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Thoughts of Bduhmana: As we enter into Week 3 of ZGG’s newest split, we find teams facing off in an attempt to be the top of their division in an Ionia vs Frejlord season. Whether you are from a land of beauty and have the luxury of living in a harmony while following their dreams or in a harsh land filled with egotistical (I mean, proud-ya-proud) warriors who will raid teams to get to the top, each team will have a chance to prove they have what it takes to be better than the rest. And if the past couple of weeks has shown anything, it is just that. So, let’s start off this division’s power rankings with a bang, especially since there are too many explosive head-to-heads that are could change everything this week…
Your Gold Ionia/Freljord League Teams:
Oasis Nails and Day Spa
Feed the Dream
Goon Squad Gamma
The Comfy Cartel
Feed the Nightmare
First Place: Oasis Nails and Day Spa (2-0; 6 tournament points)
Oasis Nails and Day Spa take a convincing 2-0 victory against Feed the Dream in Week 2, and find themselves tied for first place (and sitting comfortably atop the S-Tier). Now-it’s true they did go 2-1 against the Comfy Cartel, but I have them at the top of the S-Tier, because their stats are devastatingly unavoidable across all the 4 gold division teams. I checked in with their captain, and Trux had this to say about their team’s expectations, and which region champion will best represent them in this tournament, “Oasis Nails and Day Spa-The elite green beret division of the Oasis organization. [We are] Going through a rebuilding phase from last season’s BOL Championship. Our future is reliant on our past. We stake our reputation on every single match and want our coach, organization, and fans to be not just satisfied, but truly proud of us. Our team has spent more than a decade working with some of NA Gold’s most ambitious players. Astrul, our founder, has built a profoundly strong group by bringing people together in a highly-collaborative, competitive learning team environment that is laser focused on delivering tangible high performance gameplay (and valuable wins to the org). While building top teams at Oasis – during its championship and playoff runs – we’ve learned what makes great teams tick and highly efficient. When you combine competitive best practices, teams born to collaborate, and a process built for delivery of great results, you can count on crafting an exceptional gold team.” With all this confidence, as well as those cushy stats, this team enters Week 3 ready to take on Subversive Esports
Player To Watch: Twilik & Kizercoolness
Whether these junglers are intentionally splitting time this split or not, both of them have made it clear they are the player(s) to watch for the upcoming week. If they can continue to put their team in hard carry positions, then everything can continue to be theirs for the taking. Especially if they are utilizing splitting time as a strategy, since that makes drafting against this team that much more difficult.
First Place: Literal Monkeys (2-0; 6 tournament points)
Literal Monkeys continue their 2-0 win streak against Comfy Cartel, and solidify themselves as a (tied) S-Tier team within the divisions. As a personal fan of PacaPaul, I got a chance to chat with him against about this season’s gold team, as well as ask which region champion will represent them, and he said, “Hey Im PacaPaul, the owner of Literal Monkeys and captain of Literal Monkeys gold. Literal Monkeys has been around for about 3 years now and has taken part in many tournaments throughout our history. The org is better known in ZGG for our team in IBS, but this is our first shot at ZGG gold. Coming into this season, there’s no surprise with the players we have playing for us that we’re among the favorites for the tournament. So I think the biggest thing for us is making sure we work hard and practice hard so that we can live up to those expectations. For us, it’s championship or bust. As for the champion, it HAS to be Wukong… because monke.” Choosing a champion known for their strength, agility, and shiftiness is a perfect representation for this undefeated team, and I look forward to seeing them continue to prove their S-Tierness as they take on Goon Squad Gamma this week. Afterall, Oasis Nail Day and Spa may hold a lot of stats, but it is Literal Monkeys who hold the highest team KDA out of all 24 teams…
Player To Watch: PacaPaul
With such dominant performances in both weeks, my eyes are on PacaPaul to continue to lead their team on and off the rift. Whether he has been on carry style junglers or teamfight junglers, PacaPaul has shown he can fuse that flexibility to force a very frustrating ProDraft. Afterall, if PacaPaul is paying attention to the Goon Squad Gamma win condition, they can use their strengths as a way to set themselves up with multiple win conditions before they even step out onto the rift.
