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With the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational on the horizon, the Latin America League’s Team Aze are one of 11 regional champions from around the world that are getting ready for the biggest international event of the spring. While MSI 2022 isn’t the final stop for the season, the tournament is key for seeing where each region stands in the global hierarchy.
Unlike their MSI counterparts, 2022 marked Team Aze’s first time competing in their region’s highest league. The organization made its LLA debut with a new roster and edged out all other teams to reach Busan, Korea.
Team Aze (LLA) MSI 2022 starting roster breakdown:
- Top: Han “Lonely” Gyu-joon | Signed in Dec. 2021, formerly a member of Gen.G Challengers
- Jungler: Juan “Dimitry” Hernández González | Signed in Dec. 2021, formerly a member of XTEN Esports
- Mid: Tomás ‘Aloned” Díaz Valiente | Signed in Dec. 2021, formerly a member of Rainbow7
- Bot: Park “5kid” Jeong-hyeon | Signed in Dec. 2021, formerly a member of KT Rolster
- Support: Roberto “Straight” Guallichico | Signed in Jan. 2022, formerly a member of Rainbow7
How they got here
Team Aze made a name for themselves in 2021 after going unbeaten in Mexico’s Division of Honor Telcel Closing Season. The team continued the unbeaten streak in the playoffs and went on to win the Regional Norte, the LLA qualifiers, in the same fashion. Their run made them the first professional League of Legends team to win 42 games consecutively.
After qualifying for the LLA, Team Aze brought in a completely new and diverse roster to compete with the best teams in the league. The team acquired South Korea’s Lonely and 5kid for the top and bottom lanes respectively. Both players had garnered some experience in the LCK and LCK Challengers League. Lonely ended the LCK CL 2021 with Gen.G as a summer split champion, topping both regular standings and playoffs.
The organization rounded the roster off with Dimitry, Alone and Straight from other LLA teams. Team Aze began their first LLA opening season well but dropped some games along the way. Moreover, they struggled to beat top teams in the beginning and were unable to defeat league leaders, Rainbow 7.
However, they ended the opening season with a strong, second-place finish after winning a tie-breaker series against INFINITY. Winning the tiebreaker series gave Aze all the momentum they needed for the playoffs.
There, they swept Rainbow 7 in Round 1 of the winner’s bracket and moved on to defeat Mexican rivals, Estral Esports, in the semifinals. They faced Estral once again in the final and closed out the series in Game 5 after a decisive Jarvan IV engage from Dimitry in the 33rd minute.
Team Aze’s rise to the top of LLA was exciting for many in the community and many fans hope the team can bring positive results for the region on the international stage.
“This is a team with a winning mentality, hungry to win,” LLA Caster, Ivan Nicolas “Headline” Cruz said. “They are a new face for the LLA and Latin America and this might be just what the region needs right now.”
Players to watch
After speaking to some Latin America analysts, 19-year-old Dominican jungler Dimitry and bot laner 5kid remain players to watch for Team Aze. Dimitry received the finals MVP award for his impressive performance while 5kid’s consistency helped the team throughout the season.
While LVP Colombia caster Jonathan Gómez Sánchez said all of Team Aze’s players deserve some attention, their jungler is a special case.
“He is only 19 years old and started playing in the LLA a year ago,” Gómez said. “He also works very hard and it is reflected in his growth. In my opinion, he is the most aggressive jungler in the league, and his Lee Sin is highly respected.”
At the same time, LLA Analyst Alejandro “Baula” Serrano pointed to 5kid when Dimitry can’t lock in his signature Lee Sin.
“The player that must have almost all the spotlight for the team is 5kid,” Baula said. “He played a great split, all around having very few blunders. He is immense for this team, as even without having the best lane phases, he manages to outperform the enemy’s bot laners. Also, he has a very good game sense to position himself even when the team lacks vision at times.”
Both players’ team fighting abilities played a crucial part in their playoffs final win against Estral. Aside from those two, Team Aze’s support, Straight, is one to keep an eye on. The 22-year-old Ecuadorian switched from top to support only this year and is already one of the best in LLA.
“[It’s] amazing how well he adapted,” Gómez said. “His synergy with 5Kid is one of the most powerful now. On several occasions, he has shown initiative and confidence to win difficult fights. 5 vs 5 is where he shines the most.”
How Team Aze can succeed at MSI 2022
Team Aze find themselves in a very difficult group which contains T1, Saigon Buffalo and DetonatioN FocusMe. While T1 and DFM remain the favorites to qualify from this group, anything can happen at MSI.
Team Aze excel in team fights and will have to show that in every game they play.
“Aze, in general, are a slow team that finds success drafting for teamfights,” Baula said. “They excel at teamfighting and tend to draft compositions that do good at that.”
The team will also need to ensure their bot lane stays ahead and is ready to match the aggression of their opponents. Additionally, Team Aze have some strong pocket picks that could change games at MSI.
Regardless of the odds they face, the LLA community is excited to watch this new team represent them after many disappointments on the international stage.
“Since last year, fans are a bit sad,” Gómez said. “But I feel very positive vibes with Aze, people trust again.”
Jimoh Rashidat is a freelance esports writer with over two years of experience. She covers FIFA, League of Legends and general gaming content.