In the shadow of the colossus: Gen.G chase the lost Samsung legacy at Worlds 2021

Source: LCK Flickr

 

In a way, Gen.G is the second most decorated team in the world. While the current name itself doesn’t have accolades under its name, the old franchise dynasty, the Samsung Galaxy, has celebrated two world championships. Heading into Worlds 2021, Gen.G is looking for the hat-trick but also for the first title for their new brand.

 

Running the same five-man roster since 2020, which fans have been calling the “Ring Expedition”, Gen.G has maintained a consistently high placement in the LCK. At the same time, however, the team’s glaring weakness is their passivity and rigid adaptation to meta shifts, which have made them not only beatable, but at times exploitable.

Top lane: Rascal

Between his three core champions of Ornn, Camille, and Renekton, Kim “Rascal” Kwang-hee has built a reputation as a stable, versatile top laner. But that hasn’t been the case this year.

 

The arrival of Lee Sin and Nocturne to the top lane during the 2021 Summer Split was a great gift to Rascal and he led Gen.G to an eight-game win streak, but the next meta shift wasn’t kind to the top laner at all. When Jayce became the hot meta champion, Rascal became one of the weaknesses of Gen.G. Being a player who had historically avoided Jayce (played just five times over his five-year career), Rascal found himself out of place when the champion became a mandatory draft presence.

 

In a way, Rascal was at the same time responsible for Gen.G’s highest and lowest points and that might also be the case for Worlds. If Rascal doesn’t show up, it could be another shameful group stage exit for the proud org.

Jungle: Clid

Ever since his tenure in the LPL, Kim "Clid" Tae-min has been known as an aggressive jungler, thriving in jungle gank metas. And although his bloodthirst has been somewhat quenched with the years, it has come at no expense to Clid’s overall abilities. 

 

Clid preferred Volibear and Diana in the Summer Split and boasted a 71% over 14 games on the bear — an impressive stat considering how low favored the champion was with a mere 20.8% pick/ban rate in the split. 

 

It’s expected that we’ll have a gank jungle meta again at Worlds, which makes for a favorable environment for Clid, as opposed to the full-clear, scaling playstyle. Playing his comfort zone and the style he’s most successful and known for, has the potential to turn Clid into an ace for a line-up with so many question marks over it. 

Mid lane: Bdd

One of the best mid laners in the LCK and Gen.G’s key player, Gwak "Bdd" Bo-seong has been working on his weaknesses all Summer long. Previously criticized for a limited champion pool, Bdd was able to incorporate not just any of the meta champions to a high level, but took his Azir above and beyond the call of duty — to the point Korean fans gave him the nickname “Emperor Bdd”.

 

Nevertheless, Bdd’s poor international record is not something we can gloss over. While he did reach the quarterfinals at Worlds 2020, his international LAN showings pale in comparison to his LCK form. Bdd carried Gen.G even through their round 2 slump in Summer, and he has to bring that part of him to Iceland. Gen.G are already shaky enough to allow for their star player to be a liability instead of an asset.

Bot lane: Ruler

Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk is defined by his pitch-perfect mechanics and aggressive, threatening plays. These characteristics defined his prime form and have turned him into a legacy player for the organization, carrying the team (then Samsung Galaxy) to Worlds 2017 title and Finals MVP award. The “Ruler Ending” — the fans’ term for game-winning plays by the AD Carry — has been a thing since then.

 

But like a lot of other Gen.G players, Ruler has struggled to adapt to meta shifts. His champion pools is missing key picks, most notably Ziggs (zero games on record), and his playstyle has always avoided non-AD carry champions, which puts Gen.G at a significant disadvantage in drafts. If the “Ruler Ending” is to return, Ruler needs to make drastic changes to how he approaches current-day League of Legends

Support: Life

 

Kim "Life" Jeong-min completes Gen.G roster as a more or less well-rounded-but-not-extraordinary support. He has a diverse champion pool, including not just all of the meta support champions, but some pocket picks like Jarvan IV and Gragas, too. He has seemingly overcome his aversion towards grab-style champions, evidenced by him picking Thresh several times in Summer, and he also shines in teamfight engage positions.

 

At the same time, Life is hampered in his champion choices by his own team’s style and what his teammates’ want and need to play. In a way, his situation perfectly describes the state of Gen.G — a lot of potential and talent on paper, but poor meta choices that have no business being in the playbook of a legacy team.

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