Written by Peter ZDS Tingson
In the previous edition of the PGS Playoff Preview, I covered the two teams that will be battling in the quarterfinals of the playoff gauntlet: Acclaim Empire X and Mineski. With this edition, I’ll be discussing the remaining two teams who are waiting in the semi-finals and finals respectively: Imperium Pro Team and Team Manila Eagles. Read on as I give an overview of the teams as well as a short discussion on their performance during the regular split, and their drafting and playstyle.
Imperium Pro Team Image Credit: Garena Philippines
- Alec “Suzaku” Valdez (Top)
- James “Kulit” Calumpag (Jungle)
- Roybie “Light” Segovia (Mid)
- Adrian “Hate” Cabero (Bot)
- Rogie “Shadow” Delacruz (Support)
- Cedrik “Ivlc” Santos (Substitute)
Imperium Pro Team is a team that’s become a household name in the Philippine League of Legends scene. The team is full of both veterans and mechanically gifted talents and this combination has helped them remain one of the best teams in the league since they first joined it. After getting reverse swept by Mineski during the spring finals, Imperium Pro Team shuffled players with their brother team, Team Manila Eagles. Longtime veterans Jaiby “JLC” Paglingayen and Kurt “Rebengga” Cristobal got transferred over to the eagles while Imperium Pro Team received Suzaku and Shadow in return to play top and support, respectively.
Summer Split Performance: 10W-4L
As it turns out, Imperium Pro Team did manage to improve and perform better after their shuffle with Team Manila Eagles. In contrast to the spring split where Imperium Pro Team was shown to struggle during the regular season of that split, they managed to have a much improved summer split. The team managed to stomp, often in convincing fashion, many of the other teams in the league. Their only losses came at the hands of their fellow contenders in the playoffs, where they lost 0-2 to Team Manila Eagles while splitting their series against both Acclaim Empire X and Mineski.
Drafting and Playstyle:
I mentioned in the previous preview that Mineski was one of the most flexible teams in the PGS, if not the most flexible, when it comes to drafting. If there is a team that can compete or rival Mineski in flexibility, it is Imperium Pro Team.
Each member of the team has a fairly wide champion pool, with mid laner Light capable of playing a wide variety of champions from assassins, to mages, and even tanks. Their new top laner, Suzaku, is one of the most mechanically proficient and skilled top laners in the league. In line with his carry style of play, he’s been seen preferring champions that are good duelists and have decent scaling. Meanwhile in the jungle, Kulit lives up to his name by picking junglers that are capable duelists for counter jungling or who can exert pressure through ganks. His substitute on the other hand, Ivlc, has been seen capable of playing champions who are also capable gankers but he generally has a more supportive style in comparison to Kulit. To round up the roster of Imperium Pro Team, we have Hate and Shadow. Hate has a wide variety of marksmen at his repertoire. Not only can he play utility-focused marksmen like Ashe, he can also play hard carries such as Vayne and lane bullies such as Caitlyn. His partner Shadow is an experienced, veteran support who is capable of playing pretty much any support that is popular in the current meta.
In terms of playstyle, Imperium Pro Team’s players are all capable laners. Being among the more mechanically proficient rosters in the league, they use their skill well to gain early advantages in the laning phase and constantly apply pressure from their. Enemy junglers also tend to have a difficult time finding opportunities to gank, not only is he capable at counter ganking, Kulit’s invades starve enemy junglers of resources if he doesn’t outright pick them off. Lastly, Imperium Pro Team have clean rotations and good understanding of macro play. While they are capable of playing the bloody, skirmish-oriented style that is prevalent among most, if not all, PGS teams, they tend to know how to also convert their small victories into objectives to further their gold lead.
