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LoR World Championship – Meet the Competitors

ImpetuousPanda shares bios, stats and stories from the best LoR players in the world, as they ready to battle for the 2022 World Champion title.

Hello friends! The 2022 World Championship is just around the corner and I took the opportunity to dive deep into the player’s stories, hoping to flesh out each individual journey within Runeterra, as well as allowing viewers to connect on a more personal level with each player.

I think it’s of vital importance to present the players not just as untiltable, infallible card-slinging machines, but rather as unique individuals, with their own goals and aspirations – I feel this allows viewers to invest themselves more thoroughly in each player’s success and failure, and in my opinion is a pivotal part of a successful and engaging viewing experience.

Usually, this kind of preparation stays behind the scenes, shared only with the broadcast team I’m working with, to help us paint better narratives and better represent all players come broadcast time. In this case, though, I chose to publish it here, as I feel many players are relatively unknown to most viewers, and this will help serve as a narrative introduction to all the events that will unfold in the coming days.

Of course, all of this prep is directly linked to the fact that I was selected to join the broadcast team in LA this upcoming weekend, to bring all the action and excitement of a World Championship event to your screens! Unfortunately, after a series of surreal and, honestly, truly devastating events, I won't be able to be a part of the in-studio broadcast team.

That being said, I still wanted to go through with publishing this piece, and hopefully it serves its purpose of making this weekend’s World Championship event as entertaining and fun as possible for you all.

Without further ado, let's meet our Worlds Top 16!


LoR World Championship Competitors


Bajatak

EMEA - Czech Republic

Total Earnings: $17,650

Seasonal Top Cuts: 8

Seasonal Wins: 1

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Seraphine Purrsuit / Red Gwen / Conservatory

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Red Gwen / Sera Purrsuit / Vayne Quinn Aatrox 

Bajatak has cemented himself as EMEA’s most beloved wonderkid since he broke onto the scene with that missed high-five during Team Czechia’s (Pokrovac, TomasOW, Bajatak) very strong showing at the first-ever edition of LoR Masters Europe. Since then, Bajatak has grown to become one of the most consistent performers in EMEA’s history, with an astonishing eight Seasonal top-cut showings, including one win.

A big part of Bajatak’s success comes from the friendships he formed early on with his Czech teammates: Pokrovac was among the strongest ladder players in LoR’s early stages, and TomasOW is one of EMEA’s top players who also managed to win a Seasonal tournament. With both of these players dedicating less and less time to LoR, this year has been a period of transition for Bajatak, and although he claims it was difficult at first (as he was used to the comfort of prepping in his own language) he has made new friendships that have propelled his understanding of the game even further.

Despite having less time for LoR this year (he's also focusing on his university degree), he’s managed to become good friends with top players from both EMEA and NA: his prep group consists of AlanZQ, Cephalopod, Drisoth, Broken Ball, Pavelicii, Tomas, and AtleastIGotCS, making Bajatak one of the best prepped players coming into Worlds. 

Bajatak’s Regional Qualifiers lineup had the goal of mostly having good matchups into the entire field, while giving him the option to rely on his piloting skills to find advantages across different matchups. This being Bajatak’s second Worlds appearance, he is considered one of the three absolute favorites by most other competitors, alongside XxWhatAmIxX and Teddy314.


XxWhatAmIxX

Americas - United States 

Total Earnings: $17,250

Seasonal Top Cuts: 10

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Feel The Rush / Leona Aphelios / Seraphine SI

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Sera Jayce Lux / Fizz Norra Heimer / Zoe Aphelios Leona

WhatAmI’s story is partly a bittersweet one, as despite being considered without a doubt one of the best players in the Americas region, and despite having a grand total of ten Seasonal top cuts (more than any other player in the world) he’s never managed to actually win a major tournament in his lengthy LoR career.

Alongside Bajatak, WhatAmI is the only other player to make a return to Worlds' stage, although in this case with two major advantages: firstly, his well-known abilities as one of the game’s best deckbuilders will give him an edge in the single week of testing that competitors have had with the World Ender expansion; and, secondly, he has all of the knowledge and experience of the Mastering Runeterra prep group in his corner.

