Note: The Sovereign vs. Impunity section is written by Jensen ‘Jstorm’ Goh while the Not Your Zone vs. Resurgence section is written by Leonard ‘OMO’ Loh.
The Singapore Legends Series concludes this weekend with the semi-finals on Saturday and the Finals on Sunday. Here is our preview of what to expect from the matchups and our predictions.
Sovereign (SVR) vs. Impunity(IMP)
The short and sudden nature of the SLS has left most teams with little time to develop a thorough narrative as they enter the playoffs, with us getting snapshots of teams in a single elimination format as we rush into the all-important finals weekend. Despite that, the storied history and build-up of the Sovereign and Impunity teams in preparation of the 2017 summer split adds a layer of depth to this semifinal matchup.
The arguments about Singaporean talent have almost become tired at this point – Is Chawy of LMS ahq fame an outlier in a broken system? Is there something insidious that is stopping Singaporeans from making it big on the international stage? To what extent can talent be developed?
Sovereign – What Are Empires Made Of?
Headed by Leonard ‘OMO’ Loh, the ideas and beliefs behind the Sovereign organization began with rather humble aspirations, taking up players who he believed that had the potential to become the best and attempting to elevate them to become heavyweights in the TLC. Believing in a good work ethic, and that through the correct application of certain theories regarding gameplay, a committed group of individuals would be able to find success domestically at the very least.
The organization struggled through the later part of 2015 and proved to be the biggest flop in 2016, failing to make the playoffs of the organization’s first two domestic tournaments before finally making it to the finals of the spring split this season with a roster featuring unproven rookies and players who consistently finished at the bottom of the standings in previous tournaments. As with second place finishes, the bittersweet feeling of having come so close yet not make it all the way gave the organization pause to reflect and rethink their approach as they proceeded towards the summer split, with qualification to the world championship on the line.
It almost feels like a sellout moment for those who have a thing for the underdog and rooted for Sovereign in previous seasons as they rebuilt their roster for the current split of SLS. Gone are the rookie players ready to impress the local scene with their specialty picks honed in solo queue, now Sovereign boasts a lineup full of star players.
Alex ‘Shinsekai’ Tan, regarded by many as one of the best toplaners in the GPL region, took a short hiatus from local competition to make a shot at the LMS during the spring split this season. If anything, his skills seem to have sharpened during that period, as demonstrated in his performance against Spicy Chickens in the quarter-finals.
Two top tier midlaners are also available on the roster in the form of Dominic ‘Arykelic’ Loh and Jordan ‘25July’ Lum (aka Rune/ Suoh), both had reached the Semifinals of the Garena Premiere League previously. Martin ‘Mexi’ Lew being added in the AD Carry position also brings another heavyweight to the team with his claim of being the best AD Carry in the country, and also being a GPL semifinalist. Returning from last split, Tay ‘IceDestiny’ Leong Jie and Chua ‘wJ’ Wee Kiat have been breakout performances in Jungle and Support the previous split.
Sovereign is pulling out the big guns, winning the domestic championship would not simply be a goal for them, but rather what is expected. Growth, development and learning are out of the window for the organization this split. The lesson and message they have gained from their previous split– “If you want to win, you want the best players on your team”.
Impunity – Back To The Grassroots
The last time we saw Impunity in the League of Legends scene was during the 2015 spring split where the team picked up the all-star roster that Insidious Gaming had released, only to crash and burn during the group stages of the GPL with a very public fallout between various members of the team on social media.
Rebuilding the team from ground zero, the policy the organization adopts moving into this split is a contrast to what Sovereign is doing, forgoing the idea that in order to win star players are assets a team needs to utilize, seeing them and their egos as liabilities instead. Yet, the aspirations the team is setting are rather lofty, aiming for the world championship stage.
Developing talents is a large part of the team’s focus with three rookies in the form of Crixius, Hevinix, and Laze alongside many more on their bench. Dantiz and Zancazor bring the guidance and hard hitting the team builds around with their individuals skills and strengths, with both players being domestic champions in one form or another previously (Zancazor in the TLC and Dantiz in the SGCL).
Their play reflects this as well, with the team playing a simple and effective style of league of legends, that focuses on set pieces that the players are drilled on while having clear win conditions to play towards. Picking champions to tide them through against more mechanically skilled champions seems to be a regular part of the wheelhouse this team has, with Crixius playing Pantheon and Garen in the toplane and Malzahar for Hevinix in the midlane.
