The Shang Hai All-Stars Weekend confirmed, once again, Asian teams dominance on the international scene. However, what was most surprising was NA's triumph over EU. I initially predicted that NA would come last; however, my predictions proved wrong. While the EU team, arguably, had less practice than the NA team, results cannot be disputed. Hopefully, the NA LCS All-Star's team practice regime and experience on the international scene influences NA teams to advance to the same levels of Asian teams. Moreover, Riot's production and the games played were of extremely high quality that even surprised me. I commend Riot's amazing commitment to eSports that has been set at an unprecedented level.
While many things didn't surprise me, what surprised me was Madlife's amazing Thresh play. Asian teams are stronger than Western teams; however, Madlife's play was truly inspirational. Without a doubt, Madlife is the best League of Legends player in the world. Take a look at the plays Madlife managed to accomplish, truly insane. I was equally impressed with Shy's top lane play.
It seems, that EU teams are still playing the older style where teams coordinate a time and group up for objectives to acquire a global advantage; control of lanes and minions dominate this style. NA teams are now doing the older Korean meta of lane swaps and early grouping that was popularized during the break-out era culminating at TSM v. Azubu Blaze. The NA meta is dominated by early game control of camps, towers, and objectives through grouping and lane swaps with champ select. The Korean meta now consists of early game pushing, tower control, and a ton of team fighting which utilizes their superior communication, training regime, and coordination. Koreans tend to group a lot and immediately move towards any small skirmishes. When Koreans kill a tower, they never go back to the lane and farm; instead top laners would roam to gank and push lanes to apply more pressure and create skirmishes. The Chinese meta, is completely influenced by the emergence of Team OMG who have been dominating the previous Chinese scene of Team World Elite and Invictus Gaming. The Chinese meta consists of generally passive lane swapping and farming in the early stages to ensure players make it to mid-game where a highly aggressive team composition looks for picks where champions thrive in quick engagements to catch and burst a single target as a team, over walls and terrain. As such, champions like Hecarim, Thresh, Zac, and Graves are highly fought over for. The composition, named the 'freight train' composition was designed by Team OMG and implemented by the Chinese international team. As the name 'freight train' implies, the composition is designed to swiftly eliminate picks by the team with the force of a train and force easy objectives in 4 v 5 situations.
With the first All-Stars weekend over I look forward to further international tournaments, probably the next World Championships. I am interested to know if NA teams have learned from this international experience and will implement serious training regimes to keep up with the Asian scene.
As for a personal update. I will be heading to the Eastern Hemisphere for Summer traveling. I hope I will have time to post more for this Blog; however, I may not be able to. I will also not be playing League of Legends for upwards of a month which I worry for the deterioration of my Jungling decision making. Furthermore, my team has folded due to my long-term vacation. Hopefully, I will be able to work with some of my old teammates or a new team in the near future.
Until next time, ChaiPod out!