A little introduction to the Wildcard teams attending Worlds 2022.
There are a lot of League of Legends matches being played around the world during the regular season of multiple leagues. Some LEC or LCS fans can take time away from their day to keep up with major Asian leagues like LCK or LPL, but it is much harder to find opportunities to watch smaller regions. But it is also a much better experience to have some idea of these teams going into Worlds, as we will see most of them play in the Play-in Stage. So, if you did not have the chance to catch these teams’ games throughout their respective Summer Splits, this is the perfect opportunity to get to know them and which players you should keep your eyes on.
PCS (Southeast Asia)
CTBC Flying Oyster (Taiwan)
- Hsu “Rest” Shih-Chieh
- Huang “Gemini” Chu-Xuan
- Chen “Mission” Hsiao-Hsien
- Chao “Shunn” Ying-Shun
- Lin “Koala” Chih-Chiang
Three splits in a row, PCS was dominated by the powerhouse of PSG Talon, who also won the regular season in the Summer. Flying Oyster, on the other hand, joined the league at the start of the year. And despite them making the Finals, and losing to PSG, not many expected them to repeat that performance. Still, Flying Oyster impressed the audiences with an impressive Playoff run after a fourth-place finish in the regular season.
The roster consists of players who played in the LMS days, except the rookie ADC. Shunn was splitting time with more experienced Sung “Atlen” Ya-Lun during all Spring and Summer regular season, but after showing up consistently, he was the primary starter for all Summer Playoffs. Shunn is one of the best laners in PCS and his team’s main focus during the early game. With his support Koala, who prefers engage champions, they played a lot of lane-focused picks like Kalista and Draven.
But if the game goes late, the focus shifts to the solo laners, unlike most teams. Both Rest and Gemini like to play for their lane, getting individual advantages and contributing during more teamfight-oriented times, and the team doesn’t have much prio on drakes before 15 minutes.
- Players to watch: Mission, Shunn
Beyond Gaming (Taiwan)
- Liao “Likai” Li-Kai
- Huang “HuSha” Tzu-Wei
- Lu “Minji” Po-Wei
- Tsou “Wako” Wei-Yang
- Chu Wu “Kino” Hsin-Jung
While Flying Oyster’s Playoff run was impressive, Beyond’s second-place finish is nothing to scoff at. Beyond did make Worlds in 2021, the first year they played in PCS, and wanted a repeat performance. Despite this, they did not have the best start to the regular season, finishing sixth. To make Worlds, they had to play five Bo5 series, and only lost to the eventual champions in Upper Bracket and in Grand Finals, overcoming the first and second place teams in the league, PSG Talon and Deep Cross Gaming.
The most exciting part of this team is no doubt, their top laner, Likai. He never shies away from a skill match-up and prefers to get himself on carry top laner like Camille, Fiora and Gwen. Even though he is not the best at generating lane leads, with some jungle attention, he has great carry potential. This situation is also the same for Beyond’s bot lane.
Wako and Kino had some struggles in their early laning during playoffs, especially against J Team, but once the team fights start, they are one of the best in the league. One scary part is that Kino almost never played any enchanters, except Lucian/Nami, but he is exceptional at engage supports, and enchanters are already hit by nerfs.
But the best player on the team is definitely the jungler HuSha. The young player has dominated his opponents all Playoffs, more so when he got his hands on his Wukong. With Minji on roaming picks like Taliyah and Ahri or skirmishers like Sylas, this Beyond roster has an explosive early game and they can be hard to stop if they ever get a lead.
- Players to watch: Likai, HuSha
- Trần “Kiaya” Duy Sang
- Đỗ “Levi” Duy Khánh
- Đặng “Kati” Thanh Phê
- Mai “Sty1e” Hoàng Sơn
- Trần “Bie” Đức Hiếu
Despite both GAM’s, or GIGABYTE Marines’, and VCS’s long history in previous Worlds, the region hasn’t been able to attend the events in 2020 and 2021. GAM Esports themselves missed in 2020, despite qualifying for a Play-in spot. While the organization was finally able to make the event, this year was also filled with visa issues. In the end, most of the team has been able to acquire their visas and will be able to play in Worlds 2022 main stage.
Ever since updating their name, GAM Esports has been the top team in Vietnam, and this was also true in Summer. They finished the regular season in first place with a record of 24-10. They lost one playoff series to their closest competition in Saigon Buffalo, but they got their revenge by 3-0’ing them in the Finals.
