A year ago, Jonah “Isles” Rosario was still preparing to look for offers ahead of the 2020 season. He had just come off a second-place finish with Mammoth Academy, and was keen to take the next step in his League of Legends career.
12 months later, and the Aussie support has certainly done that. Back to back championship titles with Legacy Esports — including the founding OPL organisation’s maiden domestic title — were paired with a special personal plaudit; Rookie of the Year.
Now, Isles is right in the middle of a two-week quarantine period in Shanghai. He, along with the rest of the Legacy roster, landed in China last week. Days later, they were drawn into the Play-In stage’s Group A, and set against powerhouses like Team Liquid and MAD Lions.
A lot of the finer details may not have been in his mind, but as Jonah sits in his hotel room, on the verge of making his World Championship debut against Brazillian champions INTZ on September 25, the breakout OCE support admits to Snowball Esports he “expecting to end up at Worlds sooner or later.” It was just a matter of time.
Why? Well, Legacy “were the best team in the OPL,” at least when you look at the roster, he said. The young support knew he’d joined a winning team: “I haven’t really had any surprises from what I expected at the start of the year, to be honest.”
That same ice-cold confidence seems to be epping into the youngster’s Worlds preparation too. Legacy has already been hard at work, scrimming other Play-In teams, and grinding the Chinese super server’s solo queue.
Isles hit Grandmaster with 345LP on September 16. He was the third Legacy player to hit the rank after Tally and Topoon. Two days later, the young star was promoted to the high-class server’s Challenger rank with just 130 games under his belt.
“I was initially very excited to play on the Chinese server, but the more I play on it the less I feel it is completely different from the solo queue I’m used to,” he said. “Quality is certainly higher, but the same mistakes are often still there.”
There have been some highlights though. Isles has already come face-to-face with Group A rival Jo “CoreJJ” Yong-in, as well as MAD Lions bot duo Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság and Norman “Kaiser” Kaiser. They were “impressive,” the Legacy support said.
“Out of all the bot laners I’ve played against so far in China, I was, ironically, most impressed with CoreJJ and Carzzy/Kaiser,” Isles revealed.
“To match up against them [in groups] will be a challenge, definitely, but if I can rise to the occasion it will feel rewarding. If I’m playing in-form, though, there should be no reason to expect to be outclassed, despite their team lineups.”
The road to the Play-In Knockout Stage is paved with star-studded squads though.
First up is INTZ on Friday evening. The next day, at midnight AEST, Oceania’s representatives will play four-time LCS champions Team Liquid. The squad’s group stage will finish with near back-to-back matches against MAD Lions and SuperMassive.
It’s where Isles’ quest to shine on the World Championship stage truly begins: “I have the same cliché goal as many of our players — I simply want to prove myself as a world class competitor. I hope I make you all proud.”