In the eyes of the West, the LMS is a two-team league.
At the top, there’s Flash Wolves, the perennial victors of the Taiwanese region. With Karsa and Maple at the helm, this team has become the face of Taiwan. As the runner-ups, ahq are constantly breathing down the Flash Wolves’ necks, ready to pounce at any moment. Unfortunately, that time has not come, and they remain behind for now. The common belief is that no other team can challenge these absolute gods: J Team, Hong Kong Attitude, Raise Gaming – they’re all peasants in the light of their mighty masters.
However, this is simply not the case. Years of unfair representation internationally have fueled unrepresentative images of the Taiwanese team. In reality, teams like Raise Gaming and J Team have stood up to the top 2 God-Teams several times. There is more to the LMS than meets the eye.
This inaccurate viewpoint has led many to dismiss Hong Kong Attitude as an irrelevancy at Worlds. Some believe they’ll make it out of the play-in stage, but many predict an underdog wildcard to sweep the rugs from under their feet. Even those who predict they will advance show little faith in their future journey. However, like their region, HKA is much more than they appear. At first glance, they’re a 6th place team who somehow made a miracle run to fluke their way into Worlds. Upon further inspection, however, they’re a team who can prove to be much more of a threat than anyone realizes.
First and foremost, the LMS standings don’t tell the team’s full story. In the last three weeks of regular season play, HKA defeated both ahq and Flash Wolves, striking down the goliaths thought to be unbeatable by the uneducated viewer. As a matter of fact, since July 20th, the Hong Kongese organization is 13-5 against the top four teams of their region. How did they accomplish such an incredible resurgence in the last few weeks of the split?
Hong Kong Attitude have struggled all split long to find the right combination of players to send out onto the Summoner’s’ Rift. In this split alone, the org has used 13 players in various combinations. However, it seems their weeks of experimentation have finally paid off. The current formation of Hong Kong Attitude can easily rival even the best in their region, and maybe the world.
The biggest star of the lineup is Baek “Riris” Seung-min. As the only starting Korean in the entire LMS, Riris had a lot to prove in the top lane. So far, he has completed his job to perfection, acting as a consistent performer for the lineup all Summer long.
His coordination with both Huang “Gemini” Chu-xuan (jungler) and Chen “M1ssion” Hsiao-hsien (mid) has carved a path to more than one upset victory. One of Hong Kong Attitude’s greatest strengths is their instantaneous rotation speed. No matter where on the map a play is happening, the entire Hong Kong team will be there in seconds. It’s impressive to watch their solo laners turn massive ganks around, especially on global champions like Shen and Galio.
The biggest weakness of Hong Kong Attitude is their bottom lane, but even that can be turned into a strength. Wong “Unified” Chun Kit and Ling “Kaiwing” Kai Wing won’t match up to the best of the best, but they’re a passable duo, even against international competition. Besides, their contributions in later teamfights are well worth it.
The entire team has incredible communication throughout all stages of the game. They play to their win conditions expertly well, and consistent find their way to it. Even against Flash Wolves, HKA consistently won teamfights throughout the entire series. The coordination of the squad overall far makes up for their occasional individual weaknesses.
Hong Kong Attitude are a team on the rise. In recent weeks, they have destroyed their Taiwanese competition, and blazed a trail to Worlds where few thought they could make it. Hong Kong Attitude are not a team to be taken lightly. In a weaker group, like group B, they could seriously surprise the competition. They are certainly better coordinated than most of their fellow play-in members, and they match up well enough in terms of individual ability as well. HKA is sending a clear message to the rest of the competition this Worlds 2017: Don’t underestimate the power of Hong Kong.