Jin “Mystic” Seong-jun is an eidolon of the hard carry ADC. His show-stopping skills on game-changing champions such as Xayah and Kog’Maw have taken WE from LPL Promotion to World Championship Semi-finals. Team WE has built their team on the back of this Korean bot laner and it is easy to see why.
The powerful combination of Mystic and Nam “Ben” Dong-hyun forms not only one of the best bot lanes in China; they are one of the best in the world.
The two imports have consistently carried the team to new heights, pushing them further and further with every game. While Zach “Sneaky” Scuderi’s career-peaking game 3 on Tristana has garnered attention, Mystic’s series long carry performance has gone largely unnoticed. Throughout this entire World Championships, Mystic and Ben have carried the hopes of the Chinese fan favourites.
The dynamic duo will face their toughest opponent yet in the Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre. Samsung Galaxy looked dominant in their dismantling of Longzhu Gaming, previously thought to be the best in the world.
One of Samsung’s greatest strengths lies in their versatility. Any given member of the team can carry for a game when the time is right and – although Samsung Galaxy don’t have a Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok or a Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao to lead them day in and day out – there is no player on the team whose reputation of dominance has so far surpassed that of his teammates that he has dwarfed his teammates accomplishments.
But when every one of their players can become such a leader, maybe that is not such a bad thing.
Each of Samsung’s three primary laners are stars in their own right. Lee “CuVee” Seong-jin, arguably the best top laner in the world, adeptly makes his impact known on both carry and tank laners. Regardless of style, he has the flexibility to turn a game in Samsung’s favour.
Similarly, Park “Ruler” Jae-heok has stepped up massively in time for Worlds. For the past two years, he has lived in the shadow of his fellow Korean bot laners, paling in comparison to the likes of Kim “PraY” Jong-in, Bae “Bang” Jun-sik, and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu.
Finally, this tournament, he has unlocked his potential, overshadowing both AD carries on the international stage. Despite a slow decline from last year, even Lee “Crown” Min-ho managed to briefly rediscover his 2016 form in Game 2 versus Longzhu. No matter who steps up to the plate, SSG always hit a homer.
Team WE has not shown the same versatility as Samsung Galaxy at this season’s World Championship. When the Chinese team cannot rely on Mystic as their carry, they seem to crumble in an unfamiliar situation.
Game 3 of WE’s quarterfinal series against Cloud9 served as an example of this. In spite of Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi dominance in the bot lane, the game remained in a salvageable position due to Su “Xiye” Han-Wei’s battering of C9 mid-laner Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen.
However, WE was unable to capitalise on his lead, and lost the game in embarrassing fashion. This Worlds, WE has had difficulty capitalising off of their other carries.
Xiye has shown his ability to lead his team when given the opportunity. His play on assassins like Kassadin and LeBlanc was absolutely stellar all season long. Yet, they were not able to harness this potential in the quarter-finals.
For Team WE to succeed against such a strong Samsung Galaxy line-up all five players must be firing on all cylinders.
When Xiye is given the tools to carry, he becomes an absolute monster. The native Chinese mid-laner has blossomed in the past year from a mediocre player without an import slot to an absolute stud for the team.
For the latter half of Worlds however, Xiye has not shown quite as much unbridled carry potential. Considering Crown’s difficulties in the early game, this could be Xiye’s chance to finally reveal his true colours.
Despite the standards of the meta, Xiye, not Mystic, might be the player that WE should play and draft around versus Samsung Galaxy. For WE to defeat the giants, they will need to be just as versatile as their opponents.