China the strongest Wild Rift region, but look out for Brazil: Casters

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The first-ever League of Legends: Wild Rift Icons Global Championship kicked off on Tuesday (14 June), with 24 of the best Wild Rift teams from across the globe battling to become the game's inaugural world champions and take home the lion's share of a US$2 million prize pool.

While this is the first Wild Rift Icons, the game itself already had its first international esports event with the Horizon Cup last year, which was won by Chinese team Da Kun Gaming.

Yahoo Esports SEA spoke to Wild Rift casters Bryan “Autolose” Quiazon, Leonard “OMO” Loh, and Grandon “Grandon / Gamernissem” Oh to get their thoughts on how the competition is looking for the game's first-ever world championship tournament.

Composite image of Autolose, Grandon, and OMO. (Photo: Autocasts official page, Grandon Oh official Twitter, OMO Official Twitter.)
Autolose, Grandon, and OMO share their thoughts on the other teams in Wild Rift Icons. (Photos: Autocasts official page, Grandon Oh official Twitter, OMO Official Twitter)

While the trio of casters all previously agreed that Southeast Asia is the second strongest region in Icons, we also picked their brains for what they think of the other regions as well as the metagame they expect from the tournament:

What do you think about the other regions? If you thought SEA was the second strongest region, then which one is the strongest?

the WRL (China) will surely qualify for the Top 8, but qualifying into the Top 4, this is where we may see a variety. Photo: Riot Games
China's Wild Rift League will surely qualify for the Top 8... but getting to the Top 4 is where we may see more variety. (Photo: Riot Games)

Grandon: I think going into other regions, we think that Wild Rift League (WRL/China) is really strong, WCS (Wild Rift Champions SEA) comes after, and then KT Rolster (from South Korea).

And I think going into this one that Brazil and [North America] are the next closest, and Japan’s right there with them.

My understanding is that after the [Horizon Cup], the NA teams were like “we can’t allow this to happen again.” And they're trying to go back and they’ve been ramping up for this competition, they don’t want a repeat of what happened the last time, and I respect that.

And looking at their play, it's gotten a lot better from the 4-ADC meta they tried to pull off. Now they’re actually playing the game, we’re going to play the game like how it’s meant to be played against a stronger team.

They weren’t thinking about the competition ahead of them, now they are. I think they have a better chance.

Autolose: If [Western teams] want to improve, they have to scrim tougher competition and the tougher competition is on the east side. East Asia, Southeast Asia. I remembered back in the League PC days, the Western teams would bootcamp in Korea.

So what’s stopping them from doing the same just for Wild Rift? If they’re going to plan for the best of the best in their region, the quality of their opponents, especially knowing that the other teams might not scrim them.

I hope the Western teams can go to SEA or Korea and experience solo queue because our solo queue is hands-down better.

If the Western teams want to improve, they have to scrim tougher competition and the tougher competition is on the east side. Photo: Team Queso
If the Western teams want to improve, they have to scrim tougher competition from the East. (Photo: Team Queso)

OMO: If you want to talk about the other regions for a bit, I think NA… yeah… I mean, you know, whatever. EU, I think they look worse than last year, but I think they have a pretty good group draw again so that’s a potential [window] to look out for.

The regions to look out for, I think one would be Brazil. Brazil looks pretty sick, they’re aggressive, they’re not afraid make plays. They're not the best fundamentally, but I think that explosiveness is going to help them in a game like Wild Rift.

Brazil is a team to watch out for according to OMO Photo: Wild Rift Esports
Brazil is a region to watch out for according to OMO. (Photo: Wild Rift Esports)

The meta is shifting a lot but we’ve noticed there are some constant champions. Which champions do you think will be prioritized and why?

Grandon: Top meta never changes, just Renekton, Garen, Darius. Beyond that we might see Camille but I think teams are just going to ban her.

The top lane is always the same: Renekton, Garen, Darius. We may see Camille, if she doesn't get banned. Photo: Riot Games
The top lane is always the same: Renekton, Garen, Darius. We may also see Camille if she doesn't get banned. (Photo: Riot Games)

For the Jungle, Kha’zix. Jarvan for some reason, I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I can see why they’re going for it. The only thing I don’t want to see is Wukong jungle, please, that’s… it’s so bygone, let it die! Just move on.