GAM is one of the most aggressive teams in VCS, and the driving force behind this is the duo of support and jungle. The young support Bie is one of the most active early game players in the league and has great synergy with his jungler. Levi, who is one of the most known Vietnamese players, is still as explosive as he was in Worlds 2017. He also still plays a lot of Nocturne.
The GAM solo laners are somewhat opposite sides of the spectrum, with Kiaya preferring his carries and Kati going for supportive champions. Kati has been one of the most versatile and open-to-change players in, honestly, everywhere. We saw him play anything from Corki to Morgana, as he had 17 unique picks in Summer alone. However, GAM’s ADC Sty1e is the opposite of this, with only seven unique picks. While he is excellent at them, he mostly plays late-game scalers like Sivir and Jinx, which can make it easy to ban him out for better teams.
- Players to watch: Levi, Bie
- Lâm “Hasmed” Huỳnh Gia Huy
- Trần “BeanJ” Văn Chính
- Bùi “Froggy” Văn Minh Hải*
- Nguyễn “Shogun” Văn Huy
- Đinh “Taki” Anh Tài
Saigon Buffalo is a much newer face in VCS compared to GAM, but they’ve been challenging them for the top spot in recent years. This year was no different as they finished second, even after winning their first series against GAM. Saigon also was the first team to break the pandemic curse of Vietnam, attending the last MSI after the champions GAM chose to attend SEA Games.
Saigon also got affected by visa issues this year, but they were able to sort it out eventually. Only two members’ fates still haven’t been decided, the mid laner Froggy and the coach Nguyễn “Ren” Văn Trọng. This can prove to be a tough situation as BeanJ and Froggy were great at generating early leads for the team. Of course, it could’ve been worse if their bot lane wasn’t as lane dominant as they were.
We saw Shogun/Taki beating major region bot lanes in MSI 2022 with picks like Tristina and Lucian and they’ve been doing the same thing in VCS as well. All five members of the Buffalo have champion oceans, but no one more than Taki. The 19-year-old played an impressive 20 unique champions, including not one but two Rumble support games. Last but not least, Hasmed in the top lane is continuing his impressive run from MSI. His favorite champion is Gwen, but he is also comfortable on tanks which fare well for next week.
- Players to watch: Hasmed, Shogun
*Pending visa status.
- Shunsuke “Evi” Murase
- Mun “Steal” Geon-yeong
- Lee “Yaharong” Chan-ju
- Yuta “Yutapon” Sugiura
- Lee “Harp” Ji-yoong
DetionatioN FocusMe is probably the most dominant team in their regional league that ever existed in the League scene. They lifted the trophy in eight of the last nine LJL splits, and they have been “the” international Japanese representative ever since LJL got a spot. The main core of this team, consisting of Evi, Steal and Yutapon have been playing together since 2017, the latter first joining DFM way back in 2013.
DFM has been considered a dangerous Wildcard team ever since their impressive MSI 2021 performance. The Japanese team had a very good international showing last year with their play on the Rift and by taking a game off the NA champions Cloud9, even though they got eliminated during the Stage 1 Groups. Unfortunately, they could not deliver too many upsets in the following two international events.
DFM has a 25-3 record in the Summer of 2022, 19-2 in the regular season. However, due to the LJL Playoffs format, they only played two Bo5 series and both were against the same team, Sengoku Gaming. Sengoku also finished the regular season 19-2, but DFM lost only one game against their closest local opponent.
The main carries for the team right now are the young mid laner Yaharong and the veteran ADC Yutapon. Yaharong was especially impressive with his control-mage performances in the playoffs. Yutapon had some shaky laning phases and fell behind consistently, more so in the first Bo5, but he was a constant threat once the team fights started. The remaining three players mostly play a supportive style, but you should especially keep an eye on Evi, who is known for his pocket picks like Urgot or the Lillia he pulled out in the last Finals game.
- Players to watch: Evi, Yaharong
Chiefs Esports Club
- Kim “Topoon” Ji-hoon
- Park “Arthur” Mi-reu
- James “Tally” Shute
- Quin “Raes” Korebrits
- Ryan “Aladoric” Gregory Richardson
Chiefs were just one game away from an undefeated Summer Split, and that loss came in their Finals series, which they won 3-1 against Pentanet.GG. The organization has a long history in the Oceanic scene, be it OPL or LCO. However, they were struggling in the previous seasons, before they formed this iteration of the roster with players with experiences in other leagues, and this will be the first Riot-hosted international event they attend.
