Tournaments around the world were held up due to COVID 19, and the fact remains that we will have to wait a little bit before ‘our’ leagues begin. But, there is still plenty of esports action elsewhere in the globe. The previous season of the LPL saw Suning Runners as runner up to the champions. In their final match against Top Esports, they took their victory and spoils with a clean and decisive 3-0 record. Unfortunately, they lost their final series against DAMWON Gaming 3-1 in a victory that would secure Korea’s first championship title since Samsung Galaxy took it in 2017.
The finals proved to be a beautiful dance of champions handled by the best players in the world. Though the victory was 3-1, every game was full of heart and struggle. Suning opted for unusual picks such as Rengar and Fiora to bring the aggression to DWG. With Fiora, Bin was able to record the first pentakill ever to occur on the stage of the Worlds finals. Even so, it was not enough to compete with DWG’s objective and control focused approach. The first game alone was a 45-minute struggle with three barons and six dragons being taken. DWG was able to adjust their playstyle to focus on teamfights to match Suning’s aggression.
At the start of 2020 none would predict Suning to be a finalist in the world series. Their year started with a less than average performance during the Spring split, where they would fail to make playoffs. To be honest, they weren’t even in the top eight of China’s standing in the early season. This defeat must have struck a nerve within the team because from then on their performance began to rise consistently. They used the Summer season to showcase their determination and abilities. A message to the other teams that they weren’t to be ignored. Suning finished 4th place in the season’s round-robin and took 3rd place in the Summer playoffs. This was enough of a boost to qualify them through to the international championship at the end of the year.
A few places higher and they would have had to compete for qualification via the Knockout Stage, a gauntlet of teams all fighting to enter worlds. Surprisingly they were entered into Group A of the championship alongside G2, a world-renowned powerhouse of a team. G2 took the first half of the round-robin, but China’s spirit answered with a burning vengeance in the second half defeating the strongest team in the league during Group A’s tiebreaker.
As China’s representative in the league they are entering 2021 with ambition and tenacity. The 2021 League of Legends season started earlier this month and 2020 World Championship finalists Suning were paired up against Top Esports on January 9th where they defeated their opponent in a clean 2-0 victory. The rosters for both teams were the same as the previous year, except for Top Esports’s acquisition of a rookie support player Wang “Zhuo” Xu-Zhuo from Team WE academy and Suning’s promotion of their academy support player Luo “On” Wen-Jun on the back of losing SwordArt to TSM. Surprisingly TES was the favored team for the match given their performance last year. Suning is here to win. They are starting much stronger than the last season. You know, the season that they ended as world finalists? It would be a good bet to keep an eye out on this team as they progress this season.
The set began with TES first picking Samira, the most banned champion of the league. Suning saw this as an opportunity to choose Kai’sa, another ADC who is arguably one of the strongest characters at the moment. Bin, the guy who will forever be known for accomplishing the first pentakill on a world’s finals stage, decided to play Aatrox, a decision that would prove to be difficult for TES. The game lasted just over half an hour in which during the final minutes Suning won a team fight, took baron and pushed for the game. The second game saw TES with Samira and Suning with Kai’sa once again, only to end with the same result. However, Suning appeared more coordinated during their second match. If this set is any tell of the future, Suning might be dominating the season. I have no doubts they will see worlds against, where Bin will likely search for a second pentakill. I would if I were him.