A pack of wolves and a crew of underdogs are set to face off in the 2018 LMS Summer Final tonight. The illustrious Flash Wolves head into the final with the last five LMS titles under their belt while MAD Team enjoys a final experience in their very first year in the LMS. Both teams have international experience, but Flash Wolves have taken down some of the best, while MAD withered away at Rift Rivals.
It’s a classic matchup of David and Goliath as the Flash Wolves seek to be six-time title winners while MAD look to pry the crown away from the kings of the LMS. 99 percent of the time this matchup goes to Flash Wolves, but MAD has enough scrap and talent to keep that one percent in the back of everyone’s minds.
Flash Wolves have been nothing short of amazing since their international resurgence at the Mid-Season Invitational earlier this year. The shaky, macro-confused Flash Wolves from Spring had little to no appearances in Summer as the team climbed to their most dominant domestic split yet — closing out the regular season with a 14-0 (28-3) record. Throughout Summer, the recipe stayed the same: Win bot lane and win the game.
Lu “Betty” Yu-hung and Hu “SwordArt” Shuo-jie are the best bot lane in the LMS and dominated their opposition with ease. Betty no longer suffers from being gun-shy and SwordArt continues to maintain his form as the best support in the world. SwordArt’s coordination with Kim “MooJin” Moo-jin remains the lifeblood of Flash Wolves — as supported by his first MVP award this Summer — and that will be directly at odds with MAD’s lane priority.
MAD come into the LMS final with none of the class and prestige of Flash Wolves, but has the spunk and talent to keep the final interesting. MAD are the new kids on the block — they qualified from challenger as ahq Fighter — but have a strong amalgamation of rookie and veteran talent. Much like Flash Wolves, the focus is around bot lane, but the stars are a little different.
Huang “Breeze” Chien-Yuan is probably the most famous player on MAD, heralded as a top AD carry prospect for the last two years, but largely comes online thanks to his support net: rookie, Hsiao “Kongyue” Jen-tso, and Ke “K” Kai-sheng. Kongyue is the center of everything great that happens for MAD and is the reason why the team climbed from a 3rd place Spring finish to tonight’s LMS final. His pathing largely revolves around finding the opposing jungler and forcing early skirmishes with MAD’s young mid lane star, Chen “Uniboy” Chang-chu.
As a result, MAD arose as one of the best early game teams in the league and further augmented the pressure that bot lane likes to put out against opposing teams. Breeze and K traditionally focus on pushing winning matchups and unlocking K to roam around the map, similar to SwordArt, but in a more unconventional fashion. As a veteran, K, will make more aggressive plays around mid and directly affect the flow of the game, making Tahm Kench his most important pick.
As teams, Flash Wolves and MAD have clearly overlapping strengths regarding the importance of bot lane pressure and coordination with the jungler. The main difference lies in SwordArt’s experience and MVP-caliber supports performances vs. the more aggressive jungling style of Kongyue. Flash Wolves have proven all year to be the best team in Taiwan and more recently proven to be one of the best in the world, but MAD has yet to prove that they can hang with the big boys.
Tonight’s final is a meeting of the calm, collected, but unforgiving Flash Wolves vs. an eccentric, overaggressive, and opportunistic MAD Team. Flash Wolves want to stamp out the series for the LMS’s 1st seed while MAD want to stay competitive and prove they can represent Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau proudly at the World Championship. A win probably awaits for the united pack in Flash Wolves, but the plucky underdogs of MAD Team have surprised fans all year long. Tonight, we’ll see how each team bares their fangs.
Photo: (Garena Esports)
Tonight’s LMS final will be streamed on https://garena.live/LOLTW2 at 3am PST.