Assassins like Zed will be priority, but we may see mid lane ADCs like Akshan. Photo: Riot Games
Assassins like Zed will be priority, but we may see mid lane ADCs like Akshan. (Photo: Riot Games)

Mid lane is going to be interesting. We have regions like the WRL who play really good assassin mids stuff like Zed and they execute so amazingly. Even the Japanese teams, they use the Zed-Ziggs pairing, or something with a global ultimate, and they use that to assassinate a squishy target

The mid pool is going to be interesting for me, anything can happen it’s dependent on the playstyle. I think ultimately, teams will default back to what’s best which is the best assassins anyway.

OMO: Lee Sin is still going to be played. Morgana is OP and they buffed her, that’s it for me.

Zed, Morgana and Ekko may be some of the favourites in the coming tournament. Photo: Riot Games
Zed, Morgana and Ekko may be some of the more favored champions in Icons. (Photo: Riot Games)

Auto: I see a Baron lane Wukong being available. The stats are in a good spot, the damage is there, the buff was so huge you can actually outdo Riven as a Wukong.

In the mid lane, I’m excited to see Ekko. It’s a champion that’s not available in WCS Finals, and I’ve seen a montage or highlight play on the Ekko, possibly a win condition for the European team. Outside of that I’m ready to be surprised.

In the bot lane, Kraken Slayer, Lethal Tempo, (and) a lot more keystones are available. We might see a Jinx and Vayne go against Garen and Darius.

With the new items and runes, Vayne and Jinx will be stong against Garen and Darius. Photo: Riot Games
With the new items and runes, Vayne and Jinx will be stong against Garen and Darius. Photo: Riot Games

And finally, what are your expectations coming into the Icons? What do you want to see?

Grandon: I don’t know if I should say this...

OMO: Say it.

Grandon: I did my calculations and I thought for a second, what are the teams that are going to make it? But my Top 8 teams, the teams that are going to make it to the Playoffs are Team Flash, Nova Esports, JD Gaming, Sengoku, FunPlus Phoenix, J Team, KT Rolster, and Buriram United. I don’t think that there’s a Western region (that will make it).

There’s the extra time in the play-ins, in the group stage but in my opinion, it’s still not enough to cover this deficit, they might be able to cheese out a couple of wins or so but the qualitative gap that we have right now is just so significant. I would be very surprised if we deviate much from this.

Autolose: For the exciting games to happen in the later stages of the tournament similar to what happened in the WCS Finals, play-ins will be a lot of stomps. And are they fun to watch? Maybe, but for the rooting fanbase I don’t think it’s going to be very pleasing to the eyes. So it’s a very big tournament. There’s a lot of teams that got invited to Icons tournament, very big prize pool, much more Wild Rift at the latter stages of the game.

OMO: I agree with what the others said, I’m looking forward to another split of Eastern dominance, I want to see regions like Brazil step up, I think there’s a lot of potential there. It’s going to be very exciting, other than that, I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of exciting games #liveforthewildside!

Grandon/ Gamernissem is an Esports Broadcaster for League of Legends and Wild Rift. After taking a break for National Service in Singapore, he was a caster for Wild Rift SEA Champs 2021 and Horizon Cup 2021, and recently for the WCS Finals 2022. He’s been playing League of Legends since Season 3 and transitioned into Wild Rift since the beta started. His favourite champion is Vayne. Grandon will be a caster at the Wild Rift Icons 2022.

Autolose is an Esports Broadcaster and Analyst since 2021, mostly for Wild Rift Esports. He was a Filipino caster at the 2021 SEA Horizon Cup, and was recently a panelist and an English caster at the WCS Philippines and Finals 2022. He’s also a game streamer for Auto Battlers. Autolose has been playing League of Legends since Season 2, and Wild Rift since it first came out. His favourite Wild Rift Champion is Singed.

OMO has been League of Legends since Season 2, and was a a LoL coach and caster for almost five years. Most recently, he coached ORDER, a team from Oceania. He was a caster and analyst for Southeast Asia ICON Series, the Southeast Asia Championship 2021, and the first Wild Rift Horizon Cup series. He is also a caster and panelist at the Wild Rift Champions Southeast Asia Finals 2022. OMO is also a caster for Dota 2. His favourite LoL champion is Ryze, and in Wild Rift, his favourite is Lee Sin. OMO will be a caster at the Wild Rift Icons 2022.

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

For more esports news updates, visit https://yhoo.it/YahooEsportsSEA and check out Yahoo Esports Southeast Asia’s Facebook page and Twitter, as well as our Gaming channel on YouTube.

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