League of Legends: Quick thoughts from LPL play – January 16

Three more teams have played their first games of the LPL season, and one has played their second match. What have we learned from today’s LPL action?

Yesterday, we examined the first two days worth of matches in China’s professional League of Legends scene. We saw Invictus get a strong start to their title defense, as well as a contender emerge in FunPlus Phoenix. What did we learn from today’s LPL games?

OMG is a deep team (OMG vs. Invictus Gaming)

In OMG’s first set of the season, facing off against the defending World Champions, you would think that they would opt for their more experienced players than thrusting their green squad into the limelight. Instead, OMG started two players making their LPL debuts – top laner Hu “Ale” Jia-Le and jungler Zhou “l3est16” Zhi-Li – along with AD Carry Li “Chelly” Yu-Zhou, who only had one split of LPL under his belt. If the results were bad, one could easily question the decision, as it meant leaving veterans Xiyang and Mountain on the bench in favor of these youngsters.

But – to borrow a phrase – the kids were alright. Ale stood out as an incredibly mechanically-skilled top laner, outplaying Duke and TheShy several times, 13est16 arguably outplayed Ning, out-damaging his jungle counterpart in both games, and Chelly was respectably close to JackeyLove in damage while only dying five times over the series. With veterans on the bench to help these raw, young players, OMG could develop into a scary team by the time playoffs roll around.

Vici may have been underrated (Suning Gaming vs. Vici Gaming)

In our preseason preview, we said that Suning would likely crush Vici in their first matchup unless something went horribly wrong. While that may have been true for the last two games, it most definitely was not true of the first game of the series. Vici trounced Suning in Game 1, posting 23-4 kill score.

You could point out that Suning under-performed, especially their jungler H4cker, in the first game, but that’s doing a disservice to Vici. Rookie players Jay, Puff, and Southwind especially played well in that first game in place of the veteran holdovers from last year’s atrocious Vici team that finished last in the East Region last summer. They may not be true contenders, but they may not be quite as bad as we made them out to be.

What did you think of these teams’ performances? Are you looking forward to tomorrow’s games between Victory Five/Topsports and EDG/Snake?

The LPL resumes tomorrow at 4 AM EST.