First Place: Imperial Ignis (2-0; 6 tournament points)
Imperial Ignis find themselves tied in the S-Tier with Literal Monkeys and Oasis Nail and Day Spa, but alone within the Freljord division. And something tells me their back-to-back 2-0 victories against Kanto Challengers and Goon Squad Sigma state this is where they belong. I asked Actual Bird to tell me a bit about their team and which champion best represents their team, and this is what they had to say, “About [us]: Friends? Lovers? The world may never know Imperial Ignis… Season expectations: We should do well. Champion: Gragas – bird is the team and he is an alcoholic so yeah.” With such a statement, there’s no wonder why they are 2-0’ing the competition week after week. Let’s see if they can continue this win streak as they take on Oasis Maelstrom!
Player To Watch: Actual Bird
It was actually extremely difficult for me to pick a player of the week, because every single player on this team improved game after game, week after week-until they had like perfect scores (sure some may also argue busted champions, but they can only be this busted in the right hands, ya?). That being said, Actual Bird has the second highest gold per minute out of all 4 gold divisions and the second highest kills out of all 24 teams. Sometimes the stats just don’t lie, and I am starting to wonder what this Gragas is doing differently than all the other Gragas teams…
Fourth Place: GoonSquad Sigma (1-1; 4 tournament points)
Goon Squad Sigma picked up their first set of 2-0 wins against Oasis Maelstrom in Week 2, and they did it dominantly. This helps set the tone for most of the teams in the A & B-Tiers, however, because each team in this tier has lost just as hard as they won, so it’ll be up to GSB Sigma to show us they have what it takes to get out of this billion team tie. I asked their captain what to tell me a bit about their team, and which region champion best represents them, and Vandrahl had this to say, “GSG Sigma is a group of boomers best exemplified by Gragas. We get drunk and throw our bodies at our opponents. We started slow but plan to make a run in [the] playoffs-and our opponents best get out the way, because the fat man is coming through.” Hard to follow such a quote, so I will let it speak for itself since they get a chance to finally break away from the pack when face off against Feed the Nightmare this week. What sets them above the rest of their tied competition, you ask? Well, that is easy-stats. Their losses Week 1 tell a very different story than some of the other teams tied alongside them…
Player To Watch: Vandrahl
My eyes will be on Vandrahl this week, because Kappa has his own krusader plans and it will be up to this jungler to shut that down. Even in the losses against Imperial Ignis, Vandrahl had a chance to help secure wins and Week 2 showed the growth necessary for this team to do just that. If Vandrahl can shut down the FTDN’s jungler, then they can continue throwing their bodies at them all game in order to take home the objectives and the Ws. Should be a fun matchup to watch!
Fourth Place: Kanto Challengers (1-1; 4 tournament points)
Kanto Challengers find themselves in the middle of the pack after their 0-2 loss against Imperial Ignis, but also above some of the middle of the pack in power rankings, because of their 2-1 victory in Week 1. This shows me that this team has the potential to secure winnable matches, and since Imperial Ignis is currently undefeated-I want them to just ignore that loss as a team and prepare themselves for this week’s matchup. I checked in with their captain in order to give me a team bio and which region champion will represent them this split, and Indigo said, “(My team is the Kanto Challengers). I am using this team to introduce new players into the league. We have 2 people debut in ZGG; Kleio and Trajen are new to organized competitive play. Expectations were low to begin with; both our mid and support are new to teamplay, so my mantra was play your best and learn what you can. That being said, we had an amazing week 1. We came into this week very strong, being ranked as the lowest team in our division by outside parties, even being called “Imperial Reject” since Seals, North Wolf, and I come from Imperial. Overall we are a strong team with a lot of potential driving from all lanes, especially from our mid “Trajen” dismantling FTN with the Azir pick in game 3. We are going to push for the top, being a new team adds a stigma of not knowing what to expect, but we will happily don the dark horse and come out strong at the end of this split, showing we aren’t just living in other teams’ shadows. If we had to compare ourselves to champ from our division’s region, it would probably be Sett, everyone sees us as Imperial’s bastard child, but we’ll fight our way to the top.” I have to admit-I love a dark horse that intends to punch their way through all the doubt and prove they are the best. They will get their chance to do just that as they take on another fourth place team, as they take on Hyperion Blaze in Week 3.
