The Trimester Awards: Champions Spring Korea

by Tyler "Fionn" Erzberger Feb 4 2015
Thumbnail image courtesy of OGN

OGN Champions Spring has made it through one third of its regular season, so you all know what time it is, right? 

Time to hand out some awards! With each team having played at least 10 games so far on the season, we've seen some players rise, some fall and teams jockeying for position to land in one of four precious playoff spots.

Most Valuable Top Laner Award: Duke (NaJin e-mFire)

This award came down to two players: first, GE Tigers' Smeb, who has been outstanding this season while becoming one of the premier carry top laners in the world. The seconds, Duke, is the heart and soul of NaJin e-mFire and one of the only bright spots on a team that has staggered to a disappointing 2-3 start of the season.

In the six games that NaJin has won this season, Duke has been awarded the MVP of the game award five times. This means that in all but one of their victories, Duke has been seen as the primary reason why NaJin was able to capture a win. Duke, while not having the high KDA like Smeb or the same carry mentality, is the most versatile top lane player in Korea; if NaJin needs him to play a tank, he can. If they need him to be the primary engage, stun four people and set up a favorable team fight, he can.

Duke has not only done everything NaJin has asked him to do but surpassed everything asked of him. Without Smeb, the Tigers most likely wouldn't be undefeated, but still a top three team in the league. Without Duke, NaJin would be at the bottom of the table alongside KT and Samsung, fighting for scraps with no hope of a playoff appearance.

Most Valuable Jungler Award: Lee (GE Tigers)

Lee was seen as a one trick pony last year when he a rookie on NaJin Black Sword. He could play Lee Sin decently — one would hope so — putting his early aggressive style to good use, but was flat during the late-game and wasn't nearly as proficient on other champions.

Now on the GE Tigers, Lee has firmly established himself as the best jungler currently in Korea alongside Jin Air's Chaser. Lee gets the nod for our Trimester award due to his insane growth as a jungler, getting better by each game he plays. His insane pressure in the early game has gelled with his carry top laner Smeb, and he's been a big reason why Pray and Gorilla have been the best performing bot lane thus far in Champions.

Most Valuable Mid Laner Award: GBM (Jin Air Green Wings)

If you were to tell someone that GBM would be seen as an elite mid laner in Korea back in early 2013, you would have been laughed at. GBM, formerly of CJ Entus Frost, had a strong start to his career but never improved after that point; GBM's champion pool, mostly consisting of a heavy amount of Orianna play, was preyed upon and broken down by imposing teams. After a while, GBM's play become so predictable that he became a non-factor for most teams playing against him.

When Jin Air's starting mid laner Fly announced he was leaving the team to play in China, all hope looked to be lost for an optimistic Jin Air squad. Instead of signing an impressive amateur from solo queue, Jin Air went with GBM, a player who had been with the organization for a while but was seen as a massive downgrade compared to the versatile Fly.

GBM might not be the best mid laner in Korea — that award still belonging to SKT's Faker — but he is definitely the most valuable. Called upon during a time when Jin Air needed a replacement, GBM has finally shown growth from the Orianna specialist that broke into the professional scene almost two years ago. He's added various champions to his repertoire, giving him the ability to play around Jin Air's various team compositions. 

Time will tell if GBM is truly one of the best players in Korea, but right now he's showing us that it doesn't matter if you're a rookie or two year veteran -- you can always improve your game.

Most Valuable AD Carry Award: PraY (GE Tigers)

When PraY took a break from professional League of Legends around a year ago, most believed he was done. Yeah, it was announced as a "break" to recharge his batteries after playing for two years straight, but the writing was on the wall. PraY, the former best AD carry in all of Korea, had been passed up by the new generation of AD's: Imp, Deft, and Piglet.

His announcement to the new GE Tigers team came with little fanfare. It was a team primarily made up of players that NaJin had passed over and Smeb, an Incredible Miracle player who was regarded as one of the weakest starting top lane players in Korea. Since partnering with GorillA in the bottom lane, PraY has been on the warpath, returning to the level that made him the most feared carry in Korea two years ago.

The team has shown how confident they are in PraY's ability, creating compositions that allow him to attack from the front lines due to his team's shield and speed utility. Their confidence in PraY has paid off in spades, the former Korean all-star holding onto an over 11 KDA so far in the first five games

Most Valuable Support Award: GorillA (GE Tigers)

Rounding out our Trimesters, we have another Tiger picking up an award. While all five Tigers had a legit case to win their position, the support position came down to two people: GorillA and CJ Entus' MadLife. Although Madlife has had a resurgent season, linking up with Space to create a top three bottom lane, GorillA and PraY are the undisputed AD/support duo in Korea.

Many were surprised when GorillA left NaJin, presumably the team choosing Cain's experience over him, but the trading of teams hasn't slowed down the Season 4 quarter-finalist. GorillA's aggressive play making abilities were never utilized to their utmost potential when playing with the safe, utility-centric Zefa on NaJin White, but PraY is anything but safe.

PraY's style has mixed with Gorilla's beautifully, creating a juggernaut tag team that hasn't been stopped so far through the first third of the season. The Tigers, expected to be a mid-table team when the campaign began, is now shooting for a first place spot in the regular season and a Spring championship.

Tyler "Fionn" Erzberger is The eSports Writer. No, really. The eSports Writer. Follow him on Twitter.