The Group Stage of the 2019 NA Scouting Grounds has concluded, and when the broadcast kicks off this afternoon, the Finals match will feature Team Ocean Drake facing off against Team Mountain Drake. Team Mountain Drake has looked the strongest of the teams thus far with results to match, and Team Ocean Drake's 2nd seed will allow them to challenge Mountain for title of 2019 NASG Champion.
Team Ocean Drake, a team composed of five rookies with little to no competitive experience, has gotten the opportunity to work with the LCS organizations Team Liquid and Counter Logic Gaming at NASG 2019. Let's take a look at the five players in green and what we can expect from them on the LCS stage on the final day of Scouting Grounds.
Top Lane: Sameer "BMD" Ishaq
BMD has been playing games competitively since he could play Tetris on his brother's GameBoy at age 4, but qualifying for NASG 2019 is the first time the Darius maestro has gotten a look in context of competitive LoL, but the Top Laner was able to join bootcamps of some other teams in the off-season prior to Scouting Grounds, which he said has helped him acclimate to the new level of challenge more quickly.
BMD favors a majority of the carry champions that are currently in the meta, but his bread and butter comes on magic-damage dealing teamfighters where he can farm up in lane and wait for his opportunity to take advantage of his powerspike with a teamfight-defining flank. BMD is not much for duelists like Fiora, but should the rare opportunity to play Darius in a competitive match arise, BMD must be treated with a whole different level of respect when compared to the rest of his pool.
As his preferred champions might imply, BMD looks up to Invictus Gaming Top Laner Kang "TheShy" Seung-lok and claims to have learned a lot from watching VoDs of the latter's games.
Jungle: Ryan "Frostynomad" Keel
At first glance, it may be easy to take a look at the Jungle pool at Scouting Grounds and pass over Frostynomad in favor of Team Cloud's Rami "Inori" Charagh, Team Infernal's Winston "Winston" Herold, and Team Mountain's Gabriel "Fanatiik" Saucier. However, there's more than meets to eye when it comes to Team Ocean Drake's Jungler.
Frostynomad looks plenty comfortable on meta champions like Taliyah, but his penchant for the innovative is his true threat. Frostynomad's Nunu has been banned against him in almost every Scouting Grounds game thus far, and his dynamic flexibility allows him to play multiple types of champions in the Jungle because of his map awareness.
Frostynomad is at his best when he's throwing the opponent off-guard with deep pockets and then utilizing a champion that he can consistently have an understanding of his overall map impact, regardless of situation or composition. Team Ocean's Jungler speaks with FlyQuest Jungler Lucas "Santorin" Larsen regularly, especially on the topic of quality Karthus play amongst North American Junglers.
Mid Lane: Jackson "KatEvolved" Dohan
KatEvolved was the first Mid Laner drafted at NASG 2019, and for good reason. Originally a Katarina One-Trick streamer, KatEvolved has grown leaps and bounds both in champion pool and understanding of the League of Legends macro game, specifically in playing for Hai "Hai" Lam's organization Radiance.GG.
Like BMD, Evolved's signature champion isn't quite meta-favored, but the 18-year old Mid Laner has found a way to play to his strengths on other champions in the form of pick-centric high-burst champions like Zoe and mechanical marvels like Cassiopeia. KatEvolved is one of the most highly-touted players at NASG 2019, and should absolutely be a player to watch, if not THE player to watch, in the Finals match against Team Mountain Drake.
KatEvolved has exhibited mechanical prowess at every turn throughout 2019, and has made active, engaged communication his focus of improvement at NA Scouting Grounds. While that may sound like Evolved is taking a page out of World Champion Kim "Doinb" Tae-sang's book of masterful timings and hyper-alert sense of the map around him, Radiance's Mid Laner has been told he plays a lot like Tanner "Damonte" Damonte, who qualified for Worlds 2019 with Clutch Gaming.
Bot Lane: Frank "Tomo" Lam
Tomo has not taken the opportunity to work with the likes of coaches like CLG's Daniel "Tafokints" Lee and TLA Head Coach Evandro "Yaltz" de Cerqueira lightly, doing his best to be a sponge to soak up all knowledge and experience that can only be gained in working with a professional organization: "It feels pretty surreal; it actually feels like I'm learning a lot. Working with an organization...there's stuff they teach you that you can't learn in a week, or even a month, of solo queue."
Tomo has always had an affinity for casters, which was helpful in playing some of the strongest meta picks like Xayah and Kai'Sa, whose timings on usage of their respective Ultimate abilities can define a teamfight. Tomo is at his most comfortable on the likes of Ezreal or Varus, farming safely until his power spike to excel in mid-game teamfights.
Tomo considers himself to be the most talented AD Carry at the event due to what he considers a 'weak pool' of talent from the Bot Lane carry position. Whats more, Tomo's penchant for caster ADs has also carried over to Mage Bot Lanes at Scouting Grounds in the form of Heimerdinger to free up KatEvolved to play high-threat physical damage champions in the Mid Lane like Irelia and Qiyana.
Tomo looks up to SK Telecom T1 Bot Laner Park "Teddy" Jin-seong, who is in the conversation for best AD Carry in the world with G2's Luka "Perkz" Perković. Tomo watches more game footage of Teddy than any other professinal player, and does his best in VoD review to learn from watching his stellar teamfighting to be able to apply it to his own style of play.
Support: Jon "Chime" Pomponio
Despite boasting the least experience of any Support at NASG 2019, Chime was the first Support drafted in the Dragon Draft, and was the 5th pick overall. Chime has entered Scouting Grounds with no expectations or specifically set plan, only seeking to learn as much as he can, but has found himself as one of the more consistent performers on Team Ocean Drake.
Chime has spent most of his time on Ornn for Team Ocean Drake, but is in his zone on playmaking Supports that allow for more proactivity and agency when calling for picks or engages. The Support models himself after the player he looks up to most Lee "IgNar" Dong-geun, specifically citing the Korean's dominance in lane and innate understanding of his limits. IgNar's performance as a member of Misfits at the 2017 World Championship is a perpetual, exemplary inspiration for Chime.
The NA Scouting Grounds broadcast kicks off at 12:00pm PST on Saturday, Nov 16th, with the 3rd place match taking place first between Team Cloud Drake and Team Infernal Drake. Team Ocean Drake will take the stage afterwards against Team Mountain Drake after the 3rd place match has been decided.