WhatAmI’s approach to the Regional Worlds Qualifiers was to bring a triple control lineup that featured Shadow Isles in all 3 decks – and, above all, Quietus. To no one’s surprise, Quietus has become a staple of this meta, and one of the few cards to truly warp the deckbuilding of all archetypes in the last few months. We will have to wait and see what Jordan and the Mastering Runeterra group are able to come up with for this upcoming weekend, especially considering the addition of three new champions and a ton of incredibly powerful cards.

All in all, Jordan is one of the most respected players in Runeterra’s competitive scene, and every single Worlds Competitor has confessed he’s one of the players to keep an eye on this upcoming weekend. With players of this caliber, though, there is never a sure thing when it comes to a Worlds tournament, but many players believe this is finally the time WhatAmI will get his first major win, and what a win it would be.


ABG Aurora

APAC - Hong Kong

Total Earnings: $13,500

Seasonal Top Cuts: 2

Seasonal Wins: 1

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Red Gwen / Ziggs Taliyah / Zoe Leona Asol

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Kayn Aatrox / Pantheon Varus / Leona Asol

Alongside Teddy, Aurora is one of the players arriving at the Worlds' stage on the hottest form, having won the latest Seasonal for the APAC region. A recent business administration graduate, this 24-year-old was able to dedicate the last few months entirely to competing in LoR, and depending on what he achieves at Worlds, it might be the last chance he’ll have at giving the game his undivided attention. 

Aurora started off competing mostly as a ladder warrior, but in the last year he has started forming key friendships with many top players from China, including well recognized names such as Pinpingho and FlyingFish, as well as joining ABG, a team that fellow Worlds competitor Mati24Mayo is also part of. These friendships have entirely changed his outlook on the game, as he previously gave little importance to Seasonal tournaments and only really started giving it his all in this past year, achieving a Seasonal win as well as another finals appearance. A big part of his more competitive focus is the merging of all asian servers, which Aurora claims had made ladder much more competitive and interesting.

In qualifiers, Aurora had a pretty good read on what he would be facing – knowing that few players would bring Aggro, he instead decided to counter the players in the APAC server who would try and depend on their own player agency to do well, and his aim was to counter decks such as Feel The Rush and Conservatory. Aurora believes many players mistakenly rely too much on stats and matchup tables: he claims that although his decision to bring Asol seemed to be statistically incorrect, it was the correct choice based on his own playtesting, and considering the edge that the surprise factor would give him.

Many top players believe APAC is weaker than other regions, but Aurora claims it’s more the fact that the pool of truly great players is smaller – players like himself and Pinpingho, as well as Yamato last year, can certainly fight to be among the best players in the world. Although Aurora feels he’s in the 'Group of Death', he’s very confident that he’s one of the favorites in the tournament, and that he will make it out of his round-robin group and into the bracket stage.


ReRoll

APAC - South Korea

Total Earnings: $12,000

Seasonal Top Cuts: 4

Seasonal Wins: 1

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Feel The Rush / Norra Elise Heimer / Swain MF TF

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Red Gwen / Vayne Aatrox / Akshan Sivir Varus

ReRoll is considered by many to be one of Korea’s absolute best players, and it’s not surprising considering he’s a past Seasonal Champion and has managed to reach the top cut on four separate occasions. As I spoke to ReRolls’s teammates, prep partner, and LoR commentator KDF Pegasos, he claims ReRoll is the strongest player that APAC is sending to the World Championship this weekend.

ReRoll generally likes to counter the meta when it comes to his tournament prep, and is known more as a deckbuilder than a netdecker. Pegasos has mentioned ReRoll is known to make and use his own signature decks, and despite loving FTR he is a very flexible player that can adapt to any meta.

When it comes to his prep, ReRoll has been working hard alongside his teammates on the Kwangdong Freecs TCG team, a subsection of the very well-known Korean LCK team Kwangdong Freecs that competes in League of Legends. Working alongside Pegasos, Peta, and Kamdong, ReRoll is confident that he will have a very strong showing at Worlds, and like Yamato last year, will surprise everybody in this Championship.


