A Very Close Look At Key Teams And Players In The 2015 League Of Legends World Championship

eSports betting preview League of Legends Worlds

If you’re looking for an edge or just some general knowledge in picking the winner of the 2015 League of Legends World Championship then look no further.

We’re here to give you an insight on each team, their key players, strengths, and weaknesses as well as provide some statistical information in order to accurately predict the standings from each group stage.

Group A – “The Lucky Group”

All the teams in this group let out a big sigh of relief after the conclusion of the Group Draw. This is a group where each team feels, and realistically does, have a legitimate shot at advancing. In rank from finishing last to first, let’s check out each team.

paiN Gaming

paiN Gaming comes off as the weakest team of this group for a few reasons that we’ll outline below, but we can’t discredit an outside shot of the second seed based solely on all of the experience they have in each lane.

Winning lane hasn’t been paiN Gaming’s issue, as their team is individually talented. Poor shot calling and team coordination has historically plagued them in international tournaments, however. When we saw this team at their last international tournament, the IEM San Jose, they were thoroughly outclassed by North America’s three seed, Cloud9.

They have improved significantly since then though, and their split pushing capabilities and farming is a clear strength.

Will they be able to raise their game up to another level and work with each other or will their mid to late game fall apart again? Their lack of playing competitive teams each week in the IWC (compared to other teams in this group) combined with the pressure of the world stage may be too much for them to handle and they end up finishing last in our predictions.

Key players

While initially SirT comes to mind because of his consistency and improved map movements, if paiN Gaming truly gets out of group stage it will require Kami to dominate his lane and use his lead to enable the team mid-late game.

Mylon also must use his strength of playing carry-oriented style champions top lane and make stellar plays against the likes of ZionSpartan.

Flash Wolves

Let us start by saying the Flash Wolves have a legitimate shot at the second seed. This is a team that consists of players from the Gamania Bears that played in the 2013 World Championship, so they’ve been on this stage before (drawing the group with eventual champion SKTelecom T1 K in the 2013 Championship, unfortunately).

Their luck of the draw has shined through this time. Steak, Maple, NL, and SwordArt are experienced players and have the bonus of playing together for years now. While they looked dominant in the Spring Split, they lost some confidence after being bested by ahq and passed over to play at the MSI. They also lost to HKE in the summer playoffs, but rebounded to beat them 3-2 in the regional qualifiers to get here.

Can the Flash Wolves pull off another upset like they did against SK Gaming at the IEM Season IX World Championship and make it to another Knockout Stage? Potential laning issues include ADC KKramer not joining the team for Worlds (former ADC NL will be taking back his spot) along with Steak’s inconsistency in top lane.

Confidence is also an issue. If they lose the first couple of games, it could get really ugly. It’s going to be close, but we think the individual matchups in lane will cause them to lose one game too many.

Key players

The obvious choice would be SwordArt, one of the better supports in this championship. However, in order for Flash Wolves to advance they will need consistent play from their top laner.

Steak is similar to Cloud9 fan favorite Hai in that his leadership abilities and shot calling are superb (Flash Wolves found this out when they temporarily replaced him), but he lacks a defining champion pool and his mechanics are questionable. Will he be able to handle the likes of ZionSpartan and SirT with their aggressive top lane champions?

It’s definitely one of the key matchups to watch for in this group.

Counter Logic Gaming

Finally, a year in which Counter Logic Gaming has put it all together and dethroned TSM/Cloud9 as the top team in North America.

The additions of ZionSpartan and Pobelter have significantly increased their success as well. The loss of Xmithie due to a travel visa issue means backup mid laner HuHi will be jungling.

The impact on team synergy has yet to be determined from this announcement, but the team staff says there will be no falloff. The combination of Doublelift and Aphromoo bottom lane will also feature one of the best bottom lane duos in this championship.

Counter Logic Gaming looked well-coordinated with great map movement at the end of the year. Can they carry their momentum through Group Stage? They’re known for taking risks in order to secure objectives and they’ll have to do that again.

Making teams react to their moves is crucial as well. Their great team communication and map presence allows them to take the second seed of this group and advance.

Key players

ZionSpartan.

