OGN Winter 2014 Tiebreakers Preview

OGN Winter 2014 Tiebreakers Preview

Korea's OnGameNet Champions quarterfinals are approaching, but the group stage results left the tournament in disarray. The teams this year are almost evenly matched, with three tiebreakers required to determine seeding, and even qualification, into the group stages.

CJ ENTUS BLAZE vs SKT T1 S

CJ Entus Blaze SKT T1 S
Lineup
Top Flame MaRin Top
Jungler Daydream H0R0 Jungler
Mid Ambition Easyhoon Mid
AD Emperor Bang AD
Support Lustboy Wolf Support
Substitutes Cpt Jack, BaeMe None Substitutes

In any other group, these two teams would have probably been guaranteed placement in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately for both CJ Entus Blaze and SKT T1 S, they were instead overshadowed in the group stages by the looming presence of the most recent World Championship team. SKT T1 K cleaned out both S and Blaze in dominant fashion, whereas their most recent games against each other was settled in a 1:1 draw. Now they meet again, and while the rest of the teams in the tiebreaker sets are mainly fighting for position (and a chance to avoid SKT T1 K for a while longer), this Wednesday is a matter of life or death for Blaze and S's tournament presence.

Odds are it will be either H0R0 or Daydream leading the charge. Both junglers share a passion for fast starts, timed with hitting level two or three. H0R0 bets heavily on an initial Elixir of Brilliance for Evelynn, combining it with the Ancient Golem buff to rapidly pump out the Hate Spikes on an unsuspecting foe. Daydream, on the other hand, goes with Olaf for his splashy entrances into the game, grabbing a fast Elder Lizard with his team's help, and then charging into the adjacent lane with Ghost to pin down a target with Undertow.

The initial assault from their junglers usually wins a lane outright for either team, though their similarities ultimately cancel each other out in this specific matchup. To Blaze's advantage, however, Sivir is now a hotly contested pick. If they can sculpt the champion select phase in their favor, she'll likely end up in the hands of veteran Cpt Jack, historically the most reliable Spell Shield in the East.

NAJIN WHITE SHIELD vs SAMSUNG GALAXY OZONE

Najin White Shield Samsung Galaxy Ozone
Lineup
Top Save Homme Top
Jungler NoFe DanDy Jungler
Mid Ggoong Dade Mid
AD Zefa Imp AD
Support GorillA Mata Support
Substitutes Seraph Looper Substitutes

Despite being former OGN champions, Samsung Galaxy Ozone's performance over the last half year has been underwhelming. Their poor showing at the most recent World Championship deluged them with critics, centered primarily on the shaky mechanics of mid laner Dade. But with the recent patches, Ozone's back in their comfort zone: big brother Homme is back in top lane, steering unkillable tanks through the ranks of opposing teams, while Dade's quite alright with his role's renewed emphasis on poke and siege casters. Needless to say, Imp and Mata continue to be one of the premier Korean bot lanes.

Opposing them will be White Shield, who finally climbed out of their brother team's shadow as this season's only Najin team in the quarterfinals. Though once known for their passive play style, which proved a liability as the game was deliberately tuned towards more active engagements, the current Shield is almost recklessly aggressive. They now hit lanes in four-man gank squads in emulation of the Chinese strategies demonstrated back in October. Jungler NoFe is crucial to this strategy, and adept at its timings, but it would be a mistake to ignore top laner Save while his teammate hogs the spotlight, as his Equalizer placement on Rumble often outright wins the game for Shield.

CJ ENTUS FROST vs XENICS STORM

CJ Entus Frost Xenics Storm
Lineup
Top Shy GimGoon Top
Jungler Helios Swift Jungler
Mid Rapidstar CoCo Mid
AD Space Arrow AD
Support Madlife Piccaboo Support
Substitutes Maknoon, GBM None Substitutes

The story of Frost and Storm has been of waning and waxing fortunes. CJ Entus Frost is arguably the most storied team in Korea, with a list of championship titles that puts everybody else to shame. Even as members drift in and out of the team and major changes wreak havoc through team strategies, they've stayed on top of the game for most of OGN's competitive history.

Recently they've struggled with relevancy: though the changes to the game greatly benefited Madlife in particular, and Shy remains one of the premier top laners in OGN, their overall team synergy took an obvious hit. Frost still makes stellar plays, but almost always from an underdog position: they were just barely able to make it into the quarterfinals, trading evenly with both Stealths and Storm to advance, and clearly having problems dealing with early-game aggression.

Xenics Storm is just happy to be back in the elimination rounds. Though the organization debuted with confidence in the first season of OGN, their performance then and up until now has been shaky at best, often failing to show decent results even in the NLB challenger league. The current iteration of the team has no problems with audacity, or recklessness, depending on whether their courageous plays pay off or backfire. The ones that do work tend to be off the back of support player Piccaboo's Flash-Flay plays, with a Thresh that can proudly stand in comparison to better-known support players.

OGN settles its tiebreakers this week! Broadcasts will be in English this Wednesday, starting at 1:30 AM PDT (10:30 AM CET).