OGN Champions Spring 2014 – Group A Preview
OGN Champions Spring 2014 – Group A Preview
Group A has shaped into one of the toughest of the four groups for Hot6iX Champions Spring. SK Telecom T1 K has to overcome sister team SK Telecom T1 S, as well as KT Rolster Arrows and PRIME Optimus if they want to take another step toward an unprecedented third straight title in Champions. Even if T1 K makes it through as expected, the battle between the remaining three teams for the other spot in the bracket stage promises to be a fight to the finish.
|SK Telecom T1 K||15-0 - Champions|
|SK Telecom T1 S||3-3 - 9th-15th|
|KT Rolster Arrows||N/A|
What to watch for
KT Arrows targeting SK Telecom
The KT Rolster Arrows jungler KaKAO made waves at the group draw ceremony when he declared that he wanted to "obliterate the SK Telecom organization." The Arrows get a pair of chances, but it will not be easy. SK Telecom T1 K hasn't lost a match in professional play in nearly six months, and SK Telecom T1 S has appeared strong throughout the SK Telecom LTE-A LoL Masters Tournament.
In the Arrows defense, the addition of KaKAO and Arrow during the off-season has pushed the team to new heights, and they absolutely have the potential to back up KaKAO's bold statement.
PRIME Optimus Ready to Roll Out
Lost in all of the hype between the SK Telecom teams and the KT Rolster Arrows is that PRIME Optimus actually beat the Arrows during the Champions Spring qualifiers. While the team hasn't been around very long, they displayed an excellent understanding of all phases of the game during the qualifier round. If they are able to compete under the bright lights of the tournament, PRIME Optimus could play spoiler to their opponents bracket stage dreams.
SK Telecom has both of its teams placed in the same group for the second consecutive Champions tournament. SK Telecom T1 S was unable to escape the group stage thanks to CJ Entus Blaze in Champions Winter while T1 K won the tournament and went undefeated in their victory. Will a similar circumstance evolve in Champions Spring? If SK Telecom T1 K goes through undefeated, T1 S could again end up in a nail-biting best-of-one tiebreaker against either PRIME Optimus or the KT Rolster Arrows.
Players to watch
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok
Faker, the SK Telecom T1 K mid laner, is the best League of Legends player on Earth. He has a deep enough champion pool that it is impossible to ban him out, and he's been the driving force behind champions such as Riven being popularized in the middle lane. Faker's exceptional mechanics and aggressive style put so much pressure on his opposition that it provides openings for the rest of SK Telecom T1 K.
Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon
The KT Rolster Arrows jungler KaKAO moved over from KT Rolster Bullets after Champions Winter 2013-2014. He instantly made the team better with his ability to read the map and either create pressure in an unexpected way, or foil a gank by the enemy jungler. KaKAO turned heads with his desire to beat both SK Telecom organizations, but his time with the Bullets have prepared him for the pressure he is sure to face as a result of those comments.
Jang "MaRin" Gyeong-Hawn
MaRin, SK Telecom T1 S's top laner, is poised to have a big season. The bruiser/super tank metagame has taken a series of nerfs which should add more viable champions to the top lane. Even if it doesn't, MaRin's Renekton has proven to be a force, and his ability to roam from top to assist another lane is something that bears watching.
1. SK Telecom T1 K
When a team hasn't lost a single game in months, and have shown no signs of slowing down, it is tough to believe they won't keep up their winning ways. If this team has a weakness, it is new support player Casper's champions pool. He has only shown a strong Sona and Thresh since replacing PoohManDu.
2. KT Rolster Arrows
The battle for the No. 2 seed from the group promises to be a war. KaKAO coming over from the KT Rolster Bullets and Arrow from Xenics Storm has changed the Arrows for the better. They'll have to continue to gel to lock up this spot, but their ceiling is just as high as SK Telecom T1 S, if not higher. Watch out for mid laner Rookie. He promises to give Faker his stiffest test in the group.
3. SK Telecom T1 S
SK Telecom T1 S has looked good recently, but they appear to play up or down to their competition. They beat CJ Entus Blaze in a seventy minute marathon in LoL Masters, but followed it up by almost throwing a game against the Jin Air Green Wings Falcons their next time out. Underestimating a team like PRIME Optimus and then losing a single game in that set will throw a wrench in T1 S's plans for the brackets.
4. PRIME Optimus
While PRIME Optimus did notch a victory over the KT Rolster Arrows in qualifiers, the lights of the tournament will be a little too bright. They'll play spoiler to either SK Telecom T1 S or KT Rolster Arrows and keep them out of the brackets, but the group is too full of heavyweights to realistically expect PRIME Optimus to push for a bracket seed themselves.