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With Worlds 2021 on the horizon, the second seed from the Pacific Championship Series, Beyond Gaming, are one of 22 teams from across the globe that are gearing up for their biggest and most important event of the year. The 2021 League of Legends World Championship will feature each region’s best players, all fighting for the same goal: to stand atop the mountain and hoist the Season 11 Summoner’s Cup.

Coming from the PCS, Beyond Gaming will head to Reykjavík, Iceland with a tall task ahead of them. They are a newer face in the competitive League of Legends arena and they already carry the burden of being in PSG Talon’s shadow. Beyond Gaming will be looking to prove that the PCS is more than a one team region by taking on the likes of Cloud9, LNG Esports and Hanwha Life Esports in the play-in stage.

Beyond Gaming (PCS) Worlds 2021 starting roster breakdown

  • Top: Wu “Liang” Liang-Te | Signed in February, 2021. Formerly a member of MAD Team
  • Jungler: Huang “HuSha” Zi-Wei | Signed in February, 2021. Formerly a member of ahq eSports Club
  • Mid: Chien “Maoan” Mao-An | Signed in March, 2021. Formerly a member of Berjaya Dragons
  • Bot: Chiu “Doggo” Tzu-Chuan | Signed in February, 2021. Formerly a member of ahq eSports Club
  • Support: Chu Wu “Kino” Hsin-Jung | Signed in February, 2021. Formerly a member of Alpha Esports
  • Coach: Lien “Benny” Hsiu-Chi | Signed in February, 2021. Formerly a member of MAD Team
  • Coach: Liu “Wulala” Sheng-Wei | Signed in June, 2021. Formerly a member of G-Rex

How they got here

Beyond Gaming, or BYG for short, are a team that did not exist until this year. When ahq eSports Club, a legacy organization from the old days of the League Master Series (LMS), officially pulled out of the PCS for 2021, former Taipei Assassins player Xue “DinTer” Hong-Wei seized the opportunity the open spot presented and decided to create his own team. DinTer chose to call the squad Beyond Gaming because, as per his translated post, he was hoping to “surpass their original selves.” And surpass, they certainly have.

Realistically, no one was expected to challenge PSG Talon’s iron rule in the PCS. BYG, the new upstarts, placed second in spring, losing to PSG 3-0 twice in the playoffs. But making the finals in their first split was still a success story for the fledgling team, all things considered. Beyond then loaned bot laner Doggo to PSG for the 2021 Mid-Season Invitational, and Doggo went on to surprise everyone in Iceland.

PCS caster Devin “PiraTechnics” Younge said he believes the international experience that Doggo gained in Iceland helped level up BYG upon his return.

“Doggo goes and subs in for PSG at MSI, people start to see his name. He comes back and he brings some of that experience from the PSG roster and their style to BYG,” PiraTechnics said. “You start to see this team evolve a little bit. For example, they get a little bit smarter about how they move on the map and their rotations improve. Overall, I would say they kind of rounded themselves out a little bit better.”

Despite BYG’s 14-4 record in their second split being slightly worse than their 16-2 in the spring, PiraTechnics added that the level of play in the PCS rose overall in the summer split.

“In the regular season for the summer, BYG definitely didn’t look quite as uniquely dominant, but I wouldn’t read too much into that,” he said. “The level of play was a little bit different in the spring but, in the summer, it starts to tick up. You don’t just have PSG completely running the table, even though they (went) undefeated in the regular split. Teams (started) to challenge them and BYG also got challenged as well.”

BYG turned the heat up in the summer playoffs and shocked the world. PSG Talon, the undisputed kings of the PCS, came into the semifinal series against BYG with a flawless 21-0 record (after 3-0’ing J Team). But BYG brought them back down to earth.

Beyond Gaming took whatever PSG could throw at them and eventually put them to the sword, sealing an incredible 3-2 upset and punching their tickets to Worlds 2021.

While Beyond Gaming were ultimately denied their fairytale ending in the grand finals rematch, where PSG won 3-2, PiraTechnics considers BYG going toe-to-toe with PSG Talon a huge victory for the first-year team nonetheless.

“In 10 games, the fact that Beyond were able to get half of those as wins is incredible. I think BYG understands PSG in a way that few teams domestically were able to do, and we got to see that pay off in the semifinals and almost in the finals of the tournament.”

In their first year of existence, Beyond Gaming made the PCS finals twice and now have their international debut awaiting at Worlds 2021. Tussling with giants such as LNG, Hanwha Life Esports and Cloud9 might make them seem like minnows but, with their ability to surprise thus far, these minnows can possibly become sharks.

Players to watch

Going into MSI 2021, PSG Talon’s featurette produced by Riot Games gushed about Maple, one of Taiwan’s most renowned players domestically and internationally. And why not? Even within a star studded squad, Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang had a stellar spring season. But even he had to make way for the newest member of their team: Doggo.

Doggo, who was loaned to PSG due to their main bot laner in Wong “Unified” Chun Kit being unable to travel to Iceland, stunned the world with his fearless performances overseas. At only 18, going from losing the spring finals to holding his ground against some of the best players in the world was nothing short of remarkable.

