At the 2015 League of Legends World Championship, Brazil’s Pain Gaming shocked all onlookers, taking games off of Taiwan’s Flash Wolves and North America’s Counter Logic Gaming, crushing the latter’s dreams of leaving the group stage.
In the 2016 World Championship Brazil’s INTZ eSports showed up big, defeating EDward Gaming in the first game of the group and eventually allowing H2K Gaming to take the first place seed.
Now, at the 2017 Mid-Season Invitational, RED Canids are ready to add their name to the list of Brazilian teams to step foot on the international stage. This will be Brazil’s MSI debut, and it is sending arguably the strongest team in Brazilian League of Legends history.
RED Canids Roster
Let’s take a look at the players who will spearhead Brazil’s MSI bid.
RED Canids employs a unique dual-sub swap in both of their carry roles, depending on the style they want to play.
Starting Mid Laner Gabriel “tockers” Claumann, is a very safe player, often preferring control mages such as Cassiopeia and Syndra. He has no problem sitting back and farming until mid game when his team decides to group up.
The team’s substitute in mid lane is fan favorite Felipe “YoDa” Noronha. YoDa’s playstyle is vastly different from tockers. YoDa is a much more aggressive player, favoring AP assassins such as Ahri and Leblanc. These champions allow him to utilize a style focused heavily on playmaking, a vast difference from tockers controlled style. However, YoDa is very reliant on his early game going well. A good early game in the mid lane could spell an easy win as YoDa flies around the map, snowballing the rest of the game for his team.
On the flipside, if things go poorly in the early game, YoDa often has a tough time recovering, and RED Canids are quick to sub tockers back in the moment things go south. Having both an aggressive and a passive Mid Laner can interchange when needed is definitely something they can use to their advantage.
Starting at ADC is Felipe “brTT” Goncalves. brTT is a very passionate player [seriously, those are Draven axes on his arms], previously playing internationally for paiN Gaming at the 2015 World Championship. His experience on the international will be crucial for Brazil’s MSI debut. brTT has a history of aggression, often flashing forward for kills and living on a knife’s edge similar to the style TSM’s Jason “Wildturtle” Tran. Sometimes that aggression leads him to overstep in the wrong situation, but RED Canids have developed the safest, most disciplined version of brTT thus far.
RED’s other sub is in the ADC role. Gustavo “SacyR” Rossi didn’t play at all in the regular season, but he did play twice in the playoffs with 100% winrate out of two games. He plays a very passive, controlled laning phase that chokes out most ADCs, often zoning his opponents off of farm and punishing for mistakes.
Partnering with both AD Carries we have support Hugo “Dioud” Padioleau. Dioud is the only member on this team who isn’t from Brazil. A French player, he originally played for notorious EU LCS teams Ninjas in Pyjamas and G2 eSports (Gamers2 at the time) before moving over to Brazil to join paiN Gaming. He is a very strong mechanical player with an aggressive playstyle in lane. He is not afraid to go all in when he’s in a 2v2 scenario, and it usually works out in RED’s favor.
Leonardo “Robo” Souza is the rock RED Canids can depend on. He held down the top lane in Brazil, rarely losing laning phases in the regular season or in the playoffs of CBLOL. Despite playing primarily tanks, Robo’s micro play in lane is much higher than most top laners in Brazil. When given the opportunity, Robo uses his skill gap to gain advantages in carry-centric matchups. Robo’s versatility only adds to his value, and he’s shown that regardless of matchup or champion, he has a strong grasp on spreading his advantage to his team. He will often coordinate with his jungler and support for a four man gank mid lane to help tockers or YoDa snowball. His understanding of teleport usage is the best in CBLoL, often seizing an opportunity well before his opponent and tilting the bottom lane in RED Canids’ favor.
Roaming the jungle is Carlos “Nappon” Henrique Rücker. Despite RED being an astounding team with top players from Brazil in each role, Nappon was sitting around third in the standings for CBLOL junglers. With the skill gap being so large between Brazil and five major regions in the competition, anything less than the best may not hold up if Brazil’s MSI representatives are to proceed through the play-in stage.
Previously, Nappon had only shown a utility-based jungling style, often having low impact on the early game despite preferring champions like Elise. In the CBLOL playoffs, however, he was phenomenal. His early ganks were more successful than in the regular season, which allowed him to exert more map pressure and deny enemy junglers through counterjungling. If he maintains his level of play from playoffs for MSI Brazil will be looking like the Wild Card region to beat.
RED Canids have decided to pick up Ram “Brokenshard” Djemal as a trial Head Coach for Brazil’s MSI bid. This is extremely valuable and may give them yet another advantage on the MSI Wild Card Teams. He was the head coach of Team Dignitas, the assistant coach of INTZ eSports at the 2016 World Championship, and other coaching positions for challenger teams. With Brokenshard, RED Canids have the most experienced coach out of any of the MSI Wild Card Teams.
