During any and every tournament in the South Asian League of Legends scene, there comes a cleansing phase that ends up separating the best from the rest. It is at this point where contenders buckle up and start taking things seriously, as one wrong step from here onward means elimination.

We stand at that helm today where the top 16 teams of the G-Force Showdown (by Gravity Gaming) will look to contend for the throne. This bag of contenders is an interesting mix (as they always are), and the more I think about featuring them, I realize the similarities among many.

I’d classify these contenders into 4 specific distinctions that I feel suit them quite competently.

The Ones Who Will Be Acknowledged

With how often rosters and teams change, longevity in the South Asian LoL scene is a seldom sight. Teams split up, patch up, exchange members faster than you can say “Let’s Baron!”. Among many such teams, however, you always find some new faces or some new combinations of players that you wouldn’t see before. Many of these play for fun, but you will find talent in such rosters who can be honed into greatness.

While I predict that many of these teams might not see the Quarterfinal light at the end of the Round of 16 tunnel, I do believe they will be acknowledged in the future.

Against All Authorities

Against All Authorities (AAA) is the new team in the block looking to cause some ripples. Captained by their Jungler Attharv “IndianSlayer512” Sardesai, AAA have shown that they are here to play. They cruised through their Group stages with a 2–1 scoreline over 3 games, having definitive wins in both their matches only to lose soul-crushingly to whom I consider tournament favorites (more on them later). What they lack in macro, they make up for it in individual skill.

Playing against Team Clover in the Round of 16 is a tough task for them and while I don’t put my money on AAA winning, I’m certainly not expecting them to go down without a fight.

Cheese Busters

Cheese Busters seem to fit perfectly as a team that’s looking to play for fun. In that process, however, they managed to cause what I would consider the biggest upset of the group stage by beating VP 14K in a hard-fought 34 minute game. Right after that though, they got dismantled by Lowkey Esports, securing just a lone kill in the entire game. So for me, I really can’t seem to fathom what kind of cheese this team is going to bust out next.

Their match against PNX RED will not be one to miss out as we wait to see which brand of cheese will show up. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be completely surprised if they edge out a win.

Omega Squad

The team that scraped through. Omega Squad found themselves in a 3-way tiebreaker scenario for first place having to FF one of their games. After a long day of qualifying matches, however, they eliminated TeO Gaming Smite and secured the 2nd seed in their group. The highlight for me was the Singed penta that Mahdi “Sreash” Yousuf secured (you don’t see them around often).

Omega Squad’s strength seems to be their perseverance along with unique drafting and carry performances. Playing against Lowkey Esports will be an uphill battle for them but Omega Squad deserve the recognition for making it thus far.

TeO Gaming Smite

TeO Gaming Smite remains the only TeO Gaming team to make it to the Round of 16. Capitalizing on n00b Alliance’s 4 man roster and then winning against Unclear Myth was all it took for them to get to 2nd seed. They did challenge Team Clover (the 1st seed of the group) slightly, only to fall down later. The roster is comprised of players the scene doesn’t know or heard and making it to Top 16 does cement their position of being among the better teams of the tournament.

Playing against Stormraiders in the Round of 16 has to hurt though (ouch).

Meme 9

Meme 9 is what gets formed when a bunch of old guys from the scene get together to play for fun and see if they still got it. Surprise surprise! It seems that they do. After going 2–1 in their group, they qualified after “The Sub Tampu” decided to FF their tiebreaker matches. Meme 9 is a team that focuses on drafting heavy teamfighting compositions that are usually accompanied with at least 2 tanks, an aggressive jungle champ for the captain Ryan “Spartan Frank” Spartan and a scaling mid champ for their eventual carry, Mid Laner Sanjay “Madarasi” Sampath.

Make no mistake, Meme 9 are not a team to be taken lightly. Their game on the day depends a lot more on themselves than their opponents, and newcomers Exulansis eSports will have their work cut out for them.

Written In Blood

The captain Subham Sriwastav always signs up with full caps — WRITTEN IN BLOOD (WIB)— always found it hilarious. I suppose he tries to emphasize his passion through his registration. Passion and determination is what saw this team deservingly qualify out of groups with a particular standout performance by Rinku “Rinks_s” Singh against Apes2G on that Darius. WIB plays well as a team overall and has solid rotations in place which for a relatively new roster is very pleasing to see.

They might be crippled without their top laner for the upcoming match, and facing tournament favorites Red Viperz Gaming is as challenging as it can get.

