The strength of the next generation’s League of Legends pros has been on display throughout the High School League of Legends AU & NZ Championship. Now, the Finals are here.
Each region committed their strongest teams to the High School competition in September. One by one, they were whittled down to the best Oceania has to offer. Now, flying in to the OPL Studios in Sydney, Australia to play live on stage are two incredible up-and-coming teams: Rangitoto College (NZ) and Willetton Senior High School (WA)!
In a Best of 5 Grand Final series, Rangitoto College and Willetton Senior High School will face off to determine which school is home to the best high school players in Australia and New Zealand. Each team has their strengths and weaknesses, but both show promise and strength in their play. Let’s break down their Finals performances to see what’s in store this Grand Final.
Showing versatility and attitude unparalleled in the competition so far, Rangitoto has a lot to offer up. With mid laner LGC Somnus M and top laner Buon Appetito willing to swap roles at a moment’s notice, there are two different styles of play we’ve seen from them in the early game.
Whichever lane he’s in, Buon Appetito is a hold-the-line player. He won’t steal the spotlight or create devastating plays, but you can bet he’ll be working closely with his jungler White Palette. While it seems that both players are more comfortable on tanks, with White Palette favouring Sejuani in the Finals and Buon Appetito shining with zero deaths on both Sion and Cho’Gath, there’s a certain flexibility the duo unlocks in draft.
While Worlds fans might have taken notice of the mid-jungle duo strategy, Rangitoto flips that on its head and gives their jungler free reign of both jungles. LDC Somnus M works well with White Palette not only to hold on to mid but to consistently invade their opponent’s jungle and secure an early lead, leaving their bottom and top lane all the safer for their efforts. So the legend goes, LDC Somnus M played the Finals from a hospital bed. If he can 3v1 top players in sickness, imagine what LDC Somnus M can do in health.
Not that their bottom lane necessarily needs it– LCD DK on AD Carries is a menace and his support, lemonlord, had only one death in the entirety of their Finals run. That’s no small feat when you consider lemonlord participated in two thirds of all kills across their three Finals games.
What does their gameplay come down to? Well, the strategy is simple: Let LGC Somnus M farm both minions and champions in whichever lane he’s in as a confident 1v1 player while LCD DK waits to come alive at 15 minutes and decimate the competition.
There are clear weaknesses in Rangitoto’s play, though– White Palette stumbled on Nidalee, missing spears left and right and ultimately not showing the threatening presence you would expect from Rangitoto’s jungler after viewing White Palette’s Sejuani play.
Additionally, they have a certain arrogance that’s endearing while also acting as an Achilles heel. Their penchant for emotes and love of flashy fights could be their downfall in the late game if they’re not careful. Their opponents, Willetton Senior High School, will turn an inch into a mile if given the opportunity. Will Rangitoto’s cockiness allow them to turn the tides of battle?
Willetton Senior High School
The first thing to pay attention to when it comes to Willetton Senior High School is their ban phases. Whether it’s a worry for their bot lane or simply a point of preference, Willetton likes to ban out support and junglers. This strategy might prove very useful against their opponents, seeing as Rangitoto’s jungle aggression is a cornerstone of their gameplay.
WilloAndy, the team’s top laner, prefers engage-capable champions like Camille, though also pulled out Shen in their first game of the Finals to moderate success. Their jungler, VISION, likes wall jumpers and playmakers, utilising the most mobile champions the team can get their hands on. While VISION played overly aggressive on Lee Sin in their first match and was punished, VISION tapered that back and found a healthy balance of playmaking versus frontlining by their final game.
TehClownz is a midlane monster when he wants to be, diving past Tier 1 towers with VISION to secure early game kills. Willetton’s aggressiveness cannot be understated when it comes to their mid-jungle duo. Both of TehClownz’s Galio games saw him show up when the team needed him most, but it was an Urgot game that truly showed the extent of what TehClownz is capable of when given a technical champion.
With so much focus on top and mid lane, the bot lane duo of NS Peanut and MushroomZac are often left to fend for themselves. However, where Rangitoto’s ADC LCD DK is often the star of the show in their matches, it’s MushroomZac that shows arguably the most promise on Willetton.
Excelling at root-centric mage supports, their final game of the day saw MushroomZac’s Zyra go 4/0/14, earning him the achievement of least deaths on his team throughout their Finals run. MushroomZac’s consistent play and reliability makes for an impressive showing from an unsung hero on Willetton’s roster.
The biggest concern Willetton fans should have lies in their drafting and early execution. While their drafting style does lend to countering Rangitoto’s patented jungle aggression, Willetton all too easily give up power picks such as Kai’Sa to their opponents in favour of a draft they personally prefer.
Their over-aggression early game in the mid lane could sway the game in their direction; however, LGC Somnus M was 3v1 and even 4v1ing his opponents in the Finals. Willetton could very easily be punished for tower diving while White Palette snaps up their jungle camps in the background. If they can persevere through the mid-game power spikes of Rangitoto, though, Willetton can come out on top with a single game-changing play.