Player To Watch: Indigo
Going into Week 3, my eyes will be on Indigo-but maybe not for the reasons yall might think. I want to see this toplaner play a team-oriented champion that will help secure teamfight wins. Indigo has already shown their potential for actualizing this type of win condition, so now it is up to the team to prioritize ProDraft in order to do so. Afterall, there is no reason to force Actual Bird to battle it out with him when they could just keep their lane phase strong and then teamfight to force the other Ignis carries out of the game…
Fourth Place: Feed the Dream (1-1; 4 tournament points)
Feed the Dream are coming off a difficult 0-2 loss to Oasis Nail Day and Spa, but still find themselves tied for fourth place. What sets them apart from some of their other tied teams is their convincing 2-0 victory in Week 1 against Goon Squad Gamma-where every player put up some pretty strong stats to make those wins happen. I asked their captain to tell us a bit about their team, as well as pick a region champion to represent them for this tournament, and Lily Pög had this to say, “If our team could be any champion? We relate to Kennen, balanced but eager and poised to take on any threat who challenges us. We hope to be as devastating of a threat as kennen is to anyone who threatens Ionia.” With this upcoming matchup against The Comfy Cartel, they will get their chance to showcase why I have them in the A-Tier for the power rankings-that they are the best threat they can be when they are active on the map and looking to get their carries ahead.
Player to Watch: Lily Pög
Well, it is pretty clear that I wasn’t the only one that had Lily Pög as the player to watch since Oasis Nail Day and Spa spent much of their ProDraft banning them out. That being said, the potential to hold a strong laning phase and get their carries ahead is definitely still a possibility, and I hope they spent their off time doing just that-making sure that bans won’t hold this jungler back from doing what they did best in Week 1…
Fourth Place: Feed the Nightmare (1-1; 4 tournament points)
After beating Hyperion Blaze 2-0, Feed the Nightmare heads into Week 3 tied in fourth. This gives them a bit of edge over their competition, as a win can often build the confidence necessary to take on teams that are all competing to get out of the middle of the pack. When I asked their captain to tell me a bit about their team and which champion best represents them this season, BadVibes said, “Feed The Nightmare expects to easily get out of our group and be a real threat in [the] playoffs. And a champion that describes us would be Gragas, because we’re just a bunch of drunken’ idiots.” If Week 2 is any type of indication, then this team’s idealistic views of this team, then we will look to see them rely on their brawls as they face off against Goon Squad Gamma this week!
Player To Watch: Kappa Krusader
With a perfect score on Kappa in game one, and strong stats in game two, my eyes will be on this Krusader to bring home the wins against Goon Squad Gamma-which will be important since this team also had losses in week one but wins in week two. If this jungler can keep control of the laning phase and continue to help their sidelanes get the leads they got last week, then this week will just be a chance for them to continue to show off that their team can have it all-partying it up while they pave their way to playoffs.
Fourth Place: Hyperion Blaze (1-1; 4 tournament points)
After going 0-2 in Week 2, Hyperion Blaze found themselves below Feed the Nightmare in the power rankings. This doesn’t necessarily mean too much, however, in terms of overall standings, because there is a huge middle of the pack vibe for these divisions and Hyperion Blaze did show up with a decisive 2-0 win against Oasis Maelstrom in their first set of matches. When asking their captain to talk a bit about their team this season and which champion best represents them, DreamDroid said, “There’s really not much to say about this new Hyperion roster, except that we’re trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle from the last split. As for our hopes and expectations, I think it’s the same as every other team-improve as a team, and [as] players, and [steam]roll every other team out there. I think it’s safe to say that, while it’s going to be difficult, we’ll give it our best to come out on top once again. [The champion that represents us is] Braum, because mother always said ‘Don’t lose.’” This is a great mindset to have, because they compete against Kanto Challengers-who just happen to have the exact same scoreline for Week’s 1 & 2. Now if they can just tap into that legendary strength, they can begin moving their way up in the power rankings for Week 4.