In a group where he will be the premier top laner, he has to prove it every game, especially with HuHi subbing in as the jungler. Doublelift and Aphromoo will get their numbers, but ZionSpartan will be the reason that CLG advances.

KOO Tigers

If there is one team that can be considered the favorite from this group, it’s the KOO Tigers. When they play at their best, they can take SKTelecom T1 to five games.

This team prepares unlike any other and will be able to exploit the weaknesses of the other teams in this group, starting with the champion ban/select stage. Behind coach NoFe, the KOO Tigers will adapt to the play style of their opponents and shut down their biggest strengths. They do have flaws, such as a weak early game, but none of the teams in this group look capable of exploiting those flaws.

They will be considered the favorites during every game of Group Stage, but will the expectations cause them to be nervous? This is the same KOO Tigers team that is still haunted by their stunning quarterfinal loss at the IEM Season IX World Championship.

Their preparation, objective control, and ability to win team fights in the mid-to-late game will be on full display during Group Stage and they should end up as the top seed from this group.

Key players

In a group that also features famed supports Aphromoo and SwordArt, all eyes will be on GorillA. His early placement of wards and continual roaming has helped KOO Tigers cover up some of their early game weaknesses.

Smeb, KOO Tiger’s top laner, will also be required to make smart, informative shot calls.

Group B – “The Ultra Competitive Group”

This will be one of the hardest fought, nail biting, gut wrenching groups to watch during Worlds. Three of the top teams in the world have ended up in this group.

In rank from finishing last to first, let’s check out each team.

Cloud 9

First off, a huge round of applause to Cloud 9. This was an American team that finished circuit play in 7th place. Their famed mid laner, Hai, retired after the Summer Split.

The team’s lack of shot calling and direction in games eventually led to the dismissal of Meteos in the jungle and a surprising (and at first experimental) introduction of Hai as a jungler. Thanks to an outstanding run through the gauntlet that included not one but two reverse-sweeps, Cloud 9 has again found themselves on the world stage.

Calling Cloud 9 the underdog in this stage is a huge understatement. This is still a Cloud 9 team that barely escaped relegations (via a tiebreaker game). Can they extend their magical journey through the gauntlet and into Group Stage?

The shot calling and team coordination has improved but Cloud 9 is still not at the same level as the top tier teams in the world.

Key players

Hai’s shot calling can’t be underestimated and the amount of experience that LemonNation and Sneaky have is also vital. However, if Cloud 9 truly pulls off some sort of miracle, it will be because of Incarnati0n’s recent resurgence.

At the beginning of the season, Hai’s replacement looked like a shell of the player Cloud 9 thought they were getting. Coincidentally, no one has benefited more from Hai’s return to the jungle than Incarnati0n.

Invictus Gaming

At the start of the season, there were high expectations for Invictus Gaming (IG). After losing to mediocre teams throughout the season that they were favored to win against, the team finally put it all together at the end of the year.

It wasn’t enough to take down the top echelon teams of the LPL, but IG got hot when it mattered in the Playoffs and Chinese Regionals. They went 3-1 against a heavily favored Edward Gaming to claim the 3rd place spot.

Which Invictus Gaming team will show up to the 2015 World Championship? If IG plays like they did to get to Worlds they absolutely look like one of the strongest teams in the tournament.

However, if they play like they did during the regular season, the other teams in this group will make them pay for it. IG is just too inconsistent to project them moving out of Group Stage, but they have one of the highest ceilings of any team.

Key players

This is definitely all about KAKAO. In a tournament that lacks strong junglers across the board, KAKAO stands heads above the rest.

KAKAO will set his team up early and continue making plays in the mid-to-late game. His synergy with RooKie (another fellow Korean) will be key to watch in this group stage.

Fnatic

Fnatic is a tremendous team that unfortunately was unlucky in drawing this group. Just like ahq, they had a tremendous showing at the Mid Season Invitational (MSI) and went undefeated through the Summer Split with an 18-0 record.

There is no weak link on this team, and Fnatic is able to translate their individual talent into superb team fighting mid-to-late game.

If Fnatic has one weakness that can be exploited, it’s their weak early game. To add to that, this group contains some teams that have strong early games that will be able to exploit those weaknesses.