Teddy314

EMEA - Germany

Total Earnings: $10,150

Seasonal Top Cuts: 2

Seasonal Wins: 1

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Pantheon Varus / Red Gwen / Vayne P&Z

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Vayne Quinn Aatrox / Jinx CS / Seraphine Ez Viktor Bandle

For the untrained eye, Teddy may not seem like one of the favorites to win it all – but for any experienced player who has watched Teddy play LoR, this 28-year-old computer scientist (who also has a background in both Chess and Poker) shows unequivocal talent. 

Initially, Teddy played LoR on and off, never really focusing or giving too much importance to Seasonals or trying to dominate the ladder. He played mostly comfort decks when he did play Open Rounds, tending to prefer big-brain combo decks that require extensive decision-making (with Akshan Infinite being his all-time favorite).

This all changed when he qualified for the second edition of LoR Masters Europe, and teamed up with Kuraschi and Quabatchie to dominate the competition and take home the title. Teddy claims that meeting Kuraschi changed him completely as a player: he stopped relying on intuition and focused on stats and data, and the pair became inseparable. Kuraschi went on to win a Seasonal tournament this year, and Teddy followed suit with a win of his own in the last EMEA Seasonal.

This friendship has had its bittersweet moments, as Teddy eliminated both Kuraschi and Quabatchie throughout the lower bracket stages of the Regional Worlds Qualifiers. Overall, Teddy believes he had a perfect read on the tournament meta for qualifiers, and believes his lineup was the optimal one for the tournament.

Once the dynamic duo was formed, Teddy gave competitive LoR much more focus, and this translated into tangible results. By far and away the strongest ladder player this year in EMEA, with a European championship and a Seasonal championship, and as one of the favorites for Worlds, Teddy has a chance to become a LoR triple champion, something truly unbelievable and that will most likely never be replicated if he’s able to accomplish this goal.

Overall Teddy feels very confident about the robin-round group stage, despite having the tournament's toughest group. He also feels EMEA is very strong, as the top players had a similar meta read than his prep group despite them never exchanging any information. He feels other regions had a flawed read on the Regional Qualifiers meta, and as such does not hold their lineup prep to such high esteem.


Bowisse

EMEA - France

Total Earnings: $1,100

Seasonal Top Cuts: 3

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Ziggs Taliyah / Red Gwen / Vayne P&Z

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Lulu Jinx / Red Gwen / Pantheon Varus

This 23-year-old Computer Scientist (yes, this career choice will become a trend…) is the sole remaining hope of the French community for Worlds, and he will have to perform at an outstanding level to live up to the expectations of one of EMEA’s powerhouse nations in LoR.

Thanks to finishing his degree earlier this year, Bowisse has been able to bootcamp extensively for the Worlds competition, and overall this year he has had much more time to dedicate to the game as opposed to last year. The extra focus he was able to put into improving his game proved successful, as Bowisse was able to top cut multiple Seasonals and even reach Top 4 once. A big part of his success has to be linked to his friendships within the French community, as it’s generally very tight-knit and has top players such as Ultraman, Den, and the entirety of the PCS team.

Bowisse believes his prep for qualifiers was fairly good, as he ended up on a lineup that was very similar to Teddy’s prep group (which many in EMEA consider the gold standard when it comes to lineup-building and prep for tournaments) – the only difference was the inclusion of Ziggs/Taliyah instead of Varus/Pantheon.

Bowisse prepped mostly with Ultraman, Flaxaeu, and his PCS teammates. Many in his prep group were very close to qualifying, but it will fall upon Bowisse to represent France on the Worlds stage this upcoming weekend. 

Overall Bowisse feels confident in his ability to do well at Worlds, despite finding himself in Group A, which many have dubbed the “Group of Death”. He also believes there is overall parity between regions, and also thinks APAC has very interesting meta reads and lineup building, and should not be underestimated when compared to EMEA and the Americas.