It would seem unfairly dismissive to regard this team’s aspirations as being delusional. But with the Singaporean representative finishing dead last in the previous GPL, it probably would be necessary for a radical change and shake up of how the local teams approach the game for a Singaporean team to gain success internationally. The ideas and playstyles of the team are experimental, unstable, and wild, but it might just be what is needed.
Featured Matchup: Alex ‘Shinsekai’ vs Nicholas ‘Crixius’ John Griffiths. Embodying the crux of the nature versus nurture argument is the clash of toplaners of these two teams, with both players being a large part of their teams core.
Shinsekai with his individual proficiency on carry champions and Crixius on his unconventional champions that enable his team’s set pieces will set the stage for the contrast that these two teams will be providing in this semifinal matchup. Impunity will need something special prepared to deal with what has been coined the Shinsekai problem, and Crixius will have to be a large part of that.
Prediction: Sovereign wins 2-0. It’s hard to bet on the underdog, but a man smart with his money gets his value where it is worth. The sheer amount of talent on Sovereign is hard to bet against.
Not Your Zone (NyZ) vs. Resurgence (RSG)
Not Your Zone – New Blood
This roster has a lot to live up to under the NyZ name, with Charles ‘Kra’ Teo returning from the TLC Championship-winning NyZ roster to lead a team of young players, with Marcus ‘Brax’ Chee and Jason ‘Orbic’ Tang as novices to the top level of the local competitive leagues. Even though returning members in Noh ‘Yohno’ Yoon O and Kenneth ‘Cab’ Chan have competitive experience, they are still young players and Kra’s leadership should be invaluable for this roster.
Despite significant roster changes coming in for Not Your Zone (swapping out both solo laners and support), they have displayed the same clean macro focused gameplay that they have exhibited last split. Playing a heavy pressure style around their bot lane of Kenneth ‘Cab’ Chan and Charles ‘Kra’ Teo, Not Your Zone snowballed 2 decisive victories over Brand New Life in the quarter-finals, hardly being tested.
The question coming into the Semifinals for Not Your Zone would be if they can maintain the same level of pressure and aggression they had going against Brand New Life against better opponents. A key question in this series would be Noh ‘Yohno’ Yoon O’s playmaking ability on Lee Sin and if Resurgence choose to ban it away.
Resurgence – The Stuff Of Champions
With the class of players like Raven and Revive in their roster, Resurgence have a baseline level of play which is already higher than the peaks of many Singaporean teams. Beyond that, their macro is looking cleaner than ever with their classic style of the “20 minute GG button” being polished up, wherein games would look even until Resurgence flip the switch around the mid-game at 15-20 minutes and steamroll their opponents. Coming in looking to add the title of first Singapore Legends Series Champions to their achievement of final The Legends Circuit Champions, their first serious obstacle will be the Not Your Zone roster.
With the solo lane stars of Resurgence being a key win condition for them, having them go up against Not Your Zone’s newcomers in Mid and Top looks to already be a mismatch from the get-go. These 2 rookies will have to seriously step up for Not Your Zone to be able to take down Resurgence.
Featured Matchup: Chen ‘Eternal’ Yihui vs. Noh ‘Yohno’ Yoon O. Despite all the praise for Resurgence’s solo laners, a lot of their power is enabled by jungler; Eternal. As the ‘Jungle GPS’ his knack for tracking the opponent jungler allows his laners to play to their strengths and thus, a lot of this matchup will be decided in the jungle. With Chen ‘Eternal’ Yihui’s dominance over Lam ‘DJrocker’ Wai Jie in the quarter-finals being a key part of Resurgence taking the series and Yohno’s own aggression in Jayden ‘Jichu’ Ang’s Jungle being instrumental to Not Your Zone’s victory.
Both junglers have proven themselves to be both capable of dictating the early game for their team. In doing so, applying the map pressure necessary for their laners to apply their own lane pressure, choking out their opponents. Whichever jungler gets the early pressure down should be the key to success for both of these teams.
Prediction: Resurgence wins 2-0. Just down the line, the members of Resurgence seem to outclass their counterparts on the side of Not Your Zone on paper. Honed through years of experience as a team, Resurgence have become a well-oiled machine which Not Your Zone, having much less experience as a unit and as individuals, will be hard-pressed to answer.
Though we expect Not Your Zone to put on a fight especially through their early mid game rotations, Resurgence should be able to take this 2-0.