Team Whales Preview showcases one of the most interesting teams of the VCS – and also the only team debuting in the Worlds Play-In.
The 2023 League of Legends World Championship started this week! The 8 Play-In teams began their journey to the Swiss Stage on Tuesday – and so far, it’s unclear which 2 will make it to the big leagues. The four winners of the first round, PSG Talon, LOUD, CTBC Flying Oyster and to most of the community’s surprise, Team Whales have the best shot, but how likely is it that the VCS 2nd seed makes it to the Main Stage?
Team Whales Preview
Team Whales History
Team Whales is a team that came out of nowhere to participate in the 2023 LoL Worlds. The organization joined the Vietnamese Championship Series last year, before the start of the Summer Split when they bought the spot of Luxury Esports. In their first split, they couldn’t make it to the top, but they finished 5th, just outside of the Playoff teams. After making some roster changes, they got 2nd place in the 2023 Spring Season, but couldn’t live up to the hype after failing to get through Cerberus Esports in the Playoffs. Team Whales revised their roster, only keeping their support, Bie and their midlaner, Glory, signing Sparda, Artemis and legendary VCS jungler BeanJ. Together, they finished 2nd in both the Summer Split and the Summer Playoffs – which is an incredible achievement, even though they couldn’t best GAM Esports.
Even though Team Whales doesn’t have a long history, it had it’s fair share of players, but now it seems the Vietnamese squad found their most capable roster.
Team Whales Roster
- Nguyễn „Sparda” Võ Anh Hoàng
- Nguyễn „BeanJ” Võ Anh Hoàng
- Lê „Glory” Ngọc Vinh
- Trần „Artemis” Quốc Hưng
- Trần „Bie” Đức Hiếu
Team Whales Playstyle
Team Whales comes from one of the most aggressive regions of the Worlds circuit, but they themselves are not a squad that favours early aggression. They are a much more reserved team than GAM Esports or even Saigon Buffalo, a previous representative of the region, with a traditional playstyle built around Glory and Artemis.
Even though they are a stable team, they are not the most impressive when you look at their stats: they finished the early game with a lead in only half of their games in the Summer Split, and have a low Major Lead and a high Major Deficit number compared to other Worlds teams, meaning that they don’t really shine in the laning phase. This means that their kills before 14 minutes are also low, especially by VCS standards, as the 1st seed of their region is one of the bloodiest of the World Championship.
They come online in the mid- or late-game, depending on when Artemis comes online. The ADC is the main carry of their team with Glory following closely behind. Artemis, who played for Cerberus most of his career is an adept at teamfighting, often carrying his teammates through sheer positioning and clutch mechanical plays. He was the best Marksman in terms of KDA, Kill Participation and DMG% in the Summer VCS, even though his early game is not that strong. However, thanks to their ADC, Team Whales is the 4th best team of the World Championship in Teamfight K/D, only behind PSG Talon, MAD Lions and KT Rolster, while Artemis is second only to LNG’s botlaner, Light in the individual stat.
Outside of Glory and Artemis, Sparda is a player that should be on everyone’s radar, especially when he’s on his Aatrox. Even though we didn’t see the iconic pick against Team BDS, you should expect it, as GAM Esports banned the Darkin Blade in 4 matches out of 5 against Whales in the VCS Summer finals.
Team Whales have shocked everyone when they managed to beat Team BDS on the second day of the World Championship, knocking Adam and his teammates down to the Loser’s Bracket. Even though they took a beating in the first match, in the second match, they managed to get to the lategame, while in the third bout, they left no room for the Swiss team to recuperate. This mental fortitude could easily mean that they will be the ones to proceed to the Qualification Match – if they can get through CTBC Flying Oyster.