KickerA

APAC - Vietnam

Total Earnings: $950

Seasonal Top Cuts: 2

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Discard Aggro / Elusives / Annie Jhin

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Discard Aggro / Ziggs Taliyah / Mono-Shurima Sun Disc

At 32 years of age, Kicker believes he’s most likely the most veteran player competing at Worlds this weekend, although he doesn’t necessarily feel this is a downside: he has ample experience in high-pressure situations. On the other hand, Kicker feels he has a very different story to most players, as he recently got married and with his time working as an english teacher he wasn't able to dedicate as much time as he would have liked to the preparation for the Worlds Qualifier tournament for his region.

Kicker defines himself as mostly a ladder warrior, and for this reason he also has grown to love Aggro archetypes as they allow him to climb very quickly thanks to shorter games. Ever since Seasonals were announced he has done his best to compete in them – the prize pool is very alluring for SEA standards – although he admits he hasn’t quite had the time to dip into grassroots tournaments as much.

Kicker doesn’t believe his preparation for the Regional Qualifiers was optimal: he had no idea players would bring as much Red Gwen and Vayne decks, and he was mostly expecting Seraphine to be the dominant force in the tournament. Due to a lack of prep time, Kicker brought mostly comfort picks in his lineup, and he feels this might have been an advantage when it comes to the surprise factor, as players may have not expected much Aggro since it wasn’t well positioned in the Regional Qualifiers meta.

Kicker’s strong suit isn’t deckbuilding – he considers himself more of a netdecker – but he thinks this puts him in an interesting position: the threat of him being mostly an aggro player might force other players in his group to make awkward tech choices.

His group is somewhat awkward, as his fellow Vietnamese prep group member, Kais3r, is in the same group, forcing them to split their prep strategy between the Vietnamese prep team they usually work with.

Kicker would like to extend a big thank-you to another well-known LoR deckbuilder, Raphterra, who reached out to him and offered to help him prepare for Worlds this weekend, which Kicker very eagerly accepted.


Smooth Swoleoist

EMEA - Germany

Total Earnings: $700

Seasonal Top Cuts: 3

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Seraphine Purrsuit / Pantheon Kayn / Varus Akshan

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Vayne Aatrox / Fizz Norra Poppy / Pantheon Varus

This 22-year-old German started playing Runeterra at a very casual level, hitting Gold in his first Season and then slowly climbing up rank by rank as his experience with the game grew. Early on he mostly put effort into shitposting and creating janky deck builds, more than tryharding and competing at the highest level, but this has changed radically over the past year or so, as he made many friends that motivated him to focus more on the competitive side of LoR.

A lot of this comes down to the team he is a part of, TKG, as well as a lot of the grassroot tournaments he’s taken part in, including Fight Night Legends and Aegis, which have given him a strong incentive to improve and focus on high-level competition. He’s especially thankful for the friends he has made in the past two years such as Goddraw, Wekhar, Starset, Ace, Nihilist, and SingleMomHunter. 

Although Smooth is confident in his ability as a player, he has confessed that he has not had as much time as he would have hoped to prepare for this stage. Having recently finished his degree in Accounting, he's currently doing an internship that is taking a lot of his time.

He thinks a lot of new World Ender cards are very strong, but despite being an excellent deckbuilder he didn't have much time to refine decks. For this reason, he’s extremely grateful for his prep group, as Smooth feels like they have been preparing for the tournament more than him even in the past few weeks, offering insights into different lineups and matchups, and helping him build potential decks. 

Overall, Smooth feels like he is on a main character arc when it comes to his LoR career, and this comes down mostly to the support and love from those who surround him. It almost makes him feel as if he can’t lose: he has the power of friendship on his side.


AragOrnn

EMEA - Greece

Total Earnings: $550

Seasonal Top Cuts: 2

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Ziggs Taliyah / Sundisc / Trundle Timelines

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Ziggs Taliyah / Red Gwen / Kayn Aatrox

Alongside Bajatak, this Greek player is one of the youngest participating in this weekend’s tournament, at just 19 years of age. Despite this, and similarly to Bajatak, AragOrnn has ample experience with LoR: he started playing as soon as the game was released, as he loved Riot as a developer, and the lore surrounding the Runeterran Universe. AragOrnn claims LoR has become a truly pivotal part of his life and development in the past three years, a passion he balances with his studies, as he is currently attending Film School.