Brokenshard isn’t just a coach, he knows what it’s like to be under the pressure that professional players are under. He has played for challenger teams TCM-Gaming, Dragonborn, ESC-Gaming, Absolute Legends.Omega, IWantCookie, and SK Gaming Prime. He was also a part of compLexity when they qualified for LCS, and even played for Copenhagen Wolves in LCS.
Contrary to the usual fiery bravado seen out of top Brazilian teams, everyone on RED seems to be very well composed as far as their mental state. They retain resiliency in the face of adversity, and that shows in the way they play the game as a team. RED plays aggressive early and pushes individual lane leads into global advantages, but they know how to scrape their way back into a game. They are extremely good at looking for a pick and translating it to a baron play, or even just sneaking baron from under the enemy’s nose to turn the tides late game. This type of fortitude is a requirement for international competition, and if RED Canids can maintain their composure at MSI Brazil will have their best chance at international success.
The way that MSI is set up this year is quite different than previous years. This year, for the group stage, Riot are taking the 8 Wild Card Teams and putting them into two groups of four, similar to the World Championship Group Stage. The team with the highest record from each group advances.
Each group winner is randomly paired against either North American Champions TSM or LMS Champions Flash Wolves in a best of five series. The losers of each best of five then go into a losers bracket, which is another best of five series for the final spot. These three succeeding teams will join South Korea’s SK Telecom T1, Europe’s G2 Esports, and the Chinese representative for MSI.
How do RED take down the MSI Wild Card Teams in Group Stage?
Brazi’s RED Canids have been placed into Group A. They have been pooled with Oceania’s Dire Wolves, Turkey’s SuperMassive eSports, and Japan’s Rampage. RED Canids are the best team in the pool by a substantial margin. RED Canids have great early game prowess that leads into clean mid to late game macro play that outclasses the other teams in the group.
If RED Canids do not make it out of Group A, it would be a surprising upset and a disappointment for Brazil’s MSI debut .
Whoever plays RED Canids first, however, may have an advantage. YoDa has received a three game suspension and a $2000 fine due to racist tweets. RED really likes to play him when they are in need of a change in playstyle, and when he is able to reach his peak, he is the strongest player on the RED Canids roster.
It’s no surprise then that RED performs best when brTT is playing with YoDa. The volatile pair have the highest highs on the roster, trading in the consistency of tockers and SacyR for an explosive, albeit risky, carry combination. If the jungler shows himself bottom due to brTT’s aggression, YoDa isn’t afraid to jump at the opportunity to solo kill his laner or roam bottom to help in a skirmish.
YoDa’s three game suspension could have potentially costed them a loss that they can’t afford in group stage. Without him, they are limited to their strategies and it leaves the team looking less dimensional. With or without YoDa, however, they are still the clear favorites to make it out of group stage and carry out the first order of business for Brazil’s MSI bid.
How do RED take down FW?
Nappon vs Karsa
In this matchup, Flash Wolves’ Hung “Karsa” Hau-Hsuan is clearly the superior jungler. Karsa is prominent on the carry oriented junglers with early pressure, where as Nappon is limited to more utility oriented champions if he expects to thrive at an international level.
Karsa tends to stay around the mid lane to help out star mid laner Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang. These two players have been top international competitors in their roles for a long time and their synergy has developed immensely over the years. They are the stars of Flash Wolves, and this is where the biggest skill gap lies for RED Canids. If Nappon can help develop a lead in the side lanes, he may be able to stop some of the bleeding these two will inevitably inflict.
Tockers&YoDa vs. Maple
In this matchup, RED needs to play tockers in every game of the series. The crowd may want to see YoDa play as he is the more mechanically inclined player, but playing YoDa would not be in their best interest. YoDa plays too aggressively for the classic Maple Karsa dynamic duo. He is very confident and doesn’t always respect enemy junglers. If he tries to implement his normal playstyle, the one-two punch of Maple and Karsa will put him in his place.
Tockers is the better option in this situation because he is completely fine with playing safe during the laning phase. Karsa, by nature, is drawn to wanting to get Maple ahead. If tockers can minimize the damage in mid lane and waste some of Karsa’s time, Nappon can focus on getting RED Canids’ side lanes ahead.
BrTT&SacyR/Dioud vs Betty/SwordArt
This matchup is one RED has to hope for the best in. Betty and SwordArt have been on top of their game recently, posting the two highest KDAs for any bot lane player – either role – in the LMS by a wide margin. This bot lane has been rolling through any bottom lane they have played against in Taiwan’s LMS with their lane presence and precise mechanics.
RED’s only hope for this lane would be to play SacyR in this series. His playstyle is much more suitable for the matchup. BrTT plays too aggressive for comfort. If he makes one mistake, Betty and SwordArt will have no trouble punishing it heavily.
