LoL Worlds 2015: The First Quarter-Final Winner

Flash Wolves face off against Origen

The first of the League of Legends World Championships [official site] semi-finalists have been decided after the European team, Origen, took on the LMS’s Flash Wolves in the opening quarter-final at London’s Wembley Arena.

Spoilers await after the jump!

Origen knocked Flash Wolves out of the competition after four games of a best-of-five series.

“I feel really, really happy,” said Origen’s founder and mid-laner Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño Martínez when I interviewed him after the game. “Making it to the semi-final is crazy for the team on our first year!”

xPeke's game face

Origen took victories in the first two games of the series, dropped the third and came back in the fourth. xPeke played a champion called Anivia in the first two games of the series, dropped it in the third and picked it up again in the fourth. I asked xPeke to talk a little about Anivia’s role in the game, but first I’ll just explain a little about her:

Riot explain her as “a mystical embodiment of ice magic” who keeps watch over one of the realms of LoL lore. I think of her as a big icy bird. Her main points in terms of abilities are that she can throw out ice orbs to stun enemies, put down walls of ice (which can block enemies rushing in to attack or stop them being able to escape) and make blizzards appear which deal damage in an area as well as slowing the enemy down (the latter is her ultimate ability). If she dies she changes into an egg. If the defenceless and immobile egg survives for 6 seconds she gets reborn with whatever egg-health was left.

“We knew [Flash Wolves’] top laner didn’t play the best champions against her. He only had melees or tanks or bruisers which are all really bad against Anivia because they get stunned, they get walled, ultimated – even the slow is really annoying.” To give an example, a melee character has to get in close to do damage but the wall can prove fatal for them, stopping them from running away if the fight starts to go against them. It can also stop them from getting in close in the first place, acting as a giant wall of “NOPE”, or you can use it to separate them from their teammates for a pick-off kill.

The view from the crowd

Shoutcaster Trevor ‘Quickshot’ Henry added that the Anivia pick also forced Flash Wolves into a situation where they had to decide whether the champion was enough of a threat for them to use one of their bans on. You only get three bans so choosing how to spend them is a big deal. “It forces the other team to go ‘Is Anivia worth banning to put xPeke on something else or do we let him have it and play around it?'”

So why on earth would you change that formula in game three?

xPeke tells me that Origen though Orianna would do a similar job but would be better against the Caitlyn Flash Wolves had decided to play. Caitlyn’s a ranged character so Origen’s thinking was that she would be far less inconvenienced by walls, and that blizzards and stuns wouldn’t be able to reach her. Instead Orianna has this ball that she can send out and activate to deal damage thus being able to deal with Caitlyn’s range. It did not work out so well.

For the final game Caitlyn was still picked by Flash Wolves but the ice bird returned. Origen also picked up Morgana – a support who had been giving them a lot of trouble in the previous game when Flash Wolves played her. That combination plus Flash Wolves’ decision to draft a champion called Irelia sealed their victory. As Quickshot points out, for the lineup to work Irelia had to come online (that is to say, become effective) early on but Origen just shut her down. Once Flash Wolves had missed their window it was just a case of Origen playing down the clock and not taking daft risks until their own window opened in the late game.

The European home crowd were rather pleased by all of this, by the way

Origen have – in terms of EU LCS narratives, at least – been considered in the shadow of fellow European team Fnatic, whose current lineup includes two of xPeke’s former teammates. I ask whether he feels Worlds has allowed them to be considered as a contender in their own right yet or whether there’s still the spectre of Fnatic and their EU dominance.

“Before playoffs people thought Fnatic were the only team in with a chance because everyone lost to them. Then we went to the finals [the grand finals of the summer split] and almost took the series – everyone started giving us more credit.” And now? “I feel like people actually give us the recognition of being a good team.”

Origen will go on to face either the Korean favourites SKT or Taiwan’s ahq e-Sports Club. They’d prefer to face ahq. As xPeke puts it: “We would have more room to actually play our game against them. SKT would punish these mistakes we make in these games a lot more.” Quickshot agreed – “[Origen and ahq] have similar strengths and similar weaknesses, against SKT they’re a bit more outmatched.

“But,” he adds, “if any team were to come up against SKT and be able to switch off who they’re playing against this is one of the better teams to do that. They won’t go ‘ohmygodohmygodohmygod’ and freeze. They’ll be able to deliver an Origen-level performance.”

To find out who Origen will be playing you can watch SKT vs ahq today (Friday 16 October) at 5pm BST. Or wait for me to write about it.

18 Comments

  1. frightlever says:

    As a budding eSports reporter, Pip, you may not want to hear this, but BBC3 is covering the championship. They have a micro site here:

    link to bbc.co.uk

    Includes a guide to LoL comprising about half a dozen 2 minute videos, which I found pretty useful as I never actually understood League before. There’s a tab with coverage of Day 1, including highlights which I’m going to check out later.

