Since their inception one year ago, Qiao Gu Reapers (QG) have been growing and improving as a team. This season they have a distinct identity and fans or neutral viewers are right to be excited for this team fight oriented team. With great players in all lanes and two world class marksmen QG’s competitors should be wary. This is a team that is expected to make at least the semifinals, anything less than that will be considered an extremely poor performance. After a disappointing 2015 season in which QG failed to qualify for the World Championship, they hope to stake their claim as the best team, not only in China; but in the world.
The main roster remains unchanged from last season with:
- Bao “V” Bo in the Top Lane
- Baek “Swift” Dae-hoon in the Jungle
- Kim “DoinB” Tae-sang in the Mid Lane
- Yu “Peco” Rui as Marskman
- Zhang “Mor” Hong-Wei as Support
The substitutes for this roster are:
- Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao as Marksman
- Bae “dade” Eo-jin in the Mid Lane
- Kim “BoriSal” Yeong-hoon in the Mid Lane
Qiao Gu Reapers may not have much hype behind them with a lack of ‘star’ players on the main roster. However, QG is not a team that relies on one player, nor do they require flashy plays or gaining an early advantage to win games.
V is an extremely versatile player, who has played six different champions this season and is capable of creating great teleport plays and engages. His biggest downfall is his tendency to overextend and at times play over aggressively however this seems to be a common trait shared within the team.
DoinB is a high-elo solo queue player picked from Korea. He is known for his consistency and proficiency in playing control mages such as Viktor, Kassadin and Lulu. This season he has picked up LeBlanc with great success and has offered his team an assassin option in the mid lane.
Swift is an extremely strong jungler who often farms the jungle for a gold lead and ganks only when he is sure of a kill. His two best champions right now are Rek’Sai and Graves and he has shown to be devastating with them.
Peco formerly known as TnT is arguably one of the best marksman in the world. His average KDA is 13.5 over 13 games and he constantly dishes out damage despite being one skill away from dying. Peco’s positioning is something that every viewer should keep an eye on, as he always seems to be away from all the commotion whilst still being a major threat.
Mor is known for his proficiency on tanky support champions such as Alistar and Braum. He is known for both his engages and his peeling, often creating game change opportunities from a gold deficit.
Uzi who is known for his aggressive playstyle has played only four games this season. Although Uzi is an exceptional player, it is unlikely to see him play more than one or two games in this tournament.
For those who have not been following the LPL scene, they may be left wondering what has happened to dade? Many of those who follow dade’s career has known him for both his exceptional heights and his inconsistency. Ever since losing to their sister team, Samsung White, in the 2014 World Championship and joining Masters3, dade has not been the same player he once was. Perhaps his move from Masters3 to Qiao Gu is the nail in the coffin for his career.
The Current State of the Team
Qiao Gu Reapers are currently sitting on top of Group A in the Chinese Region’s LPL. They are seven wins and one loss in the regular season, losing to Royal Never Give Up and dropping one game against Vici Gaming. So far, QG has defeated LGD Gaming, Team World Elite, Energy Pace Maker, Master3, Snake ESports, OMG and Vici Gaming.
Prior to their loss against Royal Never Give , QG were considered the strongest team in China as they were unrivaled in their group. After their weaker performance against VG and RNG in Group B, many are labeling Group B as the better group with the likes of Royal Never Give Up, Invictus Gaming and Edward Gaming.
After 17 games this season it appears that teams have figured QG out. Many of the QG games this season has been somewhat one dimensional. QG often picks champions that are great for team fighting and creating opportunities for small skirmishes across the map.
QG’s games often follow two different scenarios:
1. They either defeat their opponents in an extremely convincing manner giving up very little, controlling both the early-game and mid-game. The games this season show that when QG wins the early game there is almost no way of coming back. They give the enemy no room to breathe and seem to win all their fights flawlessly eventually taking out the nexus.
2. The team loses the early-game by being overaggressive, overextending around the map and making careless plays in attempt to gain a gold advantage early on. Often teams punish them for their recklessness, however, they almost always miraculously come back in the mid to late-game with their superior macro play, synergy and team fighting abilities.
However, in the games this season QG has shown glaring weaknesses that can be exploited by a good pick and ban phase, as well as a strong lane phase. Forcing Mor off his two signature champions, Alistar and Braum is a must. These two champions allow him to be both the playmaker and the impenetrable wall for his team. Banning or picking Swift’s main champion Rek’Sai will give the opposing team a lot more freedom as Swift is a jungler that loves to be everywhere. Teams playing against QG need to win the early game or create a lane swap winning opportunity. After 17 games this season QG does not appear to have a good read on the lane swap strategy and often loses the early game when teams employ it correctly. The most important thing to keep in mind when playing against QG is that you should never fight on QG’s terms. Teams need to be proactive and have great cohesion if they want to win against QG.
Qiao Gu Reapers appear to be the strongest team in their group of SK Telecom T1, Fnatic and Counter Logic Gaming. SK Telecom T1 are currently struggling in the LCK and seems to be a beatable team this season. Fnatic with their new roster are inconsistent and have yet to find their own identity. Counter Logic Gaming may be the dark horses in this group with their great read on the lane swap strategy as well as their great team synergy. Overall, I expect QG to win their group and at the very least make it to the semifinals.