Robo vs MMD
RED Canids’ sturdy top laner may be their saving grace. Robo is a better mechanical player than Yau “MMD” Li-Hung and he has a stronger grasp on bringing his lead to the rest of the map. Plus, MMD doesn’t know how to play from behind. When he finds himself falling behind, he does not adjust. He keeps the same playstyle and seems to expect different results despite a gold deficit. Robo will stay one step ahead of MMD mentally, and if Nappon can help him get an early lead they have high snowball potential from the top lane if he makes his way onto carry top laners.
Team Macro play
Flash Wolves clearly has the stronger macro. Their macro play was inconsistent at the 2016 World Championship, but this season that have looked more dominant than ever. Flash Wolves had a 27-2 record for the entire LMS Spring, playoffs included. Having already captured the LMS championship trophy as well as the IEM Season XI World Championship trophy, Flash Wolves come into MSI riding high.
RED Canids also have very clean macro play, but the skill gap between their players and the Flash Wolves is massive in nearly ever yrole.
RED Canids would need nothing short of a miracle to pull off an upset on Flash Wolves. If they were to pull it off, they would need to not crack under the pressure of Maple and Karsa, and try to get Robo ahead seeing how that is their only advantageous matchup. Robo will also have to come out of his comfort zone of playing primarily tank top laners like Maokai and Poppy, and pull out more of the Fiora and Ekko that he has seen success on in the past.
How do RED take down TSM?
Nappon vs Svenskeren
Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen is going to run circles around Nappon. His early aggression is going to be way too much for Nappon to deal with. If Svenskeren invades him and his team doesn’t collapse, Nappon will have no chance the jungle 1v1. If you give Svenskeren an early lead, he will have no issue converting to the rest of his team.
Nappon really has to make sure he keeps track of Sven to the best of his abilities or he, and the rest of his team, will be in serious trouble.
tockers&YoDa vs Bjergsen
This is going to be a tough lane for RED’s mid lane, seeing how they are up against the “Faker of NA”. Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg is a better than both of RED Canids’ mid laners in every aspect. Their best bet would be to start YoDa game 1. His hyper aggressive style may catch Bjergsen off guard. If he loses game one, RED should think about switching him out for tockers for a safer laning phase. Overall, RED Canids should look to focus on other lanes they have a better chance of winning.
BrTT&SacyR/Dioud vs WildTurtle/Biofrost
Jason “WildTurtle” Tran is a slightly better ADC than both of RED Canids’ marksmen, but the biggest discrepancy would be in the support role. Vincent “Biofrost” Wang is arguably the best support in North America. His lane presence is extremely consistent, often minimizing the bleeding of WildTurtle through his poor laning phase without falling far behind. Wildturtle has not looked this good in at least two years, and Biofrost has been a large part of his resurgence and current level of play.
For Brazil’s MSI representatives to see the best results in this matchup, they should employ a similar tactic as highlighted above in the mid lane matchup. Since brTT is the more aggressive player, pairing him with YoDa is what they need to do. RED Canids early game oriented playstyles may catch TSM off guard and develop enough of a lead to take games before TSM has time to find their balance.
Robo vs Hauntzer
Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell has been looking very strong as of late, and this will be the most interesting matchup if these two teams do end up meeting up. Both teams depend on the success of their top lanes. When one of them seems to be underperforming, the team suffers as a whole. For Robo to take this matchup he needs to respect Hauntzer and potential jungle pressure. Svenskeren has shown a tendency to prioritize top lane ganks in the early game, and Hauntzer has shown proficiency on both tank and carry champions. If Robo can stay at least even in lane, they may have a chance of transitioning his relevance into the mid game.
TSM has the better macro play of the two teams. TSM has always had extremely good macro play come mid/late game. It seems that TSM may be having a little trouble finding their footing as of late in the early game, however, and if RED can capitalize on that they may have a chance at taking down the kings of NA.
Due to the way that play-ins are structured, RED will absolutely have to play one of these teams if the win Group A playing one of these teams. Whether they will actually be able to take a game on TSM or FW is still in question, but they definitely have a better chance at upsetting Flash Wolves due to the volatility of the Taiwanese titans.
Brazil’s MSI Hope
RED Canids – or any wildcard team, for that matter – does not possess great odds to take down TSM or Flash Wolves. However, Brazil’s MSI chances do not die with a loss to either team from major region. RED Canids looks much stronger than any team from Group B. TSM and Flash Wolves should win their respective matchups, Brazil’s MSI representative should have no issue defeating the representative of Group B and bringing Brazil’s MSI dream closer to reality.
RED Canids has the pride of Brazil on their back. They boast arguably the best League of Legends roster in Brazilian history, both in-game and infrastructurally. For Brazil, MSI is not just an international tournament, but a chance to prove they deserve to stand with the five major regions of League of Legends eSports. Brazil’s MSI spot is in the palm of their hands, and on their home soil, look for RED Canids to stay resilient in the face of adversity and make this an MSI Brazil will remember.
Stay tuned for our continuing coverage of Brazil’s MSI performance, RED Canids, and more on League of Legend’s first international event this year!
Check our our forecast of the MSI Meta on Patch 7.8