League of Legends Pro League (LPL) first seed TOP Esports opened the Worlds 2020 Group stage in a match against FlyQuest of the LCS. With 19 kills to seven, TOP Esports snowballed early and ended the game in just over 31 minutes.
TOP Esports’ top laner Bai “369” Jia-Hao drew first blood at Groups against Colin “Solo” Earnest, dominating the Camille versus Volibear matchup. He amassed two more kills in under seven minutes as TOP started to run away with the game.
This game marks 369’s remarkable debut at Worlds, in the first time that TOP Esports has qualified for the international competition no less. It is also the year where TOP won their first championship at the Mid-Season Cup (MSC), and the LPL Summer title.
“Actually, I didn’t have a personal goal [coming into Worlds]. My goal is just to play well every game. I wish to do my best and perform the best,” 369 told ONE Esports.
Besides FlyQuest, TOP Esports will be looking to prove themselves against DRX and and Unicorns of Love in Group D. Among the top laners at Worlds, 369 has his eye on Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon whom he competed against in the group stage at MSC earlier in the year.
“There isn’t much difference playing at Worlds and the regular reason. The only difference is that there’s a change in opponents.”
For top laners, it’s a time of adaptation. As competition stiffened during Play-Ins, teams started to realize just how strong Ornn was despite being nerfed all year. He had a 90.9 % win rate during Play-Ins, and a 100% picked and banned rate now in Groups.
“Ornn looked strong in the Play-Ins possibly because teams didn’t pick good counter champions to him, and their playstyles are slower; they prefer to scale steadily,” said 369. “I feel that Ornn has a lot of counters, and if I get the chance, I’ll use them.”
369 played Ornn five times in LPL Summer, only managing a 20% win rate. His most played champion with one of the highest wins was Renekton – another champion that has been a topic of discussion at Worlds. In the Play-Ins, Renekton had a 45.5% win rate. At Groups, he was picked three times on day one, all of which ended in defeats.
“For Renekton, I feel that he needs to get ahead early, for example by exerting pressure in the top lane, the river, and Rift Herald. Picking this hero means you need to make offensive plays to generate pressure across the map,” explained 369. “Because LPL teams prefer to be aggressive, maybe that’s why Renekton suits us more.”
During the time between the end of Summer and Worlds, the team has been practicing hard. They also found time to collaborate with fashion magazine, BAZAAR, in a very classy black and white photoshoot.
Looking at his own pictures, 369 thought he looked “okay”. When asked about who he thought on the team were the best models, he picked jungler Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan and support Liang “yuyanjia” Jia-Yuan because “their body shape is better”, and Zhuo “knight” Ding for being the most handsome of them all.