The team was one game away from victory and MSI the last split, but they took that last step with the addition of Aladoric. The young support has been one of the best players in his role in OCE, and his aggressive play style brought the team a fresh breath of air. He has a very good synergy with his jungler Arthur, previously of Hanwha Life, who is the no-argument best jungler in the league. The duo is greatly helped by the supportive playstyle of the mid laner Tally, who is one of the most veteran players in the region.
The two carries of the team are the top and bot laners. Raes, who had a disappointing stint on Immortals, looked like a new man during the year. He has been a team fight monster but he also has some aggressive picks like Kai’Sa and Draven. The top laner Topoon has started to become known for his carry champions and his solo kills and is no doubt one of the best players in the league. He lacked time on weakside tanks during the split, except Sejuani, which may become a problem against more capable top laners in the Play-in Stage.
- Players to watch: Topoon, Arthur
- Soner “StarScreen” Kaya
- Hakan Mert “Ferret” Çakmak
- Tolga “Serin” Ölmez
- Anıl “HolyPhoenix” Işık
- Berk “Farfetch” Badur
While the Wildcats are no stranger to winning Spring, this is the first Summer Playoffs victory and the first Worlds trip for the young organization. After adding the Turkish esports legend HolyPhoenix, who won MVP this split, to their roster, IW won the TCL three times in the last four splits and attended two MSIs in a row, which they could not show a level they would’ve wanted.
Wildcats lifted the trophy in Summer Split in a very close 3-2 series against Fenerbahce, who eliminated the dominant regular season leaders in NASR eSports. One of the most important aspects of the Summer Playoffs was the performance of IW’s mid laner, Serin, who was the main carry of the team in their most wins, especially with Azir and Sylas becoming strong meta picks.
Usually, this role has always been filled with HolyPhoenix, who is one of the most aggressive ADCs in Turkey. We saw Lucian and Kalista as permanent bans against him, and they still remain a danger even though the champions got slight nerfs before Worlds.
The top/jungle and support are once again more supportive and weak side players, but they had games where they showed they weren’t afraid to play through top. One unfortunate point to keep in mind is the international performances of Farfetch, who struggled a lot during the previous two MSIs.
- Players to watch: Serin, HolyPhoenix
LLA (Latin America)
- Kang “ADD” Geon-mo
- Jesús Alberto ‘Grell” Loya Trujillo
- Édgar Ali “Seiya” Bracamontes Munguía
- Omar André “Gavotto” Gavotto
- Son “Jelly” Ho-gyeong
Isurus is back at Worlds for the first time since 2019. The organization had some close finishes, but they couldn’t find that win that would send them back to the international stage. They finished the regular season second behind Estral Esports, and despite losing their first Playoff series to EST, they climbed back to the Finals and got a 3-2 victory.
Their team composition is much more standard with a supportive meta-playing jungler and a weakside tank top laner. The main carries are Seiya, who greatly enjoyed the Azir meta, and Gavotto, who prefers Aphelios over meta carries like Sivir and Zeri. Still, they can show different styles with Seiya on melee assassins and with Gavotto on lane bullies like Kalista and Lucian. Their support Jelly was also one of the most adaptable players in LLA.
- Players to watch: Seiya, Gavotto
- Leonardo “Robo” Souza
- Park “Croc” Jong-hoon
- Thiago “tinowns” Sartori
- Diego “Brance” Amaral
- Denilson “Ceos” Oliveira Gonçalves
What a Summer for LOUD as an organization. Not only their Valorant team lifted the trophy in VCT Istanbul, but their CBLOL team managed to win the title in their third split ever, over Brazillian giants like paiN, RED Canids and FURIA. LOUD is an aggressive team that likes to fight, early and late, and is good at it.
Despite the organization’s youth, the team is headed by two of the CBLOL’s most veteran solo laners, Robo and tinowns. Robo has been an aggressive laner this Summer, with a wide pool consisting of different counter picks. He had no trouble picking non-meta picks like Olaf, Rumble or Kayle top and did very well on them. Tinowns on the other hand is a little more passive in lane but has great control of the map. His jungler being very focused on his lanes instead of farming is a big part of this.
Their bot lane can be a strong suit against better teams as they are versatile with their picks. We saw Brance play anything from Varus to Zeri to Seraphine this split, while his support is proficient at both enchanters and engage supports.
- Players to watch: Robo, Brance
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