AragOrnn considers himself a midrange player above all, but he also enjoys playing control decks – overall, he prefers playing decks that allow him to make many decisions throughout the game, and give him agency.

In the past year he’s been able to practice and prepare with many top players, and he feels he’s improved considerably. He thinks he has a very unique approach to building lineups for tournaments, as instead of focusing solely on the three best decks, he likes looking at archetypes that are not viable on ladder but can fit into a tournament format – he believes many players simply ignore or forget about those archetypes because they are not relevant in the ladder meta.

Going into the Regional Qualifiers he felt very confident in his lineup, despite it looking very odd compared to most other players. His main goal was to target Shadow Isles to some extent: he felt triple control SI lineups would be prevalent, as well as Red Gwen being a mainstay of the tournament meta. And he brought Timelines because he felt it was a very strong deck that would only lose to aggro, which he didn’t expect to see much of. 

When it comes to his prep group, he has the Greek community to thank for. There are some absolutely amazing Greek players in LoR, and he feels they are a very tight-knit group with a positive mentality that pushes everyone towards new highs when it comes to understanding LoR at the highest level.

Going into the group stage he is confident, but humble. AragOrnn will not be as focused on results as many other players, and it seems he is mostly looking forward to being able to participate in some of the most high-level matches we will see in LoR this year.


HDR MaykaS

Americas - Brazil

Total Earnings: $550

Seasonal Top Cuts: 2

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Conservatory / Seraphine EZ Noxus / Red Gwen

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Discard Aggro / Teemo Zoe Yuumi / Red Gwen

Despite Brazil being considered one of the Americas powerhouses, MaykaS will be the sole Brazilian this upcoming weekend. Yet another participant who has a major in Computer Science, Maykas has always been an avid fan of CCGs, strategy games, and board games too – he competed to some extent in Hearthstone, but the game's greedy economy made it difficult for him to keep up with each new expansion. This all changed radically when LoR launched: MaykaS found it tremendously generous, and he started dedicating himself fully to Legends of Runeterra.

A tight community quickly formed in Brazil, with MaykaS becoming fast friends with local legends such as 4LW, Trivo, Sudrakon, and many more. The strong initiative and efforts from the Brazilian grassroots scene fostered a truly competitive environment where players improved at a drastic rate, allowing Brazil to essentially fight toe to toe with the United States in terms of which country would produce the best pool of talent to dominate the upcoming Seasonal tournaments.

For Regional Worlds Qualifiers, MaykaS stuck mostly to decks he was comfortable with. He’s historically been a massive Nox Control enjoyer, going all the way back to the dominant era of Draven/EZ decks, and as such he leaned heavily into Noxus for the qualifiers. Brazil had a very unique micro meta, as pretty much every single Brazilian competitor was opting to bring Kayn Vayne to the qualifiers, but MaykaS was not a fan – despite losing constantly to it in scrims, he quickly realized this was only really a call that Brazil would be making, and thus felt comfortable with his original lineup. 

He started off very poorly with a Round 1 loss, but was able to claw his way back up to finish with a 7-1 score, unfortunately eliminating many brazilian friends along the way: as with a stroke of bad luck, almost all Brazilian players were forced into direct matchups on one side of the bracket. 

Due to his lack of comfort speaking English, most of MaykaS' relationships have been within the Brazilian scene, although coming into this weekend he thinks WhatAmI is the absolute favorite and a player he greatly respects due to his consistency. With the entirety of the passionate Brazilian community backing him up, MaykaS is very confident he will have a great showing in this tournament, and will try his hardest to make amends for Brazil’s poor showing last Worlds.


Da Tank Buster

Americas - United States

Total Earnings: $400

Seasonal Top Cuts: 1

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Kai’Sa Sivir / Red Gwen / Trundle Timelines

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Akshan Aatrox / Zoe Leona / Plunder

Da Tank Buster has one major advantage over all other competitors, and it’s that he will be playing with home-field advantage. With the recent announcement of the event being broadcasted live from LA, he will be just a stone's throw away doing his best to make his community proud.