While Doggo is known for his hard carry champions, such as Kai’Sa and Tristana, he can still turn to meta champions like Ziggs in order to give his team draft flexibility. The picks that opponents will really need to watch out for, however, are his Draven, where he went 8/1/10 against BOOM Esports, and his Aphelios. Especially his Aphelios. In fact, since PCS 2021 spring, Doggo has played 13 games with Aphelios and is undefeated on the champion. That undefeated record includes three games at MSI 2021.

Doggo plays more like a hungry wolf rather than the cute and cuddly companion his namesake evokes. PiraTechnics likens him to “a bit of a young Uzi or Doublelift” in how he plays in contrast to BYG’s overall playstyle.

“Doggo is so much fun to watch because, while his team usually doesn’t go for lane victories — in fact, a lot of the time, they get set a little behind and usually come back into games — Doggo is the kind of guy to flash under tower to get the kill,” he said.

That extreme aggression however, can be a double-edged sword. “We can definitely look for big flashy plays from Doggo, but the flip side of that is sometimes he can get punished,” PiraTechnics said. “At Worlds, there are a lot of really strong bot laners so I would expect him to possibly run into a little bit of trouble there if he doesn’t temper some of that aggression.”

Other than Doggo, PiraTechnics cites two other outstanding players to watch in Liang and HuSha.

Beyond Gaming often likes to impose a 1-3-1 composition and top laner Liang is one of their linchpins for this strategy. He is a strong individual laner and a big Camille player, who isn’t afraid to bring out Jax as well. In BYG’s 3-2 win over PSG, PiraTechnics described the top lane matchup as “probably the most lopsided individual matchup between the two teams.”

The added variable of Liang and mid laner Maoan being able to flex  picks like Renekton or Lucian between top and mid lane is another thing for opposing teams to keep an eye out for.

But, perhaps the unsung hero of the team, and the one who enables his explosive carries to tear their foes asunder, is jungler HuSha. As a solid all-around jungler with a flexible champion pool to fit what BYG requires, HuSha is especially important in ensuring BYG’s slower early game does not get overly punished. PiraTechnics praises his improvement from spring and says that even if he doesn’t always put on hard carry performances, he is a pivotal piece for BYG.

“Generally speaking, I see him as a bit more of a supportive player that might sometimes be quiet, but he does a lot for the squad,” he said. “HuSha usually tries and sets up the team around the map, but occasionally he gets his hands on Viego and then just kind of stomps on it.

“I think it’s really good to see him on champions that help set up his team and either track the enemy jungler and make sure they can’t gank, or make sure he’s where he needs to be. BYG are not a team that traditionally dominates the early game, so he kind of helps buffer them and get them into the late stages of the game.”

How Beyond Gaming can succeed at Worlds 2021 

Beyond Gaming arrive at Worlds 2021 with mixed expectations. On one hand, they were seeded as one of the four Pool 1 teams. On the other, they bear the stigma of the PCS only ever having one strong team represent the region internationally. Since 2017, when the play-in tournament was implemented at Worlds, the League of Legends Master Series, representing Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, has qualified a team out of the play-in stage and into groups three out of four times.

At minimum, Beyond have to be hoping to buck that trend and make it through to the knockout stage. But with so much uncertainty in the Worlds 2021 play-in stage, and especially with Beyond Gaming coming in as a newer team, what can we expect from them?

“I think this is a squad that has enough solid fundamentals to be able to play well against a lot of the play-in teams,” PiraTechnics said. “Obviously the teams I’m looking out for are LNG, Hanwha Life and Cloud9. Maybe BYG might struggle a little bit against the Pool 1 teams, especially if they get overwhelmed in lane. But if teams start winning in the early game against BYG, I don’t think they can rest on their laurels. They have to try and crush BYG before they get into the late game, where they tend to power up on their scaling picks.”

When pressed about which Pool 1 team could give BYG the most trouble, PiraTechnics added that Cloud9 and NA should watch out for the PCS’ second seed.

“Considering the PCS has a Pool 1 seed and NA don’t, I feel like maybe Cloud9 better watch out!” he said. “I think people think of the PCS, especially coming from NA, as being this weird region that doesn’t get as many seeds, and it’s so top heavy, etc. But they forget that PCS teams can scrim against all of the other top squads.”

“They certainly have the ability and they have the insight on some of those other strong teams and strong regions, and they have some pretty strong players individually as well,” he continued. “I’ll say that I think all the Pool 1 teams will definitely give BYG a challenge but Cloud9 is probably the easiest of them to beat.”

With how BYG’s trajectory has been going, and based on expert opinion, they are expected to perform in the play-in stage at the very least. Now, it’s on BYG to prove it. For fans who are coming in and watching BYG with fresh eyes, PiraTechics leaves one last storyline for them to keep in mind.

“#MoreThanJustDoggo. Everyone’s going to look at BYG and be like, ‘Okay, it’s Doggo and four randoms,’ and that’s not the case,” he said, stressing how BYG came in as a new org and almost dethroned PSG. “I think the coaching staff has done some pretty amazing things with this team and they have already proved that they’re worth paying attention to. Anyone who sleeps on them is making a grave mistake.”

This article is part of an ongoing preview series of all 22 teams competing at Worlds 2021. For our complete release schedule and more information on the other 21 teams attending Worlds, check out Upcomer’s Worlds 2021 Outlook Series hub.

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