This is a guest column by EKratz. Follow him on Twitter @DynamoKratz.
For me, there’s no answer to the question “what is your favorite league?”. I just know that PCS is fighting for this position.
The captivating style of a region that is positively devastated by the need to fill a Worlds spot is what makes me hungry for the Pacific LoL. Since the end of Flash Wolves’ dynasty in the Summer of 2019, the rejuvenated league is searching for another king to occupy their throne. All of them are fighting on equal grounds between each other to unite the region under one banner, “Warring States” style.
PSG Talon: At Worlds already!Key players: Kaiwing and Tank
With their balanced style and big teamfight wins, Talon is the strongest team in the league, but it's not the name of the organization that attracts the spotlight. What catches all eyes is their name sponsor: UEFA Champions League's finalists and Neymar Jr.'s club, Paris Saint-Germain.
Unlike PSG in football, LoL’s PSG is a well-rounded, reactive team, with many stats to prove it. They are not kings of first blood, on the contrary — their FB% is the worst in the league — but they make up for it by leading in GD@15. This makes them a strong team in its early-mid transition, enabled by support Ling "Kaiwing" Kai Wing's and mid laner Park "Tank" Dan-won's nigh-omnipresence on the map boasting PCS’ highest KP%.
This is a team that can't miss Worlds 2020 — they are the reigning PCS champions after all — and a side that can only develop as they face stronger teams.
Kaiwing and TANK’s main target is the map’s bot side, enabling the raw mechanics of Hong Kong’s own Wong "Unified" Chun Kit. An outstanding player that even the PCS is not worthy of, Unified shies in 2v1 situations and like a Portuguese red wine, he only gets better with time.
Another standout, even if a less flashy one, is PSG’s top laner Su "Hanabi" Chia-Hsiang. He commands great landing stats, with or without draft priority, and has played weakside and strongside with the proficiency he's acquired from his time on Flash Wolves, Taiwan's proudest sons.
Rounding up the roster is Kim "River" Dong-woo, a versatile jungler that has played as a playmaker, theorycrafter, a strategic pillar — anything that his head coach pleases. It seems the team has no weak spots, playing a variety of strategies, backed by raw talent. This is a team that can't miss Worlds 2020 — they are the reigning PCS champions after all — and a side that can only develop as they face stronger teams [since this article was written, PSG has already qualified for Worlds — Ed.].
J Team: Spiritual successors of Taipei AssassinsKey player: Lilv
J Team is another PCS champion, whose old traditions (J Team purchased Taipei Assassins, the 2012 world champions)) is worthy of the Summoner's Cup. The teams has consistency as it kept a good portion of the players that attended Worlds 2019, where they upset favorites and future champions FunPlus Phoenix.
In spring, JT plummeted, since they lost mid laner Chu "FoFo"Chun-Lan and support Lin "Koala" Chih-Chiang, arguably the best players in their team. They managed to qualify for the Spring Playoffs by way of tiebreakers, which was unbecoming of a defending champion, and summer was a split of adaptation for them.
Since then, they have gone hot, winning 15 matches out of 18 to take first in the regular season. The team is composed by Worlds veterans Hsu "Rest" Shih-Chieh (top), Chen "Hana" Chih-Hao (jungle), and Chen "Lilv" Chin-Han (but), besides homegrown support and a sixth player turned main mid laner. And the experience has shown, as J Team has bullied their opposition all Summer.
He is the man that decides the plays and frequently excels at teamfights. JT’s gameplan, however, is predictable and easily defeated by tempo advantage.
Rest is an aggressive top laner who made his lane phase one of the best in PCS. He utilizes scaling champions and is such a dominant force that he holds first place in the league in several stats — highest KP%, the highest KDA, the highest DPM, you name it.
Hana is a relatively versatile player, but his playstyle depends a lot on his team, so, normally, the Taiwanese jungler is thrown to the lions in a frontliner role, limiting his creativity. Despite that, he is very present around the map and has the highest KP% among the junglers, strengthening the narrative of collectivity within J Team. He is their engine.
The star, however, is Lilv, a player that has made highlights even at Worlds. He has the highest DPM of all bot laners and is responsible for 30% of his team’s damage, living up to the team’s strategy of bot lane resource focus. He is the man that decides the plays and frequently excels at teamfights. JT’s gameplan, however, is predictable and easily defeated by tempo advantage.
Machi: The new-age G-RexKey player: Koala
To close it out, we have another inconsistent team: Machi. Composed mostly of the G-Rex team that went to Worlds 2018 (and was close to a repeat appearance at Worlds 2019) Machi is a team that is brilliant when at its best form. The team already dominated spring and pushed Talon to the limit, eliminated them in the winner’s bracket.
The team's style changed dramatically from Spring to Summer, however, with the decline in top laner Hsieh "PK" Yu-Ting's performance. But mechanics-wise, Machi's problems seem more or less solved now. When the team plays with inspiration, they are unmatched in their mechanics, not even by PSG. They have the highest raw potential, but the stars never line up to make Machi the juggernaut it should be.
This is the is what makes the PCS delightful — the balance of power between the three remaining teams. PCS is a league where the champion isn't necessarily the best team and whoever goes to represent the region at Worlds 2020 will return to enrich the blooming breeding pool of talent.
Pacific solo queue has already produced some of the most recognized names in League of Legends. In LPL, the undisputed quality standard for LoL esports, we have Lê "SofM" Quang Duy and Hu "SwordArt" Shuo-Chieh on one team [Suning — Ed.], playing against Hung "Karsa" Hao-Hsuan on another [Top Esports — Ed.; both teams have since qualified for Worlds 2020.]
At the end of the day, it is a delight to see that the league not only has a glorious past but also a promising future.