Da Tank Buster is a Material Science and Engineering major, who has always enjoyed CCGs and strategy games, and really any games Riot has released, including LoL and TFT. Although he played LoR since the game launched, it was mostly casually until Bandle City was announced – he instantly fell in love with Bandle Tree as an archetype, and managed to use that passion as fuel to climb all the way to Rank #1 on the Americas server in the process.

Throughout the past year, Da Tank Buster believes he’s improved greatly. A lot of this is thanks to the Aegis grassroots circuit, where he met some great players and became good friends with many of the best players in the Americas region. He first joined forces with Prodigy, ChristmasTime and SnipeCrossGG, but in the latest edition of Aegis he played with Maxgotthetracks and RealPrism. 

Coming into the Regional Qualifiers, Da Tank Buster felt very confident in his lineup and his piloting. Many of his prep partners reassured him that he had been playing out of his mind leading up to the tournament, and he felt he had really hit his peak when it came to competitive LoR. Although he felt that he had improved very quickly this year mostly off of intuition, he took it to the next step by focusing much more on hand reading and kill timings, which helped him get a much deeper understanding of specific matchups and situations.

Although he’s in the "Group of Death", Tank feels that he has a good chance to make it out into the bracket stage. It’s not surprising to see his confidence, especially considering his prep group consists of some of the best players America has to offer, including Moe, Inaeda, Card Gamer, Drisoth, Prodigy, FloppyMudkip, Hash, and Minasia. The inclusion of Tank Buster, Aurora, Teddy, and Bowisse in Group A will make it an electric group to watch, and a very difficult one to predict!


6Mati24Mayo

Americas - Chile

Total Earnings: $300

Seasonal Top Cuts: 2

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Spooky Karma / Seraphine Purrsuit / Conservatory

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Norra Poppy / Teemo Lucian Jinx / Annie TF Kat Conservatory

Although Matias excels as a card gamer, the Chilean player is even better at one thing: choosing his in-game name. He has absolutely cracked the code, and will guarantee all his friends and prep groups will never forget to wish him a happy birthday.

All jokes aside, Mati is one of the most interesting players we will see this weekend, especially considering his approach to deckbuilding and his decision to bring Spooky Karma to the Regional Qualifiers. This soon-to-be Engineer has been a gamer his entire life, although his love for LoR started mostly as competition with his older brother, who told him about the game when it was released and for a period they both enjoyed brewing and trying to climb higher and higher on the ladder to claim bragging rights. His brother eventually stopped playing due to work, but Mati kept grinding and improving – eventually, thanks to some info from the one and only LATAM community figure Santupea, Mati learned about the competitive scene and the different tournaments he could participate in.

This year his main goal was to make it to the Worlds Qualifier stage, and he spent the entirety of the year fighting for points on the ranked ladder, as well as becoming much more flexible as a player. Although his comfort picks have always been Noxus control lists and specifically Tri Beam decks, he branched out into as many different archetypes as possible, both to be able to pilot more decks effectively, as well as to better understand what his opponent will be trying to do when facing him on decks he was not so proficient on. 

The strategy worked, and Mati was able to accomplish his goal. Going into the Regional Qualifiers, Mati had a clear read that Red Gwen would be the most prevalent deck, and so he tried to counter it with his lineup: that's the reason he brought Spooky Karma, with which he managed a 6-0 record against Red Gwen. 

The 19-year-old is confident about his prep going into the weekend, especially considering he has been practicing with some legendary names in the LATAM scene, such as jtamonda, TomasZamo, and Xeloo, among others. He’s also a part of Team ABG, and for this reason he has been scrimming occasionally with Aurora, who is considered to be one of the tournament favorites. Overall, it seems like many players see the young Chilean as a dark horse favorite, and I expect that many less knowledgeable viewers will be surprised by the quality of play Mati will put forward this upcoming weekend.


FnP Chenia

APAC - South Korea

Total Earnings: $300

Seasonal Top Cuts: 2

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Vayne Kayn / Sivir Akshan Varus / Red Gwen

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Lulu Jinx / Varus Aatrox / Vayne Kayn

Chenia is a player that feels most comfortable in midrange metas, and his lineup shows. Throughout the past season, Chenia said he was in love with Kayne Vayn, and also really enjoyed playing Varus Akshan. With the Worlds meta looking fairly slanted towards Demacia, this will definitely be good news for the Korean player, making sure his comfort picks also find themselves among the best decks for a lineup.