Exulansis Academy

Whenever Vikash “CodeNameSeven” Vr (owner/manager of Exulansis) enters the scene and forms teams, you can bet that those teams will do well. And this is exactly the case for Exulansis Academy that found themselves qualifying (as 2nd seed) along with their main team. EA’s Jungler Sourav “iNooBBe” Ghosh had some beastly carry performances on his Nocturne that gave them their wins. Their strength lies in their drafting and ability to teamfight and for their first tournament, this roster of golds/plats has looked impressive.

The Ones Who Will Cause An Upset

In this distinction are teams I believe have the best potential to cause upsets. These teams are of high caliber and on a given day could beat just about anybody in the tournament. Qualifying for quarters is the minimum expectation for them while making it to semis would be potentially seen as causing an upset.

Will these teams break expectations and usher a new era of dominance for themselves will definitely be a narrative to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses.

Tempest Esports

The strongest 2nd seed of the Group stage is how I’d rate Tempest Esports. In a very close-fought game against Filler Cuties that could have gone either way, Tempest Esports have proven themselves to be good enough to challenge the upper echelon of challengers in the tournament. Backed by Hassan “Flux” Abdullah coaching them, Tempest Esports drafts have been on point and their rotations have been impressive in all their games thus far. Individual performances will matter as each member’s form on the day will determine how big an upset they can cause.

The match-up of Tempest Esports vs Frozen Fire will be the most competitive Round of 16 match in my book and if upsets are meant to happen, I believe this is most likely the place that we’ll see it.

Frozen Fire

We consider League of Legends a team game and for the most part, it is. However, there are cases when just the mere presence of a player utterly changes the dynamics and functioning of a team. I’d consider the equation of Frozen Fire and Nikhil “Brutality” SK as one. Frozen Fire looked like a different (read: stronger) team when Brutality is their AD carry. I’m still not sure what team is going to show up in the Round of 16 but for Frozen Fire to consider themselves true contenders, it will require their star AD Carry to be playing for them.

Solo laners Aditya “Fakudolan” Kamath and Rishi “Concept Vague/Copy” Gupta are both known for their individual outplays and carry potential and that makes this Frozen Fire’s roster seems stacked with talent. It’s exactly why I feel Frozen Fire vs Tempest Esports will be the match to watch this week.

Phoenix Gaming RED (PNX R [ 3 ] D)

PNX RED are currently the team to beat in the Sri Lankan LoL scene, having qualified for the eMasters South Asia qualifiers by beating Lowkey Esports. RED cruised through their group stages with comfortable wins and are looking for a deep run in the tournament. What’s sets them apart is their wealth of experience playing competitively along with a strong teamfight oriented style which they seem to thrive on.

PNX RED caused a bit of an upset when they defeated Lowkey Esports, and I wouldn’t put it past them to cause a few in this tournament. Certainly, one of the more fun teams to keep an eye out for.

Lowkey Esports Sri Lanka

PNX Lanka Lions turned Lowkey Esports have, for the longest time, been the undisputed League Of Legends team in Sri Lanka. With every legacy though, there are times when you are faced with letdowns . As no longer the clear victors of the Sri Lankan throne, Lowkey Esports began their G-Force Showdown journey with something to prove. And prove they did in their group stages as they smashed their opponents in clinical style (probably the most dominating performance by any team in the group stage). Dare I say looking at their group stage performance — Lowkey Esports are looking darn good!

Round of 16 is just a stepping stone — their eyes are set higher this time around. Not just quarters, but beyond!

The Ones Who Will Take Over

“New Challenger appears!” suits the next set of teams well. Each of these are unique in their own way — the only common bond is the wealth of experience in each of their rosters. If you’re looking at anyone to challenge the reigning kings, it’s going to be one of these.

Exulansis Esports

Exulansis Esports started off the tournament with a clean 3–0 victory in the group stage. The roster is comprised of veterans and strong individual players who’re backed by a dedicated manager/coach helping them with picks and bans. The team is still fresh, but when you have experienced members in the roster, it takes less time to gel up and get the engine going. I see Exulansis Esports as being a potential threat to the next ones in my list. Mithul “Potatomonsta” Nayagam’s development as an ADC has been impressive, as is Santhosh “Feed or Troll 69” Kv’s transition from ADC to Mid lane.

Exulansis Esports is a team that will continue to get better the more games they get in their belt. If not in G-Force Showdown, sometime in the future, they have the potential to be among the best.