    BBC3 Online is streaming the event live, which is meaningless to most people who care as it’s already on Twitch and as LetsGo on the Eurogamer forum pointed out yesterday, there are probably more UK viewers on Twitch than will find it through BBC3 online, but I suppose it’s a step in the right direction.

    I’d probably rather watch CS or something a little less abstracted than LoL or Dota 2 on TV but until then I have the Legends Football League for my fantasy viewing. (I wouldn’t Google that at work, no matter how much of a legitimate sport it is).

    • Wendelius says:

      LoL has a steep learning curve to start watching. It’s got a lot of lingo, some unusual gameplay mechanics and countless champions with specific abilities I can’t keep track of.

      But once you start watching make the effort to get into it, it makes for dramatic, nail biting viewing, especially at this level.

      The BBC3 coverage is good for this as they don’t assume in depth knowledge of the game. Whereas the Riot casters rattle off skill and item names without much context.

      I’m lucky that my son plays the game. So I started watching with him last year and he acted as a translator. My wife scoffed at the start. But she has been spending the last few weeks riveted to the screen too when Origen or Fnatic play.

      It’s more abstracted and slower paced than a CS:GO match. But oh the drama.

      If you can get over the initial learning curve, this is so much fun to watch.

      My son and I will be in Brussels for the semi finals next week. It’s going to be fun.

      • frightlever says:

        I’m at least going to give it a shot. Ten minutes or so of those BBC videos and I’ve learned more about LoL than in years of coverage on websites, including this one.

    • Wendelius says:

      And speaking of BBC3 coverage, Deman (the BBC3 caster), a well known LoL caster who has since moved on to other eSports, has not lost his enthusiasm for a good pentakill: link to youtube.com

      :)

      • mukuste says:

        Wait– so, Deman is casting LoL again? That’s actually great news.

        • Wendelius says:

          For the BBC for the Worlds 2015 series. I don’t think he has plans to return beyond that.

    • kutkh says:

      This is an astonishingly patronising comment. Pip is a professional writer and chose to cover this event in the manner she felt was best. I sincerely doubt you have the experience or personal connection to justify calling her a “budding” anything, and if you did I’d hope you have the grace to know better. From your tone I doubt you think you’ve done anything wrong, but rather than throw your hands up and plead good intentions I’d recommend you simply avoid peering down your nose at people you do not know.

  2. amcathlan says:

    Sports section. You need one.

  3. gpown says:

    Anivia’s wall can’t block attacks, even dashes of any kind. Considering the panic initially caused by Yasuo’s Wind Wall, I can’t imagine how ridiculous would that be back in Season 1…

    • Wendelius says:

      Is that the case (genuinely asking here)?

      I could have sworn I saw the Flash Wolves give up on trying to attack through the wall (though they could have flashed and used similar other wall jumping tricks, I’m sure. But at the cost of having that spell available in a crisis during the next few minutes) and walking the long way around.

      I thought I saw XPeke use it to protect a turret at times as well.

      Doesn’t it block ranged attacks?

      This is the thing about LoL. So many subtleties that people who only watch and don’t play can’t pick up on. You have to play the champions yourselves to really understand what they do and who they are good or bad vs. The rock, paper, scissor dynamic of the game has a lot of factors coming into it.

      Still tons of fun to watch though.

      • mukuste says:

        It doesn’t block attacks, but in the situation (I think) you are talking about the team was simply out of range for their attacks and couldn’t walk closer due to the wall.

        The Anivia wall was even stronger in Season 1 though, when movement abilities weren’t yet put in such an inflationary manner on all champions.

    • Xocrates says:

      To be fair, Yasuo’s wind wall was the first time an ability could block auto-attacks, even ones not targeted at you, so prior to the champ coming out there was genuine reason for worrying.

      I don’t get the comparison to Anivia’s wall though, since they function very differently, and have very different roles.

      • gpown says:

        I meant that over the years we got a bit more used to crazy abilities, so if something like Wind Wall existed back in S1, Anivia would become a ridiculous champion because she could basically block the whole game.

        • Xocrates says:

          But windwall doesn’t block movement though, which is why I don’t get your point.

          Giving Anivia’s wall the abilities of windwall in addition to it’s current capabilities would make it stupid overpowered no matter when they were launched. It hasn’t anything to do with there being crazier abilities now. Hell, by that line of thinking add Azir’s dash blocking wall as well.

    • Premium User Badge

      Philippa Warr says:

      Phrasing issue – in that instance I meant it blocks attacks in that it blocks incoming enemies who are attacking – i.e. it keeps them at a distance when they are rushing in to attack rather than attacks as in the ability to cast spells or or basic attacks. I’ll rephrase because I agree it can be read wrong.