Throughout the Regional Qualifiers, Chenia was fairly happy with his lineup, although he admits he aimed to soft-target FTR while also building a lineup with three strong decks. After testing, he found that FTR was stronger than he anticipated, but he stuck to his guns and still managed to make it to the Worlds' stage. When it comes his prep, Chenia told me that he has mostly FnP 영처리 to thank, but that a few other Korean players have helped him reach the best possible level of preparation for both the Qualifiers and the Worlds final stage.

Chenia expects a very entertaining World Championship, especially considering his group. He believes all players in Group B took big risks and brought unique lineups to the Regional Qualifiers, such as MonoShurima from AragOrnn or Malphite/Taliyah from GrandpaRoji. This to him shows how high the level will be, and the huge challenge of properly assessing what the meta will look like in his group. Chenia thinks that the new cards will have a big impact, but that the new Champions are much more difficult to assess given the short timeframe, although he believes Aatrox looks very strong.

Chenia’s FnP teammate Laon says Chenia is a well-respected player in Korea, especially when it comes to piloting midrange decks. Chenia is also well-known in Korea for his streaming personality, being a clinical player who is able to brew and refine competitive decks very easily, and surgically precise in his play. Laon also said that Chenia is a very quick learner, and can adapt rapidly to new metas, which might suit him well with the addition of all the new World Ender cards.

Overall, Chenia has told me he is not super confident due to having to balance work with his prep for the tournament, but is very excited for this challenge and proud to represent South Korea on the international stage. 


Kais3r

APAC - Vietnam

Total Earnings: $150

Seasonal Top Cuts: 1

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Feel The Rush / Seraphine SI / Conservatory

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Seraphine SI / Feel The Rush / Lulu Poppy

Kais3r is the second player representing Vietnam, but he has a very unique story compared to most other competitors.

Going into the Regional Worlds Qualifiers, Kais3r was in the 5th spot on the waitlist. But since it is normal for a few players simply not to show up to seasonals in APAC, Kais3r was relying on this possibility and he prepped as usual… and, lo and behold, he managed to sneak into the tournament.

And then proceeded to wipe out his opponents, finishing 5-0.

Kais3r’s journey in LoR started roughly two years ago, and when the announcement was made regarding Seasonals, he knew he wanted to commit himself to playing LoR at the highest level. He still had a long way to go to find himself among the best APAC had to offer, but over these two years he believes he has improved drastically, and now has a chance to prove APAC’s strength.

Similarly to Kicker, Kais3r has mostly prepped alongside his Vietnamese compatriots, and the news that he’d be competing against Kicker in the same group was devastating. This forced both players to split up their prep group, and Kais3r has been training with different Vietnamese and APAC players, including Raphterra, who is well-known in the English-speaking LoR communities.

Overall, Kais3r believes APAC is a strong region, and in the same way that Yamato proved it last year, he thinks this year’s Asian representatives will also show to the world that they deserve the same respect as other regions.


Donut

Americas - United States

Total Earnings: $0

Seasonal Top Cuts: 0

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Red Gwen / Seraphine SI / Vayne P&Z

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Vayne Aatrox / Teemo Zoe / Red Gwen

Donut was a big fan of CCGs from a very early age, having grown up in LA playing MTG. He was mostly a fan of Limited modes, and for several of his teenage years he would play a draft every single Friday. He also played a bit of HS, but he only truly made the leap to the hyper-competitive level when he started playing LoR. Now living in Arizona, he’s recently graduated in…

… Computer Science! He's on his way to wrapping up his Masters degree in Spring. Even so, he’s found the time to play LoR, although for his first year he wasn’t able to dedicate the time he would have liked to the game due to his studies.