Teams like ahq and IG will also be able to respond to Fnatic’s strong mid game. If Fnatic can sustain in the early game without giving up too big of a lead, they should be able to make it out of this Group Stage. They’ll have to fight tooth and nail for it, though.

Key players

On a team that has strong players across the board, YellOwStaR is the key to Fnatic’s early game. He has to have proper vision and try and make plays when available. He has been huge for Fnatic all year, and has been the constant on a team that was rebuilt in the offseason. He is the team’s leader as well.

ahq e-Sports Club

ahq really burst on to the scene at this year’s inaugural MSI. They took that momentum into the LMS Summer Split, winning every single game.

This is a completely different looking team then we’ve seen in the past, no longer relying on Greentea or Westdoor to make plays, but rather excelling at team fights. Their chaotic nature is still there and they will look for any openings right from the start of the game to make plays.

In a current meta where fighting around vision and getting picks is huge, ahq will look for fights anywhere on the map. For the most part, it almost always works in their favor.

Can they find those leads early in a group stage that has some superior competition? Wave control and vision around objectives have been issues for this team, but their strong early game and team coordination mid-to-late game will allow them to get out of a tough Group Stage.

Key players

This spot belongs to longtime mid laner Westdoor. While not on the level of GODV or Faker, Westdoor will be contending with a group full of excellent mid laners.

ahq will need him to make plays, and expect plenty of bans against his limited champion pool. He’s most comfortable making plays in other lanes, which can lead to him falling behind in laning phase, but ahq will need him to be at full force throughout this tournament.

Group C – “The Group of Death”

This group has a consistent theme throughout – revenge.

All of these teams are familiar with their opponents, and revenge is on the mind of many of them. Astonishingly, this group consists of even stronger mid laners than Group B. This group also has what many believe the two strongest teams in the entire tournament and the odds on favorite to win it all.

In rank from finishing last to first, let’s check out each team.

H2K-Gaming

Welcome to Worlds, H2K. What many consider the ‘rookie’ team of this tournament (this is their first-ever international tournament let alone Worlds), H2K has their work cut out for them.

Their mid and bottom lane will be strong, and they have to retune their strategy on taking objectives. Trading small losses for bigger objectives has traditionally been H2K’s strategy, and they’ll need to excel at that to have any chance of advancing.

Can H2K pull off a major upset and advance out of this Group Stage? They had a strong showing in the EU LCS, but they just look outmatched in this group. The other teams, from a mechanical standpoint, look far superior.

H2K is looking to split games with either EDG or SKT and then hope that EDG or SKT goes 2-0 in their respective matchups. ahq did the same exact thing last year, forcing a tie-breaker game against a heavily favored EDG.

Key players

Odamne is the player to watch for on H2K. If other teams don’t put some resources into containing him in the top lane, he has the ability to carry.

Expect plenty of Rumble bans against him (his favorite damage champion). Odamne also has the repertoire to play tanky champions top lane. Look for Odamne to alleviate some of the pressure in the other lanes of H2K.

Bangkok Titans

The Bangkok Titans (BKT) style of play can be summarized in one word – chaotic.

They play an extremely aggressive style of game right from the onset. Unfortunately for them, the other teams in this group are equipped to deal with that type of pressure. Much like ahq in Group B, they’re constantly looking to surprise their opponent, starting team fights whenever possible. Objective control will have to be a high priority as well.

It’s inevitable that BKT will fall behind in some of these games after taking endless chances in the early game. Can they convert a high percentage of those early plays and survive in the mid-to-late game?

We don’t see that happening in this group. Their lack of vision and aggressive playstyle will be exploited by the likes of SKT and EDG. They also suffer from a weak league, as a lot of the talent moved to the LMS.

Key players

In a group full of strong mid laners, G4 will be the key to BKT pulling off an upset.

Opponents will be committing endless resources to the mid lane (not only to get their mid laners ahead but also to slow down G4). How G4 responds to that, and if the other lanes can take advantage, will be important to watch.

The new addition of Moss to the support role is also important to watch.

Edward Gaming

A constant feature in the Chinese LPL, Edward Gaming (EDG) once again achieved first place in the regular season but fell short in the Playoffs.

