Regionally, Flash Wolves is one of the most dominant teams in League of Legends history, winning the last four consecutive LMS championships and finishing top two in every split to date.
Flash Wolves has dominated Taiwan since the region’s foundation, with no signs of stopping. The terrific trio of Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan, Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang and Shou-Chieh “SwordArT” Hu has carried them to championship after championship, unwavering in their crushing grip on Taiwan.
Sadly, for the second year in a row, Flash Wolves failed to capitalize on their national success, crumbling when it mattered most. Why has the FW roster fallen so far after such great success back at home?
Much of the Flash Wolves’ unfortunate demise is a result of the meta. The dominance of ardent censer supports is making life difficult for SwordArt, who shines on playmaking champions like Thresh and Alistar.
As a result, SwordArt’s impact, while significant in the regular season, was minimal at the 2017 World Championship. In a meta where bot lane is key, this put Flash Wolves in a terrible situation.
Lu “Betty” Yu-hung, in his first Worlds appearance, would have to carry his lane, without the constant help of one of the best supports in the game. The results were understandably disastrous.
Betty’s lane statistics dropped significantly from his regular season performance, unable to carry his own weight against the best in the world. Flash Wolves fell behind in the lane that mattered most.
That said, Betty’s dip in performance was nothing new. At the Mid-Season Invitational earlier in the year, a similar drop in form occurred, as the AD carry struggled during his first-ever major international appearance.
Despite his drop in performance, Flash Wolves still remained strong, fighting through the group stage to make semifinals at the event.
At both MSI and Worlds 2017, it was Karsa who rose to the challenge, erasing deficits in his top and mid lanes to keep his team in the game.
Despite his valiant efforts in Wuhan, Karsa’s performance alone was not enough, and Flash Wolves quickly sank to the bottom of their group.
The difference between this tournament and MSI is the importance of AD carries. Karsa’s pressure on top laner Li-Hong “MMD” Yu and Maple carried Flash Wolves through the early game, but it fell short in the late game during key decisive moments.
Even if three members of Flash Wolves established a lead, the AD carry metagame outshined them all. Because of his early game deficits and overall inexperience, Betty faltered in the late game, unable to match up with his positional rivals.
In teamfights, Flash Wolves was obliterated by their opponent’s unrelenting bot lane, whereas Betty simply lacked the tools to be the star of his team in a meta that required him to rise to that calibre.
— Flash Wolves (@flashwolves2013) October 14, 2017
Flash Wolves will return home with their tails between their legs after another disappointing tournament. Once again, the LMS has failed to make Worlds playoffs, and once again, Flash Wolves has let down the region.
The demoralizing defeat should be a wakeup call for the future of their team. After years of bot lane struggles, Flash Wolves still hasn’t found a permanent fix.
It is time to step up their game on all fronts and stop relying solely on the carry potential of Karsa and Maple. Betty needs to step up if he wants to make this region proud and so does the team around him.