As we approach the semifinals of the 2016 League of Legends Worlds Championship, much of the pre-match emphasis is being placed on the junglers set to do battle over the weekend. H2K-Gaming’s explosive jungler, Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski faces Samsung Galaxy’s experienced veteran, Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong, whilst in all the Korean showdown, arguably the world’s best jungler, Han “Peanut” Wang-ho of the ROX Tigers faces SK Telecom T1’s jungle duo of Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong and Kang “Blank” Sun-gu.
The four remaining sides left fighting for the World Championship title boast some of the best jungling talent from across the globe – each player possesses the ability to single-handedly carry their teams to the finals, but who will reign supreme?
Samsung Galaxy: Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong
Kang “Ambition” Chan-yong, former mid laner for CJ Entus Blaze is perhaps the best player to have never attend the World Championships before 2016. Ambition is the smartest jungler left in the tournament, with a play style closely resembling that of his compatriot SKT Bengi – one decisive contrast is that the Samsung man’s mechanics do not hinder his performance as they do for his LCK counterpart.
Ambition’s champion pool shares some parts with his next World Championship opponent, Jankos – specifically Olaf, Elise and Rek’Sai. Whilst he has played Lee Sin in the past, he hasn’t brought it out in a competitive game recently, though Nunu and Skarner are potential picks should we see multiple Jungle bans.
H2K-Gaming: Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski
Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski is affectionately known as “The First Blood King”, a shining light for his team during the early game. This aggressive mentality is reflected within the Pole’s champion pool; Lee Sin is perhaps Jankos’ best champion, followed by the usual suspects such as Elise, Rek’Sai and Olaf.
When Jankos is able to secure first blood for his team they are yet to lose in the tournament, however in both of H2K’s loses so far, the jungler has failed to create the first kill for his team. A good matchup in top for Andrie “Odoamne” Pascu could potentially lead to a repeat of the early game dominance shown vs Albus NoX Luna.
SK Telecom T1: Bae “Bengi” Seong-woong / Kang “Blank” Sun-gu
SK Telecom T1 are in the unique situation of having two junglers: two-time world Champion Bae “Bengi” Seong-ung and youngster Kang “Blank” Sun-gu. Bengi operates as a more supportive juggler, relying on his legendary synergy with Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and focusing on vision control and objectives. Meanwhile Blank forces earlier ganks, showing he is more in touch with the current meta with strong performances on Lee Sin, Olaf and Elise.
Regardless of which jungler starts the one of the keys to facing ROX will be shutting down the aggression shown by Peanut. With even lanes ROX’s jungler is more vulnerable when he moves in for his aggressive plays, and SKT’s strong lanes should enable them to punish Peanut and take advantages by reacting well. Even if Peanut is able to get ahead of the SKT Jungler, SKT are used to playing with a jungler who is behind and will look to create advantages elsewhere.
ROX Tigers: Han “Peanut” Wang-ho
ROX Tiger’s Yoon “Peanut” Wang-ho, similarly to Ambition, is experiencing his first ever World Championship. So far he has been incredibly impressive, showcasing his tradition Rek’Sai, along with strong games on Lee Sin, Elise and Olaf – it seems that banning his signature champions doesn’t really slow him down. Peanut’s impeccable mechanics allow him to play aggressive to the point that he dominates the other jungler and eventually wins the game.
The Tigers have never beaten SKT in series play, and after they lost to SKT in the finals of last season’s World Championship, they added Peanut to make a push for the Summoners Cup this season. Peanut will look to snowball Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho lane and set him up to carry the game. If Peanut is able to pull off his normal aggressive plays against SKT T1 then the lanes will quickly turn in their favour and open up the game for the Tigers.