This will be the second installment in my two part series on the most improved player during this year, first part covers Korea and North America and can be found here, now its time to go over Europe and China, Enjoy!
3.) Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider
Amazing had a good Season 4 run on Team SoloMid, reaching the World Championships and leaving the Group Stage in second place only to fall to the eventual Champions Samsung White in a 3-1 quarterfinal, despite the success he was viewed as the weak link of the team, famously criticized for a small champion pool, he could only perform on two champions: Lee Sin and Elise. The flak was so much he stepped down from the team and returned to Europe to later join Xpeke’s new team, Origen. When in the LCS, Amazing looked solid according to many; however, in my opinion he was underrated a lot. His synergy and warding with Spanish support Alfonso “mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez is the main reason Origen made their way through the EU LCS into the Semi-Finals of the World Championship in Season 5. I didn’t really like him on his days of a semi-carry Jungler on TSM; howver, now his ward heavy and tank based play makes him one of the best Junglers out there.
2.) Yoo “Ryu” Sang-ook
Ryu’s career took a very heavy dive at the end of Season 4 after his carrier was not able to work in Korea’s Premiere League. While moving to Millennium in an attempt to try and qualify into LCS, he still experienced failure. At the beginning of the year he found himself playing as the Mid Laner for H2K after the departure of previous Mid Laner Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten. His expectations were already low due to the decay of his play; however, Ryu was not done yet. He was “The Rock” for H2K’s run, always consistent, always a carry, and excelling on AP Casters such as Orianna and his renowned Ahri which went undefeated in the summer for a 5-0 record. The new year looks rough again for the team as they might have lost their top-tier Support KaSing to Team SoloMid.
1.) Fabian “Febiven” Diepstraten
This is Febiven’s rookie year, only qualifying for the LCS for the first time in Spring with H2K he moved instantly to the new Fnatic squad under supervision of veteran Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim. The Dutch Mid Laner had a small reputation as a choker failing to qualify with Cloud 9 Eclipse and under performing when it mattered; however, the kid had talent! He just needed someone to grow it appropriately, that someone was Yellowstar and boy he got good. Febiven exploded into the Mid Season Invitational securing a Semi-Final spot vs SKT and solo killing the best player in the world Faker twice. During the summer his dominance only grew going undefeated for a 18-0 record and leading the EU LCS in KDA with 6.2. At the World Championship Fnatic again made it into the Semi-Finals and Febiven earned a spot of the elite Mid Laners at the World Championship.
3.) Lee “Spirit” Da-yoon
After finishing Season 4, Spirit along with most of the top Korean players moved to China looking for a better economic situation, landing in Team WE he got as much money as he wanted; however, it came with a price, terrible teammates. The team has struggled to keep out of last place during all of the year, only having the bright spot of pulling off what some call the biggest upset in the history of the game against the GE Tigers at the time in IEM’s Season IX World Championship. This record doesn’t do justice to his individual play, he was regarded as on of the best Junglers in the world in the Spring as he was able to hard-carry on Nidalee and Reksai pulling a few wins here and there to keep from the team away from relegation. In the summer he cooled off a bit, ironically; however, Spirit continued his dominance in an attempt to aid his team. Moving into Season 6, he is rumored to go back to Korea and I suggest paying attention to his career he might be close to his peak or maybe we lost one of the best Junglers in his peak on a low-tier Chinese team.
2.) Gu “imp” Seung-bin
Despite being part of the Season 4 World champions, Samsung White, imp was overshadowed by his laning partner Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong, when he left for China many were questioning his skills without the God support by his side. After joining LGD Gaming he simply continued to improve. The Spring regular season was mediocre for the team ending in 6th place; however, suspicions of analyst that the team was possibly not trying their hardest were true, LGD showed a new face in the Spring Playoffs sweeping OMG 3 -0, Snake eSports 3 – 0, and finally losing against eventual MSI winners EDward Gaming in a really close 2 – 3 Final barely missing on the trip to Tallahassee. After that the Summer was a similar story, mediocre during the regular season; however, what is important of the summer is imp’s personal play. He elevated to new heights picking up the slack of other members. imp dominated the last weeks of the Regular Season and even more going into the Playoffs he was almost God-like. On his back LGD was able to beat their rivals EDG in a 3 – 0 series where imp once more showed he was a top-tier AD Carry and finally winning the League with a 3 – 2 series win over Qiao Gu making himself the first “Triple Crown Champion (Including an OGN Win in 2013, his World Championship win in 2014 and the LPL Title in 2015) in the world. The 2015 world championship was a disappointing performance from the team finishing 2 – 4 in the Group Stages and missing the Playoffs. To finish off Season 5, he will compete at IEM San Jose for a chance of redemption.
1.) Ming “ClearLove” Kai
This is another player that was good before this year, one of the best of all time in my opinion, going into Season 5 with fifteen tournament wins in his career was very impressive. With the new year, brought new challenges, after adding Pawn and Deft to the roster EDG was lacking in early game play making and power causing ClearLove to evolve his style of play completely, going from his iconic farm heavy and team-fighting style, he decided to learn early game Junglers such as Lee Sin and accelerating the pace on EDG games camping for the bottom lane to get the star AD Carry player Deft fed and strong. The Mid Season Invitational was another trophy added to the already stacked collection after beating SK Telecom in a Game Five with the famous “anti-Leblanc composition.” In the summer his style went back in time a bit, with the rise of cinderhulk some more farming was allowed and EDG continued to do well. The playoffs is where it went wrong losing to LGD 3 – 0 and following that another upset losing to Invictus Gaming 3 – 1 made EDG have to battle in the Chinese Regionals to qualify for the World Championship. Once the team began to compete in Europe they got out of the Group Stages and lost in the Quarter-Finals to Europe’s Fnatic. ClearLove changed his style completely during the year showing a new aggressive face that helped EDG’s reign as the best team in the World for most of the spring. The team will now end the year competing in IEM Cologne on December.
Written by Wannabe
Edited by Williaf