While it’s unclear if EDG has taken a step back from last year (where they won every single Chinese tournament) or if the competition has just increased, they’ll need to be at their best in this Group Stage.

Much like BKT, EDG will look to gain an advantage early and transition that lead in the mid-to-late game team fighting. If EDG has one strength above the rest of the teams in the group (mainly SKT) it’s their ability to create mismatches in their lane swaps.

This strategy allows for Clearlove (jungler) and meiko (support) to work together in the early game.

EDG was knocked out in the quarterfinals last year by Star Horn Royal Club (last year’s runner-up) in a heartbreaking 2-3 series. Can they build off of that experience and make it back to the Knockout Stage?

They also stumbled near the end of the year after looking so dominant in the Spring Split and winning at MSI. I think we’ll see a dedicated EDG team in this Worlds. Their matchup against SKT could be a preview of what we’ll see in the finals.

Key players

This team is loaded with talent and the easy choice would be another mid laner, PawN.

However, in a group where all the mid laners can essentially neutralize each other (edge to Faker), their ADC, Deft, will be the key to EDG. Historically, when EDG falls behind, it’s Deft that pulls the team back up.

Look for Deft to single handedly win a few games for EDG and secure the second seed.

SKTelecom T1

This is arguably the best team in the tournament. What’s not debatable is that they also have the best mid laner in the world, Faker.

This is a team that has done it all on the world stage. After a disappointing and heartbreaking season last year where they did not even qualify for Worlds, SKTelecom T1 (SKT) is looking to reclaim their throne. Revenge is also a factor, as EDG was able to win the MSI tournament in a stellar 3-2 series final against this same SKT team.

The mass exodus of Korean players to the Chinese league and the subsequent merger of SKT K and SKT S created the last Korean dream team. The dismantling of Samsung Blue and Samsung White also means SKT becomes the favorite at this Worlds.

SKT excels in all phases of the game. Can their impeccable vision control, thought out strategies, and world class players take them to another Knockout Stage?

Unless someone kidnaps Faker – please don’t – everyone wants to see him play against Ryu and PawN again – SKT should be able to advance out of this Group Stage. They look to have fully recovered from last year and the mission now is simple – get back to the League of Legends World Championship finals.

Key players

This is an extremely talented team, and it’s not fair to focus solely on Faker. My apologies to team captain MaRin, Bengi, Bang, and Wolf, but this is an obvious choice.

It’s Faker. He’s still the best mid laner (and in our opinion, the best player) in this entire tournament. His mechanics and reflexes seem unhuman at times, and he has the ability to not only outplay his lane, but outplay an entire team by himself.

There’s a reason why Faker is the most celebrated player in the history of League of Legends, and it’ll be on full display in this Worlds.

Group D – “The We Got This Group”

This is a group that consists of a bunch of teams that finished in second place in their respective leagues (with the exception being LGD Gaming’s sweep of EDG in the Summer Finals).

Much like Group A, all of the teams in this group have a legitimate shot at reaching the Knockout Stage with one team being a slight favorite to claim 1st place. This group also features the best echelon of top laners, something to definitely watch for.

In rank from finishing last to first, let’s check out each team.

Origen

Origen showed extreme poise and confidence in their first-ever LCS split and were rewarded with a trip to Worlds. While they may be a newer team, former Fnatic mid laner xPeke was given the right to choose his teammates, mixing youth with veterans.

They took Fnatic to a surprising five games in the EU LCS Finals (Fnatics only two losses since MSI).

Origen’s style of play will be similar to paiN Gaming and KT, excelling in a split-pushing environment. Can their style advance them out of Group Stage?

They’ve never been on the world stage as a team, and they’ll have to quickly overcome some obstacles against a group of talented teams. Their inability to excel at any one particular stage of the game (sometimes they can snowball mid game, sometimes they can carry late game, but they’re not superb at either) will find them just on the outside of an extremely competitive group.

Key players

Look no further than the visionary and team captain, xPeke. He was a legend when he played for Fnatic, and no one could have predicted the success his team has had in this short of a time frame.

Just getting to Worlds is a huge victory for him. His ability to recruit fellow Fnatic player sOAZ, former TSM jungler Amazing, and relatively new players Mithy (who did briefly play for Lemondogs) and rookie Niels is already a win in our books.

