter the Regional Qualifiers with a renewed core in former KT Rolster Arrows duo: jungler Byung-kwon "KaKAO" Lee and mid laner Eui-jin "RooKie" Song. Even with their all-star Korean players, iG's Summer Season is best described as inconsistent.
When iG make the first few moves, using KaKAO to initiate fights and skirmishes or proactively gank, iG look like one of the best teams in China. Their infamous former mid laner, Zhihao "Zz1tai" Liu, has surprisingly settled down in the top lane. He's still able to pull out the occasional odd pocket pick like Vladimir or Trundle -- and the impending meta shifts of 5.15 and 5.16 should suit him well -- but he has overwhelmingly relied on the meta tops that his team has needed him to play, including Maokai, Shen, and Gnar. This allows him to draw attention top, leaving RooKie to happily farm freely in the mid lane.
Unfortunately, as it often is with iG, they haven't always been reliable. In facing Qiao Gu again, especially in games with standard lanes, the matchup primarily becomes a battle between KaKAO and QG's jungler Da-hoon "Swift" Baek. If KaKAO gets the early jump on Swift, who has recently preferred farming and counterjungling, iG will need to relentlessly follow up and push their advantages before Qiao Gu takes a chance to team fight in the late game.
Qiao Gu Reapers
Often known for his reckless decision-making in Korea, Swift has not changed since his days on CJ Entus Frost or Xenics. Yet, the Qiao Gu Reapers have evolved and molded around Swift to become one of the best team-fighting squads in the world.
One primary reason for this is the fact that Qiao Gu is quick to follow up on Swift's engages, no matter how foolish they may seem in the moment. Additionally, Swift is supported by quirky mid laner Tae-sang "Doinb" Kim, who plays a similar role to Swift as the aforementioned U does for Snake's Flandre. Swift has taken to farming up early before choosing team fights around objectives in the mid and late game. Doinb is flexible, seemingly willing to play anything and everything in the name of supporting Swift and his team.
Firing from the back line is the impressive AD carry Rui "TnT" Yu who has had a banner year on Sivir, Vayne, and Kalista. While he and support Hong-wei "TcT" Zhang have recently struggled in lane, they almost always get back in the game thanks to TnT and QG's fighting prowess.
In the 2015 LPL Summer Playoffs, QG managed to dispatch of Invictus Gaming in a close 3-2 series full of explosive team fights. Look for much of the same in the Regional Qualifier rematch.
Which two teams do you think will join LGD Gaming in representing China at the 2015 World Championship? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to catch all the LPL action right here on Lolesports.