Player To Watch: TheDenz
I would love to see TheDenz take some control of the map-whether that is by advancing personal leads that can translate to their laners, or by focusing more heavily on their team’s win conditions in order to create leads for the team carries. If Week 1 is any indication of their team’s potential, then I would like TheDenz to give some love to the botlane duo. Afterall, who doesn’t love a fiesta botlane party that ends up giving the team objective control and power to move into mid game with momentum. Start strong to finish strong, that is the Braum way.
Fourth Place: Goon Squad Gamma (1-1; 4 tournament points)
Goon Squad Gamma find some pretty strong 2-0 victories over Subversive Esports in order to find themselves tied with the herd and in the B-Tier. These were much needed wins after their Week 1 0-2 losses, and I would assume the team is starting to feel their synergy by the look of it. I asked their captain to tell us a bit about their team, as well as which region champion will represent them this split, and Foxie had this to say, “Goon Squad Gamma (GSG) is the newest expansion team for Goon Squad Gaming as we have grown from one to now five competitive teams. This Goon team is comprised of one returning ZGG player, Foxie, and four new members. As captain, I am extremely excited to build on the past success GSG has had in ZGG. Let me be clear, this team is filled with talent top to bottom – we have high expectations as a group. While we are a new team and may not have the built up synergy as many other ZGG rosters, just seeing the growth in three weeks of organized scrims and games indicates to me that there is no clear ceiling for how good this team can be. One thing is for certain, our expectation is to compete for a spot in playoffs week in and week out. As for the Ionia Champion… I have to go with Jhin. We may not always win, but it will be a show nonetheless.” And with all those kills they racked up in Week 2, a show is just what we might get as they face off the undefeated Literal Monkeys in Week 3..
Player To Watch: Föxie and EVO Rakan
Föxie already said they plan to use their leadership to help bring them the victories this team is capable of, and this bot lane duo definitely proved that in Week 2. They will need to continue those impressive numbers in order to take out the undefeated Literal Monkeys and begin their climb into the A-Tier. Afterall, the only thing holding this duo back from rising higher in the standings is a few stats-and they already showed they are capable of doing a 180 in that department. They just need to show they can also create consistency and continue putting up the numbers necessary to secure leads and win conditions for their team.
Twelfth Place: The Comfy Cartel (0-2; 2 tournament points)
Although the Comfy Cartel head into Week 3 with an 0-2 loss against Literal Monkeys, they should do so with some confidence. Both Weeks 1 & 2 were against first place teams, and they were able to secure a win against the team that is putting up the best stats out of all 4 gold division teams. I would say that puts them at the top of the C-Tier, and I have high hopes to see them into B-Tier by next week if they can find that power again and harness it. I asked Feather what he had to say about this split’s team and which region champion will best represent them, and he had this to say, “The Comfy Cartel- We are a team dedicated primarily of veteran players playing for fun and in the quest for comfy spots. Like the cat who is taking a sunbath and nap, so too do we relax during our League games. The Comfy way is not just a way to play the game, it’s a way of life. Our season expectations and hopes are to provide a competitive series week in and week out. We likely are hoping to perhaps secure that last playoff spot but it will be a long journey to claim one of those necessary spots. We would either be Ahri (In order to Touch Fluffy Tail) who might accidentally Charm you to death, or Yuumi as she is a cat who people have an inordinate amount of hate towards. Both can apply to us.” They will have a chance to showcase just which one they intend to be in Week 3, as they take on Feed the Dream for a chance to charm them out of their tier spot..