Expect big things from this team in the future, but now is just not the right time (or group).

Team SoloMid

Team SoloMid is an interesting team to examine. Traditionally a North American powerhouse, TSM looked a bit out of sorts after a strong Spring Split.

They were essentially embarrassed at the MSI, where their strategy of ‘get Bjergsen fed and let him carry’ was proven to be utterly unsuccessful. They went on to spend the rest of the Summer Split attempting to find a new team identity.

TSM Korean coach Locodoco does have insightful information on the Korean scene and plenty of personal connections, and he’ll most certainly find new strategies and team comps for TSM to use at Worlds. If any team can improve dramatically in the month layoff before Worlds, look no further than TSM.

Has TSM finally put all the pieces together to make a run in the 2015 World Championship? While there were some positive signs during the NA LCS Playoffs, they were severely exposed during the Finals against CLG.

The lack of synergy amongst Santorin, Dyrus, and Lustboy was evident as CLG went on to sweep them 3-0. We don’t believe a month off tinkering on the Korean scene can fix those issues, and again their lack of team coordination in the mid-to-late game will leave them exposed during Group Stage.

Key players

This is a team that individually has talent at every position. Bjergsen remains an elite mid laner (and still the top mid laner in North America), and Dyrus is as hungry as ever.

WildTurtle and Lustboy in the bottom lane are nothing to sneeze at either. However, where TSM seems to have fallen off is at the jungle position.

Santorin looked so dominant during the Spring Split on champions such as Gragas, but ever since the MSI his confidence seems to have been shattered. No longer was he making plays in every lane, but rather spending more time in the jungle.

TSM will need him to regain that confidence if they want to move on to the Knockout Stage.

KT Rolster

Welcome to the world stage KT Rolster.

It’s been long overdue for this team, after experiencing three straight years of losing in the LCK Summer Finals. Expectations were low for KT heading into this year’s Spring Split, as former team stars KAKAO and RooKie moved on to join China’s IG.

While they were swept by SKT again in the LCK Summer Finals, their ability to navigate through Korea’s Regional Qualifiers and beat Jin Air Green Wings finally was enough to get them to Worlds.

KT’s exquisite use of vision to control objectives and segments of the map is their biggest strength. Can they use that vision and settle their nerves to advance out of Group Stage? The addition of support Piccaboo has bolstered the team’s communication. His synergy with jungler Score has also allowed KT to make aggressive plays in the early-to-mid game.

Much like EDG, KT excels at creating mismatches via lane swaps. That dynamic should allow KT to expose the likes of TSM and Origen.

Key players

We’ve already talked about how the addition of Piccaboo has added a new dimension to KT Rolster but the person to watch on this team is top laner Ssumday.

The arrival of the juggernaut patch for this Worlds fits right into his playstyle. His ability to consistently win lane and control the map with rapid rotations and key teleports is the reason he was named LCK Summer Split MVP and why KT has an excellent shot at advancing.

LGD Gaming

LGD Gaming was good before the 2015 LPL Spring Split. Then they added former World Champion Samsung White ADC imp (who many believe is the top ADC in the world) and former Samsung Blue (who many believed was the second best team last year) top laner Acorn.

While there were some growing pains during the regular season, LGD put it all together in the LPL Summer Finals.

Which LGD Gaming team will show up for this Worlds? The one that struggled throughout the season and received a subsequent low seed or the team that swept EDG in the semifinals? All signs point to LGD finally turning that corner and becoming the elite team that many expected them to be.

The continued progression of mid laner GODV has allowed LGD to become more team-oriented and less single carry-centric. The new additions have also let GODV expand his champion pool in order to pick for the team composition instead of just carry-oriented champions.

Key players

imp is one of the main reasons that Samsung White won it all last year and he’ll looking to carry LGD to the finals as well. If Faker is the perfect mid laner to emulate, then imp is the perfect ADC to idolize.

In fact, many expect imp to eventually supplant Faker as the best player in the world. His aggressive playstyle and flawless mechanics are always fascinating to watch (unless of course, you’re on the opposing team).

Not to be overlooked is team captain Pyl. He is the reason that imp and Acorn decided to join LGD.

ESB Staff

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