Team Manila Eagles Image Credit: Garena Philippines
- Jaiby “JLC” Paglingayen (Top)
- Bryan “Kupz” Infanso (Jungle)
- Robert Dan “Trebor” Mansilungan (Mid)
- Marc “Marky” Ilagan (Bot)
- Jordan “Raux” Pamintuan (Support)
- Kurt “Rebengga” Cristobal (Substitute)
A team that’s composed of up-and-coming talent and mechanical prodigies, Team Manila Eagles have not always lived up to their potential. Even after acquiring a prodigious talent in Suzaku during the spring, they ended the previous split with disappointing results by not even managing to make it to the playoffs. During the break before the summer split started, Team Manila Eagles shuffled players with Imperium Pro Team. Suzaku and Shadow were moved to Imperium Pro Team while Team Manila Eagles acquired their brother team’s veteran star, JLC, while seeing the return of another veteran to augment their roster, Raux. The results were absolutely staggering and were enough to propel Team Manila Eagles to new heights.
Summer Split Performance: 14W-0L
Team Manila Eagles had a breakout split this summer and the results speak for themselves. 14 wins. 0 Losses. The eagles took flight and continued to soar ever higher to finishing the regular split undefeated. Clearly, this is a massive improvement in comparison to the previous two splits they played in. They failed to make the playoffs during the spring, and were the first victim of Acclaim Empire X’s cinderella story run during last year’s summer.
While Marky and Trebor could be considered good carries, the addition of both JLC and Raux did wonders for this team. JLC isn’t just one of the best top laners to ever play in the PGS, he is one of the best players to ever play in the Philippine competitive scene. His playmaking powers are one half of the reasons why Marky and Trebor are in a better position to rain down havoc onto the enemy team. The other half of that reason is Raux. When he last played professionally, he used to be IPT’s top laner before JLC took his place. His return to the PGS has him playing the support role and his performance has been nothing short of phenomenal.
Drafting and Playstyle:
In terms of drafting, Team Manila Eagles have a set pattern in their choice of champions. Nonetheless, each player on the roster are well aware of their role within the team and they all play their parts well. A normal draft by the eagles sees JLC and Kupz picking a tank or another champion that is capable of initiating plays and disrupting the enemy team. Trebor is seen playing mages and assassins, basically any champion that is capable of dealing a lot of damage or taking down enemy champions quickly. Marky on the other hand is slightly more versatile in the number of marksmen he can play. While he can play utility marksmen like Ashe, he’s been getting more success playing marksmen that can establish a strong lane presence, such as Caitlyn and Xayah. His performance on Xayah during the early parts of the split have been so dominant that teams ended up constantly banning the champion to keep him from getting his hands on her. Lastly, there is Raux, who can play both initiators and enchanters. Whether it’s on an initiator like Thresh or an enchanter like Lulu, Raux’s performances have been instrumental, game changing even, in keeping Team Manila Eagles’ carries safe.
When it comes to play style, Team Manila Eagles appear to have the best synergy among all the teams that made it to the playoffs. Their synergy during the regular reason is a big factor in them finishing undefeated, especially because of how well they play out team fights. The team is a pretty well-oiled machine. In line with their straightforward drafting, the team also plays out fights with each member of the team knowing just the right time to let loose their champion’s abilities to maximize the efficiency of their damage output.
Almost every time, it’s either JLC or Kupz initiating fights with Raux doing his best to peel for Trebor and Marky who try to deal as much damage as possible while keeping out of enemy reach. Almost every time, but they play it so well that so far teams haven’t found a response to this thus far. Even when they’re the team getting initiated against, JLC, Raux, and Kupz know how to peel for Trebor and Marky and help their carries deal damage safely. It’s a basic concept of team fighting in League of Legends but Team Manila Eagles have apparently mastered this, at least when up against the other teams in the PGS.
This about rounds up the preview of the contenders in the 2017 PGS Summer Split Playoffs. Tune in this Friday, July 14, when the quarterfinals between Acclaim Empire X and Mineski plays out. With a chance to reach the 2017 League of Legends World Championships on the line, you can bet that each team will definitely tryhard to continue their road to Worlds!