Team Clover

Team Clover’s roster is extremely promising — 2/5th’s roster of Super 6 along, an upcoming mid laner and Karthik “Dragoon” Saaghar in the AD carry role certainly is a lethal combination. The amount of stability Harshvardhan “Zuko” Ravikumar brings in Top Lane helps Team Clover play around their AD Carry and Mid Laner Vishnu “Sacred” Maurya.

Dragoon’s transition as an AD Carry may be seen as surprising by many, but he’s always shown his proficiency in playing marksman even as a jungler. His ability to hard carry propels Team Clover to this level in my opinion. And with strong backing from very stable and effective solo laners and an experienced jungler, Team Clover has found themselves a team capable of winning it all.

Filler Cuties

Filler Cuties are undeniably a top 3 team in the tournament in my book. The team has seen phenomenal growth under the coaching and guidance of Siddharth “Frost” Ranjan — group stages were tricky for Filler Cuties especially in their match against Tempest Esports. However, they showed their macro prowess that was demonstrated when they quickly finished out the game the moment they got baron.

Filler Cuties works as a well oiled machine. The bot lane in particular has looked menacing for them and have carried them through in recent games. Along with strong drafts and the ability to play the map effectively, these sets of cuties are a filler team no more. They’re here to take over.

The Ones Sitting At The Top

Legacy — it’s not often we use this word to describe teams in the South Asian LoL scene. But here we are calling out those rare few teams who’ve demonstrated time and time again as to why they belong at the top.

The following teams are expected to win the goddamn thing, and anything less than a finals appearance will be nothing short of an upset for either of them.

Red Viperz Gaming

Red Viperz Gaming has long been synonymous with being the best team in Bangladesh for years. With veteran Tariq “Forest” Al Faysal moving out to join competitor Deimos Force, few had high hopes for RV Gaming to move forward. One person though didn’t give up on the brand and kept them together, even though he wasn’t playing for them all the time.

The current best support in the South Asian scene, Jahid “Rusty Penda” Alam set it on himself to revive and rebuild the roster. The end outcome is something no one expected, but everyone fears. Arguably India’s best Mid Laner to date, Pankaj “Kaka” Upadhyay joins the team along with Korean Nationality (but living in Bangladesh) Hyunwook Lee as the Top Laner. Make no mistake, this RV Gaming roster is stacked, and even though they don’t have many games up in the belt, they more than make up for it in sheer individual talent in every lane.

There comes a point in competitive or even SoloQ when you climb that individual brilliance ends up mattering less and team synergy and macro play a bigger part. In this tourney, when teams are still finding a footing as they learn to play together, only a rare few can match the individual skill level of this roster, and RV Gaming has the potential to win just by sheer outplays. Macro’s like a backseat option for them.

Winning the G-Force Showdown tournament will reignite RV Gaming’s legacy, under their new star captain, their support.

Stormraiders

For a greater part of 2019, Stormraiders have been nothing short of an unstoppable roster in the South Asian LoL scene. With victories in Lenovo Rise of Legion, Rivals South Asian Championship and winning the Indian Qualifiers for eMasters 2020, it seems like nothing could get past this team.

Times do change, however, and as 2020 began, Stormraiders lost 2 important pieces of their roster to competing teams. In turn, they replaced it with 2 other pieces from other teams. The big question everyone wonders is — what is the net outcome? Good or bad? Well, if you’re like me, you’re waiting to see how this tournament goes to decide that.

Make no mistake, this Stormraiders roster is still extremely stacked and they cruised through their group stages similar to RV Gaming. Steve “Fufuqt” D’souza is a veteran of the LoL scene and has easily found his footing and synergy with his solo and bot laners. Suvodeep “Synth” Ghosh was already a part of the team so things didn’t necessarily change that much for them. The teamfighting oriented playstyle that they’re typically known for still exists. Top Laner Sanindhya “Deadcorporal” Malik still outclasses most Top Laners in the tournament, and Mid Laner Muzammil “Termi” Khan is looking on point as ever.

G-Force Showdown is a big determiner of how this new roster stacks up, and following their narrative as the tournament progresses will be something to watch out for.

Closing thoughts for me would most likely be questions for each of these distinctions:

Will the ones sitting at the top be taken down by the ones looking to take over?

Will the ones looking to cause an upset give us some surprises along the way?

Will the one’s looking to get acknowledged look to do more than just that?

Only time will tell.

~ Abhishek “Bhishi” Sayan