Another week has come to an end in the road to worlds, and we’ve witnessed shattered dreams, David and Goliath upsets, and the battle to become the best League of Legends team in the world still within reach for some. As expected, Groups C & D provided us with many thrilling games. Unfortunately, only four teams could advance to the quarterfinals: Najin White Shield, OMG, Samsung Blue, and Cloud 9. Let’s take a closer look at each team, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses as they head into the best of 5 matches in the quarterfinals.
Samsung Blue (5-1) (OGN)
Samsung Blue entered the tournament as one of the best teams in the world but was always overshadowed by their sister team, Samsung White. Since acquiring Dade from White, Blue has won the OGN Champions Spring 2014 title and finished a close second behind KT Rolster in OGN Champions Summer 2014. Now is their chance to step out of White’s shadow and claim the title of World Champion.
Strengths: Samsung Blue demonstrated incredible in-game knowledge and superior map control during the group stages. They excelled in securing early game spawning objectives and playing non-meta champions. They have surely kept some tricks up their sleeve for their matchup against Cloud 9.
Weaknesses: Samsung Blue’s AD Carry, Deft, has strong positioning but can sometimes make careless plays. Other teams will try to exploit this weakness and punish Samsung Blue for their mistakes.
Cloud 9 (4-2) (NA LCS)
Cloud 9 has been the most dominant team in North America since joining the LCS. Led by veterans Hai and LemonNation, Cloud 9 has secured back-to-back NA LCS Championships and finished in the top 8 at the 2013 World Championship.
Strengths: Meteos has shown up time and time again for Cloud 9 during the group stages. His synergy with Hai has been key to gaining early game advantages. Balls, the top laner, is considered the most dominant in NA and can hold his own while allowing Meteos to focus on other parts of the map.
Weaknesses: Cloud 9’s late-game focused team compositions have been exploited by Korean teams who play with early game aggression. LemonNation’s mechanics may also be tested when facing off against the best bot lane in the world. Cloud 9 will need to improve their vision placement and ward buying to succeed against Samsung Blue.
Najin White Shield (4-2) (OGN)
Najin White Shield earned their spot at this year’s Worlds after a strong performance in the “gauntlet.” They have already faced a tough challenge from Cloud 9, forcing a tiebreaker game for the number one seed in their group.
Strengths: GorillA has been the standout player for Najin White Shield so far. His Thresh play has been exceptional, and opposing teams must either ban Thresh or fear his Flash/Hook or Flash/Flay combo. Save, the top laner, is known for his carry potential and will look to create advantages for his team.
Weaknesses: Najin White Shield dropped games to Western teams during the group stages and fell behind significantly in one match against Alliance. They cannot afford to fall behind against teams like OMG or the Samsung teams.
OMG (3-3) (LPL)
OMG is a world-class team from China’s LPL, with several experienced players and a 5th place finish in last year’s World Championship. They aim to stop Najin White Shield and potentially face Star Horn Royal Club in a rematch from last year.
Strengths: Once OMG got past their initial group stage nerves, they showed their aggressive playstyle and strong pick/ban phases. Loveling’s performance on Kha’Zix and Cool’s strong laning phase have been key to their success.
Weaknesses: Dada777 has struggled in recent games for OMG, often getting caught out of position and making critical mistakes. He will need to step up his performance for OMG to succeed.