The Latin America League (LLA) has not qualified for a tournament’s main event since 2017, but its teams have traditionally made a dent wherever they went. Some may remember Cotopaco’s Irelia in the 2018 world championship, especially EDward Gaming fans, and there is no telling what the 2021 MSI’s surprise will entail.
Although stunted in its macro in domestic competitions, LLA representatives have generally evolved throughout tournaments, making them dangerous the longer their hopes are allowed to last. The young, brash, and talented Team Aze will be no exception.
Regular season standings did not mean much this time around. Source: Leaguepedia
How they got here
Team Aze’s maiden split was a sight to behold: upon promoting to the league, they changed their roster and comfortably positioned themselves as main contenders for the LLA crown. Unlike many regional representatives, they stuck to the upper bracket and fended off a spirited Estral Esports on their way to lifting the trophy.
In doing so, they broke several firsts through their Dominican jungler Juan Dimitry “Dimitry” Hernandez Gonzalez: fresh LLA contestants turned champions Aze are sending the first Caribbean professional player ever to the Mid-Season Invitational, helping highlight a competitive region on the world map.
Player to watch: AD carry Park “5kid” Jeong-hyeon
Whatever Team Aze are paying 5kid, he needs a raise after he carried them to MSI. Alongside Dimitry, he has been Aze’s most stable and valuable assets throughout the season.
Unlike Dimitry, 5kid has no obvious and exploitable flaws. His LLA experience and subsequent MSI campaign will attract the eyes of North American teams seeking an import at the position, as well as his home region, the LCK, if he has improved beyond his level at KT Rolster in 2021.
Jaxon’s predictions: Last in Group A, blue-shell style
The team’s talented individuals will be unable to overshadow their region’s lack of macro expertise, and their group stage opponents boast strong mechanics and a decent sense of macro. However, their gradual improvement will likely decide the outcome of Group A if they score an upset victory against DetonatioN FocusMe or Saigon Buffalo.