Player To Watch: StarStro64 & Wjfe
It appears these junglers are splitting time, so my eyes will be on them this week. Not because splitting time is necessarily a bad thing-a lot of competitive and college esports teams intentionally split time within their roster, and that can prove to be a very deadly strategy when you harness it for its strengths. I will be looking to both junglers to hold down their laning phase in order to get some quality ganks into their lakers for leads. Afterall, both junglers have showcased their playstyles with their champion picks-so now it is time to just implement that into leads in order to start controlling more of the map.
Twelfth Place: Oasis Maelstrom (0-2; 2 tournaments)
After their second set of 0-2 losses, I hope that Oasis Maelstrom took this coming week to reset their mindset in order to prepare for their upcoming matches. Because, like I said earlier, 0-2 is just barely below the trillion teams tied for fourth, and a win or two can go a long way in Week 3. I asked their captain to give us a bit of info about their team, as well as pick a region champion that best represents them, and Drakana said, “Oasis Maelstrom is a group of players that have put together to have fun in the new split, Me (drakana) and Andromeda and Sirvanderfall have played in multiple leagues with just a small break between last year and this year. We look to improve and do the best we can to represent the Oasis Org in the best way possible. If we had to pick a champ, I would say Neeko, because you honestly never know what you’re going to get until we hit the rift. Is that a Zilean top??? Is that a Lulu or Karma mid-who knows; just depends on the day you catch us!” With a team intent on keeping other teams guessing, I also hope they find the synergy they need to knock Imperial Ignis off their comfortable throne. What’s that you say? Who doesn’t love a good rise from the ashes and destroy the team at the top type of story? It can’t quite be called an underdog story just yet, but a win this week could definitely help set it all in motion…And if that
Player To Watch: iiTzJester
For Week 3, my eyes will be on iiTzJester, and not just because you can find him on the starting top roster, as well as the sub list, and also see him play Jhin in game lol Well, actually-maybe because of that Jhin in game. I am really liking what I saw from that Jhin performance, so I am hoping that this team also notices this huge carry potential and puts that into practice so they can finish this week with some wins. Why not put a zilean top and a lulu/karma mid, and then power up this Jester until there is no one to best em?
Twelfth Place: Subversive Esports (0-2; 2 tournament points)
Subversive Gaming Esports took another 0-2 loss in Week 2, and find themselves in need of looking within in order to find the synergies and win conditions they need before they face their opponents in Week 3. Luckily, there are a lot of tied teams competing against each other, and the tournament points are still very close. I checked in with their captain in order to tell us a bit about them and which region champion will represent them this split, and Go easy pls had this to say, “Subversive Gaming is a brand new org to the competitive scene. Many of the members on SG have no comp[etitive] experience and have come a long way from the first few scrims. There are still things to be worked on, but day by day SG grows into a stronger, more united team. Our season Goals are to finish top 3 in our division, and have a good playoff run, ending in the top 5 teams for this season. The champion to best describe SG from Ionia is Varus. Varus is the champion of retribution and this is what we strive for at SG. Anyone on the SG roster can carry, so even if it is only one winning lane, SG will find a way to play around that player, and that player will [be] the catalyst of retribution for those other lanes! “You didn’t destroy us all. And that mistake will be your undoing.” – Varus.” They will get a chance at retribution this week, as they compete against Goon Squad Gamma. Afterall, what feels better than unity? Beating a team barely above you in standings and stealing their standing, of course…
Player To Watch: EVO Sniderman
If every lane has a potential carry that can take over the game, then my eyes will be on EVO Sniderman to make the quintessential calls on which lane to put their energy and playmaking into. If EVO Sniderman can figure this out quickly, then the team will have a much easier time rallying around their carry win condition. But if they have learned anything about the competitive scene, being able to carry isn’t all that matters in tournament style League, so I will also be looking to EVO Sniderman to pick up the tempo and ensure that they can also have objective control…