Let’s start this article with the following statement: Boy, I was wrong to ever think that Samsung Galaxy were a weak team here at Worlds. But I certainly wasn’t the only one. After pick’ems, only one person remained with a perfect set of picks. Almost no one that I talked to thought that this game would have a single SSG win over Longzhu Gaming, let alone be a clean sweep. That’s where we have to ask, what happened to LZ?
Longzhu Cuzz Playing Poorly; Ambition Over Haru
Before I dissect the series and how Cuzz performed, let’s remember that this is his first international event and it just happens to be the most high pressure scenario to boot. The fact that he was playing among the best out of his teammates in the Group Stage was a thing many didn’t expect, but sadly it then got people to have high expectations from the rookie to stay consistent.
Now moving back to the series against SSG. Cuzz looked completely lost for the majority of the game. While in game 1, he did manage to help out Khan early where Jax would normally be weakest, the rest of the series showed that Cuzz can easily be bullied around. On J4 in both game 1 and 2, Cuzz would look disjointed from his team. Constantly, we saw that Cuzz would try to jump onto Ruler or Crown when the rest of his team couldn’t follow him up.
But I think the most important part of the jungle wasn’t just Cuzz having a bad time, but Ambition playing over Haru. Similar to how SKT looked like a different team in 2016 Worlds when they opted for Benji instead of Blank, SSG look far superior to their weak Summer Split SSG when they have been playing consistently with Ambition over Haru. This was apparent from how much Ambition was able to impact the game when sparring with Cuzz. The vision was controlled by Ambition. LZ couldn’t make a play without Ambition being nearby, and Cuzz never seemed to be able to keep up with Ambition. It honestly was amazing to see Ambition playing this fantastically.
Emotions Too High
While many were praising the power of the players from LZ, this was a team of rookies and veterans with a lot to prove. Khan and Cuzz were relative newbies that came out of the woodworks to prove the World their talents. Then there were the vets of Pray and Gorilla. Both players that have finished second fiddle to SKT for several years and wanted to finally prove that they could hold the trophy high.
When you have a lot of emotion going on in players that feel the need to be the best, even one mistake can be the undoing. A lot of that can boil down to one simple play in game one that lost them it all. For those that don’t know, many attribute BDD’s Syndra play as the reason Longzhu couldn’t make the comeback. Similar to how Doublelift wanted to be the hero against SSG last year, BDD wanted to burst out Crown so his team come make a play around baron. Instead, he trades one for one with his team trying valiantly to save him and lose the position they had held over SSG.
One bad play cost them game 1. With that one the minds of all the players, they seemed like they didn’t even want to play games 2 or 3. From a game that only had one play that separated their ability to win, you would think that LZ could bounce back to win the next games. But the emotions were too high for them this day. At the end of the day, I feel for the players and hope that they can maintain stability so we see them try again next year for the title.