Although he had fairly good results in the Open Rounds stage of all Seasonals this year (with mostly 6-3 and 7-2 finishes), he never grinded enough for ladder tiebreakers, and therefore didn't manage to qualify for a Seasonal top cut. Despite this, he felt very confident going into the Regional Worlds Qualifiers, and he believed he had a perfect read on the tournament meta.

Despite not seeing himself as a favorite to make it to Worlds, he noticed many players had doubts about their lineups, and many prep groups missed the mark completely when trying to understand the meta they would face throughout the Qualifiers, and this gave Donut a lot of reassurance. 

Vayne P&Z is an archetype he had built since the very first day that the expansion released, and all in all throughout the Season he had only made a few changes to the deck. It was one of his comfort picks, and he noticed many players throughout the entirety of the season didn’t rate camocloaker very highly – yet Donut claims it was one of his favorite tech cards and it worked out perfectly for all the matchups he was expecting. He also brought Red Gwen in his lineup, which Donut believes was by far and away the best deck in the game at the time, and thinks anyone who didn’t bring it was severely reducing their chances of doing well in the Qualifiers.

When it comes to deck preferences, Donut feels comfortable playing decks that can play reactively, but not necessarily control decks – he's most at home playing Demacia, and thinks Akshan Sivir is the perfect example of the decks he enjoys.

His improvement throughout the past year has come down to his prep group and being able to scrim matchups with multiple people in call, offering different lines and looking into each one from a critical perspective. Although Donut believes he doesn’t have the clout that other competitors do, he is extremely grateful for his scrims with the members of Team OCE from Aegis, and the rest of his prep group including Spidz, ViniciusLuigi, Eniamor, and many more, as well as his close friend in real life, Samanthony. All in all Donut believes he has a good chance of making it out of groups!


GrandpaRoji

Americas - United States

Total Earnings: $0

Seasonal Top Cuts: 0

Seasonal Wins: 0

Regional Worlds Qualifiers Lineup: Akshan Sivir Varus / Taliyah Malphite / Vayne Pantheon

Worlds Finals Lineup (Full builds in this article): Taliyah Malphite / Vayne Quinn Aatrox / Akshan Sivir Varus

GrandpaRoji is a name that many will automatically link to Malphite, and for good reason. Ever since the champion was released in Runeterra, Roji made it his mission to prove to the world that this big chunk of rock was, and is, competitively viable. Even in the poor state both Malphite and Taliyah were released in, he somehow made it work, and the archetype has only improved since then.

Although Roji does not have the Seasonal top-cut results to back up his quality as a player, winning Aegis earlier this year earned him a lot of respect from his peers, and his talent for deckbuilding is undeniable. Having created the shell of many top-tier decks over the past year, Roji is sure to have an advantage when it comes to the unique situation that the Worlds competitors find themselves in, getting access to a new expansion just a week before the tournament begins.

GrandpaRoji was very happy with the way his lineup turned out for the Regional Qualifiers. He feels that players won’t take massive risks, and that he will have a fairly accurate prep for this weekend’s tournament meta as well. He does think Aatrox is a very strong champion, and many new cards will find their way into old decks, but thinks a champion like Ryze is too difficult to figure out in just a week’s time, even if you do have some of the brightest minds Runeterra has to offer working hard to do so.

Roji believes he has branched out considerably throughout the past year, leaving his comfort picks at home for a little while to grow as a player. Aikido and his streams were a big influence on Roji throughout his time playing LoR, and this year Roji created the Church of Runeterra, a team which includes top players such as Inaeda, Bluegod, sCBASSs, and Infinipatrons among others. Roji thinks this prep team has helped him excel as a player, and despite believing his group to be quite strong, GrandpaRoji feels confident that he will be the best player come game day, and that he will advance on to the bracket stage of the tournament.


Wrapping Up

I hope you all enjoyed the read and have a more thorough understanding of each player’s story coming into this Worlds Tournament!

I want to extend a huge "Thank you!" to all the players who took time out of their schedule during prep week to have calls with me, to KDF Pegasos and FnP Laon who helped me better understand the Korean players' stories, and to the entire team that works here at Mastering Runeterra, for allowing me to give these stories maximum visibility, as well as continuing to push forward the standard for competitive content for the game we all love so much.



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